Infrared sauna blankets are gaining popularity as people become more interested in alternative ways to improve their health and well-being. Celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga have long vowed about the benefits of using this device and many other people who have tried them, have seen great improvements in weight loss, cellulite reduction, and stress relief.
As the founder of Heliotherapy Research Institute, physician, and scientist, I have seen and heard a lot of great things about sauna blankets. However, I was also aware that there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims. This is why I decided to put this cozy device to test by conducting my own trials.
Below I will share my personal experience with using an infrared infrared sauna blanket. I will also provide some doctors’ opinions on the benefits of infrared sauna blankets based on the latest scientific evidence.
Mood-enhancing sauna blanket
Easy to carry everywhere
Most effective for cellulite treatment
The warm and cozy blanket gets the bad mood and toxins out of your body making you happier and healthier.
Be sure this blanket will be with you everywhere due to its compact size and carry-on bag for transportation.
Serves as additional treatment for cellulite, see the first results after a month of use.
Very hot and comfortable to relax in it and scroll social media or read a book.
What is an infrared sauna blanket and how does it work?
Far infrared (FIR) sauna blanket is essentially an infrared sauna in the form of a blanket (or rather a sleeping bag). Unlike infrared (IR) saunas that use a wider spectrum, FIR sauna blankets only use infrared radiation without visible light.
The reason IR saunas are widely popular is that IR rays can penetrate soft tissue up to an inch and a half, into muscles and fat, warming the body and opening blood vessels. Warming up your body from the inside and not the temperature around you. This also means that you don’t need to turn the heat on as high, making it less intense than a regular sauna experience.
What to expect from a sauna blanket?
For the past few years, health and wellbeing advocates have been promoting infrared sauna blankets as a popular alternative to the traditional spa. I decided to look into this myself by buying one of these blankets to see how it works.
After conducting some research, I learned that the benefits of infrared sauna blankets are quite similar to what you would get from traditional spas. They also have many additional features which could be advantageous for those who don’t have time to go to a spa.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from an infrared sauna blanket:
- Pain relief
Many people use sauna blankets to help improve their joint and muscle pain. This is because the infrared heat helps increase circulation and reduce inflammation in affected areas. In my experience, the blanket helped reduce my shoulder and neck pain. After using it for a few weeks, I started to notice major improvements and realized I didn’t need to take pain medications anymore.
- Improved blood circulation
Another major benefit of infrared sauna blankets is that they can improve circulation. This is done through the dilation of blood vessels, which allows more blood to flow through them. Increased blood flow through the vessels helps improve overall cardiovascular health and may even help reduce the risk of heart disease. My patients have been telling me that their blood pressure has significantly decreased after using the infrared sauna blanket for a few weeks.
Infrared sauna blankets are said to be much more effective at detoxifying the body than traditional saunas. This is because they penetrate the skin more deeply, allowing toxins to be released through sweat.
Sweating is good for all of us — we know it scientifically. It’s one of the best ways to get rid of toxins in the body. Therefore, infrared sauna blankets can help improve our skin and complexion by detoxifying the body.
- Stress relief
Infrared sauna blankets can also be beneficial for mental health. They help promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. This is likely because they increase endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. My job is pretty stressful, so I found that using my infrared sauna blanket helped me feel more relaxed and less anxious. Also, it was a great way to unwind after a long day!
- Weight loss
Some people have also reported that infrared sauna blankets can help boost weight loss efforts. This could be related to increased metabolism, which makes it easier to burn calories throughout the day. Of course, if you don’t do sports and eat junk food — this won’t work. However, if you have stagnant weight and you’re trying to lose a few pounds, an infrared sauna blanket may be just what you need.
Additionally, these sauna blankets can be used to help with cellulite treatment. They are an effective method in dealing with cellulite as well as another one based on light therapy — Ultrasonic Cavitation Treatment. Many users of infrared blankets notice skin improvement as soon as one week of use.
Doctors’ opinions about infrared sauna blankets
Infrared sauna blankets are becoming increasingly popular, so before using them, I also consulted with some doctors on this matter.
