If you keep up with wellness trends, you may have heard that an infrared sauna is healthier for you than a typical sauna since it utilizes light to warm the body rather than radiant heat from a stove.
In other words, this assertion is untrue and unsupported by any solid comparison data. Although infrared sauna pods vs steam and other types of saunas have certain distinctions, the little research we have indicates that both kinds of saunas are beneficial to your health.
The Claim that Infrared Sauna is Best
Usually, one of two explanations is put forth: either the infrared sauna pod type has higher detoxifying benefits, or the lower temperature is more pleasant, resulting in a longer stay and therefore more impact.
Regarding the first assertion, there is no proof that the primary cause of your post-sauna feeling of well-being is cleansing. Although it is unknown how successfully the sauna does this or if there is any substantial difference between conventional and infrared in this area, heavy metal excretion may have therapeutic benefits in some circumstances.
The second claim, that it is more beneficial than a regular sauna because of the lower infrared temperature, may be used on a personal level but is unsupported by science.
Sauna Detoxification Enhanced with Additional Treatments
Some experts believe either steam or infrared sauna can produce enhanced results when combined with additional treatments such as a cold shower and light therapy following a sauna session. Light therapy is most commonly applied to the face only. Full body immersion treatments such as salt therapies may also enhance sauna benefits. Salt therapy, also called halotherapy can further enhance detoxification produced by infrared's deep heating. Halotherapy uses micronized salt particles within a chamber which is absorbed by the skin and lungs. It is unknown whether salt therapy pairs better with infrared sauna vs steam or dry systems.
Steam & Dry Sauna Overview
At least 2,000 years ago, saunas were a common social pastime across many civilizations. The conventional sauna we are familiar with today, which has a chamber with wooden walls and a big stove, originated in Europe. The utilization of water to generate steam over a mass of heated stones is the distinguishing characteristic.
Modern saunas may be heated by electricity, gas, or, more often, fire. They are typically cooked between 70 and 90 o C. The norm is to spend 10 to 20 minutes in the heat, take a break (and, if possible, a plunge in cold water), and then return to the sauna, often repeating the cycle many times.
A Finnish team has discovered links between frequent sauna use and favorable outcomes in conditions including cardiovascular health, blood pressure, respiratory illness, and even dementia. This comes after decades of dispersed study. Their greatest research included a cohort of 2,315 middle-aged males who were followed for 20 years. The temperature was 77°C on average, and people who used the sauna the most had higher outcomes (four times a week or more).
Although the exact processes are still unclear, the researchers contend that the physiological effects of the sauna, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and cellular reaction, are comparable to those of regular exercise.
A Deeper Look at Infrared Sauna
Although infrared technology is not new, infrared saunas have just recently been more widely used. The contemporary infrared sauna has wall heating panels and is styled to resemble traditional saunas (no stove). Usually, the ambient temperature ranges from 40 to 60 °C. But the penetrating quality of infrared heat causes you to perspire heavily, and your thermoregulatory system reacts in a similar (but not exactly the same) manner.
A lower temperature results in a lower heart rate, even though you typically start sweating immediately. A 30- to 45-minute session in an infrared sauna is typical. Because of this, some claim it's more comfortable and maybe safer.
It's simple to clock 45 minutes (or more) with relaxation breaks as conventional saunas often require numerous cycles of heat. Additionally, exercise-like effects occur more rapidly at higher temperatures. For instance, many individuals whose sessions barely last 10–20 minutes are included in the good findings shown in recent Finnish research.
Additionally, the infrared sauna is less sociable. The tendency is toward private bathing, even if certain infrared systems are designed for several users.
Any Sauna is Better than No Sauna
Although infrared saunas are becoming more and more popular, there is a dearth of study on them, and the great bulk of it focuses on the conventional sauna (which itself is limited in terms of strong evidence).
The closest approach to comparison evidence that we have is a recent systematic review, which was the first to evaluate findings from infrared and conventional saunas. This analysis comes to the conclusion that all the favorable outcomes associated with infrared saunas just confirm what is previously known about conventional saunas.
There is still much to learn about the sauna's health advantages. The lesson here is to use whatever sauna you prefer in the meantime. Try various activities and pay attention to your body. Maybe you like the infrared sauna's quiet, intimate, and softer atmosphere. You could also enjoy the traditional sauna's complete sensory experience, which includes heat, steam, fragrance, and other people. You'll feel fantastic afterwards, whatever. So go outside and start perspiring.