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Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Sauna: We Break It Down

So, what exactly is the difference between an Infrared Sauna and Traditional Sauna?

On the surface level comparison, it’s easy to notice that Perspire is not your average community gym Sauna. It’s not as humid and there is no one else perspiring in your personal space unless you book a session together.

So, what are those little differences that add up to the elevated sauna experience that is Perspire? Here’s what you should know:

Finnish Saunas, which are often referred to as traditional or regular saunas, can typically be found in a gym or community spa. They are mostly made of cedar and are heated by fire, gas, or most commonly, electricity and can be dark and dingy.

An infrared sauna is made of cedar and glass and the temperature can be regulated by a controllable thermostat. The heat is created by infrared lamps (that use electromagnetic radiation) to warm the body directly. Learn more about how infrared sauna works. The use of infrared saunas was not very common (prior to Perspire Sauna Studio opening to the public in 2010 — a history lesson on that in a later post). If you wanted to use an infrared sauna before 2010, a session would most routinely take place in a doctor’s office.


Traditional saunas are very humid. These types of saunas utilize great quantities of steam and heat to warm the air/room to create a sauna effect. Most experts recommend the temperature of traditional saunas to be between 180 and 190 degrees. Throw in a serious dose of humidity and this sauna environment can be quite unmanageable. It’s also why it’s encouraged that it be used 10-15 mins at a time, then stepping out or doing a cold plunge and then going back in for another 10-15 mins.

Infrared saunas on the other hand, only change air temperature a few degrees because the human body is absorbing the heat at an infrared wavelength. Thus heating the body from the inside out. The best way to break this down is to compare it to laying on a beautiful warm beach. That’s exactly how it feels in an infrared sauna. A gradual rise in core body temperature and then bam, sweat! No humidity or high temps here. A cool 110 degrees to 150 degrees is the ideal temp of an infrared sauna suite. Don’t be fooled by the lower temp though. You will still experience a very cleansing and clean sweat in one.


But hey, the excessive heat and humidity of a traditional sauna triggers profuse sweating, which further triggers detoxification and weight loss. All good things—but keep reading.

An infrared sauna works in the same way except with invisible infrared light waves that non-invasively penetrate the body to raise the core temperature from within. These waves are totally safe, and measure from 6 to 12 microns in wavelength, ideal for absorption by the body. Additionally, infrared saunas are more efficient at warming the muscles and joints of the body because it’s heating it from the inside out, alleviating tension and pain naturally.

The deep penetration of infrared heat activates and releases debris from the subcutaneous fat just beneath the skin. It also allows the body to gradually free stored toxins from organs and tissues, which eventually make their way to the fat tissue under the skin, finally to be purged through perspiration. (1)

Dr. Aundrea Adams of the International Institute of Holistic Healing compared the detoxification findings of the two sauna types.

Dr. Adams summarizes a report which concludes that sweat from a traditional sauna was up to 97% water, while the sweat released in an infrared sauna was only 80 – 85% water. The remaining 15 – 20% was comprised of heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins. (2)



Because traditional saunas utilize massive amounts of steam and heat to create the sauna effect. It can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and mold, all of which pose a greater risk to us for infections and illnesses.

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, are a completely dry sauna. Specifically, Perspire Infrared Saunas are naturally antibacterial, antifungal and the cedar used in our saunas are naturally antimicrobial.

Studies have shown that an infrared sauna can actually reduce the level of surface contaminants on the sauna bather’s skin while clearing up blemishes and improving overall complexion. Gotta love that! Read more about the benefits of infrared sauna.

At The End of the Day

A good sweat and increase in endorphins are all we are really after right? Yeah, but no. Our sweat can be healing, helpful and insanely beneficial for our bodies (and minds!). At Perspire Sauna Studio, it’s always been more than sweat—it’s Perspire.

A clean, detoxifying sweat session that helps you heal from the inside out. There are many benefits of infrared saunas. From improved sleep to clearing of skin, to burning real calories, easing pain, boosting immunity and more, Perspire has elevated the sauna to an experience that transforms the mind, body and spirit.

  • Rogers, M.D., Sherry A.: Detoxify Or Die. Sarasota, FL: Sand Key Company, Inc., pgs. 199-200; 206-13, 2002
<span class="auth">author</span><br>Raquel Dorsey

Raquel Dorsey

Raquel is a long time Perspire team member and IR sauna fanatic. Her fav infrared benefit: Skin Health (hello glow!) She's an avid writer and loves all things social. She dreams of working from wifi on a warm island with her two boys and husband.


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