The health benefits associated with sauna use have been known for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans used saunas to improve their vigor, relieve stress and socialize with one another. Other benefits obtained by regularly using a sauna include improved circulation, weight loss, and detoxification.
Having a sauna in your home makes obtaining these health benefits simple. You can have a quick sauna in the afternoon to relax after a long day or take one in the morning to invigorate yourself for the day to come.
This comprehensive guide will focus on far infrared saunas. We’ll explain the technologies used in a far infrared sauna and how it differs from a traditional sauna. We’ll also share some tips for buying a far infrared sauna and share 5 of the best far infrared saunas on the market.
What is a far infrared sauna?
Sauna technology has advanced greatly over the years. Ancient saunas used fire to heat rocks that would be placed in the room to provide heat. Many modern saunas use electric or gas heater. Occupants can use water in the sauna to increase the level of humidity in the room, helping to open their pores and expel toxins.
Inventors first came up with the idea of light-based saunas in the late 19th-Century, with the first infrared sauna being built in the 1920s. Instead of using hot rocks or heaters to increase the temperature inside the room, an infrared sauna uses multiple infrared heaters. Each heater produces IR light beams that transfer energy into other objects in the sauna. No contact is needed between the objects to transfer the energy.
Infrared light beams heat the body in a different way compared to the heaters used in a conventional sauna. The light beams penetrate the body and cause its internal temperature to increase. That is different to a traditional sauna which uses heated air to heat the skin first, then eventually heat the body’s internal tissue.
Because the IR beams heat the body’s internal tissues first, infrared saunas achieve a deep heat faster and at a lower temperature. Infrared heaters are usually placed into one of three categories:
- Short wave/Near wave infrared heaters
These heaters operate in the 780 nm to 1400 nm wavelength. The human eye can see infrared beams at this level.
- Medium wave infrared
Operating between the 1400 nm and 3000 nm wavelength.
- Far infrared/Dark emitters
These heaters operate above the 3000 nm wavelength. Infrared light of this wavelength cannot be seen with the human eye.
Far infrared heaters often use low wattage ceramic or carbon emitters. They are large panels that emit long wave infrared beams. These panels operate at a low temperature and don’t emit much heat. They also produce less emissions compared to other sauna heaters, which makes them popular with people who suffer from allergies or chemical sensitivity.
The health benefits of FAR infrared saunas
Spending a few minutes in a far infrared sauna each day can have a remarkable effect on your overall health! Some of the key reasons to use a far infrared sauna regularly include:
FAR infrared saunas can flush toxins
Using a far infrared sauna increases your body’s core temperature and encourages a deep sweat. Deep sweating activates the sweat glands, and causes blood vessels to dilate. The body will draw fluids from the body and push them out via the sweat ducts. As it pulls water from your system, it will also extract toxic substances like lead, copper, zinc, mercury, and various man-made chemicals. It is one of the most effective ways to remove toxins from your system.
Using a FAR infrared sauna relieves stress and soothe the muscles
Stress relief is one of the most common reasons why people use saunas. A sauna is a warm and quiet place where you can relax. After a few minutes in the sauna, your circulation will be increased, your muscles will be relaxed, and a surge of endorphins will flood your body — feel good chemicals released by the brain.
Using a sauna can also help you deal with injuries and sore muscles. The endorphins released during a deep sweat will help to relieve any pain you may be experiencing and will restore mobility to sore muscles. The increased blood flow obtained while using a sauna will increase the rate that your body heals from an injury.
Using a FAR infrared sauna is great for your skin
A deep sweat is one of the best ways to cleanse your skin. As your pores open and the sweating process begins, dirt and bacteria are flushed from your skin. The end result is clear and lustrous skin.
A FAR infrared sauna can improve cardiovascular health
When you use a sauna, your body’s temperature will increase and your blood vessels will become dilated. This results in an increase in your body’s heart rate and improvement in overall cardiovascular health.
Far infrared saunas encourage weight loss
Because your heart is beating faster when using a sauna, your body will consume more calories. The number of additional calories consumed during sauna use will vary based upon your weight, health, and age. Some health experts suggest that a 150 pound male can burn between 400 to 600 calories in a 30-minute infrared sauna session.
What are the advantages of a far infrared sauna compared to a traditional sauna?
