Your Complete Guide to Saunas

The many health benefits, and a complete guide to what to look for when buying a sauna.


When you enter, a feeling of calmness instantly surrounds you. Relax inside one for 30 or 40 minutes and when you’ll be left feeling healthy, rejuvenated and restored. Welcome to the magic of saunas.

In the following guide, we cover everything you need to know about saunas, including:

  1. Why are infrared saunas so good for us?
  2. What are different the kinds of saunas?
  3. Types of infrared
  4. Carbon heater or ceramic?
  5. What’s all this I hear about EMF and VOC’s?
  6. What to remember when buying a sauna
  7. Good saunas versus inferior saunas
  8. The best questions to ask
  9. How to customize your sauna
  10. Tips for using your sauna

Read on to learn more:

Your Complete Guide to Saunas

Why are saunas so good for us?

Saunas project something called Infrared Energy into your body. Infrared light is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum with the ability to penetrate human tissue to produce a host of health benefits. Infrared lamps are capable of causing dramatic changes in body chemistry in some instances, helping restore balance in some people who suffer from chronic problems related to pains, inflammation, low energy, and poor circulation.

One of the biggest benefits of infrared saunas is that they’re comfortable and simple to use, even for people who struggle with pain or who have sensitive skin and stomachs when it comes to heat, all with no need for medications or doctor visits.

Here are some of the many health benefits that come from regular use of a sauna:

Your Complete Guide to Saunas


Far infrared light waves are in the same vibration (aka. micron) range as the human body, so the waves penetrate the body deeply (4-5cm deep). These vibrating light waves cause the water in your body to vibrate, breaking down water and fat molecules, which releases stored toxins; those toxins are then eliminated through sweating. Many toxins need to be excreted through sweat, for example:

  • Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have been shown in studies to be excreted through the skin as well or better than they are excreted in urine.
  • Canadian study found that the concentration of phytates (chemicals in toys, fragrances, cosmetics, etc) was twice as high in sweat than in urine or blood.
  • Another study found BPA in 80% of the subjects’ sweat, while finding no detectable levels in their blood or urine. This seems to point to sweat being the best method for excreting the toxin.

The congested fatty/water tissues, which store the majority of collected toxins, acids, pathogens and carcinogens in your body, are broken down into smaller particles by the vibrational effect of tuned infrared energy at the cellular level. These smaller particles of toxins, fats, PCB’s, and heavy metals are expelled through the pores of your skin by vigorous sweating, detoxifying your body and giving relief to your liver and kidneys.

Get in shape

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, there are two parts to infrared therapy. Infrared also stimulates and benefits your lymphatic, immune and cardiovascular systems. Some say that being in a sauna can get you in shape just as well as working out. Infrared sauna therapy has been used successfully to treat cardiovascular diseases and has been studied in many leading medical journals. Because the infrared makes your heart stronger and increases blood oxygen intake, after only four weeks of therapy you can expect to see reduced blood pressure and an increased exercise tolerance.

  • Research performed by the University of Iowa studying the effects of heat stress on the body and the benefits which may arise from this stress showed that sauna use causes the body to have similar reactions as seen from exercise.

Avoid getting sick

Raising body temperature and creating an “artificial hyperthermia environment” that mimics a low-grade fever. When you have a fever, it is your body naturally raising the body temperature to help fight an infection. The temperature stimulates production of white blood cells—your body’s defence system—to fight harmful microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, parasites and mold). Hyperthermia therapy also helps kill abnormal cells such as tumors as they have poor tolerance for heat. Raising body temperature disables or kills cells that have been mutated by radiation or damaged by toxins.

Infrared waves will also boost your immune system considerably, so it’s the perfect treatment if you’re sick, or worried about getting sick. Saunas increase circulation, improve the lymphatic system, and increase white blood cell counts, making you an all around germ fighting machine!

