New Year's Package is now available. Come and celebrate New Year's at Oakwell Beer Spa!
New Year's Package is now available. Come and celebrate New Year's at Oakwell Beer Spa!
New Year's Package is now available. Come and celebrate New Year's at Oakwell Beer Spa!
New Year's Package is now available. Come and celebrate New Year's at Oakwell Beer Spa!

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna: The Difference & Which is Better

Saunas have been a popular spa treatment for many years, but in the past few years, we've heard a lot about the traditional sauna and the new and improved infrared sauna. In this article, we'll take a look at infrared vs. traditional sauna – their differences, which is better, and answers to common questions. You might also be interested in reading: Far Infrared Sauna Therapy: A Complete Guide & FAQ

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna

The detoxification that takes place during both infrared and traditional sauna treatments, also known as steam saunas, leads to similar benefits. These include relaxation, lower blood pressure, anti-aging, pain relief, weight loss support, and improved sleep. However, the way they work and the experiences they offer are different. In the chart below, we’ll go more into these differences.
Infrared Sauna Traditional Sauna
An infrared sauna uses advanced infrared heaters that directly warm the body. Steam or dry heat is used to heat traditional sauna rooms.
Infrared waves heat the body from within, directly penetrating the cellular level of the body to raise the body’s temperature. A 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. Traditional saunas offer similar, if not the same, benefits as infrared saunas. However, it may not be as effective since the body's internal processes receive less heat.
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.

What is better – infrared or traditional sauna?

Personally, we prefer infrared saunas because their healing therapy is believed to be much more significant. With that said, there are several things to consider when choosing an infrared vs. traditional sauna. [caption id="attachment_4854" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Infrared Sauna at Oakwell Beer Spa, Denver Infrared Sauna at Oakwell Beer Spa, Denver[/caption] You’ll want to consider how much time you want to spend in the sauna and what kind of benefits you’re looking for. Since infrared saunas penetrate the skin more, the effects are typically more prominent than with a traditional sauna. We also appreciate that infrared sauna sessions can be longer. The more relaxation time, the better!

How to Prepare for a Sauna Session

No matter which sauna session you go with, preparation is similar. To get the most from your sauna experience, here are the best ways to prepare–
  • Decide which experience you prefer. Based on the chart above and the FAQ 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, you can contact us here!
  • Shower before your session. Although reputable facilities have a deep-cleaning process, it’s best to come to your appointment clean.
  • 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. Because sauna sessions result in deep sweating, 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 their magic, they have to get pretty 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). Don’t go too hard after your session, and spend some time taking it easy.


Have a few more questions about infrared vs. traditional sauna treatments? We’re happy to answer them! [caption id="attachment_4855" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Infrared Sauna at Oakwell Beer Spa, Denver Infrared Sauna at Oakwell Beer Spa, Denver[/caption]

Are saunas safe?

Yes! 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. So, if you have any heart, liver, or blood pressure issues, be sure you consult with your healthcare provider before enjoying a sauna session.  For a safe experience, it’s important to hydrate before and after your session and also take some time to rest afterward.

What's the difference between infrared and regular sauna?

An infrared and regular, or steam sauna, are similar in many ways. They both encourage your body to heat and sweat to promote detoxification. This process can result in lower blood pressure, pain and stress relief, anti-aging, and weight loss support. They’re different in that regular saunas must heat up more to encourage the body to sweat. This is why they’re more steamy and why the sessions must be shorter. Infrared saunas work when infrared rays heat the body from within. This process works deeper in the body and is said to be the most 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. With that said, research supports that 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: Key Takeaways

As you can see, infrared and traditional saunas both offer many wellness advantages. Many people, including us, prefer the modern-day treatment that an infrared sauna has to offer. Interested in learning more about spa services? Check out this article about the most unique spa treatments found in the US!