Dr. Joseph Rayner, a leading expert on nutrition and a physical therapist, has noticed many of his patients gaining significant health benefits from using infrared sauna blankets. He added that they provide a relatively easy and affordable way to improve overall wellness, which can have far-reaching effects on the overall quality of life.
Dr. Tom Ingegno, an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine expert also agrees. He says the benefits of infrared sauna blankets are backed by a wealth of clinical research, and he always recommends them to his patients who are looking for ways to reduce pain, improve circulation, and relieve stress.
Overall, infrared sauna blankets have a lot to offer, and I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for an easy way to improve their health. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or another physician that you trust.
What does it feel like to be inside an infrared sauna blanket?
Infrared sauna blankets are becoming increasingly popular for their many health benefits, including weight loss, detoxification, pain relief, and improved circulation. But what does it actually feel like to be inside an infrared sauna blanket?
I had been suffering from neck and shoulder pain due to my long working hours for a few months. I would wake up from severe pain in the middle of the night and couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep in. I tried different pills and ointments but nothing worked. After hearing about infrared sauna blankets, I decided to try it out. It seemed like the perfect solution for my pain, as it was non-invasive and did not require any medications or surgery.
My treatment lasted for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. During the session, I could feel the heat penetrating my body and relaxing my muscles. I was also sweating a lot as expected, but I felt great.
The results were incredible — after only a few weeks of using the infrared sauna blanket, I felt remarkably better. Now, several months later, there has been no trace of pain.
The feeling of being inside an infrared sauna blanket is unlike anything else — it is like being wrapped in a warm embrace. The heat penetrates deep into your muscles and joints, providing relief from pain and tension. It also promotes relaxation and helps you to sleep better at night.
Overall, I’m very impressed with my infrared sauna blanket. It is a great alternative to traditional forms of heat therapy and seems to have incredible therapeutic benefits. So if you’re suffering from any kind of pain, I would highly recommend giving it a try.
The science behind sauna blankets
As a physician and scientist, I was intrigued by infrared sauna blankets after hearing about their potential benefits from multiple sources. I decided to do some research to see if there was any scientific evidence to support the use of these blankets.
At the moment, there is little to no research on infrared sauna blankets in particular, however, there has been some research done on infrared saunas in general. I will focus on relevant research studies below.
First of all, infrared rays and infrared therapy have been researched and studied for decades. Infrared therapy is safe and regularly used in hospitals to keep newborn babies warm.
The use of FIR saunas for medical treatment is based on deep skin penetration of radiation to restore thermoregulation.
In sedentary patients suffering from osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory conditions, FIR saunas could be applied as an alternative to moderate exercise. They produce therapeutic benefits without any adverse effects .
It has been known for decades that sweating is a wonderful way to get rid of stored chemicals. Daily sauna sessions can help detoxify the body from heavy metals (lead, mercury, nickel, and cadmium)  as well as alcohol, nicotine, sulfuric acid, and other organic and inorganic compounds.
Dr. Richard Beever published a review of available data in the literature about the health benefits of FIR saunas for managing cardiovascular risk factors. Although the research data is limited, in the key points he notes that due to lower temperatures in FIR saunas compared to regular saunas, FIRs are preferable for people who suffer from various medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, or respiratory conditions [1, 3, 4].
Chronic heart failure induces vascular endothelial dysfunction. It has been demonstrated that IR sauna therapy improves vascular endothelial dysfunction  and enhances cardiac and vascular function in patients with chronic heart failure [1, 4, 6]. Clinical trials show that the use of FIR saunas decreases oxidative stress (helps to detoxify the blood) in patients with cardiovascular conditions.
A group of physicians in North York, Ontario conducted a study on IR therapy for chronic low back pain and found the treatment to be effective in reducing chronic low back pain, with no adverse effects . They conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients suffering from chronic low back pain. The results are shown in ‘Figure 1’. Group 0 represents the IR wrap treatment group and Group 1 is the placebo group.
