Personal Infrared Sauna- Do They Work? How Much Do They Cost?

By Dr. E. Khan & Dr. Candy Akers

What Are Personal Infrared Saunas?

In the stressful day to day, there are many ways to practice self-care. Some choose a bubble bath or others take a yoga class. An idea that is great for relaxing and also rebuilding your body is an infrared sauna session.

Many people enjoy their sauna sessions alone. Its a great time for meditating and clearing your mind. A personal infrared sauna has amazing health benefits. Today I’ll go over some of the therapeutic options to help you decide if a personal sauna is best for you.

Personal Infrared Sauna Vs Traditional Sauna

A personal infrared sauna is very different from a standard sauna. In a regular sauna, hot air and moisture heat the body. But in an infrared sauna, infrared rays are used as the source of heat. Infrared rays are not visible to the human eye. Infrared energy is able to penetrate the body, and generate heat within the body tissue.

A regular sauna takes time to heat the rocks, then heat the room, then heat the benches and interior of the sauna, and then finally, the heat goes into the skin. However, in the infrared sauna, there is no need to heat the room because the infrared rays directly enter the skin and heat the core temperature of the muscles and tissues. 

An infrared sauna allows the environment inside the sauna to be significantly cooler. Some people feel like they can breathe better, and others note the increased sense of hygiene. Other people may have special circumstances which make them more heat sensitive. 

A personal infrared sauna has many benefits, including muscle recovery, stress relief, increased circulation, and detoxification from the body in the form of sweat. 

The personal sauna can be portable, but this is not the case in all personal infrared saunas. In a portable infrared sauna, you don't have to install it in a specific place. You can use it at any time, whether you live in a one-room apartment or a big family house. 

How Do Personal Infrared Saunas Work?

An infrared sauna uses infrared rays to heat the body rather than the air to heat the room, which then heats the body. The benefit is that heat and sweat originate from within the body. Additionally, we get the added benefit of direct cellular energy, which can help us repair injuries, and heal deeper tissues. Infrared personal saunas are quick to start up and don’t require much preheating. 


What Are Personal Infrared Saunas Made Out Of?

There are many types of personal infrared saunas that you can use. Some products look like pop-up tents, or changing areas. Others are compact boxes that look like phone booths. You can use a carbon or ceramic type heater in the infrared sauna. They also make them using infrared heat lamps which look like big light bulbs.

Personal Infrared Sauna Options   

Tent Sauna

It is only for one person, and it is collapsible. The infrared rays are used inside it to provide heat to the body. You can go inside of it and zip yourself and enjoy your time. 

Portable Sauna

If you don't have space in your house to install a sauna room or even a tent, you can go for a “portable” option. Portable saunas can be folded up and stored out of the way. When in use they take up on average a 3-foot by 3-foot square space and are light enough that most people can carry them easily. They are easy to store in a closet or behind some furniture.

Sauna Blanket

Perhaps the most versatile option for a personal infrared sauna would be an infrared sauna blanket. You can take it anywhere and use it anywhere, and it will provide you with benefits just like a sauna room. One other potential bonus of using a sauna blanket is that you can do other things while you are inside the blanket. You can do your nails, read a book, or even watch tv. 


How much space do they take up?

The personal infrared sauna does not take up much space. With the largest models, the surface area occupied would be around 6ft by 4ft for typical cabinet saunas. Therapeutic infrared sauna beds probably take up the largest amount of space nearing 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. 

The smallest personal saunas are the sauna blankets that can be folded up into an average size gift box. Just above that would be infrared saunas that are small pop-up tents.

What health conditions are they commonly used for?

The most common health conditions in which personal infrared sauna therapy is used are:

  • Pain due to autoimmune diseases - such as rheumatoid arthritis, or other severe pain syndromes. It helps people release the pain and relaxes their muscles from stiffness and soreness.
  • Chronic pain - fibromyalgia, nerve damage such as neuropathy
  • Sore muscles - athletic or injury
  • Relaxation - mental health conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Improving blood flow - diabetes 
  • Mild heart disease - inactivity, injury, post op surgical recovery or high blood pressure
  • Mental health- studies have shown benefits for depression, anxiety, bipolar conditions, Obsessive– compulsive disorder (OCD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

Health Benefits Of Personal Infrared Saunas

There are so many health benefits of using a personal infrared sauna. Some of them are listed below. 

Good Skin

The release of toxins from the body increases the health of your skin. Infrared energy stimulates the production of collagen. Additionally, when you sit in the sauna, every pore of your body opens, and toxins are released in the form of sweat, providing healthier skin. 

Detoxify Your Body

When you sweat in the infrared sauna, the toxins from your body are carried from internal areas to the outside of the body. Toxins from the liver, intestines, and kidneys are released and help detoxify the body. Multiple research journals have been published that show the exact chemical makeup of sweat. Sweat created in the sauna session contains cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury which are potentially harmful heavy metals. 

Another chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) is also released from the body in sweat this compound has been connected to endocrine disrupting physiology and cancer. BPA is found in aluminum can linings, plastic bottles, shopping receipts, and food wrappers.

