Are there any dangers associated with infrared saunas?
While the health benefits of sauna use cannot be disputed, as noted in our article The Real Benefits of Infrared and Home Saunas, it is important to be careful and to understand some of the dangers to watch out for. Many of these will not apply to everyone but can be helpful to know if you have any friends or family that are interested in trying out the sauna.
If you worry that sauna use may be dangerous for them you can refer them here to our article so that they can understand why you are suggesting that they reconsider the sauna. We know that sharing a sauna is part of the fun but safety should always come first. If you’re not sure if you will face difficulties using a sauna please consult your doctor prior to use. While Sauna Insiders wants everyone to enjoy their sauna we want to make sure that all of our customers do so safely.
Here are a few of the dangers to watch out for:
Heat is an integral part of the sauna experience. It is the heat that provides the health benefits of loosened muscles, relieves aches and pains, and sets the endorphins free, but it can also be hazardous when overdone. No matter how fit you may be, if too much time is spent in the sauna the body can overheat which can cause heat related illnesses such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Some users begin sauna detoxification programs where it is suggested to use the sauna for an hour or more a day. If you are one of these users it is important to keep a thermometer with you and check your temperature regularly. For most users you will never experience an overheating issue but if you suspect that you may be it is helpful to immediately get into a cool shower. As a note, red skin is not necessarily a sign of overheating. As you use the sauna your blood flow will increase and can often cause your skin to redden, this isn’t anything to fear and will pass in an hour or so after sauna use.
Sweating is the main benefit of using a sauna but with sweating can come dehydration. As you sweat your body is not only using up calories but it is expending water. As you use your sauna make sure that you drink about ½ cup of water for every 15 minutes you are in the sauna. It is also important not to drink alcohol before using the sauna as it already dehydrates.
Medical Conditions –
For some users, a sauna just isn’t a good idea. Always check with your doctor but if you’ve had any of the following conditions, it is best to stay out of a sauna:
- Any type of stroke that has caused breeding into the brain
- Severe aortic stenosis
- A recent heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Unstable angina pectoris
- Lupus erythematosus if you are on steroids because it can interfere with blood circulation
- Brain tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Silicone implants
Other conditions that should be checked with a doctor first include:
- Any medical condition that you feel may be affected. If you worry at all, check first.
- Pins, rods, and other implants that could be affected by heat
- Medications – With any medications you should check with your doctor first, but there are a few that are most likely to be affected. Any medication that is used as a skin patch. These can be affected because the rate at which the medication is absorbed through the skin can change. Insulin can be ok in a sauna but your doctor will most likely recommend that you carefully check your levels when you begin sauna use to see how they are affected.
Also important to note is that a sauna can release the remnants of past medications including anesthetics, antidepressants, sedatives, chemotherapy, and others. Be careful if you have had any of these in the past as they will have the same effect leaving your body as they did going in.
Only until they are completely removed though. Fair warning that psychedelic drug use will do the same. If you’ve used LSD or any other psychedelics you can react to them again as they are living your body and may experience a full “trip”. This can be extremely dangerous so if you feel this applies to you make sure that you have friends or family on hand just in case.
Mineral and Electrolyte Depletion –
Like dehydration, other minerals and electrolytes will exit the body with your perspiration. This is only usually a problem with excessive sauna use but it is something to watch out for. If you hydrate properly and have a balanced nutritious diet it would be unusual for you to experience this. However, if you are in a sauna detox program where you will be using the sauna regularly for long periods of time it is important to take the time to learn about mineral and electrolyte replacement so that you do not run your body too low. Just like water it is important to have these in your system so take the time to learn and be safe. Again, if you are a regular user that hops in the sauna a couple times a week, there is nothing to fear.
SaunaNova doesn’t want anyone to fear using their sauna. We know that owning a sauna can be a wonderful and enriching tool for the home when used properly. When care is taken to ensure that you are safe to use a sauna you’ll find that it is even more enjoyable. We want all of our customers to be safe and careful and that is why we have provided this article. For the long list of sauna health benefits please see our other article The Real Benefits of Infrared and Home Saunas.