Possible Health Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

The idea of ​​using a sauna for relaxation is nothing new, but another category of sauna bathing is growing in popularity: infrared saunas.

An infrared sauna is a type of therapy that uses light to heat your body, explains Kelly Simms, ND, a doctor of naturopathic medicine in Chicago. But this light is infrared, which exists on the nonvisible light spectrum, she says.

Infrared sauna therapy is different from traditional Finnish (dry heat) sauna bathing, which heats the air to higher temperatures, ranging from 150 to 195 degrees F. In a dry sauna, your body warms up from the hot air circulating around it. Finnish saunas have the most research behind them, and they may improve heart health and quality of life, among other possible wellness perks, according to a review published in August 2018 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

While infrared saunas are in the same general category as dry-heat saunas, they operate using nonvisible light, so the air inside stays at a relatively comfortable 110 to 120 degrees F, Dr. Simms says.

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