If you’re a sauna buff, you’ve likely heard about sauna blankets. You may be wondering, is there any merit to this new craze? Should I really drop $500 just to lie in what seems to be a heated sleeping bag?
A sauna blanket is a portable sauna device that uses infrared rays to heat you from the inside out. They look like sleeping bags and are made out of polyurethane cotton. They are proven to trigger your metabolism, help you detoxify your body through your sweat, induce relaxation, and improve blood circulation.
Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of sauna blankets, what they are, how they work, and how to use them!
What exactly is a sauna blanket?
The idea of a sauna blanket is as strange as it is appealing. What are they exactly?
A sauna blanket is a portable sauna device. Temperatures of infrared sauna blankets range between 120 and 140°F. They look a lot like sleeping bags, with your head being the only part of your body that’s not enclosed and tend to be made of polyurethane cotton.
John Harvey Kellogg invented the infrared sauna in 1891. He called them Incandescent Light Baths and they were structures heated with exposed lightbulbs. He displayed his invention at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago.
A Japanese doctor got the first patent for infrared saunas using far-infrared wavelengths in 1965, and in 1979 the very first broad-spectrum infrared saunas made their way to the US.
It’s unclear who invented the first infrared sauna blanket, but they are a continuation of perpetual invention in the sauna world to bring the best results possible to sauna users.
Do sauna blankets really work?
Just like the infrared saunas they’re inspired by, sauna blankets have been scientifically proven to have many benefits.
Infrared sauna blankets trigger your metabolism, induce detox via sweat, help you relax, and improve blood circulation.
Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury can all be found in sweat. Whew, you don’t want those in your body!
Additionally, relaxation affects other processes in your body such as oxygen consumption, heart rate, and blood pressure. Relaxation-response techniques can even reduce your need for health care services by 43 percent!
More research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms of action that take place during infrared sauna sessions.
I personally own and can highly recommend the HigherDOSE sauna blanket and can definitely attest to the power of these products – you WILL be sweating by the end of the session! Plus, if you use my coupon code “saunahelper” you can save 15%!!
The HigherDOSE sauna blanket increases the body’s thermal energy and promotes a temporary increase in blood flow that can produce sweat and help burn calories.
Use coupon code "saunahelper" at HigherDOSE.com for 15% off!!
What does a sauna blanket do?
Okay, now that you know a little bit about sauna blankets, let’s talk about what they do exactly.
Sauna blankets use infrared heat to increase your internal body temperature while trapping the heat in around you. There is a carbon fiber heating element inside the walls of the sauna blanket that generates infrared light energy.
The polyurethane of the sauna blanket is waterproof and protects the blanket from water damage, while the cotton is fire resistant and inhibits the blanket from directly touching the carbon fiber heating element or catching fire.
How does a sauna blanket heat your body?
Sauna blankets heat your body a little differently than other types of saunas.
Sauna blankets heat your body by using infrared rays, which heat your body from the inside out instead of by heating up the air around your body. For instance, the higherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket I mentioned above has one heating zone with eight different heat levels and a low electric magnetic field.
Contrasting against a traditional sauna, which heats the air around you, or a steam room that heats you up with hot steam, sauna blankets heat you from the inside out by penetrating your body with infrared rays. This is similar to the way an infrared sauna works.
Can you lose weight in a sauna blanket?
Lots of people claim that you can lose weight by using a sauna. Can you reap the same benefits by using a sauna blanket?
Sauna blankets can help you lose weight by helping you burn about 50% more calories than you would at rest because saunas temporarily boost your metabolism. The exact number depends on many factors such as your weight and gender. You will also lose water weight from sweating, so if you have a weigh-in it can temporarily lower your water weight.
When you’re exposed to infrared light, your heart rate increases the same amount that it does while walking for about half an hour.
To find out how many calories you’ll burn in a sauna blanket, determine your baseline caloric burn and multiply it by 1.5.
How to use a sauna blanket
Now that you know all about what a sauna blanket is and how they work, let’s talk about how to use one!
To use a sauna blanket, wear a long-sleeve cotton shirt, cotton sweatpants, and cotton socks. Prepare water, timers, and your phone next to the blanket. Set up some aromatherapy to enhance your session. Warm up your blanket. Lie down and relax in your blanket, and adjust the temperature as needed. Lastly, get out and replenish your electrolytes!
