You love the idea of an at-home sauna, but installing the whole thing isn’t practical. Is a sauna blanket a safe alternative?
Sauna blankets are safe to use as long as you follow basic health and safety guidelines. As with any time you enter a sauna, you should be well-hydrated and limit your session to the recommended length and frequency – in this case, 30 minutes at a time 3-4 times a week. Consult the manufacturer’s directions for specific safety instructions.
Keep reading to learn more about the sauna blanket and what makes it a safe choice for your home.
How safe is a sauna blanket?
Sauna blankets are a great solution for anyone who doesn’t have the space for a full-size sauna or who wants to save up money to purchase one. Sauna blankets provide many of the same benefits as spa saunas or home-based indoor or outdoor saunas.
Sauna blankets are a safe choice that provides many of the same benefits as a full-size spa or in-home sauna. While they may seem more dangerous because of how close the source of infrared radiation is to your skin, the primary safety concerns of a sauna blanket are exactly the same as any other sauna: dehydration and session length.
Infrared sauna blankets are typically made of fireproof polyurethane cotton (so you don’t have to worry about yours catching fire from the heat!). They emit infrared rays to warm up the user’s body instead of the surrounding air.
The direct heat and infrared radiation from the sauna blanket are not an additional concern because they are designed for close contact and will automatically shut off before they become dangerously hot.
Overall, a sauna blanket is neither safer nor more dangerous than a traditional sauna. As with these, you should avoid using the sauna blanket if you have a fever or an open wound, as the extreme heat can worsen them.
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Potential risks of using a sauna blanket
While they are not (in my estimation) excessively dangerous, some risks are associated with sauna blanket use.
Potential risks of using a sauna blanket include:
- Dehydration – As with any other type of sauna, the heat causes intense perspiration. While the detoxifying effects of all this sweating are one of the reasons people choose saunas to start with, you may become dehydrated very quickly if you haven’t had enough water to drink beforehand. Be sure to rehydrate immediately after you finish as well.
- Overheating – Spending too much time in the sauna blanket or starting your session dehydrated can lead to overheating, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Always limit your sauna blanket time to the recommended length, and end your session immediately if you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous.
- EMF exposure – High EMF exposure may cause damage to human DNA and cells. However, this is not a concern with sauna blankets are they are classified as low-EMF – the same as most small home appliances – and are generally considered harmless.
What are some tips for using a sauna blanket safely?
Sauna blankets are typically safe, but there are certain things you should do to ensure that everything goes well during your time.
To use a sauna blanket safely, you should:
- Hydrate beforehand
- Dress properly
- Start gradually
- Limit your sessions
- Have entertainment nearby
- Make it a routine
Let’s look at each of these in detail so you’re ready for your first sauna blanket session.
Your plan to sweat out your stress will go out the window if you get into the blanket and find out your body is low on fluids.
Before entering the sauna blanket, make sure you’re properly hydrated. This usually means drinking an extra glass of water beforehand, but your mileage may vary. If you feel like that isn’t enough, drink a little more next time.
Avoid alcoholic drinks immediately before your session since they tend to dehydrate you.
Let’s be honest – it’s your personal sauna blanket and you’ve been tempted to wear your birthday suit, right? Don’t do it.
You want to wear a lightweight long-sleeve cotton shirt, lightweight cotton sweatpants, and cotton socks. These clothes will keep you from overheating while not leaving you in a pool of sweat by the end of your session.
Even better, the lack of sweat coating your sauna blanket inside will make it much easier to keep clean.
It may be tempting to go straight into a full-length session in your sauna blanket, especially if you consider yourself a sauna pro, but you’re better off taking it slow.
The first time or two that you use your sauna blanket, you should aim for 20-minute sessions. Once you’re comfortable with these, you can increase your time to 45-60 minutes.
You’re not wrong if you think that seems long compared to a standard infrared sauna.
Limit your sessions
Most sauna blanket manufacturers advertise that you can use their products every day, but you’re better off setting up a schedule.
Although it is possible to use your sauna blanket daily, 3-4 times a week is the best schedule for fat loss, improved cardiovascular function, and improved circulation.
No matter how many days a week you choose to use your sauna blanket, never use it more than once a day.
Have entertainment nearby
One of the downsides of using a sauna blanket instead of visiting a more traditional sauna is that you lose the ambiance. Without the relaxing atmosphere, it’s possible to get bored just staring at your bedroom wall for 45 minutes.
A book, music, or movie will make sweating bearable when you have something to distract you.
Even if you don’t think you’ll use them, have them close to you in case you change your mind.
Once you finish your time in the sauna blanket, you’ll want to rehydrate immediately.
Instead of drinking plain water, replenish some of the electrolytes you sweated out, including sodium, calcium, and potassium. Coconut water is a great way to replenish your sodium and potassium levels.
Some great electrolyte-rich snacks include yogurt, watermelon, avocado, and bananas.
Make it a routine
Use your sauna blanket often and form a routine.
Regular use of your blanket will help your cardiovascular health.
Other potential long-term benefits of sauna blanket use include reducing pain in the joints and muscles and better sleep.
How long should you lay in a sauna blanket?
Most sauna blankets have an average temperate range of 60-170°F. Given the extreme heat possible, how long should you spend in the sauna blanket?
Inexperienced sauna blanket users should start with 20-minutes sessions. Once you’re more experienced, aim for 45-50 minutes to see the most benefits.
Do not exceed the recommended time in the sauna blanket to avoid dehydration and overheating.
How often should I use a sauna blanket?
Having your sauna blanket at home instead of the spa can make it much easier to get in your sauna time, but how often should you use it?
Use your sauna blanket 2-3 times a week for best results, preferably every other day.
Overusing your sauna blanket too frequently can make it more difficult for your body to recover between sessions, limiting the benefits you’ll receive.
Can I use a sauna blanket every day?
Most manufacturers note on their websites that sauna blankets are safe for everyday use, but that can actually reduce the efficacy of your sauna session because your body cannot fully recover between uses.
Limit your sauna blanket use to 2-3 times a week for best results.
Are sauna blankets good for you?
Sauna blankets provide most of the same benefits as an infrared sauna, meaning they are very good for you when used properly.
Some of the benefits of sauna blankets are:
- Improved circulation
- Pain reduction
- Sleep management
- Increased metabolism
We’ll get into these benefits more specifically below.
The heat of the sauna blanket causes you to sweat, removing many toxins from your body.
Sweating in the sauna can help remove arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury from your body.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to be well-hydrated before entering the sauna, by the way – otherwise, you’ll be keeping all those toxins in your body while you overheat!
Blood circulation keeps your body healthy and poor circulation can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease and diabetes.
Infrared saunas, such as sauna blankets, expand blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Sauna blankets deliver infrared heat directly into your body and can help lessen pain, especially when used in conjunction with underwater therapy.
Fibromyalgia patients experienced reduced pain when using infrared saunas and exercises in a pool. Others with arthritis and joint pain have also experienced improvement with their sauna blankets.
There is anecdotal evidence that infrared saunas (such as sauna blankets) can actually help you sleep better.
Infrared saunas raise your core body temperature, which in turn regulates blood flow and resting heart rate, improving your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Infrared saunas are a great way to reduce stress and increase metabolism.
When your body heats up, it burns more calories – even when you’re not exercising. When paired properly with exercise, infrared saunas are also a great way to extend your workout.