Cropped 8c5fb61f Ea36 4837 Af3a 62297612c36e.webp

Sweating it out isn’t a new concept, but new technology and research is making the infrared sauna a must-use biohacking tool for mind and body optimization.

Compared to traditional saunas that use either dry hot rocks or steam by adding water to hot rocks, infrared saunas use light waves to heat up the body directly. The result is cathartic sweating and an increased heart rate, with benefits extended as most find infrared saunas a much more comfortable environment than traditional saunas.

In this article, we review precisely what these mind-body benefits are:

  • The Difference Between Infrared & Traditional Saunas

  • 4 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Mental Health

  • 5 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Physical Health

  • Tips to Make The Most Of Your Infrared Sauna Session

The Difference Between Infrared vs Traditional Saunas

Cultures all over the world have developed their own sauna traditions over the course of millenia – from the Finnish sauna, the Russian banya, Turkish Hammam, and of course, the sweat lodge used by Indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Dry Sauna

Dry saunas, like the Finish Sauna, use a hot stove or rocks to raise the temperature of the (usually wooden) structure up to 80-100ºC. Moisture and steam play no part in a dry sauna, and humidity is kept around 5-20%.

Wet Sauna

‘Wet’ saunas create moist heat by adding water to hot rocks, generating steam. Temperatures and humidity levels range from 60-90ºC and 60-70% for Russian banyas, and 75-90ºC  and 20–35% for sweat lodges.

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas’ health benefits are caused by the thermal energy we feel when we sit in its dry, relaxing warmth.

Sound familiar?

It should. Because while an infrared sauna’s heat is very different from the sun’s UV and visible light rays, its infrared waves are what makes us feel warmth on our face on a frigidly cold but sunny winter’s day.

Infrared saunas mimic the same infrared wavelengths created by the sun – without the addition of harmful UV rays. Infrared light waves deeply penetrate the skin, heating up the body from the inside with the same type of heat produced by our sun and our bodies.

The average infrared sauna heats up to about 60ºC… a significantly lower temp compared to a dry sauna. The result is increased blood circulation and a significant sweat response… in a much more comfortable environment.

Sweating it out isn’t a new concept, but new technology and research is making the infrared sauna a must-use biohacking tool for mind and body optimization.

Compared to traditional saunas that use either dry hot rocks or steam by adding water to hot rocks, infrared saunas use light waves to heat up the body directly. The result is cathartic sweating and an increased heart rate, with benefits extended as most find infrared saunas a much more comfortable environment than traditional saunas.

In this article, we review precisely what these mind-body benefits are:

  • The Difference Between Infrared & Traditional Saunas

  • 4 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Mental Health

  • 5 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Physical Health

  • Tips to Make The Most Of Your Infrared Sauna Session

The Difference Between Infrared vs Traditional Saunas

Cultures all over the world have developed their own sauna traditions over the course of millenia – from the Finnish sauna, the Russian banya, Turkish Hammam, and of course, the sweat lodge used by Indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Dry Sauna

Dry saunas, like the Finish Sauna, use a hot stove or rocks to raise the temperature of the (usually wooden) structure up to 80-100ºC. Moisture and steam play no part in a dry sauna, and humidity is kept around 5-20%.

Wet Sauna

‘Wet’ saunas create moist heat by adding water to hot rocks, generating steam. Temperatures and humidity levels range from 60-90ºC and 60-70% for Russian banyas, and 75-90ºC  and 20–35% for sweat lodges.

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas’ health benefits are caused by the thermal energy we feel when we sit in its dry, relaxing warmth.

Sound familiar?

It should. Because while an infrared sauna’s heat is very different from the sun’s UV and visible light rays, its infrared waves are what makes us feel warmth on our face on a frigidly cold but sunny winter’s day.

Infrared saunas mimic the same infrared wavelengths created by the sun – without the addition of harmful UV rays. Infrared light waves deeply penetrate the skin, heating up the body from the inside with the same type of heat produced by our sun and our bodies.

The average infrared sauna heats up to about 60ºC… a significantly lower temp compared to a dry sauna. The result is increased blood circulation and a significant sweat response… in a much more comfortable environment.

