Far Infrared Sauna Safety Tips and Health Risks [2021 Guide]

Maybe it’s the word “infrared” or the way saunas are known for thoroughly heating the body, but I often have customers who ask me questions about whether or not far infrared saunas are safe. In a word: yes; infrared saunas are safe for most people. Using an infrared sauna is really no more dangerous than going for a jog on a hot summer’s day.

That is to say, any risks of far infrared saunas have nothing to do with the actual IR rays that are generated. Sure, your core body temperature will see a significant rise, but that’s safe and healthy, not to mention the whole point of using an infrared sauna in the first place. Still, misconceptions have a way of persisting. In the interest of making sure that your far infrared sauna experience is as comfortable, refreshing, and relaxing as can be, I’d like to review some of the safety measures, tips, and cautions that you should know before you step in a sauna, as well as some best practices for using an infrared sauna.

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Infrared Sauna Contraindications Infrared Sauna Contraindications

As a comprehensive guide to infrared saunas, it makes sense to discuss common concerns in regard to taking regular sauna sessions. Consult with your primary care physician if you have any doubts surrounding your personal health and regular infra-red sauna use. While it’s perfectly safe to use an infrared sauna, there are a few in-stances where we recommend speaking to your doctor first.

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Medications Medications

People who take prescription drugs should consult with their physician before use of infrared sauna, as the effects of their prescription might change during increased core body temperature. Diuretics, barbiturates, and beta-blockers may impair the body’s natural heat loss mechanisms. There are also over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines that may cause the body to be more prone to heat stroke.

Children Children Children

The core body temperature of children rises much faster than adults. This occurs due to a higher metabolic rate per body mass, limited circulatory adaptation to increased cardiac demands and the inability to regulate body temperature by sweating. Consult with your child’s pediatrician before they use the sauna. As noted in the Medical Studies chapter, children have been taking saunas with their parents for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Elderly Elderly

The ability to maintain core body temperature decreases with age. This is primarily due to circulatory conditions and decreased sweat gland function. The body must be able to activate its natural cooling processes in order to maintain core body temperature.

Cardiovascular Conditions Cardiovascular Conditions

Individuals with cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension / hypotension, congestive heart failure, impaired coronary circulation or those taking medications which might affect blood pressure, should exercise caution when exposed to prolonged heat. Heat stress increases cardiac output and blood flow in an effort to transfer internal body heat to the outside environment via the skin (perspiration) and respiratory system. This takes place primarily due to major changes in the heart rate, which has the potential to increase by thirty beats per minute for each degree increase in core body temperature.

Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse

Contrary to popular belief, it is not advisable to attempt to ‘sweat out’ a hangover. Alcohol intoxication decreases a person’s judgment; therefore, they may not realize when the body has a negative reaction to high heat. Alcohol also increases the heart rate, which may be further increased by heat stress. Alcohol consumption is not recommended with infrared sauna use.

Chronic Conditions/Diseases Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat Or Perspire Chronic Conditions/Diseases Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat Or Perspire

Multiple Sclerosis, Central Nervous System Tumors, and Diabetes with Neuropathy are conditions associated with impaired sweating. You may want to consult your doctor to find out how sweating will affect your disease and the prescription medication you take as a result.

Hemophiliacs/Individuals Prone To Bleeding Hemophiliacs/Individuals Prone To Bleeding

The use of infrared saunas should be avoided by anyone who is predisposed to bleeding.FeverYou should not use the sauna when you have a fever or are extremely sick with a cold.

Insensitivity to Heat Insensitivity to Heat

An individual that has insensitivity to heat should not use a sauna.

Pregnancy Pregnancy

Pregnant women should consult a physician before using a sauna because fetal damage can occur with a certain elevated body temperature. See the medical studies chapter for more information on pregnancy and sauna use.

Menstruation Menstruation

Heating of the low back area of women during the menstrual period may temporarily increase their menstrual flow. Some women endure this process to gain the pain relief commonly associated with their cycle, whereas others simply choose to avoid the saunas use during that time of the month.

Joint Injury Joint Injury

If you have a recent (acute) joint injury, it should not be heated for the first 48 hours after injury or until the hot and swollen symptoms subside. If you have a joint or joints that are chronically hot and swollen, these joints may respond poorly to vigor-ous heating of any kind. Vigorous heating is strictly contraindicated in cases of en-closed infections be they dental, in joints, or in any other tissues.

Implants Implants

Metal pins, rods, artificial joints or any other surgical implants generally reflect far infrared waves and thus are not heated by this system. Nevertheless, you should consult your surgeon prior to using an infrared sauna. Certainly, the usage of an infra-red sauna must be discontinued if you experience pain near any such implants. Silicone does absorb far infrared energy, so implanted silicone or silicone prostheses for nose or ear replacement may be warmed by the far infrared waves. Since silicone melts at over 392 °F, it should not be adversely affected by the usage of infrared saunas. It is still advised that you check with your surgeon and possibly a representative from the implant manufacturer to be certain.

Avoid Sauna Use Completely If You Have: Avoid Sauna Use Completely If You Have: Avoid Sauna Use Completely If You Have:

  • Suffered a stroke (the sort caused by bleeding in the brain)
  • Severe aortic stenosis
  • Recently suffered a heart attack
  • Unstable angina pectoris
  • Lupus
  • Brain tumors
  • Been prescribed a steroid that interferes with blood circulation

Consult a Doctor If You Have: Consult a Doctor If You Have:

  • Very high blood pressure
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Silicone implants

My general advice to folks is that if you have any reason whatsoever to doubt that a far infrared sauna is a safe and healthy therapy option for you and your body, go ahead and consult your doctor. I’m happy to tell you through this site or over the phone about the experience I’ve accrued in my years involved with far infrared saunas, but only a doctor can give medical advice.