In one study , the researchers tested whether the use of infrared sauna benefits patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The results showed that fatigue levels significantly decreased, anxiety and depression improved, and did not have any adverse effects on patients during and after the therapy .
Researchers from the Saxion University of Applied Science in the Netherlands found that IR sauna treatment healed chronic pain and fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis .
Other studies have shown that time spent in an IR sauna can provide relief from different forms of arthritis. Moreover, much of the normal stiffness and pain that come with aging can be improved with regular IR sauna usage [9, 10–13, 18].
A controlled clinical trial was also conducted to determine the effect of IR therapy for cellulite treatment. Twenty women of different ages (25-57 years) and skin phototypes (I-V) with moderate bilateral cellulite were treated biweekly and received 8 treatments total to a randomly selected side. Results were evaluated using photography and circumferential leg measurements. Final post-treatment body weight and patients’ subjective evaluations were also recorded.
The results showed that 90% (18/20) of patients noticed overall clinical improvement and the effects of treatment appeared to be prolonged .
Several studies have reported that IR can improve the healing of skin wounds, photo-aging prevention, pigmentation, and collagen production [1, 16, 17].
A single IR full-body session helps individuals lose as many calories as they would in a 30-minute cardio workout. This is achieved by increasing the heart rate to ‘cardio zone’ (120–140bpm).
When used regularly, at least three times per week for a 45-minute session, it could result in losing up to 4% in body fat in 16 weeks . In this study, participants did not change their exercise or diet patterns during the course of treatment, and showed, on average, a loss of around 0.5% of body fat per week.
Researchers have found that IR saunas are preferable for exercise recovery. This was shown in a study conducted on 10 healthy physically active male volunteers who had on various days either a 60-min hypertrophic strength training session (STS) or a 34–40 min maximal endurance training session (ETS). The study compared recovery using FIRS (far infrared sauna) and TRAD (Finnish Sauna) and found FIRS to be more favorable due to its mild temperature and IR heat ability to penetrate deep into the fat tissue and neuromuscular system .
Differences in sauna blankets
The variety of IR sauna blankets on the market could be confusing to many, especially if you are new to this device. I was in the exact same situation myself when I decided to test my first blanket. But after doing much research, I found the main differences and want to share them with you to make your decision-making process easier.
Depending on the brand, sauna blanks either have one, two, or three heating zones with a temperature range of 30-80°C (86–176°F). If you have two or three-zone blankets, you can adjust the temperature to each zone. For example, the sauna blanket can be 178–190 cm (70–75 inches) long, but if you are 165 cm (5’4’’) tall, you will not need the lower part of the blanket to be as hot as the rest of it and separate heating zones make this easy to achieve.
All FIR sauna blankets use the same principle for producing heat (infrared heating element), however different brands use different materials in their products. Top-of-the-line models such as HigherDOSE sauna blankets have incorporated the use of tourmaline stones in their design.
Tourmaline stones are great heat conductors and they emit negative ions when heated. This makes the stones a perfect companion to IR heat as they increase the intensity of the healing capacity of IR rays . Additionally, tourmaline has been proven to help kidney and liver function, organs responsible for ridding our bodies of toxins.
When choosing a sauna blanket you should pay attention to the materials it is made of. The materials should be heat-resistant, EMF (harmful electro-magnetic fields) blocking, waterproof and non-toxic. As sauna blankets are heating devices that use electricity, they can emit electromagnetic waves, however, if designed properly the infrared sauna blankets have low-to-zero EMF and are completely safe to use.
How to use infrared sauna blankets
To start using your infrared sauna blanket, place the blanket on a flat surface (your bed, couch, massage table, or floor), put a towel in, plug it and set the temperature. Usually, it takes about 10 minutes for the blanket to heat up.
✔ It is recommended to wear cotton clothes from neck to toe, including socks. However, this is not crucial and will not affect the intensity of sweating.
📌 Make sure you are well-hydrated. It is essential to be hydrated before and after using FIR sauna blankets, especially if used daily because you will be sweating a lot. Try drinking a gallon of water every day if you are using a sauna blanket daily.
