Your guide to infrared saunas vs traditional saunas

The plethora of health benefits that come with regular sauna use, but with infrared saunas bringing innovative technology to the sauna world, how are you to know which is the best option to use? 

Infrared saunas offer many of the same benefits as traditional saunas while adding a few of their own. Keep reading to learn which is the best for you.

Infrared heat vs traditional heat

Saunas work by heating the body up to offer a host of benefits, but the way the heat is distributed is completely different. Let’s take a look at how these saunas work. 

Infrared saunas offer direct heat to the body, heating your cells up from the inside out. However, traditional saunas heat up the air around you, which heat the cells from the outside in. This means infrared saunas can heat your body quicker and more efficiently, as you’ll be able to feel the heat within seconds of being in the sauna. When using a traditional sauna, it’s best to wait between 15 to 20 minutes for the sauna to come up to temperature. 

Many people find infrared saunas more pleasant than traditional saunas because the environment doesn’t feel as thick and sweltering as infrared saunas. When using direct heat, you’ll only feel the heat where the light is touching you rather than in the entire space.

Health benefits

There have been many studies to show how the benefits of traditional saunas are also offered by using infrared saunas, because they both offer two vital components – physical heat and mental relaxation. The only difference between the two saunas is how they heat up, so they should both benefit you in the same way. 

Both saunas offer mental relaxation through the act of sweating, which can help the body release stress and pent-up frustration. 

Perhaps the main difference between these two saunas involves how the infrared sauna is both quicker and more comfortable to use. This increases the likelihood of you being able to fit it into your daily life, so you can benefit from the health effects more frequently. As we know, a consistent routine is essential for a healthy lifestyle. So, the fact that the infrared sauna is more comfortable for most people is one of the best health benefits it can offer.

Infrared sauna benefits and drawbacks


  • Infrared saunas tend to heat up quicker, giving you more time in the sauna without cutting into too much of your busy schedule
  • These saunas use infrared technology to apply direct heat onto your skin rather than heating the environment around you
  • Infrared heat has been shown to penetrate deeper into your skin and bodily tissues, warming you from the inside out
  • You are more likely to be able to enjoy a personal, private infrared sauna rather than a private traditional sauna


  • Some people don’t like the feeling of heat being applied directly to their skin as this can feel quite powerful when you’re not used to it
  • Infrared saunas aren’t the norm so experiencing one can feel quite strange and uncomfortable when you’re just getting started 

Traditional sauna benefits and drawbacks


  • Traditional saunas have a more authentic feel which can put more people in a deeper state of relaxation 
  • Some people find traditional saunas feel more of a gentle heat rather than direct heat which can be quite intense for beginners
  • You might find that you sweat more in a traditional sauna, which some people prefer as it feels like they’re benefiting from higher detoxification


  • Traditional saunas take longer to heat up and use more energy to keep running, so you might find sessions to be more expensive
  • Some people feel like they’re suffocating when the environmental heat around them is so high

Final thoughts

So, now you know all about infrared and traditional saunas, but which is the best? Both have their perks and drawbacks, so which option you use will all depend on whether you prefer the feel of direct heat or environmental heat. Some find infrared saunas to be the more comfortable option, while others are already acclimated to traditional saunas and therefore prefer them. 

There have been a few studies showing that the direct heat from infrared saunas might penetrate the bodily tissues deeper, improving its health benefits. You might also have to spend less time in infrared saunas, making it easier to fit a session into your everyday schedule.