Now that you have the rundown, it’s time to go into more detail on all the steps of using a sauna blanket.
The first step to using a sauna blanket is getting dressed appropriately!
To get dressed for a sauna blanket, put on a lightweight long-sleeve cotton shirt, lightweight cotton sweatpants, and cotton socks.
It may seem strange to cover up so much, but it’s important to avoid getting your sauna blanket sweaty so that you’re not sitting in sweat and cleanup isn’t a hassle. Be sure not to wear anything that is too heavy in weight or made of synthetic materials.
Prepare water, timers, and phone
It’s important to make sure everything is in place before starting your sauna blanket session.
When preparing to use a sauna blanket, keep a few water bottles nearby. In addition, have a timer ready to turn on when you enter your blanket. You can work your way up to 30-minute sessions over time. Lastly, keep your phone next to you.
All of these things are safety precautions and are vital to safely enjoy your sauna blanket.
Set up essential oils
Do you think that aromatherapy is a pseudoscience? Think again! Setting the mood can make a huge difference in the quality of your sauna blanket session.
Including aromatherapy in your sauna blanket session can add extra benefits such as improved breathing, mood boosts, better sleep, and increased relaxation.
Aromatherapy is proven to have many scientifically-backed health benefits.
Here are some ways aromatherapy affects your body:
- Relaxation is induced by increased theta and alpha wave activity.
- Decreased alpha activity and increased delta activity in your brain ushers in better sleep.
- Relaxing your windpipe muscles opens up your respiratory tract.
- The smell of essential oils makes you feel more content.
This particular aromatherapy kit includes a Himalayan pink salt diffuser along with 10 different essential oils to mix and match!
Very cool ultrasonic diffusion paired with hand-carved pink Himalayan salt crystals and a variety of essential oils to choose.
Also includes ambient lighting!
Warm up your blanket
Now that everything is prepared, it’s time to warm up your blanket.
Set your sauna blanket to the desired temperature and wait about five minutes for it to warm up. Most sauna blankets operate at around 120-140°F. Start on the lower end for your first few sessions until you find a temperature that feels good to you.
It takes most sauna blankets about five minutes to warm up. Some people like to get in their sauna blanket before it’s warmed up and warm up along with it, while others like to wait for it to be fully heated before entering. It’s really a personal preference.
Lie down and relax
Finally, everything is ready to go.
Now you can hop in your sauna blanket! Lie down and relax. You may be tempted to read a book or watch TV since you’re in the comfort of your own bed. You can try this, but most people report having the best experience when they just lie with their thoughts.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! It’s finally time to enjoy your sauna blanket and reap its benefits.
Adjust the temperature as needed
An important aspect of a safe, enjoyable, successful sauna blanket session is adjusting the temperature as you go.
Getting a little toasty? Or want to turn the heat up a notch? Feel free to adjust the temperature of your sauna blanket throughout your session.
Don’t be scared to adjust the temperature of your blanket throughout your session. Just because something felt good yesterday doesn’t mean it will still feel good today!
The goal is to sweat enough to get detoxifying benefits without feeling too uncomfortable or overheating.
Get out and replenish your electrolytes
Safety should always be the number one priority when using a sauna, and what you choose to do post-session has a large impact on keeping you safe.
It’s important to replenish your electrolytes after a sauna blanket session because you lose electrolytes when you sweat. Some electrolytes that you lose include sodium, calcium, and potassium. Coconut water is a great way to replenish your sodium and potassium levels.
Other great options of electrolyte-rich post-sauna snacks include:
- Yogurt – Calcium
- Bananas – Potassium
- Potatoes – Potassium
- Watermelon – Potassium
- Avocado – Potassium
- Pickle juice – Sodium and potassium
What should you wear in a sauna blanket?
Sauna blanket attire differs from what you wear in traditional saunas.
In a sauna blanket you should wear a lightweight long-sleeved cotton shirt, lightweight cotton sweatpants, and cotton socks. These articles of clothing will help wick away sweat, keep your sauna blanket clean, and keep you from overheating.
It would be a bad idea to go naked in your sauna blanket because it would be a nightmare to clean up, as well as uncomfortable to sit in your sweat.