Infrared Sauna FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How is an infrared sauna different than a “regular sauna?”

“Regular” saunas are the European kinds that get super hot, so it’s hard to breathe. SaunaRay infrared saunas use ceramic heated elements to gently warm your skin to encourage sweat in a warm environment where it’s easy to breathe normally.

The goal of any sauna is to make you sweat. Your high-temperature sauna does this by super-heating the air so that when you breathe your body’s autonomic nerve is triggered. This nerve controls your body temperature. When your body’s autonomic nerve is triggered, this makes your blood pressure and heart rate increase to pump blood to your extremities to cool off your organs. The sweat is triggered as a cooling mechanism.

SaunaRay’s infrared saunas cause you to sweat without raising your core temperature. The gentle, but powerful, infrared heat warms your skin and triggers the sweat glands before your core body temperature rises. You go inside at 27-28C (82-84F) instead of 60-80C, like in the wood-fired sauna. You can breathe normally in the warm air as the temperature slowly rises. By the time it gets to about 40C (105F), you are usually soaked with sweat and ready to come out.  This means your body temp remains normal, and there is no recovery period. You don’t feel tired or knocked out by the heat.

Why choose an infrared sauna?

Infrared saunas are a revolution in sauna therapy. 
In the past, building a sauna in your home involved a full construction crew. You’d need to hire a carpenter, an electrician and a plumber. By the time it was installed, you were already heavily invested in labour and material costs. They consumed a lot of expensive electricity in order to superheat the air. To add insult to injury, that super hot air makes it difficult to breathe inside.  

Today you can buy an infrared sauna that is:

1) Pre-built and ready to assemble in one hour – in any room of your home. 
2) Ready to plug into any existing outlet in your house.
3) Able to sit on any floor surface, even carpet.
4) Easily installed in your bathroom or bedroom without calling an electrician, a plumber, or a carpenter.

What makes a SaunaRay infrared sauna special?

In short, it’s the way it’s built. The cabinet is built with solid wood and no toxic glues. Our competitors are often using cheap plywood and tons of glue.

Why is low heat better than high heat to induce sweat?

Sweating causes the excretion of toxic metals and complex chemicals like pesticides, plasticizers, and fire retardant chemicals that are ubiquitous in our environment but not easily excreted from the body. Their build-up can cause disease over time.

SaunaRay’s low-heat infrared systems allow you to sweat profusely without stressing your core body temp or triggering a reaction.

Can I put your saunas on the carpet?

Most of our saunas can plug into any outlet in the house and can even be placed in a closet if you like. They can sit on any floor surface, just like a cabinet or a clothing wardrobe, because there is no need for drains or vents. Our bigger units require a 220-volt outlet but can still sit on any floor surface – even your carpet!

Is it easy to breathe in an infrared sauna?

Medical grade infrared saunas employ ceramic elements so they don’t overheat the air. When you’re sitting inside an infrared sauna, taking a breath is comfortable – not uncomfortable and sort of stressful. When you breathe superheated sauna air that other types of saunas produce, it affects the alveoli in your lungs. As a result, your body’s autonomic response triggers your heart to start pumping blood to your extremities to cool off your core organs. Finally, you sweat as a cooling mechanism.

In a medical-grade infrared sauna, the ceramic elements emit heat in the infrared spectrum (below red-hot, like the elements in a high-temperature sauna). Your body loves this heat. Humans absorb heat in the infrared spectrum, like the sun’s heat, naturally and very efficiently. We’ve been absorbing heat like this all of the time. Your skin absorbs the heat naturally and quickly and the sweat glands just under the surface activate and start pushing out sweat without causing your heart to race, or your blood temperature to rise. It’s a much lower-stress way to detox.

Being able to sit inside without feeling a burning sensation in your lungs or on your skin has opened up the world of saunas to so many people and made infrared saunas a growing popular choice across North America today.

Where did the original saunas come from?