✔ Prepare a pillow, face towel, and water. You can pull your hands out during the session to use your phone or read an e-book.
✔ Once your blanket is heated, slip inside, put a towel over your shoulders (it will collect sweat from your neck and you can wipe your face with it), and close the blanket.
Enjoy your sweating session!
When to avoid using infrared sauna blankets
Infrared sauna blankets can be used by virtually any adult, however, there are several precautions where you should avoid or limit using them.
❌ If you are pregnant, do not use the sauna blanket as it could increase the risk of fetal complications (just like any other type of sauna).
❗ Avoid using sauna blankets if you have a high fever. It is best to wait for your body to fight off the fever and then resume your sauna sessions.
❌ Avoid using sauna blankets under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Such substances in your system disrupt the ability of blood vessels to expand, so they will not be able to accommodate increased blood flow. As a result, pressure can get critically high and lead to the rupture of vessels, resulting in nasal bleeding and hemorrhages, including in the brain.
❗ Do not use a sauna blanket if you are dehydrated or feel lightheaded. Give yourself time, hydrate, and only after feeling better go in and use lower temperature settings.
Best infrared sauna blankets
Very popular among celebrities and influencers, HigherDOSE was the best-selling infrared sauna blanket in 2020. Lauren Berlingeri, a co-founder of the brand, is a certified holistic nutritionist and health coach and was first introduced to IR technology while working for a health and wellness startup. She tried an infrared sauna and was instantly hooked. Berlingeri then researched everything surrounding infrared technology from its benefits to safety and concluded that infrared saunas were going to be the next hottest trend.
HigherDOSE infrared sauna blanket v3 is a low EMF, one heating zone FIR sauna blanket with a hand-held controller with 8 levels of heat intensity that goes from 20°C (68°F) up to 70°C (158°F).
The sauna blanket is designed to comfortably fit a 190 cm (6’3’’) tall person and is made of high-quality waterproof PU leather and fireproof cotton with a layer of amethyst tourmaline crystals and medical-grade magnetic strips for best performance.
The company offers a 1-year limited warranty and a 14-day return policy of an unopened product.
The brand was launched last year, in the middle of the pandemic lockdowns, by 2 best mates from Australia and was able to ride the wave of demand for at-home wellness equipment.
MiHIGH IR sauna blanket is not the only product in its particular niche, but it is perhaps the most refined with its smallest controller that is easy to operate while inside the blanket.
This blanket operates at 25 – 75°C (77 – 177°F) temperature and has a low EMF IR heating element. MiHIGH sauna blanket is made with high-quality non-toxic materials, it is easily foldable and compact, and comes with a carry-on bag for transportation.
The company also offers a 30-day risk-free trial, international shipping, and a 1-year warranty.
For a budget-friendly IR sauna blanket, SurmountWay Far Infrared Sauna Blanket is a good choice. This well-designed sauna blanket is made of high-grade Oxford fabric that is skin-friendly and durable at the same time. The use of this fabric makes the SurmountWay Far Infrared Sauna Blanket 40% more durable than other sauna blankets in this price category.
The size of this sauna blanket is 178 by 80 cm (70 by 31.5 inches) when closed and it has two heating zones.
When heating sauna blankets of such design, make sure to open them fully so the inner sides of the blanket are not in contact with each other. Also, use body wraps that come with the purchase.
This upgraded model has an overheating protection design that will automatically stop heating and disconnect the power when the maximum safe temperature of 85°C (185°F) is reached, and the alarm will go off for 1 minute.
Although IR sauna blankets of this grade will not last as long as previous models we looked at in this article, it is definitely worth the try. With good care, the blanket can easily be used for 100+ sessions.
Vinmax Far Infrared Sauna Blanket is a new product that looks very budding.
This blanket promises to be one step closer to the infrared sauna experience with its special coating that reflects 97% of the body’s infrared rays into you. That way, it can warm up your body from head to toe at a lower temperature (25-80°C) than an actual sauna (80-110°C). People who cannot be in rooms with high temperatures due to certain diseases (hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc) will definitely benefit from this sauna blanket.
