Saunas have been around a long time. Portable Infrared Saunas have not. Technology has now made it possible to get the benefits of sauna anywhere ... affordably.
Let's hear it for technology!
I'm assuming that if you're reading up on portable saunas, you'd like to take advantage of the healthy detoxifying effects of infrared saunas but you're in one of two situations. The first possibility is that although you'd like to install an infrared sauna in your home, you have only a limited amount of space. Or, you might have plenty of free space, but you want to save some money by finding a less expensive option for your infrared sauna.
No matter which of these two scenarios describes your situation, you'll need to keep a few things in mind when you're trying to determine the best way to buy your new portable sauna.
Now, before I go into the details of these portable units, let me first say this: if you’re looking at portable infrared saunas as a smaller and cheaper alternative for a steam sauna, I’d recommend learning more about the difference between steam saunas and infrared saunas. Infrared saunas have been around quite some time now and they do come with a number of (health) benefits when compared to steam saunas. You can find out all about the specifics of infrared saunas and the differences with traditional steam saunas on this website, just use the vertical navigation menu on the left to explore.
You may think that these portable, foldable saunas are powered by infrared heaters because the foldable fabric isn’t suitable to be used around the moist and heat that is usually associated with saunas, but the reason is different.
You see, infrared saunas also exist in larger, more luxurious, wooden models with tempered glass doors, stereo music players and color therapy lights in the ceiling, with room for up to 6 persons. The reason that these saunas are equipped with infrared heaters rather than traditional steam heaters has nothing to do with the cabin not being able to withstand moist and heat. It’s because infrared heat therapy has a number of advantages over traditional steam saunas and is becoming increasingly more adopted by health professionals and spas all over the world.
Occasionally you may come across people who are disappointed because they find that their portable unit does not heat up enough, but that is usually because they do not really understand the concept of infrared heat therapy. One of the core benefits of infrared heat therapy is exactly that: that it allows you to sweat more and at lower temperatures. This offers the additional advantage that it allows people who normally feel uncomfortable at the high temperatures of a traditional steam sauna to still get the benefits of a cleansing, detoxifying sweat – at lower temperatures.
Again, if you’re not fully familiar with the benefits on infrared saunas, I highly recommend that you check out the advantages of infrared therapy.
Now that we’ve established this, let’s take a look at some of the things to consider when you’re in the market for a portable infrared device.
If you’re wondering how they measure up against normal infrared saunas, there may be a few specific questions that you have. For instance: does the compactness and use of different materials and heaters come with drawbacks or can you get the same benefits if you decide to go portable?
If you've been doing some research, you probably already realize that portable saunas are very compact and made of a flexible fabric. Most portable infrared saunas on the market today look a little like a small tent that you can sit in with your head and hands sticking out.
On the inside, there’s usually a small, foldable chair that you can sit on, and a number of (carbon) infrared heaters. Sometimes there’s also a floor heating pad to keep your feet warm as well.
In fact, they can be folded up and stored in a bag if they won't be used for a while. That can be a significant advantage when space in your home is tight.
The entire thing (including the chair) is foldable and light, so that you can very easily fold everything together and stow it away in a small space (for instance under the bed or in a small corner next to a closet or such).
In addition to being foldable, they are extremely light weight. It's not hard to move something that weighs as little as ten pounds.
Some models feature handy pockets on the exterior of their fabric enclosure. These pockets are perfect for keeping your cell phone, mp3 player or remote control handy while you're sitting inside. Adjustable timers with auto-shutoffs add even more convenience.
As well as having a comparatively low purchase price (you can pick one up for less than $200), portable infrared saunas are economical to use, with some models operating for as little as a nickel per thirty-minute session. And most models that are being sold today even come with their own folding chair. It's convenient to not have to bring a chair from somewhere else each time you want to sit in your sauna, and the folding chair is also a space-saver.
So far, portable infrared saunas sound great, right? Not only are they cheaper than standard infrared saunas, you can move them from place to place and they don't take up a whole lot of space.
I believe there are a few things you need to know before you actually buy a portable infrared sauna, however. For example, what is one of the main reasons people want an infrared sauna of their own? Well, to detoxify the body, of course. In fact, infrared energy is one of the most effective ways you can detoxify. As the radiant heat surrounds you and penetrates deeply into your muscles, joints and other tissues, your circulation, oxygen flow and perspiration rate increase, detoxifying your body at the cellular level.
