What Does An Infrared Sauna Feel Like? (Expectation vs Reality)

If you haven’t ever used an infrared sauna, you may wonder what it feels like. Even if you’ve used a traditional sauna, the unique mechanisms of infrared saunas make them a mystery to newcomers. Luckily, we have some answers for you!

An infrared sauna feels hot, but the heat is typically not unbearable. An infrared sauna warms up your body from the inside out instead of warming the air around you. Temperatures will range from 120 to 140 degrees F. Users typically feel energized and relaxed after a sauna session.

Read on to learn all about using an infrared sauna!

What to expect in an infrared sauna session

what to expect in an infrared sauna

You may be nervous when going to the infrared sauna for the first time. Most people feel anxious when trying something new! Let’s talk about what to expect in an infrared sauna session to calm some of those nerves.

In an infrared sauna session, you will feel like you’re being heated from the inside out. Infrared saunas work by heating you internally rather than heating the external air around you. The infrared rays penetrate deep into your body for this effect.

Think of the feeling of drinking a warm cup of tea and how it heats your insides. Now intensify that feeling and spread it to the rest of your body.

Many people opt for an infrared sauna because they don’t like the extremely high temperatures of other saunas. Others believe that infrared saunas are more potent or have more health benefits due to their unique mechanism. (Whether that’s true or not is up for debate and hasn’t been widely studied).

Work up to using the infrared sauna three times a week for 30 minutes per session, and follow proper sauna etiquette to keep yourself and others comfortable! 

Would you feel hot in an infrared sauna?

You already know that saunas feel hot. But how hot exactly?

You feel hot in an infrared sauna but not as hot as in a traditional dry sauna or steam room. Infrared saunas range from 120 degrees to 140 degrees F. Steam rooms are only about 110 degrees F, but the 100% humidity makes the real-feel much higher. Lastly, traditional dry saunas max out at a whopping 195 degrees F!

Infrared saunas reach a temperature of 120 degrees F to 140 degrees F. Compare that to a hot summer day of 90 degrees or even 105. That’s mighty hot!

Meanwhile, steam rooms sit at around 110 degrees F. That said, they have a humidity of 100%. High humidity increases how hot we perceive our surroundings to be, so the real feel of steam rooms is higher than their actual temperature. A temperature of 110 with 50% humidity would feel like 151 degrees, so you can only imagine how hot a steam room feels!

Lastly, the traditional dry sauna reaches a maximum temperature of 195 degrees F. And that’s just in the United States! Other countries even push it to 212 degrees F. 

So let’s put all this information together. Traditional dry saunas are the hottest. Steam rooms have the lowest temperature but a high real feel. Lastly, infrared saunas are your best choice if you don’t enjoy extreme heat.

How does an infrared sauna make you feel?

So now that we’ve gone over what to expect and how hot infrared saunas are let’s talk about how infrared saunas make you feel.

Infrared saunas can make you feel energized and relaxed. You may also experience a reduction in muscle tension and a boosted mood. After the session, you should feel calm but alert.

Infrared saunas can make you feel:

After the sauna, you should feel a sort of peaceful energy. You will also likely feel thirsty.

As you may imagine, using the sauna has many potential health benefits. It can even result in a longer life!

You should stay in the infrared sauna for at least 20 minutes to reap the most possible benefits.

More on that in the next section!

Other potential benefits of infrared sauna

There are plenty of benefits to infrared sauna bathing besides immediate good feelings!

Potential benefits of infrared sauna include weight loss, detoxification, increased blood circulation, and the promotion of a healthy immune system.

Infrared saunas can promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism. The higher your BMI is, to begin with, the more weight you can lose in the sauna.

Infrared saunas can help you detoxify your body through sweat. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury can all be found in your sweat! You definitely don’t want those inside your body.

Infrared saunas can boost blood circulation by expanding blood vessels. They also support a healthy immune system by increasing white blood cell production.

Potential risks of infrared sauna

girl feeling some of the risks of using infrared sauna

If you use an infrared sauna, it’s essential to know the potential risks so you can avoid them.

Potential risks of infrared sauna include dehydration, passing out, headaches, dry skin, and harm to your bodily systems. All of these risks can be avoided by following proper sauna precautions.

Potential risks of infrared sauna include:

  • Dehydration
  • Passing out
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Too much infrared exposure can hurt your bodily systems

These risks can be avoided if you drink enough water, work up to 30-minute sessions slowly, and don’t exceed the maximum recommended usage.


Saunas can be incredibly dangerous if you’re not hydrated. The extreme heat makes you sweat out electrolytes, which are vital for cell function.

Passing out

Passing out goes hand-in-hand with dehydration. Extreme dehydration can lead to loss of consciousness. In addition, you may be more prone to passing out if you immediately try to stay in for 30 minutes instead of slowly working your way up to that goal.


Although not as extreme as passing out, headaches result from dehydration. If you’re dehydrated, it’s already too late. You need to hydrate before you hop into the sauna, not just after.

Dry skin

Using the sauna too much can result in dry skin and other skin conditions.

Too much infrared exposure can hurt your bodily systems

Excess infrared-light exposure can inhibit your bodily systems. That’s a huge deal! 

It’s imperative to stick to the recommended infrared sauna usage, as mentioned earlier: 3 times a week for 30 minutes a session.