Improve Heart Health

Multiple studies have shown improvements in cardiac measurements in people who use a sauna. This could involve the role of heat shock proteins as well as cardiac output during an infrared session.

Infrared sauna therapy decreases heart attack and stroke in people. Because increased blood supply all over the body prevents clots and material buildups. Also, the body’s response to heat can improve the heart function. It also reduces death from cardiovascular problems by a significant amount.

Blood Pressure

An infrared sauna provides heat to the body, which causes vasodilation. That means improved circulation and blood flow all over the body. So there are multiple links showing benefits in people with hypertension.

How Do You Use An Infrared Sauna?

Recommendations for use can vary depending on the model of personal sauna that you chose. Additionally recommendations and procedures will vary depending on your current health status and your personal health goals. This section will cover generalities, but every case is different. The good thing though…is that infrared saunas are easy to use, and it feels nice to relax and unwind.

1. First, you should prepare your body for the sauna session. Individuals should feel well and should be well hydrated. I recommend drinking an 8 - 12 oz glass of pure water before you go into the sauna. I dont recommend drinking or eating anything inside your personal sauna. You body needs to put all of its energy into relaxing and healing, without the energy demand of digestion.  

2. The next thing you need to do is to choose the temperature for the sauna. The average temperature used for a personal infrared sauna is 100˚F to 150˚F. If you are using the sauna for the first time, you should go for a fairly low-temperature setting. And with time after each session, you can increase the temperature. 

3. After setting up the temperature, you can enter the sauna. Infrared saunas don’t require a long pre-heat time, since we don’t have to heat up the air. If it is your first time, start with 10 to 20 minutes. After every session, you can increase the session time. Most infrared sauna therapy sessions last around 45 minutes. 

4. You can wear anything before going into the personal sauna. Some use bathing suits, and some prefer to wrap themselves in a towel. But you do need to remove a good portion of your clothes so that the whole spectrum of light is hitting your skin. Yes, infrared light can penetrate through your shirt, but you will heat up and get results faster if you remove your clothes.

5. You can do anything while there, like meditation, reading, or listening to music. Be sure not to fall asleep, napping in a sauna can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is not going to help your therapy. 

6. Sauna comes with two phases sweating phase and the cooling phase. After completing the session, wipe off your sweat with a rag or towel. The sooner that you get the sweat removed the less chance there is for reabsorbing sweat toxins. After your sauna therapy session, you can shower and drink a glass of water. 

How do you clean personal saunas?

After a session, you’ll simply wipe down any areas where sweat was with a cleaning towel or microfiber cloth. The aim is to get your sauna as dry as possible. If you are a frequent user, you can clean it with some disinfectant or hydrogen peroxide once a week. 

Average Cost

The average cost, including installation and other expenses for a personal infrared sauna, falls somewhere between $500 to $7000. But I usually tell my patients that it doesn’t have to be fancy and have all the bells and whistles to provide results. You can get the benefits and heal your body in all infrared saunas. The price of a sauna is worth the increase in health that you will receive. Protecting your physical and mental health is priceless and worth the investment. 

Personal saunas are a great way to enhance your health and relax your body. We believe that whole health is a journey, not a destination, and a personal sauna will get you on the right track.

Dr. Candy's Recommendations
Best Personal Infrared Saunas

Clearlight® Sanctuary™ 1-Person Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna

What I Like:

Perfect for: 

  • Removing inflammation
  • All autoimmune conditions
  • Insomnia, anxiety, depression
  • Skin health, tone and radiance
  • Weight loss
  • Super fast pain relief

Designed by doctors, used by high performing athletes all over the world


Learn More

SunRay Barrett HL100K2 One Person Infrared Sauna

What I Like:

  • Super high-quality materials made to last
  • 7 year structural warranty
  • Strong but safe high-output heaters
  • Great for body detoxification


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Higher Dose Sauna Blanket - #1 Best Selling Sauna Blanket

What I Like:

  • Super Easy & Comfortable To Use
  • All The Health Benefits Of Sauna Therapy


Learn more

Other Recommendations

You are going to need an all-natural towel to remove sweat containing heavy metals- so that they are removed from your skin before they are reabsorbed. You want your towel to be free of potentially toxic chemicals like flame retardants, bleach, plastics, and dyes. 

SaunaSpace Bath Sheet 

 39” x 71”
100% organic cotton

SaunaSpace Bath Sheet 

 39” x 71”
100% organic cotton

You will also want to switch to a natural deodorant that does not contain aluminum. Most deodorants and antiperspirants on the market contain aluminum. Research shows that aluminum in deodorants can absorb into your skin and build up in your body. This decreases lymph flow and the detox of this heavy metal. Women especially experience this change in lymph flow that is further complicated by wearing bras. Although not directly published, many in the scientific community think that this may contribute to breast problems and breast cancer.

Aluminum also “plays a major role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease”, according to peer-reviewed research published in the Journal of Environmental Geochemistry and Health. Until we learn more- I say it’s better to be safe than sorry.  ( 13 )

Here is a well-loved aluminum-free deodorant that uses essential oils and it also includes critical fat-soluble vitamins! Win, win!