When talking about a sauna, the first thing that comes to mind is the clouds of steam inside a room. Its benefits are also known, which go through the elimination of toxins, muscle relief and the complete relaxation of the body and mind. However, there is a trend that has come to revolutionize the therapeutic bath: the infrared sauna.
This version falls into the category of dry saunas, those that operate with low or no humidity levels. But what would you think if you entered a sauna that is not hot? Maybe it’s off. The infrared sauna goes a little further and does not raise the temperature of the environment, but acts directly generating body heat, in a more focused way.
This technology is based on the scientific understanding of solar radiation, which provides energy to every living being on the planet. It should not be confused with ultraviolet rays, those used in tanning beds and those that have warned us so much to protect our skin due to its consequences from prolonged and constant exposure.
For its part, infrared rays are what generate the thermal sensation radiated by the sun and are responsible for feeling warm and perspiring. They are the same ones used to regulate the temperature in incubators for newborns, a fact that gives us an idea of their benefits and the safety of their use.
The best infrared saunas in comparison
When considering these types of sauna should take into account the budget and space that we will designate in our home or study. If you are looking for an economical sauna, it is best to go for individual sizes as it is usually the cheapest.
Another infallible advice is to go for wood models because in this way the heat will concentrate better and spend less energy.
In addition, you will have additional benefits if you buy a cabin that includes sound equipment, aroma and comfortable seats. In this comparison, you can see the best options that I have come across and decide on one.
1. Special-action infrared cabin from Trade-Line-Partner
It is a comfortable sauna with seating for 3 or 4 people with excellent additional benefits. I tell you that it offers a comprehensive therapy because it has individual lumbar aromatherapy devices and four centres of colour light therapy, also comes with radio and CD player to add a music therapy track.
All this will enhance the relaxation and circulation of our entire body while the cabin heats from 20 to 60 degrees of temperature quickly.
Designed to take up little space inside the house, this heat cabin is compatible with regular outlets and does not require any additional installation. It has 7 carbon heating panels that distribute heat throughout the body.
A great advantage of this model is its air purifier, a hallmark of the most professional saunas that is capable of creating a non-toxic environment for our respiratory system.
With wood interior and stainless steel exterior, this sauna provides optimal internal heat with a modern look. Its operation is by full spectrum LED lamps, a less invasive way to generate heat and give extra benefits to the skin at the same time.
It is perfect for domestic use because its construction includes an oxygen enhancer to facilitate extended stays, ergonomic seats for 4 people and internal digital control.
This infrared sauna is ideal for more complex and professional installations, I have seen them in centres of sports recovery and integral beauty. It has 6 ceramic resistances that allow the greater intensity of heat, something perfect if the sauna is filled with 5 people.
Its design also guarantees comfort and luxury because it has 3 crystallized faces for better visibility and an oxygen ionizer to improve blood circulation with clean air.
It is built with panels of Canadian red cedar, the best wood in the market, this allows the heat to concentrate and propagate more efficiently being great to save energy. I love this model because of its closet design, so it does not clash with traditional decorations.
It comes with carbon infrared diffusers and ventilation traps, so you will never need to replace these components and you can use it intensively for up to 4 people.
What is a sauna?
The traditional sauna emits steam that warms the air and then your skin. Temperatures can reach 90ºC or even higher.
The infrared sauna heats your skin directly. There is no steam! The air temperature does not rise to extreme temperatures, allowing you to breathe normally and stay inside for longer.
Infrared saunas transform light energy into heat energy. This heat is evenly distributed throughout the body and penetrates deeper into the skin, dilating the blood vessels, increasing the bloodstream and facilitating oxygenation of the tissues.
The time required to heat the panels of an infrared sauna can range from 10 to 20 minutes (much less time than in a steam sauna). The sensation that one has when entering, it is as if nothing happened. It is necessary to wait 3 or 4 minutes inside the cabin until you begin to notice the symptoms of heat. You will feel that your body temperature rises without the air temperature rises.
Health benefits of infrared saunas
The use of these cabins produces excellent results in our body because they are a less invasive option of classic heat therapies.
When we eat certain foods, drinks or just when we breathe, we may be ingesting toxins. To eliminate them from our body it is advisable to drink a minimum of 2 litres of water daily and have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Our body removes part of these toxins by sweating. If they were retained they could be harmful to our body.
The practice of sport is the most common way to detoxify our body through sweating. People who have limited movement capacity and cannot play sports often use heat therapy in an infrared sauna to achieve a cardiovascular status equivalent to physical exercise.
A session in an infrared sauna will make it easier for the sweat glands to eliminate these toxic substances through the skin.
While it is true that when we sweat a lot, we may also be eliminating other types of non-harmful minerals. For this reason, we recommend replenishing mineral salts with fruits, juices or isotonic drinks after a session in the sauna.
The intense sweating that is experienced inside the infrared sauna helps to expel toxins that accumulate in our cells. Thus facilitating the healthy and pure maintenance of our body.
High temperatures provide a continuous flow of blood allowing it to reach places with ailments or inflammations.
