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What is the Difference between an Infrared Sauna and a Regular Sauna?

A sauna is a unit mostly found in fitness centers that is fitted with sitting benches and a source of power to heat water that produces steam. The steam has therapeutic benefits. It raises body temperatures, causing the body to react by bringing more blood on the surface of the skin, opening up the pores, and making it sweat.  Since sweat is mainly composed of excretions such as ammonia, urea, salt and water, the body is relieved of these wastes, making you healthier.

Saunas come in two major types, including regular saunas, which are also known as traditional saunas and infrared saunas. This article looks at the differences between these two types of saunas.


A regular sauna uses a stove to heat the air in the room. The room temperature rises causing the temperature of the body to rise as well. This rise in temperature opens up the pores on the skin, making it sweat in a massive way. The sweat takes out the waste from the body with it. With regular saunas, the rooms are wooden and fitted with a large stove and water flows over some rocks. Water is poured over the rocks so that it can be mixed with essential oils. The bather should allow for 30-40 minutes for the room to achieve the desired temperatures

An infrared sauna uses electricity heaters to produce a specific wavelength to create an infrared energy that is similar to the one produced by the body naturally. When the infrared energy enters the body, it causes the body temperatures to rise, warming up the muscles and joints. This ultimately results to perspiration since the pores on the skin are opened up. With an infrared sauna, the energy enters the body slowly, allowing the body to sweat even more. An infrared sauna does not have rocks to retain heat so when the heater is turned off, the room temperatures also drop.

Power Usage

A regular sauna needs much more power to heat the dry air in the wooden room and the rocks. It is believed that it takes up to 6KWhr of power. This is because the environment in the sauna is required to be heated. The longer time required to heat the wood and the rocks makes a regular sauna to consume considerably more power than an infrared sauna does. The time required to wait to achieve the desired room temperatures also results in more power consumption.

An infrared sauna uses up to 1.6KWhr of electricity power. This is almost a 1/3 of what the regular sauna uses. Since the time required waiting to achieve the desired room temperatures is minimal, this type of sauna does not consume much power. All that is needed is to just turn the power button and then wait for just 15 minutes.

Room Temperatures

With a regular sauna, acquiring the desired room temperatures takes longer. For this reason, the heater heats the wood and the rocks between 185 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. It is believed that these excessively high temperatures can be fatal to people who are sensitive to heat. However, there has been no conclusive evidence to substantiate these claims.

In an infrared sauna unit, acquiring the desired room temperatures is easy since they run between 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The energy wavelength is believed to penetrate the body much faster than the one from a regular sauna. This causes the body to sweat more.

Bath Time

Since the acquired room temperatures are lower, 30-40 degrees Celsius, your heart rate is much lower and you are able to take longer in the bath. The wavelength produced by an infrared sauna penetrates deep into the body, making you sweat more. The bath time can run from 30-40 minutes. This is the reason some people argue that an infrared sauna is safer. Nevertheless, there is no enough evidence to support these claims.

In a regular sauna, there are multiple rounds of heat. Since the room temperatures are higher, you will not be able to stay for longer. Usually, it is between 10-20 minutes of bath time. However, this can be done in multiple rounds.

There might be clear differences between regular and infrared saunas, but both have incredible health benefits. Sauna baths are known to treat high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes. Other benefits include detoxification of the skin, relief from tight, stiff or sore muscles, and better sleep from the relaxation.

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