Jan 26, 2024 • 4 min read • By: Polly Clover

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna: Differences & Which is Best


Traditional saunas have been a popular spa treatment for many years, but infrared saunas have also become popular. So how do you decide which is best for you?

In this article, we’ll discuss infrared vs. traditional sauna and explore their benefits and differences. We’ll also answer common questions to help you decide which is best for you.

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna

All kinds of saunas are meant to detoxify the body. However, traditional and far infrared saunas work differently based on how they're made, the heat, and the effects on your body.

This chart compares infrared and regular saunas:

Infrared SaunaTraditional Sauna
Infrared saunas use advanced infrared heaters that directly warm the body.Steam or dry heat warms traditional sauna rooms.
Infrared waves heat the body from within, directly penetrating the cellular level of the body to raise the body’s temperatureA single heater heats the air around the person in a traditional sauna
The heating process causes sweat and detoxification from internal processes.The heat of the air jumpstarts the body’s sweat.
Less heat is used for an infrared sauna since the infrared light heats the body directly.The air temperature is higher in a traditional sauna since the sauna has to heat up to allow the body to heat.
It's believed that infrared saunas are even more effective than traditional saunas since infrared rays penetrate the skin more, bringing out sweat and toxins from deeper tissues.During an infrared sauna treatment, you can build up to a 30-minute session, which offers ample time to relax. There isn’t as much humidity as a traditional sauna since there’s less steam.
During an infrared sauna treatment, you can build up to a 30-minute session, which offers ample time to relax. There isn’t as much humidity as a traditional sauna since there’s not as much steam.A traditional sauna session usually only lasts for up to 15 minutes due to higher heat. This sauna experience is more hot and steamy than infrared saunas.

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna Benefits

The detoxification that occurs during both infrared and traditional sauna treatments, also known as steam saunas, has similar benefits. 

According to Medical New Daily, possible health benefits of sauna sessions include:

  • Alleviates pain - reduces muscle soreness, joint aches, and arthritis pain
  • Reduces stress - improves circulation and promotes relaxation
  • Improves cardiovascular health - lower stress levels may lower the risk of cardiovascular issues
  • Alleviates skin issues - detoxification can cleanse and improve skin
  • Relieves asthma symptoms - airways open up, making it easier to breathe properly

What is better – infrared or traditional sauna?

Many people prefer infrared saunas because their healing therapy is believed to be more significant since the infrared rays penetrate the skin more, having more prominent effects.

Less humidity and heat intensity with infrared saunas also make the experience more enjoyable. This is why you can spend more time relaxing in an infrared vs. traditional sauna.

two women relaxing in an Infrared Sauna
Far Infrared Sauna, Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver

How to Prepare for a Sauna Session

No matter which type of sauna session you go with, the preparation is similar. To get the most from your sauna experience, here’s how you can prepare:

  • Decide which experience you prefer. Based on the information above and the FAQs below, decide which experience you prefer. Of course, if you have any other questions, you can always contact the spa you intend to visit. If you're visiting Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver, contact us here.
  • Shower before your session. Although reputable facilities have a deep-cleaning process, showering beforehand ensures cleanliness.
  • Dress comfortably. Spa treatments are most enjoyed when you’re comfortable. While you can wear anything in the sauna, most people prefer to wear a swimsuit or nothing at all.
  • Stay hydrated. Sauna sessions result in deep sweating, so hydration is essential. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna treatment.
  • Build up to the heat. For saunas to work effectively, they have to get warm. If you’re new to saunas, we recommend starting at a lower temperature and working your way up. You can always tell your spa technician this, and they can adjust the temperature accordingly.
  • Get rest. Not only does the sauna offer relaxation benefits, but it can also lead to lightheadedness, especially in the first few appointments. Be prepared to take it easy after your session.

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna FAQs

To make the most of your sauna experience, let’s explore answers to common questions.

Oakwell Beer Spa's beer therapy spa room with Infrared Sauna
Far Infrared Sauna, Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver

Are saunas safe?

Not only are saunas safe, but they also offer various wellness benefits. However, they do speed up your heart rate and circulation to expose your body to these advantages. If you have any heart, liver, or blood pressure issues, consult your healthcare provider to ensure it’s okay to enjoy a sauna session.

For a safe experience, hydrate before and after your session and take time to rest afterward.

What's the difference between infrared and regular sauna?

While an infrared and regular steam sauna both encourage your body to heat and sweat to promote detoxification, they work differently to heat the body. Regular saunas heat up more to encourage the body to sweat, so they’re more steamy. Infrared saunas use infrared rays to heat the body from within, which is believed to be more effective.

What is the healthiest type of sauna?

All saunas are beneficial because they encourage the body to sweat and detoxify, which leads to wellness advantages. However, many believe infrared saunas can have more effects since infrared rays penetrate the body deeper.

How often should I go to a sauna?

If you’re new to using saunas, you should start by going once per week. After you’ve had a few sessions and your body has had time to adjust, you can increase up to 3-4 times per week.

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna: Conclusion

We hope this article helped you better understand the difference between infrared and traditional saunas and decide which is best for you.

Traditional saunas have been around the longest, and infrared saunas are one of the most beneficial and unique spa treatments. They’re both helpful for pain relief, stress reduction, and better health. 

If you’re in Denver and want to experience a relaxing spa experience and Infrared Sauna session, book your spa day online.

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