*Disclaimer: The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases.
The claims in the article are backed by 4 scientific references. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
Infrared sauna blankets have become really popular in the last few years. As the CEO of Clearlight Saunas International®. I’m often asked “but what about infrared sauna blanket benefits” or “do infrared sauna blankets work in the first place?”
My answer, as will become clear in this blog post, is that these products certainly do have benefits, but, that there are better options available. In this blog post you’ll learn what option. But let’s first explore what infrared sauna blankets are:
What Is An Infrared Sauna Blanket?
An infrared sauna blanket is a product that you can wrap around your body.
Those blankets frequently made from synthetic materials, like aramide or polyurethane. Aramides are used in kevlar and many other products to give it toughness, and polyurethane is used in insulation, furniture, electronics, and much more.
A control unit is attached to that infrared sauna blanket to regulate the temperature. Using the control panel, you can change the temperature and activate or de-active the sauna blanket from putting out heat.
How To Use Infrared Sauna Blankets At Home
Infrared sauna blankets are made for home use. You use the product by unwrapping the blanket so that it’s ready for use, plugin in the control unit in the power supply. You then put a towel into the infrared sauna blanket and start laying down into the blanket for an average of 10-40 minutes.
The blanket will then reach temperatures of a maximum of 70-80 degrees Celsius. Your head will not be immersed within the blanket as you can usually wrap pads around your shoulders with most models to keep your head from overheating.
(The head is the body part that most likely overheats and limits the extent to which you can increase your core body temperature.)
After you session, you clean the insides of the infrared sauna blanket with another towel and a natural antibacterial soap - for hygiene purposes. Cleaning the blanket takes several minutes and is quite easy to do because you can completely unfold the sauna blanket and then scrub all the hard-to-pinpoint spots.
The average price of an infrared sauna blanket runs around $500-600, excluding shipping. For that reason, this option is more affordable if you’ve got fewer financial means, but, there are some downsides too that I have to discuss:
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Are Infrared Sauna Blankets Safe?
The natural question emerging right now is “are infrared sauna blankets safe” My answer: it depends on how you define “safe”.
Most of the time, these products aren’t made from 100% safe materials. Also, because it’s a blanket, it touches your skin, and some of the materials will interact with your skin and therefore your body.
Also, the polyurethane is heated, meaning that theoretically it can be emitted into the air (1; 2). That risk becomes greater simply because without heating up the material around the blanket, the sauna blanket wouldn’t work in the first place.
Secondly, there’s the issue of Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMFs). The blanket is placed against your body, with the heater panels located almost directly against your skin. EMFs are always more dangerous the more directly they’re placed against your body. For that reason, you might get exposed to higher levels of EMFs with a blanket than with other sauna options.
Some companies like Heat Healer do claim that their sauna blankets don’t emit any EMFs.
Lastly, the infrared sauna blankets are inherently riskier than other products because if anything goes wrong in the wiring, the product is placed very close to your body. With a regular infrared sauna or the product I’ll describe later in this blog post, that risk is non-existent.
Infrared Sauna Blanket Treatment Experiences
So how do people generally experience an infrared sauna blanket treatment?
Many people love the experience but also find that it’s not as relaxing as a normal sauna. For instance, in a normal sauna you can stretch or read a book inside – in a sauna blanket you cannot move and your arms are tied up within the blanket.
Of course, you can activate a podcast before you get inside the blanket and enjoy the experience even more.
Having said that, because the blankets are foldable, the option is very much appreciated by people who travel a lot. A counterargument is that if you travel a lot, you probably have some economic means and the ability to visit a sauna near the place you’re travelling to anyway.
Another benefit is that the infrared sauna blankets can get extremely hot, hotter in terms of air temperature than a normal infrared sauna.
Lastly, the infrared sauna blankets generally have a 1-2 year warranty period. That warranty period is very different from the lifetime warranty we offer on our infrared saunas for residential use. Hence, even though the infrared blankets might be inexpensive to purchase, companies don’t market the product as a lifetime option, contrary to our infrared sauna models.
