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Article: The Ultimate Sauna Showdown: Infrared vs. Traditional Dry Saunas

The Ultimate Sauna Showdown: Infrared vs. Traditional Dry Saunas

The Ultimate Sauna Showdown: Infrared vs. Traditional Dry Saunas

Written by Chris Lang

Saunas have been around for centuries and have, for most of that time, functioned on the same principle: heating the air in an isolated room. The exact method of achieving higher temperatures ranged from producing steam to raising the temperature via a heat source. The latter became known as the dry sauna type since it involved no additional humidity.

Lately, infrared (IR) saunas changed the landscape by introducing a direct method of heating your body without affecting the air around you. Naturally, this raised the question, “Which is better, dry sauna or infrared?” This article will provide an answer and outline the difference between infrared sauna and dry sauna. But first, let’s look at how both variants work and which types they include.

What Is an Infrared Sauna?

An infrared sauna uses infrared lamps to create light waves of a specific frequency. Infrared light falls just outside of the visible range and stretches to the microwave part of the spectrum. This light doesn’t affect the air in the room, instead raising your body temperature directly.

It’s worth noting that infrared light is a common occurrence in your everyday life. The sun emits this light, along with other forms of radiation. Plus, every object that heats up gives off IR rays. In other words, infrared is a natural and essentially harmless part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Types of Infrared Saunas

Infrared light is divided into three bands: near, mid, and far. These bands are named based on how close the frequencies are relative to red. Depending on that, near, mid, and far infrared have different effects and uses. Mid-infrared is mostly used in spectrography and, to some extent, surgical lasers, while near and far are found commonly in infrared saunas.

Near-infrared saunas are relatively rare, and near IR is often combined with other bands. These saunas boost regeneration and may be able to alleviate pain. The light in this frequency range doesn’t penetrate the skin too far, making it most suitable for skin care.

On the other hand, far infrared can penetrate further and heat the surface of the skin more effectively. As a result, this sauna type can boost circulation as well as improve skin health. When it comes to infrared sauna vs. dry sauna, the far type is most often used for such comparisons.

What Is a Traditional Dry Sauna?

Next, let’s look at the traditional variant of this discussion of dry sauna vs. infrared sauna. Dry saunas raise the air temperature using a heat source like electrical heaters or burning wood. Since this sauna type warms up your body indirectly, it must generate more heat for the treatment to be efficient.

Another difference between infrared vs. dry sauna is that the traditional type requires sturdier infrastructure. The sauna room must be appropriately isolated to keep the hot air in as much as possible. As a result, setting up a home dry sauna is much more complex than getting an infrared variant.

The Steam Room Alternative

If you have a dry sauna that uses hot stones or a similar water-resistant heat source, you can turn the sauna into a steam room relatively easily. You only need to pour water over the heat source to generate hot steam.

The additional humidity and steam can promote sweating, which has various benefits. However, spending time in a steam room may cause discomfort since higher humidity makes it harder to endure the heat. This is one of the most significant differences when comparing a steam room vs. infrared sauna.

The Heat Factor: How Each Type Heats You Up

One of the crucial factors when comparing infrared sauna versus dry sauna is how each variant heats your body. This article already touched on this point when talking about how each sauna type works. Dry saunas heat the air, and the temperature then transfers from the surrounding air to your body. In contrast with the dry sauna, infrared variants affect your body heat directly.

Dry saunas can reach temperatures of about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast with that dry heat, infrared sauna temperatures are significantly lower, ranging from 120 to 150 degrees. As established, the reason for this dry heat sauna vs. infrared sauna temperature is that the former uses air as a medium while the latter heats the body directly. As a result, an IR sauna doesn’t have to generate excess heat.

Time in Sauna

When comparing a dry vs. infrared sauna, it’s important to look at how much time you should spend in each. For traditional saunas, it’s best to keep your sessions limited to about 10 minutes, at least if you’re a beginner. An infrared sauna gives you more freedom in that regard, especially if it’s the near type. Near-infrared doesn’t heat the body as much as other types, while far IR may be more challenging to endure in prolonged sessions. In other words, the infrared sauna session duration may be longer than with the traditional type.

Health Benefits: A Comparative Analysis

When comparing infrared sauna vs. dry sauna benefits, both sauna types achieve similar results. Namely, they raise your body temperature and promote sweating. This leads to numerous benefits ranging from general relaxation to improved tissue regeneration. Let’s look at infrared sauna vs. dry sauna health benefits in more detail.

Many Health Benefits

Traditional saunas create several health-related effects. As mentioned, they raise your body temperature while increasing circulation. This results in sweating and a metabolism boost. However, looking at an infrared vs. dry sauna, you’ll notice additional benefits that aren’t related to the temperature.

For instance, infrared rays penetrate the skin and can affect cells directly. These effects include increased production of certain compounds like the protein collagen. Also, infrared can promote the production of natural anti-inflammatory and regenerating agents. But not all effects are purely physical.

Infrared saunas could have a positive effect on your mental state, too. For instance, some findings indicate that regular IR sauna sessions could alleviate issues with depression. Whether this happens due to metabolic processes or as a result of overall well-being improvements is yet to be determined reliably.

Practical Considerations: Cost, Space, and Maintenance

Regarding infrared sauna vs. traditional dry sauna, one of the most important aspects to consider is how much they may cost to install and maintain. The answer is simple, and it goes in favor of IR saunas. Why? You don’t need a heavily isolated room or special infrastructure in terms of piping.

Infrared saunas require nothing more than a room and infrared lamps. There’s no need to conduct the heat from an isolated source or keep the heated air in. All you need is one or more lamps and space for you to be in a line of sight with them.

Similarly, infrared saunas are more maintenance-friendly. You need to clean the traditional sauna and maintain the heat source extensively, while an IR sauna won’t include such costs. With quality products, maintenance will be even less of an issue. This is the case with IR saunas you can find with reliable brands like Komowa Wellness.

Sauna for Your Home

Due to the ease of installation and maintenance, infrared saunas are a far better choice for your home. Essentially, you would need to set aside a room for the sauna and install the lamps. Unlike traditional dry saunas, you won’t need to conduct any additional work to make the IR sauna functional. When discussing home sauna infrared vs. traditional, the IR variant will be the clear winner.

Which Sauna Is Right for You?

Although there are various pros and cons for both traditional and infrared saunas, the IR variant will be the better choice for most people. There are several reasons for this. IR saunas can prove more effective than traditional dry variants; plus, infrared saunas are easier to set up and maintain. If you’re considering regular sessions in your home, going with infrared will be an excellent choice. Check out your sauna options at Komowa Wellness.


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