Fight pain and fatigue

For many years, patients suffering from chronic pains have used thermal heating treatments to find relief. Studies have found that regular and repeated thermal therapies are promising methods for lowering chronic pain and fatigue that can interfere with quality of life without the need for medications.

Avoid Alzheimers

A new study out of Finland, where it’s not unusual for homes to have personal saunas, found that men who used their sauna 4-7 times a week for at least 15 minutes had a 66% reduction in dementia and a 65% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease when compared with those who only used their saunas once a week. WOAH! So if you want to stay mentally sharp, get into your sauna regularly!

Live longer

And finally, a landmark new study showed a significant decrease in mortality (which is to say, an increase in longevity) associated with regular sauna use. A significant decrease in cardiovascular disease and fatal heart attacks were among the many benefits observed. Regular sauna use FTW!

…and lots more benefits

Watch this video to learn more:


Not yet convinced? Here are a few more interesting benefits:

  • NASA uses far infrared to assist in cardiac conditioning because a 30 minute far infrared sauna session can be as good to the cardiovascular system as a six mile run.
  • The heat expands capillaries to improve circulation and metabolism, which helps activate enzyme production.
  • Far infrared can help liquefy fat and speeds up its elimination.  For many, a 30 minute session can burn 300 calories.
  • Far infrared stimulates our hypothalamus, the part of our body that controls neurochemicals.  This can mean better sleep, pain relief, lower body acidity and improved moods with less stress.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 38 Comments

  1. Avatar of Rita Hajjar

    Rita Hajjar

    I live in a cold climate. I’m looking for an outdoor infared sauna. Does anyone own one of these in the upper states where we have brutal winters? I really want to know if they are usable in the winter months. Any advice is appreciated!! Rita

  2. Avatar of Whitney Rife

    We have an extra room at home and it’s just where we keep random stuff. I’m thinking of turning it into an at home spa.

  3. Avatar of Cristina Bernal

    Cristina Bernal

    Thanks for making this very detailed guide about saunas. My only question is, I can’t really buy my own so I usually just result to going in saunas that are in my city. How do I know if the saunas they have are safe just like what you said in this article? Is it proper to ask them? It’s not like they will tell the truth anyway. Most concierge employees wouldn’t even disclose such matters to the public or they don’t really know anything about the equipment there.

  4. Avatar of Irishka Smelaya

    Can my grandparents use saunas too? My only concern is that it might be too hot for them and instead of reducing the risk for Alzheimers, I might end up making them sick.?

  5. Avatar of Caroline Pigat

    Even in the old times, people really benefit from traditional hot saunas. No wonder!

  6. Avatar of Sharon Quint

    NIR therapy seems the best fit for me. I want to age gracefully and I could use elastin and collagen boost in my body. I want younger looking skin that won’t look tired despite stress. I bet a lot of women would agree to that because it’s a luxury to have great glowing skin nowadays, becase of environmental factors such as pollution and intense UV rays. Saunas could revive our skin with continued use. It would be really worth it to spend a lot from this tech.

    • Avatar of Rosalie Wade

      Rosalie Wade

      I’m one of those ladies who need it too.

  7. Avatar of Jessi


    Those are very solid claims. I just think that saunas aren’t for everyone. Personally, I don’t like heat because I feel dizzy and claustrophobic.

  8. Avatar of Lynn Revs

    I’m just going to go on a spa and sauna place. I don’t really plan on purchasing my own sauna and add up to my electricity bill.

  9. Avatar of Lena Tamburini

    Are hot baths the same? I know it’s not as hot or as effective as saunas, but the natural steam that comes out of warm baths make our bodies feel good.

  10. Avatar of Maggie Ross

    Just wanted to remind everyone that you shouldn’t overuse saunas no matter how great the effects are. I even do a certain diet whenever I would use my sauna. I would snack on electrolyte rich foods/snacks and hydrate properly. Or else, your body will feel worse instead of better.

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.