Infrared Sauna Contraindications [2021 Guide]

Always consult your Physician

Written by Christopher Kiggins

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 infrared sauna use. While it’s perfectly safe to use an infrared sauna, there are a few instances where we recommend speaking to your doctor first. Here they are:

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

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. As long as you monitor them, they should be alright.

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 Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat Chronic Conditions Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat

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. 

Fever Fever

You should not use the sauna when you have a fever or are extremely sick with a cold. Either use it immediately when you first notice cold/flu symptoms or after you have had peak symptoms or a high fever. You don’t want to give yourself a heat stroke by taking an infrared sauna with a fever.

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. Additionally, you are certainly stirring up a lot of toxins in an infrared sauna; if you’re pregnant this can’t be good for your baby.

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 vigorous heating of any kind. Vigorous heating is strictly contraindicated in cases of enclosed 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.

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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: - (530) 417-1220