The owners note an improvement in a strengthening of the immune system which helped them overcome the flu and colds. In addition, after using Vinmax, many detect an enhancement in complexion and overall skin condition. It is also a great way to reduce weight and eliminate toxins from the body as well as reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
This device is identical in size to the Smautop Far Infrared Sauna Blanket and also has a similar auto-off function to avoid scalding your skin. Also, this blanket has 2 zippers so that you can free your hands and enjoy the warmth while scrolling social networks or reading a book.
Gizmo Supply Far Infrared Sauna Blanket is a product that is used as a wrap to help with detoxification, promotes healing and skin regeneration as well as relaxation. And these are just some of the benefits.
The blanket is made of waterproof material with flexible stretchability even in different positions. It helps you maximize the whole-body heating effect of your sauna.
It has three independent heating zones: upper body, waist, and lower body. This makes it easier to use on certain parts of the body. The temperature is adjustable from 30 to 80 Celsius (86 to 176 Fahrenheit). In addition, this device, like the SurmountWay Far Infrared Sauna Blanket, has an overheating protection design as well as a timer for up to 60 minutes to help you record the time spent in this blanket.
Another affordable option, the Smautop Far Infrared Sauna Blanket offers two heating zones with a temperature range of 35 – 75°C (95 – 176°F) and is made with waterproof PVC.
It is slightly larger than the previous model with 180 by 80 cm (70.8 by 31.5 inch) dimensions in closed form and has zippers on both sides of the blanket.
The blanket also has an overheating protection design that will automatically stop heating and disconnect the power when the maximum safe temperature of 85°C (185°F) is reached.
Infrared sauna blankets have proved themselves to be a worthy competitor to regular saunas and keep getting more popular in people’s households and wellness centers.
The benefits are hard to ignore and include improvement in physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists use IR every day in clinics and hospitals around the world to ameliorate pain, heal skin conditions, increase flexibility and generally help heal the body.
True, the idea of sweating in a sleeping bag may not sound so appealing, but with high-quality products available on the market now, the experience is nothing but pleasurable.
💯Do sauna blankets really work?
Yes. You will get a good sweat session in the infrared sauna blanket. The process differs from a regular sauna and it will take a little longer to break the sweat. Allow the first 20 minutes to be a ‘warm up’ for your body and then enjoy your sweat session.
⚠Are infrared sauna blankets safe?
Infrared sauna blankets use IR rays to warm the body, raise the core temperature and make you sweat. They directly heat the surface of the skin and penetrate much deeper, heating the tissues and joints. By producing only IR rays and not the whole spectrum, sauna blankets make the treatment completely safe.
❗What are the dangers of infrared sauna blankets?
Infrared sauna blankets are completely safe to use, however, if you do not drink water during the day and before going into the blanket you might get lightheaded because of dehydration. So make sure to hydrate your body. Drink at least half a gallon of water during the day before going into the blanket. If you are using the blanket in the morning make sure to drink at least a full glass of water before your session. You should not make your sessions more than 50 minutes long for the same reasons.
‼Can I lose weight using a sauna blanket?
At the time of writing this article, there are no studies on long-term weight-loss effects from using infrared sauna blankets. It is definitely possible that using an infrared sauna blanket will aid in your weight loss program.
⚕Does infrared sauna blanket help with chronic pain?
The studies have shown that time spent in an infrared sauna can bring relief from different forms of arthritis. Much of the normal stiffness, aches, and pains that come with aging can be lessened with regular sauna usage.
🧦Do I need to wear clothes when using a sauna blanket?
It is not necessary to wear clothes when using a sauna blanket. You can use a towel or single-use sauna bags to help with the sweat collection and cleaning process. It is, however, recommended to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants with socks of natural materials for the best experience.
✨How to clean a sauna blanket?
After use, allow your blanket to cool down and simply wipe it with a cloth. The best option is to use an antibacterial wipe or a homemade solution of vinegar with tea tree, lavender, or thyme essential oil.
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