If you’ve been paying attention to the latest trends in home technology, you’ve likely come across infrared saunas once or twice by now. They can be a very attractive option given their price and availability, but if you’ve never used one before you might well be left wondering if they’re worth it.
Let’s calm those fears right off the bat by saying yes, infrared saunas do indeed have their merits. However, they shouldn’t be looked at as a comparative product to a traditional sauna. They are almost like two different methods of providing a similar outcome, much like a bathtub and a jacuzzi.
If you’re looking for a way to relax your muscles after a heavy day of lifting or a long anticipated marathon, then a sauna is one of many great ways to let your muscles unwind and start the recovery process. There’s also a pretty good chance that they’ll lift your spirits emotionally, and you’ll be ready to tackle your next obstacle once you’ve taken the time to sweat out your exhaustion.
The main difference between infrared saunas and traditional steam saunas is the mechanism by which they provide heat. MBISR explains the nuances in more detail, but essentially infrared saunas work by warming your muscles using infrared rays, rather than actually making a hot box for you to sit in. Whereas traditional saunas operate at pretty high temperatures, often 70˚C (~160˚F) or higher, infrared saunas don’t get all that hot.
Some claim that this lower temperature is better for your body, and while it’s hard to really say this is true without any sort of statistically significant medial studies, you can see why that might be the case. Obviously you can’t go around saying that traditional saunas are worse for your health either, because while they have caught a lot of flack over here in the United States there are definitely some countries that swear by them for a number of reasons across the world.
In any case, it probably doesn’t make sense to worry about those kinds of implications, as they are mainly opinions boiled down into standpoints in an argument. It’s better to make your decisions based on more firm facts. Let’s discuss the things you should actually consider if you are choosing between an infrared sauna and a steam sauna.
The first is price. If you can afford a traditional style sauna, they are probably the way to go. They are the tried and true technology that has withstood centuries of use, and odds are they’ll stick around for the long haul. If you start shopping around though you’ll see that traditional saunas can be several thousands of dollars, which might be too much of a purchase for you to consider it. On the other hand, infrared saunas of similar sizes are available at about half of the price. You can even get smaller portable models for a fraction of the price that will usually get the job done. If a traditional sauna is out of reach it can certainly make sense to go infrared.
The second is ease of installation. Most infrared saunas can plug into standard outlets in the United States and don’t require any specialized wiring. Traditional saunas on the other hand consume a ton of electricity, and they’ll need a 240V outlet to run in most cases. This means you’ll have to customize your house a bit to accommodate them, which can be a little frustrating if you’re already tight on space.
Ultimately, either type of sauna is better than no sauna at all, and you’ll have to decide what makes the most sense for your and your household. Traditional steam saunas are probably still the preferred technology, but if an infrared sauna makes sense for you then they can certainly be a viable alternative. Good luck in your hunt, hopefully you’ll be happy with your decision.