December 8, 2022
January 25, 2022
Differences Between Dry Saunas, Finnish Saunas, Steam Rooms, And Infrared Saunas
Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen.
As the founder and CEO of Clearlight Infrared Saunas International®, I frequently get the question: “how hot should a sauna be?”
The answer to that question is complex because many saunas are different from each other. Also, not everyone needs the same temperature in the sauna!
If you’re an 80-year-old with 2 pre-existing conditions and visiting the sauna for the first time, you’ll probably want to take it very easily at first! If you’re 25, however, and want to build up heat tolerance for your athletic background, the answer is completely different.
So, let’s break the different possibilities down:
Let’s start with the basics - different saunas have different biological effects on you and use very different temperatures.
So, there’s not even a 1-sentence answer to the question “how hot is a sauna”.
As an analogy, the answer “how fast is a car” is equally impossible to answer. Cars vary so widely from each other that the question “how fast is a car” is nonsensical.
Let’s thus talk about different types of saunas. I’ll broadly distinguish between 4 types:
See the difference?
The infrared sauna is wildly different from the earlier 3 options!
So, now that I’ve defined some terms and helped you understand that there are different saunas on the market, let’s consider some “how hot is a sauna in celsius”, specifically, traditional saunas:
The most important lesson?
None of these temperatures is set in stone! As I’ve stated earlier, your context matters a lot when choosing a sauna.
Also, you might be able to handle very high temperatures in a Finnish sauna, such as 90 degrees Celsius, for 5 minutes, but, you might have a problem if you’re staying in for 30 minutes!
So, temperature alone, without proper context, can be highly misleading!
Next, let’s move on to the last type of sauna, the infrared one, which we’ve specialized in at Clearlight Infrared Saunas®:
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You might think: “does an infrared sauna feel hot?”
My answer is: “yes, but the feeling is different from a traditional sauna!”
Let me explain:
Infrared saunas use infrared light. Remember that infrared light heats your body from the inside out.
The most common infrared sauna temperatures are around 45 - 60 degrees Celsius (3; 4).
If you’ve ever tried an infrared sauna, you will know that it feels totally different from spending time in a traditional sauna. The temperatures are far more gentle, and, the biological effects are very different.
Well, infrared light has a healing effect in and of itself (5; 6; 7)!
Far-infrared, for instance, has been shown to increase blood flow in animal studies, affect overall blood vessel health and create new ones (8). It’s presumable that humans experience the same benefits as found in these studies.
Many people who were exposed to far-infrared also report they’ve got reduced pain, deeper sleep, feeling blissfully relaxed, better muscle tone, faster recovery, and more benefits.
Depending on the type of infrared light, it can penetrate up to several inches into your body (9; 10). For that reason, infrared light affects many biochemical and electromagnetic processes inside your cells.
Why do I state this information?
Simple: If you merely focus on temperature as the modality that you’re applying, you’re missing the forest for the trees. The biologically beneficial effects of infrared light penetrating your body are just as important if not more important than the effects of heating!
Also, core body temperatures might go up more in an infrared sauna than in a Finnish sauna! So, the detox effect you get and the buildup of heat tolerance might be even better in an infrared sauna than in a traditional model. So, if you only focus on air temperature, you're missing the forest for the trees!
So, an infrared sauna might not feel as hot, but it nevertheless has advantages that traditional saunas don’t have!
So, if you’re asking “how hot a sauna should be”, you know right now that the answer is “it depends”!
There´s no one-size-fits-all answer!
“How hot a sauna is supposed to be” all depends on your goals! If you wish to support your general health, then the 45 - 60 degrees Celsius temperature of an infrared sauna is absolutely perfect.
If you’re a young guy and want to build heat tolerance - while not aiming at maximum health benefits - then visiting a traditional sauna is your best bet.
For most people, however, and especially our customers, staying healthy for decades to come is their prime goal. In such a case, you simply cannot beat a premium infrared sauna that is easy to operate from the comfort of your home while offering lifetime warranty.
Yes, you can attain higher temperatures in a Finnish sauna, but what’s the point?
Lastly, I will also tell you that hotter temperatures are not always better. That’s right! Why? Because there’s a golden mean regarding the amount of infrared light on which your biological systems work best.
Either too little or too much-infrared light, therefore, doesn’t lead to an optimum outcome. So, just as with consuming food or exercise, both too much and too little aren’t great. The same is true for infrared light exposure.
Frequent, gentle, infrared sauna sessions promote health while making you feel absolutely amazing. No 80 or 100 degree Celsius temperatures are required.
If you're interested in an infrared sauna cabin for home, click here to view our range of full-spectrum saunas, far-infrared saunas, and outdoor saunas.
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