Saunas have come a long way since they were first invented more than 2000 years ago in Finland. People who frequently use saunas report a wide variety of health benefits, and if you’re wondering what type of sauna is most beneficial, you’re likely not alone. In today’s blog, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between traditional saunas and infrared saunas, as well as how you can affordably enjoy using an infrared sauna in Asheville.

At Inner Strength Asheville, we happily offer our ARX fitness clients access to a state-of-the-art infrared sauna before and after their workouts. If you are in the Asheville area and you’re interested in trying our infrared sauna, contact Inner Strength today at 828-785-1870!

Distinguishing Factors

When completing a side-by-side comparison of these two popular types of saunas, it is easy to see their defining characteristics more clearly. Infrared saunas and traditional steam saunas vary in several different areas, but the most stark differences can be seen in the temperatures, heat sources, humidity levels, and maintenance needs of each unit.

Temperature Intensity

Many of the benefits that we obtain from taking advantage of the heat therapy that saunas provide come from the incredibly warm temperatures that are reached inside of a sauna unit. In traditional saunas, the average temperature of the room may fall anywhere between 185℉ and 190℉. This high temperature combined with the inherent humidity that comes from pouring water over heated rocks makes for an intense environment that many people cannot remain in for too long. The heaters in infrared saunas, on the other hand, operate at temperatures between 110℉ and 170℉ and still provide the same health benefits as traditional saunas. Because the temperatures are lower in infrared saunas, you can enjoy much longer sessions than you can with traditional saunas.

Heat Source

Aside from the difference in ambient operating temperatures of these two popular sauna choices, another difference lies in the heat source that each unit relies on to obtain its desired temperature. Traditional saunas rely on the use of a stove-like mechanism to create a hot environment. The “stove” often consists of a bowl or tub of heated rocks that must be brought up to temperature prior to usage and it can be turned off once the room reaches the optimal temperature. Infrared saunas rely on infrared heaters to provide the heat necessary to warm the space to the desired temperature, and the heaters must be left on for the duration of the sauna session. These two different heat sources produce very different perspiration processes in the human body.

Humidity Levels

Traditional saunas may also be known as “steam saunas” because of the large quantities of hot, humid air they produce when in operation. High humidity levels paired with the intense temperatures that are often experienced in traditional steam saunas create a unique experience that some find a bit heavy and oppressive. Additionally, those who have breathing conditions such as asthma or allergies may not take kindly to the humid air as it can exacerbate the symptoms of their conditions. Infrared saunas are considered “dry saunas” as they do not rely on any type of moisture to produce the warm environment that is required to reap the benefits of the unit. Additionally, in the absence of excessive humidity and moisture, infrared saunas may also decrease the risk of spreading disease and bacteria amongst users.

Energy Efficiency and Maintenance

When it comes to the power needed to operate each sauna, infrared saunas are far superior at energy-efficient operation. Although they can be shut off once the desired internal temperature has been reached, traditional saunas use approximately six kilowatts to operate whereas infrared saunas can run off of only one to two kilowatts of power. Depending on how frequently you prefer to enjoy your sauna, the increased operational costs can be extensive. Not only are infrared saunas more efficient to operate, but because they don’t rely on any type of stove or steam to operate, owners of infrared saunas have reported that they are much easier to maintain. If you prefer to have a sauna that strikes the right balance between efficiency and low maintenance, an infrared sauna may be right for you.

Infrared Sauna in Asheville

In addition to providing innovative ARX fitness classes, Inner Strength Asheville is proud to offer clients the use of our infrared sauna. To learn more about out fitness classes, sauna, and membership plans, call our friendly team at 828-785-1870 today!