The past few years have seen a significant increase in sauna use, not just at local spas and gyms but also in homes. It makes good sense that home sauna use is up, as taking full advantage of the health benefits of saunas requires using them at least three times per week. Given how quickly the cost associated with using public saunas can add up, most people are better off installing wooden infrared saunas for home use.
As anyone who has begun the search for a home sauna can attest, there are a lot of options out there. When it comes to infrared saunas, the most important distinction is between far-infrared and near-infrared light. This article will focus on near-infrared saunas, specifically, rather than the models that have been top rated in 2023.
What’s the Difference?
Until recently, nearly all home saunas featured only far-infrared radiation. The truth is that there has been more research into the benefits of far-infrared heat therapy than near-infrared light. However, that is starting to change as people begin to recognize that the two wavelength ranges have different things to offer.
Both near- and far-infrared saunas help to detoxify the body, but they do it differently. Near-infrared systems provide only topical relief because the heat only reaches around 5mm beneath the skin. Far-infrared saunas are up to seven times as effective at detoxification because they induce much heavier sweating, which mobilizes and removes toxins more effectively.
Frequent sauna users often cite increased relaxation as the top benefit of their practices. Far-infrared heating units tend to promote greater levels of relaxation by helping to balance out levels of cortisol, an important hormone involved in stress regulation. However, near-infrared saunas also have stress-relieving and mood-enhancing qualities.
Far-infrared saunas are also better at improving circulation. The heating rays penetrate more deeply into the body to stimulate blood flow, reduce inflammation, and enhance muscle recovery through improved oxygenation. However, near-infrared saunas can still help with improving circulation closer to the surface.
Weight Loss Promotion
Spending just half an hour at a time in an infrared sauna can help to promote weight loss, with both near- and far-infrared radiation offering health benefits in this field. Both near- and far-infrared saunas raise users’ core body temperatures, which helps to burn calories. However, far-infrared saunas also stimulate metabolism, a trait that is not shared by near-infrared models.
Skin rejuvenation is where near-infrared saunas truly shine. Near-infrared radiation only penetrates a few millimeters beneath the skin, but it offers many health benefits closer to the surface, including eliminating toxins from the pores of the skin. Combining the topical effects of near-infrared saunas with the circulation improvements seen on exposure to far-infrared radiation can offer even greater skin cleansing benefits.
Are Near-Infrared Saunas Safe?
Most explicit research into the safety profile of infrared saunas focuses on far-infrared radiation. However, experts generally believe that near-infrared saunas are also safe for most people, and full-spectrum saunas offer a wealth of health benefits. Those benefits outweigh the potential risks for almost all sauna users.
As with everything in life, there are some risks. People who want to minimize their risks should make stay well-hydrated and keep their sessions short. For the sake of caution, users are encouraged to consult their doctors before using near-infrared saunas if they are concerned about underlying health conditions.
Best Options for Near-Infrared Saunas
The best options for near-infrared saunas are generally those that feature a range of wavelengths. While near-infrared light has some clear benefits, especially when it comes to skin health and topical wound healing, they’re most helpful when supplemented by far-infrared radiation. Check out these and other full-spectrum and combined-light options for maximum health benefits:
- Cedarbrook’s Near-Infrared Cedar Sauna Kit.
- The SaunaSpaceLuminati and Faraday Cage.
- JNH Lifestyles ProSeries 200 Full Spectrum.
- Sunlighten mPulse Empower.
- Sauna Fix’s Portable Near Infrared Sauna Lamp and Tent.
Each of these options has a different set of benefits. For those looking for a small-footprint, highly portable near-infrared sauna, Sauna Fix’s model may be the best bet. More permanent options like Cedarbrook’s sauna kit are good for everyday users. The Sunlighten mPulse Empower is by far the largest model on this list, with enough space to fit five people, but it comes with a price tag to match.
The Final Verdict
There’s no one best near-infrared sauna for every person’s lifestyle and budget. That said, full-spectrum saunas tend to be preferable over models that use only near-infrared light. Combining both near- and far-infrared radiation offers maximum health benefits.