Comparing the Traditional Sauna to the Far Infrared Sauna

If you have been thinking about adding a sauna to your home or office, you may be uncertain about what type of sauna to install. There are basically two sauna types: traditional high-temperature European style saunas and the newer far-infrared saunas (FIRs). Essentially, one overheats your lungs, and the other gently warms your skin. Both induce sweating. The difference is in how they accomplish it. The type you choose depends on how well you tolerate the heat. 

What is a far infrared sauna?

Traditional saunas are wood-lined rooms with super-hot heaters filled with rocks. They generate steam when the user ladles water over the rocks. When you breathe that super-hot air, your body’s natural cooling mechanism kicks in by raising your blood temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Eventually, your sweat glands kick in as a cooling mechanism, so your organs don’t overheat. Some people find them too hot to breathe inside. 

Conversely, an infrared sauna uses lower power elements designed to gently warm your skin, not the air around you. The heat penetrates your skin and warms your sweat glands from the outside. Over time, say 5-20 minutes depending on the person, your sweat glands will trigger from exposure to that gentle heat. The advantage is that you start sweating before you overheat your lungs. It’s easier to breathe, but you still get the same benefits of a profuse sweat.

The benefits of choosing a far infrared sauna

  1. No waiting for the sauna to heat up. With an IR sauna, your sauna is warm enough to go inside within 10-15 minutes. It can take more than one hour to reach the right temperatures in a traditional sauna. This burns more energy and takes longer. The reason is the infrared heat works by warming your skin over time and not by superheating the air. So it doesn’t need to get up to those super-hot temperatures before it’s ready to use. 
  2. Better for the environment. Infrared technology uses much less electricity than traditional saunas due to those lower operating temperatures. That means you won’t unnecessarily increase your carbon footprint by adding a sauna to your home, and you won’t be shocked when you get your first electric bill after you install it. An average IR sauna uses about the same amount of electricity as a hairdryer. 
  3. Easy to install. Most infrared saunas plug into a regular wall outlet and sit on any floor surface. The smaller ones don’t require special wiring in your house or drains or vents. Just plug it in like a tv set, and start sweating.
  4. Easier to breathe. You can use a good infrared sauna effectively below your body’s natural 98.6 F temperature level.  That means you can breathe normally the whole time you’re inside. You can complete a half-our session without feeling the need to cool off in a shower or take a cold plunge. To learn more about Far Infrared Saunas’ pros and cons and to view our virtual showroom, visit or contact SaunaRay today at 1-877-992-1100. We’ve been creating beautiful, hand-crafted, environmentally-friendly, infrared saunas for homes and offices for over a decade. We are North America’s only 100% Pure and Natural infrared sauna company, and we responsibly source all of the materials that go into your sauna.