by Jaakko M. February 12, 2021 4 min read

Your Guide to Infrared Saunas vs. Traditional Saunas


It's an undeniable fact that Infrared saunas brought technology into the Sauna world. These tradition breakers have become quite popular over the last 40 years. Infrareds share many of the health benefits from the traditional saunas, with a few of their own to add to the mix.

In this post, we will learn why infrared saunas are worth considering even for those who already own a traditional sauna.


Infrared Heat Explained

Infrared heat is light on a spectrum that our eyes can’t see. Yet, not being able to see it doesn’t mean we can’t experience it. When the infrared light reaches our body, we perceive it as heat. For example, if you get out into direct sunlight then step into the shade, you’ll notice that you feel hotter in the direct sunshine. That’s caused by the infrared light emitted by the sun.

Infrared saunas had an intriguing beginning. The first ones were made with the heaters used in hospitals to keep newborns warm. Some early models also used different kinds of infrared lamps, such as food lamps. Later development has led to specialized heater types used only in infrared saunas. These new heaters have very low EMF (electromagnetic field) levels and better heat dispersal. We'll talk further about the EMF in a future blog post - stay tuned!


Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna: Heaters

Infrared saunas may share important similarities with traditional saunas, especially when it comes to health benefits. But the way they distribute heat is completely different. Let me break it down to you:

Infrared heaters give “direct heat” to your body while the traditional ones heat the air in the sauna. What this means in practice is that infrared saunas are faster to heat up. In an infrared sauna, you'll start feeling the heat immediately when you turn the sauna on. For an optimal experience, we recommend waiting 15-20 minutes for your sauna to heat up.

In traditional saunas, the heater needs a lot of time to reach an ideal temperature, especially if it has a large number of stones. We're talking 30-60 minutes or a little more depending on the weather outside. With an infrared sauna, you get faster heat with less energy use and a cheaper electric bill.

Infrared Sauna Heaters Emitting Infrared Light

Another difference lies in the way you feel the heat throughout your body. In an infrared sauna, you'll feel the heat where the infrared light hits your body (the "direct heat"). In the traditional sauna, you feel the heat more evenly throughout your body - since it comes from the air that gets heated up.


Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna: Health Benefits

We know that the science behind sauna health benefits is based on traditional saunas. Nowadays, a lot of those benefits were also proven on infrareds.

It's important to note that here are two main components to the health benefits of saunas: physical heat and mental relaxation. Both are present in infrared and traditional saunas, although their heating mechanisms are different.

With both saunas, the mental relaxation factor is present. Sweating in a sauna helps us release stress - it doesn't matter what kind of sauna we're using. You can explore new levels of relaxation in the new HealthMate infrared saunas - they come with chromotherapy lights and Bluetooth so you can listen to your favorite playlists in the sauna.

While the measured air temperature in the infrared saunas doesn’t get as hot as in traditional saunas, the direct heat on your body compensates for this. Milder temperatures also favor more sauna time, so if you like things such as long meditation sauna sessions the infrared is the way to go.

You might be surprised to find out that the biggest health benefit of infrared saunas has nothing to do with any technical feature. That's because of one simple thing: the right sauna for you is the kind you can use daily. Being so simple and fast to use makes it easier for you to integrate an infrared sauna into your routine.

That is more important than any technological gismo or specification - consistent routines are the key to health. For most people, the solution to regular sauna use is the infrared sauna.

Young Blond Woman Relaxing in Infrared Sauna


Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna: Pros & Cons

To make it simple for you, here's a list of the pros & cons of each of those types of saunas so you can make a more informed decision.

Finnish sauna pros

  • Löyly  allows to control the humidity levels
  • Can work as a dry or wet sauna
  • All-encompassing total body heat
  • Wood-heated models work off-grid, no electricity required
  • Modern, customizable design options

Finnish sauna cons

  • Higher price points
  • Longer heat-up times, especially on electric heaters
  • Higher energy use
  • Indoor saunas need professionals to build

Infrared sauna pros

  • Fast heat-up times & lower electric bills
  • Simple to assemble, plug-and-play
  • Can be used indoors in any room/apartment
  • No water is used - no risks to damaged floors
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Mobile apps & Bluetooth Connection

Infrared sauna cons

  • Limited availability of outdoor models & different designs/looks
  • The heat is felt more directly where heaters are located
  • No löyly


Final Thoughts

So far, we’ve only been working with Traditional Finnish-style saunas. However, we couldn’t ignore the benefits of infrared saunas any longer. We also didn’t want to give up on our strict focus on quality. That’s why we partnered up with the original infrared sauna manufacturer in the US - HealthMate. They’ve been manufacturing saunas since 1979.

With over 40 years of experience and very rigid quality controls, we were sure they were the right partner for us. We hope this new partnership will help you enhance your health from the comfort of your own home.

Discover the new HealthMate Infrared Saunas at our shop and find the one that best suits your needs!

Couple Relaxing in an Infrared Sauna
Jaakko M.
Jaakko M.

The author has lifelong experience of saunas, as is natural for Finns. When not busy learning about how Bitcoin makes the world a better place, he's learning more about saunas. Jaakko shares his findings here in Divine Saunas blog!

You can read more about him in the About Us page.


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