Infrared Saunas and Traditional Saunas Compared
There is evidence to suggest that saunas have existed for thousands of years across several cultures. However, in the modern era it is the Finnish sauna system that popularized sauna use throughout the world; over the years modern technology has been introduced into this practice in the form of infrared saunas. They both serve the same purpose, which is to detoxify the body and promote a sense of relaxation and well-being, and while they both use heat to achieve this outcome, it is the way that the heat is produced that is the main difference between both types.
How Are They Different?
Finnish-type saunas work by heating the air in the cabin – generally, the temperature in these saunas can be anywhere between 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is supplied by a stack of rocks that are heated by some source. It is the rocks that radiate the heat and to get the steam effect you pour water on the rocks. With an infrared sauna, the heat is supplied by heating panels that are placed within the wall of the sauna. The panels emit infrared light waves that are absorbed into the body, causing the core temperature to rise. The infrared sauna has a milder temperature, anywhere between 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit, making it cooler than the traditional sauna and therefore a more pleasurable experience for most people, especially for those with low heat tolerance. An infrared sauna will heat up in a much quicker time than a traditional sauna, reaching the desired temperature in 15 to 20 minutes compared to the traditional type that will take a minimum of about 30 minutes before reaching the desired temperature.
Is One Better Than The Other?
It is thought that an infrared sauna is far more beneficial than the traditional type. This is because the wavelengths of light penetrate the tissues, heating them from within. Therefore, it is believed that it reaches down to the fatty layer of the skin in which impurities are stored, causing the sweating to occur from that level. This is compared to a traditional sauna that heats the skin on the outside, thus not penetrating more than the first layer of the skin. The sweat resulting from the deeper penetration of the infrared rays cause the body to rid itself of at least 20% of toxins as compared to a mere 2 or 3% with the traditional method. This seems to be the main difference in the two types of sauna. There is no concrete evidence to suggest that other benefits associated with saunas, such as relaxation and stress relief, pain relief, improved circulation, and improved skin tone, among others, are any different in either unit.
The Convenient Choice
For the modern household, it is more convenient to acquire an infrared sauna because of how easy they are to assemble and the fact that you can find a unit to fit into almost any space that you have. They are constructed using a modular design and can be installed very quickly. If you change your mind about where you want it located, you simply pull it apart and assemble it in the new area. It gives you a level of freedom and convenience not often associated with other sauna types. Infrared saunas are also easier to maintain as there is no buildup of moisture in the units, therefore there is less likelihood of bacteria or mold in the unit. It only needs light cleaning and it’s ready for the next session.