Infrared Sauna Safety Tips Infrared Sauna Safety Tips

I hate to admit it, but I was actually a bit hesitant the first time I ever used an infrared sauna. I’d been in traditional steam saunas before, and the stuffiness created by the incredibly high levels of humidity just wasn’t for me. I also didn’t know much about the technology, and I certainly didn’t know how safe they were. However, as I’ve said time and time again, using one changed my life. After my first time, I went right out and started talking to experts about the safety aspects. I learned all that I could, and next time I went into the sauna, the only thing on my mind was the health benefits.

That’s really how it should be for most people. For most adults, there’s no more risk to using a far infrared sauna than there is in spending a hot day outside at a picnic. Put aside any misconceptions you may have and give it a whirl. I truly believe that you’ll enjoy the weight loss, clear skin, pain relief, and detoxification so much that your misconceptions about sauna safety will immediately disappear.

As with most things in life, there is a right way and wrong way to use a far infrared sauna. We’ve already discussed some of the risks and conditions that users should be aware of when they plan their far infrared sauna therapy. Now let’s take a look at some ways you can enhance your wellness and safety when using an infrared sauna.

Sauna Safety Tip #1: Don’t bring in a plastic water bottle into your sauna that can melt and then seep into your water. Use a glass bottle or a mettle container.

Sauna Safety Tip #2: Don’t use your sauna more than once a day. You are significantly raising your core body temperature when you use your infrared sauna (100°F). While this is very healthy to do once per day, it can put too much stress on your body to do twice. 

Sauna Safety Tip #3: Make sure to listen to your body while you’re in your sauna. If you feel like you’re overheating, simply crack the door a bit or walk out and wait until the next session.

Sauna Safety Tip #4: Stay hydrated (before, during and after) and make sure to keep your electrolyte levels high. Here’s how you can replenish them; Sodium: Pickled foods, cheese and table salt. Chloride: Table salt. Potassium: Fruits and vegetables like bananas, avocado and sweet potato. Magnesium: Seeds and nuts. Calcium: Green, leafy vegetables.

General Infrared Sauna Tips General Infrared Sauna Tips General Infrared Sauna Tips

Pick the most consistent time to sauna: It is best to use a sauna first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. This is when you are the most relaxed and your sauna session will be the most effective. Taking a sauna consistently is best for your health. It’s a bit like going to the gym. It’s easy to go when in a good routine.

Shower before: Showering beforehand can result in a faster and heavier sweat, which leads to a more productive experience. A warm shower just before going into the sauna raises your body’s core temperature and also begins to stimulate your body’s circulation, giving you a ‘head start’ on your sauna session. It also removes dirt, dry skin, and any other residue that might get in the way of a good sweat.

Hydration: Drink water before, during and after you exit the sauna to replace what you lost through sweating. Avoid sugary drinks the day of, as well as sodas, coffee, and alcohol, as these tend to dehydrate, rather than hydrate, your body. I know in my case, I was dependent on coffee and would sometimes drink too much soda or alcohol, but after a few weeks of using a sauna, my body began craving more clean, cold water to replace the liquids it was losing through sweat. Don’t drink from a plastic water bottle in your sauna as the plastic can melt.

Enjoy your sauna: It’s what you got it for right? SaunaCloud® has the most comfortable benches, backrests and sauna cabins in the industry. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t use it! I like to meditate and enjoy my 30 minutes away from the world and take a sauna every day for my physical, mental and spiritual health.

Wear little clothing: Don’t let too much clothing get in the way of the infrared light that heats your body. If you’ve gone ahead and gotten a far infrared sauna for your own home, I’d suggest wearing no clothes at all. If not, try to wear loose fitting clothes that are breathable (cotton is a good choice). Loose or no clothing allows your body to sweat more freely (and is just more comfortable when your body temperature is raised).

Shower after: After my sauna, while my body temperature is still a bit raised, my soft tissue a bit malleable, and my metabolism primed, I like to take a very hot shower. I do this every time I use an infrared sauna, particularly if it’s late at night. It cleanses the sweat, and any toxins that have been brought to the surface of my skin, and it soothes my muscles. I’ve gotten some of the best sleep in my life right after a hot shower I’ve taken right post-sauna. Just avoid any soaps or lotions with too many chemicals. Your pores will be wider than usual and you wouldn’t want to clog them.

Remember to relax: Always relax after a sauna session to allow your body to readjust. This is never difficult as simply taking the sauna is extremely relaxing!

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I am glad infrared saunas have developed the way they have, because I couldn’t imagine my life without the benefits they provide, like deep sleep, lower blood pressure, less joint pain, weight loss, and a boosted immune system. Here at SaunaCloud I sell saunas that are some of the best history has offered. My far infrared saunas use advanced ceramic-carbon combination heaters for an amazing sauna experience. For more information on how SaunaCloud’s infrared saunas work and how they can improve your health, download my book The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas. Just give us a call at SaunaCloud 1.800.370.0820.

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Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

I have been writing, learning, educating and generally pointing people in the right direction infrared sauna wise since 2012. Let me know how I can help: chris@saunacloud.com - (530) 417-1220