Infrared sauna

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The interior of an infrared therapy room.

Infrared therapy uses infrared heaters to emit infrared light experienced as radiant heat which is absorbed by the surface of the skin.[1] Saunas heat the body primarily by conduction and convection from the heated air and by radiation of the heated surfaces in the sauna room. Because of this, infrared therapy is not considered a sauna by Finnish sauna societies.[2] Nevertheless, "Infrared Sauna" and "Infrared Therapy" are respectively a methodology and a terminology in the application of the infrared electromagnetic field spectrum to the human body. There are claims of detoxification which lack scientific evidence.[3]


Some infrared therapy proponents claim that the IR is an effective method for considerably raising the rate of energy expenditure in the body. Proponents typically quote the Journal of the American Medical Association stating: "A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in an infrared room, consuming nearly 300 kcal, which is equivalent to running 2–3 miles. A heat-conditioned person can easily sweat off 600–800 kcal with no adverse effects. While the weight of the water loss can be regained by drinking water, the calories consumed will not be." However, this conclusion drew significant criticism, at least because it implies that individuals living in warm climates, where liters of sweat are generated per day, would require hundreds or thousands of additional kilocalories to survive, which is known not to be the case.[4][5]

The prevalence of serious health claims associated with infrared saunas has prompted some regulatory agencies to issue public safety warnings about the use of these devices. There were fears that patients may refuse conventional medical treatments in favour of infrared sauna therapy. [6]


  1. ^ Sagar Naik (2008-09-21). "Infrared Radiation". Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  2. ^ "Don't Call it Sauna – Sauna Digest". Sauna Digest. 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  3. ^ Beever, R (2009). "Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: Summary of published evidence". Canadian Family Physician. 55 (7): 691–6. PMC 2718593. PMID 19602651.
  4. ^ Dean, Ward (1981). "Effect of Sweating". JAMA. 246 (6): 623. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320060027013. PMID 7253113.
  5. ^ Searle, A. J (1982). "Effects of the Sauna". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association. 247 (1): 28. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320260016012. PMID 7053434.
  6. ^