For thousands of years, humans have relied on artificially heated environments as a weekly or even daily method of cleaning themselves. Native North Americans say that from the beginning of time they have been employing the “sweat lodge” by heating rocks that are placed inside a small tent with a very low ceiling while people sit in a circle around the rocks and pray. The rocks are called the “grandfathers” which is part of the system that honours their ancestors and combines the physical with the spiritual in a sweat lodge ceremony.

There are many historical drawings that pre-date photography depicting saunas, steam rooms and hot baths going back centuries. They were used by advanced cultures including the Greeks and the Romans as a central part of the mind, body, and spiritual and social wellness. We’ve been spending time in saunas for a long time.

How did the modern sauna come to be?

In 1893, at the famous Chicago World’s Fair attended by the competing geniuses Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg also introduced an “electric light bath”. 

Dr. Kellogg was one of the first environmental physicians who promoted excellent health as a daily approach to avoiding disease. His inventions were not limited to Corn Flakes (but yes, Corn Flakes). He developed an electric light heated room for people to sit in and enjoy a “light bath”.  He also recommended reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption and getting regular exercise. He was clearly ahead of his time.

The use of infrared heat was refined decades later in Japan during the 1970s to keep newborns warm without stifling them with blankets. The Japanese had used thin ceramic tiles in windows to heat people using the sun through a south-facing ceramic window.
They developed ceramic heating systems for babies because humans absorb infrared heat which is reflected by ceramic, just like beach sand. The other thing that reflects infrared heat is humans, ie. mothers. So the babies would feel the infrared heat just like heat from their mother, or heat from being in utero while laying almost naked under an infrared heat lamp.

This technology is still used today in all northern climates throughout North America, Europe and Asia, in all hospitals where children are born.  

Why are far infrared saunas so popular now?

In the 1990s, the Mayo clinic in the United States began publishing the novel work of doctors treating heart patients by inducing sweating once a day. They used ceramic elements in a sauna room to create mild infrared heat. The study participants were “end-stage” heart patients. This meant they could not tolerate extreme heat. The ceramic heaters coaxed a profuse sweat without raising their core temperature and triggering their heart response. The results were almost miraculous. All participants improved and reversed their decline. Since this type of sauna does not require plumbing or ventilation, it was easy to adopt for household use.
The ceramic heating elements work by emitting the same heat that beach sand emits on your feet when you walk on it. Water absorbs heat at the same frequency that sand reflects heat. Ceramic is made of sand, and people are made of water, so it’s a perfect combination. You sweat over time, without raising your blood temperature. It means that you can recover quickly and won’t feel overheated for hours after leaving the sauna.

What is a near infrared sauna?

In the early 2000s scientists observed that frequencies generated in the near infrared range had some effect on cellular regeneration. It is possible that this has added to the “healing effect” observed in those 1990 studies at the Mayo Clinic, but these are recent observations and not much is yet known about it. It is known that the more natural elements such as ceramic will emit a natural full spectrum of infrared heat in the near, mid and far infrared ranges. This all happens simultaneously as, according to the laws of physics, multiple wavelengths are emitted from a single object at the same time.

In 2013 Professor Gerald Pollack from the University of Washington wrote a groundbreaking book called The Fourth Phase of Water. In it, he documented a previously unrecognized phase of water, beyond liquid, solid, or vapour. Professor Pollack is the founder of the Scientific Journal of Water and is considered a world expert on the subject. In a short section, almost a footnote, he isolated the most potentially activating frequency for water as being in the near infrared range of the sun’s heat spectrum. It was a small note in a much larger discovery, but it advanced the scientific knowledge of heat on humans (water), and further explained the gentle power of infrared saunas.

Being in a ceramic-heated medical-grade sauna feels like being at the beach, absorbing the heat of the sun. It has all of the goodness and none of the danger from Ultra Violet (UV) light. Infrared saunas emit zero UV light. 

What is a far infrared sauna good for?

Infrared saunas allow people to expose themselves to gentle healing infrared heat and coax a detoxifying sweat without raising their core body temperature. The heaters slowly warm your skin just enough to make you sweat, but don’t overheat your lungs or cause heat stress.

