Research into the benefits of infrared saunas continues as of 2015, but preliminary findings suggest some relief from high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases in people who visit infrared saunas. Infrared saunas work by emitting high levels of heat that target the body, instead of the surrounding air, notes Mayo Clinic. Infrared saunas mirror the body's reactions during moderate exercise, and in turn produce exercise-related positive changes.
Infrared saunas work by producing warm, concentrated heat. This creates a reaction in the body similar to that of engaging in exercise. Upon entering infrared saunas, people experience an increase in heart rate and sweating, according to Mayo Clinic. The lower heat level of infrared saunas, in comparison with traditional saunas, makes them ideal for people who cannot tolerate higher heat levels.
People can use infrared saunas for relaxation, much like traditional spas. Infrared saunas may even help people lose weight, as they increase calorie burning. These saunas can alleviate pain, too, as heat warms muscles and tissues, which in turn reduces stiffness and facilitates movement, states Mayo Clinic. This feature benefits people with conditions such as arthritis, who report more mobility and less fatigue following infrared sauna sessions. Although research continues into the direct health effects of infrared saunas, so far research shows they cause no harm.
Studies have shown that infrared saunas can benefit those with chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed to verify these results, as of May 2015.
A person's sweat contains toxins, so sweating, whether it occurs due to exercise, a regular sauna or an infrared sauna, detoxifies the body. The sweat of a person in an infrared sauna tends to contain more toxins than the sweat of a person in a regular sauna.
Infrared heat relieves pain by penetrating into body tissues and joints. This can improve a person's recovery time. The heat improves circulation and lowers blood pressure when used a couple times per week.
In an infrared sauna, a heater generates infrared radiation that is similar to sunlight. The temperature in an infrared sauna is typically around 140 F, while the temperature in a regular sauna is typically around 176 F. The lower temperatures make relaxation easier in an infrared sauna.
Infrared saunas are considered safe, as no adverse effects have been reported.