Why Do You Feel Worse After an Infrared Sauna?

After a long workout, one of the first things you may want to do is relax in an infrared sauna. Instead of feeling relaxed at the end of your session, you instead feel worse after using it. This frequently happens to individuals new to using infrared saunas and diminishes as they become used to it.

It is possible for infrared sauna users to feel worse or nauseous after they leave the sauna session if they stayed in for too long, their body isn’t used to the heat, or they entered the sauna dehydrated which can lead to headaches and temporarily lowered blood pressure.

If you’re curious about why you feel worse after using the sauna. And you want a few tips on how to feel better after using one. Then this is the article for you.

What is an infrared sauna?

Before discussing why you may feel unwell after visiting the sauna let’s find out what an infrared sauna is and how it works. 

Infrared saunas use a combination of visible and invisible infrared wavelengths. The invisible ones are what warms the body, while the visible ones create the light you see. The wavelengths produced by the sauna do not contain the ultraviolet rays the sun does. 

There are three main types of the infrared spectrum. 

  • Near-infrared
  • Mid-infrared
  • Far-infrared
  • Near-infrared is the shortest wavelength and gets below the skin. It helps with joint and muscle pain, improves circulation, increases energy, and detoxifies the body. 
  • Mid Infrared is s longer than the near-infrared and penetrates deeper into the skin. This type of infrared wavelength helps expand blood vessels and increase circulation, which causes more oxygen to enter the bloodstream. The benefit of this is that it helps to reduce pain and causes your body to heal quicker. 
  • Far-Infrared is the longest wavelength and penetrates the deepest into the body and generates the most heat. This wavelength is made up of water molecules, and it increases blood flow helping to regulate the body’s temperature. The increase of oxygen helps the body to heal quickly, therefore increasing energy. 

Why do you feel bad after using an infrared sauna?

Are you curious as to why you feel bad after using the sauna?

The main reason you feel bad after using an infrared sauna is your body is not used to it. Even if you have used other types of saunas, the infrared one works differently. Unlike traditional saunas, which use heat to increase the temperature outside the body, infrared saunas increase the body temperature inside the body. 

Sitting in an infrared sauna for 30 minutes can burn around the same amount of calories as doing light aerobics for the same amount of time. When you use the sauna, your body temperature increases, causing your body to work to cool it down. This, in turn, makes your heart rate speed up, making your body burn more calories. 

While sitting in the sauna, you’re probably relaxing, but your body isn’t. It has switched into overdrive. The heat is starting your lymphatic system to begin working, increasing your body’s circulation, and begins to start releasing toxins. This results in toxins rushing into your body at a faster rate than your body can remove. 

A little-known fact is that not all toxins are released out through your skin. Some of them are released through your digestive system.

Here are the most common reasons that you might feel bad after the infrared sauna:

  • The heat speeds up dehydration
  • The increased temperature mimics a fever inside your body
  • Sauna temperature was set too high
  • You stayed in the sauna for too long

Heat causes dehydration 

This occurs when our bodies lose more fluids, or we are not drinking enough water. If you have not had enough to drink throughout the day, then get into the sauna. It may cause dehydration because you are losing water. This is especially true if you just finished working out. 

Typically during a typical sauna session, you can lose between 4-5 cups of sweat. It makes sense now why you don’t feel all that great after your session. This is very normal, and once your body becomes accustomed to it, you will no longer experience it. 

The increased temperature mimics a fever inside your body

There are two things here that are possible, both of which affect the amount of heat you are taking in that your body isn’t used to. 

  • Your body believes it has a fever. Think about how a fever works. It heats the inside of your body and then your cells’ go-to action to fight off the perceived virus. Basically, the infrared sauna mimics a fever because it heats the inside of your body instead of the outside.  
  • We mentioned above how relaxing in the sauna is similar to working out for 30 minutes. Think about how your body feels afterward. It causes your body temperature to rise, you get sore, and your heart rate increases.

The first time you exercise, you feel rough afterward because your body is going through hormesis. This is simply the term used to describe the changes your body makes during exercising. Now think about how your body starts feeling once it becomes accosted to exercise. 

Simply put, you’re going to feel pretty beat up, and then after a few sessions, you’ll start reaping the excellent benefits. 

Sauna temperature was set too high

Many people are under the false belief the hotter it is, the better it is. This is not the case when using any type of sauna.

When it is set too high, you warm your body too much, too fast. What causes the above side effects, and they’ll be more intense. This is especially true for the infrared sauna since it heats your body differently than other types. 

Infrared sauna tip: start at a lower heat and gradually increase it as your body become accustomed to it. 

You stayed in the sauna too long.