What is far infrared heating?

Infrared heat is a welcoming feeling. Red hot is too hot. But “infra” red means “below” red. Meaning it’s less than red hot. Instead of being a repulsive heat, it is an inviting heat. Like being in a greenhouse in springtime. Infrared heat is naturally emitted by sand and when duplicated with ceramic heating elements it can feel just like being at the beach.

What is far infrared therapy?

“Therapy” is a term for anything that makes you feel better. Being exposed to infrared heat in an enclosed environment will cause you to sweat. Human sweat is shown to contain particles of modern chemicals such as heavy metals, plasticizers and flame retardants. By sweating in infrared heat, without raising your core blood temperature, you are excreting these minute particles of toxins without stressing your heart.

What infrared sauna is best?

Infrared saunas are small and most unfortunately contain modern building materials with glues and toxic finishes. The best-infrared sauna is one made with non-toxic and natural materials.

Is an infrared sauna better than any other kind of sauna?

Sweat is the main goal of saunas. Infrared saunas make you sweat with the minimal side effects of overheating.  You can sweat profusely without raising your core temp which means it is little or no recovery time waiting for your body to “cool down”.

Can you make me a custom infrared sauna?

Many people are now designing custom home infrared saunas as part of their wellness and longevity strategy in their daily lives. You can have diffuse elegant lighting and even Himalayan salt walls or lighting panels. 

How does an infrared sauna work?

Sand reflects heat at the same frequency that water absorbs heat. The wavelength is between 8-10 microns. Ceramic elements contain a majority of silica or sand.  Humans are mostly water. So the effect in the medical grade infrared saunas is one of sand and water, the most natural and gentle transfer of heat possible. That’s why it feels so good. That’s why it works so well. It’s invented by nature.

How hot does an infrared sauna get?

A good infrared sauna will not overheat your lungs. Ideally, you go inside when it’s only 25-28C (77-83F) and let the heat slowly rise while you sit inside. That way your body adapts to the rising heat. Once you start sweating, around the 37C mark (98.6F), you only need to stay inside a little while longer. Most people come out between 42-50C (108-122F).

Are infrared saunas safe for people?

A well-made medical-grade infrared sauna is by far the safest type of sauna for anyone. The reason is you can breathe normally, and in a good one, you will have a ventilating window so even heat-sensitive people can breath normally while coaxing a detoxifying sweat.

Are infrared saunas fire safe?

Not all infrared saunas are made equally. Saunas built in your own country or on your own continent are always electrically adaptable and safer. Saunas imported across continents have been known to fail or even catch fire due to electrical failures and non-compliance.

Who should not use a far infrared sauna?

It is always a caution for a pregnant woman with saunas. Raising the core body temperature of a woman, especially in the first trimester can have a permanent negative effect on fetal brain development.

Anyone advised against entering a low-heat infrared sauna by a medical professional should also take caution.

However, many people in typically weakened states such as cardiac illness, diabetes or even Multiple Sclerosis have reported they can tolerate the gentle heat of a medical grade sauna, as long as they do it under a doctor’s guidance and maintain ample fresh air ventilation into the cabin.

Does infrared sauna have radiation?

Infrared saunas “radiate” heat. They do not emit “radioactivity.” Nor do they emit microwave radiation.

Infrared radiant heat is as simple as heating ceramic plates with an electrical filament similar to a light bulb. The ceramic plate is similar to the ceramic you ate your breakfast off this morning.

How do I purchase my infrared sauna?

Beware of online purchases and automated shopping carts. An infrared sauna is a major purchase. Make sure you can call the company and talk to a representative who will ensure your specific needs are being met.

How long will it take to deliver the sauna after purchasing?

It Varies depending on the time of year between 1 week and 6 weeks.

Are far infrared saunas expensive to run?

Infrared saunas are the cheapest saunas to run because they will plug into the wall like a hairdryer and draw less than 15 amps. They cost between 20-30 cents an hour to operate.

What is the maintenance for an infrared sauna?