So, after considering the experiences people have and some of the limitations, let's take a closer look at the benefits:
Infrared Sauna Blanket Benefits: The Usual Suspects: Deeper Sleep, More Energy, Greater Well-Being
I’ve described the benefits of infrared saunas in an extremely in-depth blog post in the past.
The assumption here is that for maximum benefits, you’re combining all three types of infrared light. Infrared light can be divided into “near infrared”, “middle infrared”, and “far infrared” light. Even though the physics behind that light is complicated, all you need to remember is that each of these infrared light types has its own unique benefits.
At Clearlight, our True Wave II heaters™ emit a third of the infrared light across all three types, giving you a very balanced exposure.
The sauna blankets on the market today exclusively expose your body to “far infrared” light, which is created through the tourmaline integrated into the blanket.
Why The Best Infrared Sauna Blanket Might Not Be A Sauna Blanket
Remember I’ve argued that the downsides of infrared sauna blankets include higher EMF exposure and the heating of materials that might not be healthy for the human body, such as polyurethane.
A longer-term counterargument against these products is that the electronics are located almost directly against the human body, so dangers can appear over time if the product is broken.
I and my team have developed a portable infrared sauna model, the Clearlight Sauna Dome™, which deals with all the counterarguments I made against the infrared sauna blanket.
The outside of this Dome is made from 100% organic hemp. Hemp can be made into very fire-resistant and heat-resistant materials (3; 4). Hemp is also very sustainable, doesn’t rely on oil, and is biodegradable.
The other part of the dome is made from sustainable wood, which can easily sustain temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius.
Also, because it’s a dome, the heaters are always placed at a distance from the human body. For the mattress, which heats your back, buttocks, and the back of your legs, we’ve reduced the EMF exposure very close to zero - you can view the proof with a high-quality EMF meter in this video.
(Our mattress or mat is also made from non-toxic memory foam.)
There’s more though: the Clearlight Sauna Dome™ has been officially chosen in current research that uses “whole body hyperthermia” (WBC). With WBC, your core body temperature rises to very high levels that must be maintained over a longer period of time - such as an hour - to have a therapeutic effect above and beyond what you would normally get from a gentle sauna session.
The case can be made that the Sauna Dome is also more comfortable because your entire body isn’t wrapped into a blanket but you’re surrounded by a dome that doesn’t touch your body.
Lastly, the Clearlight Sauna Dome™ can easily be stored under a bed or in a closet. Even a tiny house has plenty of room to store this dome because all the elements can be taken apart and be stored separately. And yes, the infrared sauna blankets on the market are typically smaller but that argument is a bit misleading. Both products can easily be stored under the bed, or in a closet, so there's no need to worry about space in the first place, even though the blankets are technically smaller.
Now that I've made my case, let's conclude and consider the 10,000-foot high overview of this debate:
Conclusion: Best Infrared Sauna Blanket UK You Haven’t Thought About
I wouldn’t recommend an infrared sauna blanket for most people, simply because you’ve got much better options.
As you already know from reading my blog post, I consider the Clearlight Sauna Dome™ a far superior option to the infrared sauna blankets that are on the market today. But, in some cases, you might want to opt for a sauna blanket instead of our Clearlight Sauna Dome™ anyway - frequent travel is an example.
If you’re a digital nomad, for instance, then travelling with a Clearlight Sauna Dome™ is an impossibility, so naturally, an infrared sauna blanket will allow you to get some infrared sauna sessions in. But, the question is “why?”
Most people who travel a lot have the financial means to go to a sauna and get some sessions in. However, you might want to enjoy the boundless benefits of infrared saunas from the comfort of the place you’re staying. Only in that case, would I recommend an infrared sauna blanket.
The benefits of far infrared sauna blanket are nice, but imperfect. For the best results, you’ll want to minimise toxin exposure during your sessions as much as possible, and therefore, our Clearlight Sauna Dome™ containing organic hemp is far superior than an infrared sauna blanket. EMF exposure that's lower and a reduced risk if the product ever breaks down are other benefits.
And there’s more:
Even if you’re using an infrared sauna for weight loss, you’re better off with the Dome model because it allows for much more extreme core body temperatures which optimise your results. So, for most people, I simply recommend spending a little bit more money to get a far superior option!