The Difference Between Traditional Sauna and Infrared Sauna, Explained

Where Did Sauna Originate?

The practice of sauna has a long and storied history, originating first in Finland and enjoying great renewed vogue in the past decade or so, especially in the spa and wellness spaces. And for very good reason: the benefits of sauna are many and varied, and the habitual sauna ritual can have long-term health benefits, including decreased stress, improved cardiovascular health, and greater muscle recovery for athletes.

Recently, a new type of sauna has gained popularity: the Infrared sauna. But what is an Infrared sauna and what differentiates it from its predecessor, the “traditional” Finnish sauna? The answer is in the heat.

What Is An Infrared Sauna?

Traditional Finnish saunas heat the body by heating the air around the body. A traditional sauna can reach temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (but usually are around 190 degrees). This extreme high heat triggers the body to sweat and induces a sense of calm and relaxation.

In contrast, an Infrared sauna relies on infrared light waves to heat the body from the inside out, rather than heating the air around the body. An Infrared sauna has carbon panels, which are wide, dark panels set in the walls of the sauna, rather than a traditional heater with rocks set upon it. Heat levels reach about 125 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

So which is better? We think it depends on preference. While we’re partial to the traditional sauna experience, an IR sauna may use less energy. And while the methods by which traditional sauna is beneficial are tried-and-tested, the new Infrared methodology is, by contrast, much newer, and less is known about its effects on the body in unregulated sauna environments.

The health benefits of infrared versus traditional saunas are similar. However, those with greater sensitivity to heat may prefer the lower heat level of an IR sauna.

We have an elegant solution. While our beautiful sauna cabins are, by default, traditional, we also offer the option to have a hybrid sauna. With both a traditional heater and carbon panels, we allow our clients and home users to customize their experience.

Browse our Sauna Offerings here.