What Are the Downsides of Using an Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas are known to offer a plethora of benefits, ranging from detoxification to weight loss. However, just like any other technology, infrared saunas also come with their fair share of cons that you should know before heading in. Here are some of the cons of using an infrared sauna that you should keep in mind:
  • Intolerant to moderate to mildly high heat: For individuals with a history of heat intolerance, spending time in an infrared sauna could be overwhelming or even dangerous. The temperatures in these saunas range from 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you can’t handle extreme heat, you might want to avoid this therapy.
  • Low blood pressure and lightheadedness: If you have problems with low blood pressure, using an infrared sauna could lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure. As a result, you could experience dizziness or lightheadedness, which could, in turn, lead to fainting spells in extreme scenarios.
  • Leg pain: Sitting in an infrared sauna for a prolonged period could lead to muscle soreness, especially in the legs. This happens due to the heat present in the sauna and the prolonged sitting position that could lead to circulation problems.
  • Airway irritation: For people with respiratory issues like asthma or allergies, the dry heat in infrared saunas could act as an irritant and cause breathing difficulties. This could lead to coughs or a sensation of breathlessness that could worsen the underlying condition.
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  • Claustrophobia: Infrared saunas are enclosed spaces, and if you suffer from claustrophobia, spending time in these closed-in spaces could trigger anxiety attacks or panic. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into before using an infrared sauna. Understanding the cons helps you ascertain whether it’s the best option for you, or whether to avoid it altogether.

    What are the Cons of Infrared Sauna?

    Infrared saunas have become a common fixture in many homes and wellness centers around the world. They offer a range of benefits including stress relief, relaxation, and improved circulation. However, like any other treatment, infrared saunas also have their downsides. This article highlights some of the cons of infrared saunas that you should be aware of before deciding to use one.

    Intolerance to Moderate to Mild Heat

    One of the most common cons of infrared saunas is heat intolerance. Even though infrared saunas work at lower temperatures (between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit) than traditional saunas, some people still find the heat unbearable. If you are intolerant to moderate to mild heat, then you might experience discomfort, dizziness, and lightheadedness when using an infrared sauna. In extreme cases, it can even lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Key point: If you have a low tolerance for heat, an infrared sauna may not be a suitable choice for you.

    Low Blood Pressure and Lightheadedness

    Another challenge that some people encounter while using infrared saunas is low blood pressure. The heat from the sauna causes the blood vessels to dilate, resulting in a drop in blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, spending time in an infrared sauna can cause you to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and even faint.
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    Key point: If you suffer from low blood pressure, it is important to consult with your doctor before using an infrared sauna.

    Leg Pain from Heat Exposure

    Infrared saunas produce heat that penetrates deeper into the body than traditional saunas. While this offers some health benefits, it can also cause pain and discomfort, particularly in the legs. Prolonged exposure to heat can lead to muscle pain and inflammation, making it hard to move or perform physical activities for a few days. Key point: Take breaks and hydrate while using an infrared sauna to reduce the risks of muscle pain caused by heat exposure.

    Irritation of the Airways

    Infrared saunas produce dry heat that can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract. The intense heat and the dry air can make it difficult to breathe and lead to tightness in the chest or shortness of breath. This is particularly risky for people with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma or bronchitis. Key point: Be careful when using infrared saunas if you have a respiratory illness or are sensitive to dry air. Using a humidifier or taking frequent breaks can help alleviate these symptoms.

    Claustrophobia in Enclosed Environments

    Lastly, some people may experience claustrophobia when using an infrared sauna. The enclosed space can be intimidating, especially for those with anxiety and fear of enclosed spaces. Additionally, when the heat becomes unbearable, the enclosure can feel like a cage, exacerbating feelings of anxiety and panic. Key point: If you suffer from claustrophobia, an infrared sauna may not be the right form of therapy for you.
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    Other Key Considerations of Infrared Sauna Use

    Some other important factors to consider before using an infrared sauna include:
    • Duration: The ideal length of time to spend in an infrared sauna is 20-30 minutes. Beyond that, you risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, and muscle soreness.
    • Hydration: It is essential to stay hydrated while using an infrared sauna. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session.
    • Contraindications: Infrared saunas are not suitable for everyone, especially pregnant women, people with pacemakers, and those with a compromised immune system. Always consult your doctor before starting an infrared sauna regimen.
    Key point: Proper hydration, avoiding overuse, and consulting with a medical professional can help ensure a safe and comfortable experience.


    Using an infrared sauna can lead to some significant health benefits, but it is essential to be aware of the potential cons. Heat intolerance, low blood pressure, leg pain, airway irritation, and claustrophobia are some of the downsides of using an infrared sauna. Always consult with your doctor before beginning an infrared sauna program, stay hydrated, and take breaks during your sessions. With careful preparation and responsible use, you can safely enjoy the benefits of an infrared sauna.

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