Spending a few minutes in the infrared cabin allows you to release muscle and joint tension. An excellent remedy for muscle ailments caused by injuries or heavy workouts.
Increase metabolism, burn calories and promote weight loss
While you are calmly enjoying an infrared sauna session, your body is working hard on the production of sweat (to cool itself) and increases the heart rate. This increased metabolism helps burn calories.
When we go running, many of us do it to keep our cardiovascular system in good health, not to strengthen the leg muscles. Similarly, regular use of the sauna, in addition to helping you burn calories can help prevent coronary artery diseases.
Clean and healthy skin
The infrared technology not only helps to purify the pores of the skin but also allows to maintain a uniform tone in the skin and improve the production of collagen. It also penetrates the dermis better than other types of heat that can clog or burn it.
After an infrared sauna session, the appearance of the skin improves. This is due, in part, to the removal of dead cells and the expulsion of toxins through their pores.
On the other hand, heat accelerates the bloodstream and attracts nutrients from the circulatory system to the skin. As a consequence, it improves its tone and elasticity.
Many beauty centres and gyms use infrared saunas in their beauty treatments.
Infrared saunas allow heat to spread throughout the body and penetrate deep into the skin, dilating blood vessels, increasing the bloodstream and facilitating tissue oxygenation.
As a consequence, the muscles relax, improving their flexibility and relieving possible muscle spasms and contractures. It has also been shown that it can relieve the pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia or bone and tendon ailments.
Infrared therapy helps to boost the work of the immune system, being ideal to avoid diseases and as a treatment for arthritis and lupus.
When the body temperature rises, an “artificial fever” is induced. Fever is the body’s natural mechanism to strengthen and accelerate the immune response, just as it would occur before an infection. If we also consider the elimination of toxins through sweating, our immune system will be more reinforced and resistant to diseases. Our overall health will improve.
Some studies indicate that its detoxification power helps reduce the risks of cancer.
Our body needs relaxation therapy to be able to get rid of daily stress. A session in the infrared sauna will certainly help with this while renewing the mental and physical energy to face new challenges.
How Does Infrared Therapy Work?
Heat therapy is a therapeutic tool based on the application of heat on the body and whose purpose is to relieve pain. Heat can be applied by several methods, with infrared heat therapy being one of the most used for its high degree of effectiveness.
The infrared sauna cabins are made of wood and have ceramic or carbon fiber panels (or the combination of both) that emit heat and are distributed on the walls. This distribution allows heat to reach our entire body in a homogeneous way.
The infrared sauna barely heats the air. Heat your skin directly and there is no steam! The air temperature does not rise to extreme temperatures, allowing you to breathe normally and stay longer inside the sauna.
The depth of heat penetration in the infrared sauna is greater than that of the steam sauna. The heat penetrates the muscle tissue and this is precisely where the beneficial properties of heat therapy act.
Types of sauna
There are different heat therapies that are applied in sauna type cabins. Knowing their benefits for health and their practicality for the home helps to choose the best artefact for our needs.
Indoor, outdoor or portable sauna?
The outdoor saunas are lounge-type, have a large size and usually spend a lot of energy to warm up, so it’s better to use them if there are several people interested.
On the other hand, indoor saunas can have them at home without occupying too much space or spending so much energy, however, they are much smaller and you can only be sitting.
Finally, portable models are easily assembled and transportable but are not as efficient because their design is in fabric and not with wood panels.
These are the traditional saunas and the most environmentally friendly, heated with a wood stove and a fireplace.
It is a type of Finnish sauna in which a room is heated by burning wood, the smoke being responsible for raising the ambient temperature since it is not released by the chimney.
They heat similar to what the sun does but without the damage to the skin. It works by infrared rays that do not alter the temperature of the environment but penetrate the body. They are easier to install and very beneficial for health.
This type of cabins works by means of electric heating to stones. It is much more practical but expensive in terms of energy.
Also called a Turkish bath. It is a wet sauna that works by heating the water until it starts to evaporate. It is very beneficial for the skin and pores.
They are a type of portable sauna that has the shape of a barrel and in which only the body is introduced leaving the face outdoors.
They are rooms specially designed to be a sauna so they have full wood panelling and diverse heat sources. They represent a higher cost than buying a prefabricated cabin.
Things to keep in mind when buying an infrared sauna
The capacity is important because it will determine the necessary energy expenditure and the space that the cabin will occupy.
You come with two heating models: ceramic and carbon heaters. The ceramic ones are cheaper and spend less energy but the carbon ones distribute the heat better throughout the body.
The wide cab models are better to take advantage of the heat, however, narrow models heat faster so the session will be shorter.
Choosing wood saunas allows for better heat dispersion and temperature insulation. Therefore, most infrared saunas are coated with this material.
Improper construction can leave us exposed to glue and plastic toxins that can be released into the environment with heat. Therefore, it is important to opt for manufacturers with a reputation and environmental guarantee.
It is important that infrared technology is previously tested so that the rays do not damage our skin or produce negative radiation. There are important certificates that must be included in the matter of chemistry and industry.