If you sit on a towel while you’re using it, place a towel on the floor, and wipe off your sweat with another towel. You should never have to clean your saunas. Just wash the towels between sessions.

How much electricity does an FIR sauna use on average?

Far infrared saunas use only 10-20 AMPs depending on their size.

Can you use plywood in a sauna?

It’s a bad idea to use plywood of any type in a sauna. Plywood contains formaldehyde glue which will become volatile when the sauna heats up and turn into formaldehyde gas.

What type of wood are saunas made from?

The best medical-grade infrared saunas are made from Basswood.

High heat saunas are made from cedar to withstand the water and steam moisture. Cheaper infrared saunas are imported using cedar to mimic the old type of saunas, but cedar is far too aromatic for this type of small sauna which sits inside bedrooms, exercise rooms and common areas of the home.

Are Infrared saunas made of toxins?

SaunaRay infrared saunas are carefully made without toxins. Many imported saunas are built with plywood and carbon fiber heaters that are made from composite chemicals from the floor heating industry.

What is the best heater for a far infrared sauna?

Ceramic elements are the most superior heaters for people inside an infrared sauna. Human skin absorbs heat from ceramic effortlessly and therefore you need very little heat to coax a sweat. Ceramic elements provide the most enjoyable and effective experience inside an infrared sauna.

How to measure my space for an infrared sauna?

Consider how many people will use it at once. A one-person sauna can sit on a 3×3’ square. For two people you need only a 4×3’ rectangle.

Is a far infrared sauna hard to build?

Modern infrared saunas are collapsible and can be installed in any home by any two people in under an hour.

What do you need for an infrared sauna?

Infrared saunas will sit on any floor surface. Many saunas will plug into any existing household outlet.

What kind of electricity do I need for my FIR sauna?

Most infrared saunas will plug into any existing household outlet. Some bigger ones need a special 220-volt outlet. Check with your sauna supplier for this information.

Can you just plug in an infrared sauna?

Many smaller one-person saunas and two-person saunas will simply plug into any household outlet.

Does an infrared sauna plug into an outlet?

All portable infrared saunas will plug into an outlet. That outlet will vary depending on the size and origin of the sauna. But an outlet is definitely needed.

What kind of outlet does my FIR sauna plug into?

An SR1 and SR2 SaunaRay will plug into any household outlet. The larger SR3, SR4 and SRXL units require a larger four-prong 220-volt outlet.

How long does it take to put together?

A strong person could install most infrared saunas alone. But two people can do it much more easily if they work together.

How many people do I need to put together my Infrared sauna?

Any two people can normally install an infrared sauna in under an hour.

How long will installation take?

Usually one hour.

Do I have to be there for installation?

You can install it yourself! Even if guiding others, it is best to be present to ensure it is installed in the correct location.

How much amperage does the sauna use?

Most infrared saunas draw from 10-15 amps.

Will I need an electrician to install power for the sauna?

If you order a larger infrared sauna like a SaunaRay SR3 or SR4, you will need a special 220-volt outlet to be installed. Normally this is done by an electrician.

How is an FIR sauna heated?

Ceramic elements emit heat in the infrared spectrum and cause your skin to warm gently but powerfully enough to start sweating.

What is far infrared heat?

“Infrared” simply means “below” red. That means it doesn’t get red hot, or too hot to be near. There are three measured ranges of infrared heat. Those ranges are referred to as the near, mid and far end of the spectrum. The far end of the spectrum is the furthest away from visible light. Far infrared is the range in which humans naturally absorb heat from the sun, which means we absorb it effortlessly and can sweat quickly and easily when exposed to it.

You can experience this in winter by sitting on the floor in front of a south-facing window. The window will be cold, but the floor will be hot. That’s because glass is made from silica and this concentrates far infrared heat through the glass. It’s that natural. Your pets even love it.

What is an EMF far infrared sauna?