Infrared saunas have some unique advantages over traditional saunas, including:
Far infrared saunas don’t get as hot as traditional saunas
A traditional sauna will use a strong heat source to raise the ambient temperature of the room. This is usually a wood-fired stove, hot rocks, gas burner, or electric heater. The sauna must be brought to a very high temperature so it can raise your body temperature. Most traditional saunas reach a temperature of between 185 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because an infrared heater uses rays that penetrate your body and raise your internal temperature, the room doesn’t need to be as hot. A far infrared sauna usually reaches temperatures of between 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is much more comfortable to most people and ideal for people with skin conditions triggered by extreme heat.
Far infrared saunas are safer than traditional saunas
Because the temperature of traditional saunas is so much higher than a far infrared sauna, there is more risk of injury from overuse or incorrect use. The temperature of traditional saunas must be carefully regulated and users must monitor the amount of time they have spent in the sauna. If you let the temperature become too high or spend too long in the sauna, dehydration or heat stroke can occur. The lower heat levels in an infrared sauna mean that your risk of injury is lower.
Far infrared saunas are energy efficient
Far infrared heaters are very efficient and can emit up to 86% of the energy they receive as infrared light. This is much more efficient than most traditional sauna heaters, which use a large amount of electricity, timber, or gas.
Far infrared saunas heat up faster
Most traditional saunas take between 20 to 30 minutes to heat up to the correct temperature. A far infrared sauna is ready to use in as little as 10 minutes.
Tips for buying an infrared sauna
Here are some useful tips for purchasing a great far infrared sauna.
Consider the type of emitter it uses
Most far infrared saunas will use carbon or ceramic infrared emitters. The main difference between the two technologies is the size of the emitter, how much heat they provide, and how good the coverage is within the sauna.
Carbon is generally considered the superior option because it can produce more heat and spread it evenly around the sauna. This ensures that all corners of your sauna will receive sufficient heat, which is particularly important if more than one person is using the device.
Ceramic emitters are still a great choice, but their coverage may not be as good in a large sauna. If you choose a sauna with a ceramic emitter, it will either be ceramic or incoloy (a super alloy). Incoloy is generally considered to be the poorer quality of the two and should be avoided. A solid ceramic heater will perform better than incoloy.
Most ceramic emitters are smaller than carbon emitters, but they produce weaker infrared signals and are hotter to the touch. That means ceramic emitters should be located a few inches away from locations where people will be sitting. A carbon emitter typically has larger panels but is much cooler to the touch. It is this large emitter size that helps to bathe a larger surface area of the sauna in infrared.
Consider the construction quality and materials
Take a closer look at the construction quality of any sauna you are thinking about buying. To start with — is it made from a soft timber or hard timber? Hard timbers will have greater longevity and less risk of outgassing over time. Outgassing is the release of toxic chemicals from the wood when it is exposed to high temperatures.
Are the fasteners used to construct the sauna of high quality? Some manufacturers use metal buckles on the exterior of the sauna to help hold it together and compensate for poor craftsmanship. If the manufacturer also uses magnets to hold walls together, that is another warning sign of low quality construction. You should look for a solid, well-crafted sauna with thick walls. Feel free to ask the manufacturer questions about the construction techniques used to build the sauna
What about the electrical switches and controllers? Do they look like they could handle repeated use or do they appear quite fragile?
Consider the safety of each sauna
A well-made far infrared sauna should use high-quality electrical cabling and have shields over emitters. It should also have the appropriate safety certifications from ISO, Intertek, CE, and other relevant bodies. Some saunas also come with automatic timers and special security measures that prevent children from accidentally turning it on.
Consider the comfort of each sauna
Take a closer look at the quality of the seats in the sauna. Do they look comfortable? Is there enough room to lie down on the seats or put your feet up? Are there enough backrests to sit comfortably in any location around the sauna?
How many people can each sauna accommodate?
A sauna is a great place to relax and socialize with friends or family. If you intend on inviting people over to use your sauna, consider purchasing one that can accommodate more people simultaneously.
What additional features does the sauna have?
Many modern saunas now incorporate advanced features like MP3 players, speakers, touch control panels, negative ion generators, aromatherapy tools, and small televisions. If you require one of these features, keep it in mind when comparing saunas.
Consider the sauna’s warranty
The length and terms of the warranty are another important consideration. Infrared saunas that are made by dodgy companies will have short warranties or warranties with many limitations. It’s always worth reading the fine print when buying an infrared sauna!
If your now interested in getting an far infrared sauna then look through our reviews on the top 5 Saunas.