4 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Mental Health

With all of modern society’s conveniences come its many anxieties. The number of individuals experiencing poor mental health is at a crisis level, and despite our institutions’ best attempts the problem seems to only be getting worse.

While we can’t change many of the external factors contributing to our worries, it’s up to us to take the things we can control into our own hands. From diet, to exercise, prioritizing sleep and mindfulness practices, there are several ways we can master our lifestyle to improve our mental health.

An alternative, yet proven-effective approach to improving mental health could be as easy as regularly sitting in an infrared sauna. A study surveying 472 responses from 29 countries found that “using saunas five to 15 times per month was associated with higher mental well-being scores compared to those using saunas less frequently.”

Here are 4 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Mental Health.

  • Reduce Stress & Increase Dopamine Production
    Infrared light creates a warming effect that encourages the production of serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and norepinephrine – neurotransmitters associated with positive emotions, good mood, and feelings of peace. Increased levels of these neurotransmitters also reduce cortisol levels, reducing feelings of stress.

  • Pain Relief
    There is a misconception that pain is purely a physical condition. However, chronic pain and mental health are inextricably linked – with extended periods of chronic pain causing serious mental health concerns like hopelessness and depression.

    Sitting in an Infrared Sauna releases endorphins – our body’s natural pain medicine. Those with chronic pain, especially due to muscle damage and fibromyalgia, report improved conditions with regular infrared sauna use.

    Infrared heat penetrates joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and oxygen flow – delivering therapeutic, healing benefits.

  • Improved Sleep
    Poor sleep and poor mental health often go hand in hand in a self fulfilling prophecy. Poor sleep often leads to poor mental health, and poor mental health often leads to poor sleep – particularly in individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD.

    After visiting an infrared sauna, you will notice a feeling of relaxation throughout the body. The heat generated from infrared light causes a release of muscle tension throughout the entire system, signaling to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.

    By creating this little unconscious signal in our bodies, the infrared sauna could be a game changer for those struggling with their sleeping patterns.

  • Boost Brain Function
    Infrared saunas increase your heart rate, improving blood circulation throughout the body and to the brain, increasing mental alertness and performance on mental tasks. A Finnish study even suggests that regular visits to the sauna can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

5 Ways Infrared Saunas Improve Your Physical Health

  • Improved Respiratory Function
    There are two different studies on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder patients. The first used a control group that used only regular medical treatments while the experimental group used an infrared sauna for 4 weeks. Those in the sauna group measured a significant decrease in overall symptoms, increased exercise tolerance and improved oxygen saturation.

  • Increased Metabolism
    As the body cools itself by increasing sweat production, the heart works harder – pumping blood faster and boosting circulation. This is considered a passive aerobic workout because while the body receives all the benefits like producing sweat, pumping blood and burning calories, it is not stressed in the same way as in a physical workout.

  • Immune System Support
    Infrared wavelengths raise the core of the body’s temperature, simulating an artificial fever. Fevers are the body’s defense mechanisms which speed up our immune response.

    Our skin is the body’s largest elimination organ. Raised body temperature and elimination of waste through intense sweating can increase our overall health and resistance to illness.

  • Improved Circulation
    The deep, penetrating infrared heat relaxes muscles while increasing oxygen-rich bloog to muscles, relieving inflammation, stiffness and soreness.

  • Improved Heart Health
    Infrared sauna therapy can help keep blood pressure within healthy levels, lower cholesterol and reduce chronic pain.

Make The Most Of Your Infrared Sauna Session

  • Lay off the alcohol.
    Having too much alcohol even the day before your sauna session can lead to faster dehydration.

  • Drink lots of water.
    Make sure you drink more water than you normally would to avoid dehydration.

  • No phones.
    Embrace this precious time away from your devices. If you visit Float House Vancouver for an Infrared Sauna session, you can enjoy a bluetooth speaker inside your Infrared Sauna. Once you select your playlist though, it’s time to relax and put your phone away.

  • Make time for a cool-down.
    Make sure you have enough time to integrate your session before running back out into the real world.

  • Try Hot / Cold Therapy
    Double up the mental and physical health benefits by trying Infrared Sauna together with Cold Plunge.

    Book a Hot/Cold Session, where you can enjoy a private space with an Infrared Sauna and a Cold Plunge ice bath.