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Are Infrared Saunas Safe?

Infrared saunas are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to improve their health and well-being. But are they safe? The short answer is yes, according to Healthline, “Infrared saunas provide a relaxing experience that’s considered safe for most people”.  As with all physical activity precautions should always be considered for those with health and heat tolerance conditions. 

How Infrared Saunas Work?

Infrared saunas work by emitting infrared heat, which is a type of radiant energy like sunlight. This heat penetrates the skin from the inside out. Traditional saunas heat the air, infrared saunas do not focus on raising the ambient temperature. 

Potential Risks of Using an Infrared Sauna

As with any type of heat therapy, there are some potential risks associated with using an infrared sauna. According to Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review published in 2018 by Joy Hussain and Marc Cohen, individual negative impacts of infrared and all saunas may include:

  • Dehydration: Sweating a lot can cause dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after using an infrared sauna.
  • Dizziness: If you have low blood pressure, you may feel dizzy after using an infrared sauna. This is because the heat can cause your blood vessels to dilate, which can lead to a drop in blood pressure.
  • Heatstroke: If you overheat, you could develop heatstroke, which is a serious medical condition. Symptoms of heatstroke include a high body temperature, confusion, and loss of consciousness.
  • Skin burns: If you stay in an infrared sauna for too long, you could develop skin burns. This is more likely to happen if you have fair skin.

Who Should Avoid Using an Infrared Sauna

Medical experts caution to avoid saunas of all types for patients who are pregnant, have unstable coronary artery disease, ischemic heart failure, orthostatic hypotension, and corrected or uncorrected heart valve disease. These warnings have been echoed by the Mayo Clinic experts.   

If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid using an infrared sauna:

Heart disease

High blood pressure

Epilepsy

Cancer

Open wounds

Pregnancy

Recent surgery

If you are unsure whether an infrared sauna is safe for you, talk to your doctor.

Benefits of Using an Infrared Sauna

Despite the potential risks, there are also several potential benefits to using an infrared sauna which include:

  1. Improved circulation: The heat from an infrared sauna can help to improve circulation by dilating blood vessels.
  2. Reduced pain: The heat from an infrared sauna can help to reduce pain by relaxing muscles and reducing inflammation.
  3. Improved skin health: The heat from an infrared sauna can help to improve skin health by killing bacteria and promoting the production of new skin cells.
  4. Detoxification: The heat from an infrared sauna can help to promote detoxification by sweating out toxins.
  5. Weight loss: The heat from an infrared sauna can help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss.

Research is ongoing about the benefits of the sauna experience that has been enjoyed for thousands of years. In the 21st century infrared technology is advancing the methods and benefits of sauna.

Infrared Saunas are Safe for Most People

There are some potential risks that individuals should be aware of before using any sauna including an infrared. If there are health concerns, talk to a doctor before using an infrared sauna. Sound advice is to start with short sessions and gradually increase the length of time you spend in the sauna as your body adjusts to the heat.  

FAQ about Infrared Sauna Safety

How hot do infrared saunas get, and is it safe?

Infrared saunas operate at lower temperatures (typically 120-150°F or 49-65°C) compared to traditional saunas, making them generally safe.

Can prolonged sauna sessions be harmful?

Extended sessions can lead to overheating, so it’s recommended to limit each session to 30-45 minutes.

How can I ensure my safety when using an infrared sauna?

Stay hydrated, follow recommended session durations, avoid alcohol and heavy meals before use, and exit the sauna if you feel dizzy, nauseous, or unwell.

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