EMF is a short form for “Electro-Magnetic-Field”. It refers to the energy emitted by heaters or electrical systems inside infrared saunas. It became an issue in the last decade when saunas imported from Asian countries were found to emit harmful levels of EMF due to poor wiring or incompatibility with the North American electrical system.

What is a low EMF far infrared sauna?

Low EMF simply means the sauna does not emit a harmful level of electro magnetic field. This is usually found in north American-made products because the sauna is built to comply with North American electrical codes and grids. SaunaRay saunas are low EMF far infrared saunas.

What does low EMF far infrared mean?

Infrared saunas with low EMF, simply mean that the sauna’s heating system does not carry with it inadvertent harm from electrical or magnetic fields emitted by its heaters.

What is far infrared sauna used/good for

Far infrared saunas are used to coax a profuse sweat without raising the body’s core temperature or otherwise stressing the person’s cardiac system.

What is the difference between an FIR sauna and a regular sauna?

“Regular” or European style saunas will superheat the room to 80-90C (175-195F) so that your lungs overheat and your heart starts pumping faster as a heat response.

Infrared saunas don’t have to overheat the air. They instead gently heat your skin and coax a sweat by warming you over time, instead of superheating you like a shock.

What is the difference between near and far infrared sauna?

There is very little difference in the near and far infrared when it comes to saunas. The size of the wavelengths is so close that most if not all saunas will emit near and far infrared simultaneously. Far infrared is the spectrum where humans most easily sweat. Near infrared has been observed to exhibit some cellular healing properties in addition to sweating.

What is better – a near or far infrared sauna?

Ideally, both are present in the same sauna, as they are in SaunaRay products.

How many people fit in the “1-person sauna”?

One regular-sized person will fit into the one-person sauna.

What size should a sauna be?

A sauna should be the right size for your needs. If two people are using it then a Two Person sauna is best.

How big is an FIR sauna?

Infrared saunas range in size, from 3×3’ on-person units to 6×8’ 6-8 person units.

How big of an FIR sauna should I get?

It is best to get a sauna slightly larger than you think you need. Even if one person is commonly using it, a two-person is a good idea. If two people are using it all the time, then a three or a four person is sometimes advised.

Does an infrared sauna feel hot?

Infrared saunas should be entered when they are gently warm, like being outside on a warm day. Over time they will get hot, like being outside on a hot day. Up to 40C (104F) or hotter. SaunaRay units will go up well past 50C (122F) but it is not tolerable to most people because the medical grade ceramic elements cause you to absorb heat so efficiently that it feels much hotter than it is.

How long does an infrared sauna session take?

Most people can get in and out of their infrared sauna in 45 minutes. That means 10-15 minutes pre-heating and about 30 minutes. Some take a shorter session. Some take longer. Your body will tell you when you’ve had enough.

How often can you use a far infrared sauna?

Ideally 4-7 times a week will make you feel well. But even if you use it once a week you will enjoy the benefits.

Does an infrared sauna use water?

Infrared saunas do not use water and as such require no drains or vents. They can sit on any floor surface and plug into any outlet.

How do I clean my infrared sauna?

Always sit on a towel when using your sauna. Also, place a towel on the floor and anywhere between you and the wood. If you wipe off the sweat with a towel then you will almost never need to clean it. Wash all those towels between sauna sessions and your infrared sauna should stay looking new for years to come.

What do I do if I move?

Most infrared saunas are portable and can be disassembled and moved in a mini van or a pickup truck, or even a small trailer.

Does a far infrared sauna add value to my home?

Many people receive offers on their homes conditional on the infrared sauna staying behind as part of the deal. They are definitely an asset to any home, and if a new buyer doesn’t want it, they can easily move with you to the next home. They are a lifetime investment in your health.

In Summary

The radiant heat from ceramic heated infrared saunas has revolutionized the sauna world. Any historic home or modern condo can easily add a sauna in any room. They are gentler, safer and cheaper than traditional saunas. High-quality medical-grade infrared saunas are the most effective and provide the best long-term value. If you’d like to learn more about our infrared saunas, we’re more than happy to speak with you and help you make the right decision for your home and the people in it.