There is such thing as too much of a good thing. This is especially true when you first start using the sauna. When you stay in the sauna, your body goes under too much stress and may cause dehydration, leaving you feeling stressed instead of relaxed. 

The most common symptoms when feeling bad after an infrared sauna treatment

Of course, not all symptoms will be the same for everyone.

The most common ways to feel bad after an infrared sauna session are:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dehydration
  • Sore muscles
  • Stomach ache

Lowered blood pressure

One of your body’s natural responses to high heat is to move the blood to the surface of the skin. This is why as you get hotter, your face becomes red. This helps the blood to cool, which is why you sweat.

When going through this process, arteries get larger and may cause low blood pressure. 

Flu-like symptoms after infrared sauna

It is likely when you first start using the sauna. You’ll experience some flu-like symptoms. This is a natural reaction for your body and will no longer occur after a few sessions. Remember, your body believes it is fighting off infection due to a new type of heat. 

Here are a few flu-like symptoms you may experience after using a sauna:

  • Headache
  • Paleness
  • Clammy skin
  • Fatigue 
  • Weak
  • Lightheaded
  • Headaches
  • dizziness

Symptoms of dehydration

Experiencing dehydration is one of the most common things that happens after spending time in the sauna. The main reason this happens is becuase water is what makes are organs works correctly. All living things require water in order to function. The human body is made up of 60% water.

The most common symptoms of deydration are:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Abnormal urination
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Diziness
  • confusion   

Sore muscles after infrared sauna

You may feel a bit sore after using the sauna. Some who have experienced this compare it to how they feel after having a deep tissue massage. If you ask a massage therapist why this occurs, they will tell you it is because they release toxins stored in the muscles and manipulate them in ways they are not used to. If you do find yourself sore after a visit to the sauna, it won’t last long.  

Many professional athletes use saunas as a way to ease muscle pain after an intense workout or an event. 

Stomach ache after infrared sauna

If you experience nausea or a stomachache after visiting an infrared sauna, it is likely due to the detoxification process and is completely normal. When your body releases toxins, they are filtered through your urinary system

The kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra make up the urinary system. Although they all work together, they each perform their job.

  • Your kidneys filter toxins out of your blood and then sends them to the ureters. 
  • The ureters then carry the filtered urine to your bladder
  • Then your bladder holds onto the urine until it is full enough to send it to your urethra
  • The final step is the urethra, which then releases the toxins from your body in the form of urine. 

What to expect after the infrared sauna

Many people wonder what they can expect after a visit to an infrared sauna. This can vary from person to person. You may feel like you have the flu, or you may feel like a million bucks. It entirely depends on how well you prepare and how your body reacts to the detoxification process.

Some people go into the sauna and come out feeling great. They will come out feeling relaxed with less muscle soreness and don’t experience any adverse effects at all. This is true for most people. Other people come out of the sauna feeling light-headed, feverish, and like they have the flu. This is because their body is experiencing something it’s not used to, and it needs time to get used to it.

If this happens to you, the best thing you can do is to treat it like the flu. 

What are the infrared sauna detox side effects?

There are symptoms of detoxifying you should be aware of.

Many toxins and bacteria are leaving the body, and it may feel similar to when you first start taking an antibiotic. Some of what you can expect are fever, chills, headaches, and muscle pain. You may experience one or two of these or none at all. 

Detoxifying is important because it removes toxins and impurities from your body. Ridding yourself of them helps to build up your immune system enabling it to work at its best. This cleansing also allows our bodies to absorb nutrients easier. 

You need to know that many people don’t feel well when they detox and are tempted to stop. You don’t want to do this. Feeling this way is completely normal and is a natural reaction of the body. 

An infrared sauna detoxifies your body by flushing out all of these dangerous toxins through heat, exercise, and urination. Arsenic, Cadmium, lead, and mercury are all found in sweat and are harmful to our health if the levels are too high. 

Tips for feeling better after an infrared sauna

There are many ways to prevent feeling worse after relaxing in an infrared sauna. You can take steps like eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking any supplements your body may need. If you do feel any signs of dehydration, simply increase your water intake and lie down until you feel better.

It may sound like everyone who uses an infrared sauna gets sick. This is not the case. The majority of people reap all of the benefits from the beginning without experiencing any side effects. 

Important side note: Even if you feel unwell after using an infrared sauna, these symptoms will disappear once your body adjusts.

If you have made it this far, you’re in luck. Below there are the best tips on how to avoid feeling sick after using the sauna. Who wants to feel like they had the flu when all you wanted to do was relax and ease some muscle tension. 

The best ways to enjoy the infrared sauna without feeling bad are:

  • Drink pleanty of water
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Keep your sessions short and work up
  • Lower the temperature 
  • Do not use the sauna if you feel sick
  • Do not preheat an infrared sauna