So, detoxification is one of the big benefits of infrared saunas, and naturally, you'd like to be able to take advantage of that benefit when you get your own sauna. That's why (in my opinion) you need to avoid any portable infrared sauna that smells like chemicals when you unpack it. The unpleasant chemical smell is probably the result of toxic fumes being outgassed. Some people have actually told me they had to air out their foldable infrared sauna before they were able to start using it. Obviously that's not a desirable situation, even if detoxifying isn't one of your main goals.
Some portable infrared sauna sellers use mass production from Asia to keep costs low and sometimes you’ll find cheap fabrics that offer no guarantee of being heat rated. Sometimes these fabrics are sprayed with chemicals or finishers that potentially come off with heat. You don’t want to be breathing that during your infrared sauna session.
Yes, you probably wouldn’t think of that, but the type of insulation that the setup of your portable infrared sauna offers will make all the difference in heating efficiency. Some portable infrared saunas on the market have a durable, more-or-less reflective layer on the inside, so that the unit can heat up quickly and uniformly.
Already mentioned before. Since you are sitting inside your portable infrared sauna with only your head and hands sticking out, having a convenient pocket within reach can be handy. This may sound irrelevant, but if you’re sitting in your foldable infrared sauna while reading a book, at least you won’t have to throw your book on the floor if you want to switch to your phone.
It’s always nice to note that your portable infrared sauna is constructed with durability and ease-of-use in mind. Is the frame made of moisture resistant materials? Is attention given to the ease of assembly and tucking away after use? You’d expect your foldable infrared sauna to be able to be set up and put away in no more than five minutes. Also, you’d want it to be durable enough so that it can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. Resistance against moist is another factor. Of course, your portable infrared sauna won’t have to deal with moist heat like a traditional sauna does, but you don’t want to be worrying about a drop of sweat destroying your purchase. And believe me, you will sweat during your infrared sauna session.
Sitting in your portable infrared sauna is also something you have to think about for a moment. Typically, you won’t be sitting much longer than 30 minutes in your sauna, but the foldable chair that comes with some of the portable infrared saunas on the market is really so bad that your session feels like ages.
You don’t want to be in agonizing pain, counting the minutes to the end of your session. Think I’m exaggerating? You’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as you feel the aluminum bars of the foldable chair digging into your bones.
After all, one of the most important factors of your infrared sauna session is that it should be an enjoyable, relaxing experience.
Of course manufacturers are not going to provide or fit a recliner in there, but a minimum level of comfort should be attainable.
Another consideration: uncovered metal parts of the chair. Depending on the type of infrared heaters, the metal parts of the chair can warm up considerably so that you’ll always need to be cautious to use a small pillow or towels to prevent your skin from being burned.
Especially if you’re a tall person, you may have issues with the space inside. I’ve heard of someone who was miserably uncomfortable in his portable infrared sauna because his shoulders were pressing against the top cover of the enclosure.
Some people prefer to NOT sit on the chair, leave the chair out of the infrared sauna and sit on a towel on the floor, legs crossed and head inside the sauna, which can be a solution for the abovementioned scenario. Although I can imagine that if your shoulders are touching the top side when sitting in the chair, your head will still be too high when sitting on the floor. And that’s not mentioning the discomfort you may experience from sitting on the floor like that.
If you’re wondering if it’s even safe to sit with your head inside the portable infrared sauna, there’s no need to worry. After all, with the larger, wooden counterparts of the portable infrared sauna, you’d also be sitting with your head inside the cabin, well in reach of the infrared rays in the sauna.
One thing to consider though is to leave enough room open for air circulation. If you’re sitting inside your portable infrared sauna for a while, without any possibility of fresh air flowing in, you’ll be out of good air pretty soon.
It’s probably not so much the infrared rays that you should be worrying about, but rather the potential levels of EMF (electromagnetic fields) inside the sauna.
There’s been a lot of debate going on about levels of (harmful) EMF inside an infrared sauna and whether or not they are indeed dangerous. My personal take on this is the following: some manufacturers do take into account the levels of EMF and produce infrared saunas with very low levels of EMF, so why take any chances? You can pick up an EMF meter pretty cheap (for instance at Amazon) so you can find out for yourself what levels you’re dealing with. If you have the chance to find that out about any particular model that you’re considering, it’s certainly worth looking at.
You can also check the return policy where you are planning to buy your portable infrared sauna so you can return the unit in case you read unacceptable EMF levels.
Despite these potential drawbacks, the much lower purchase price and space-saving attributes of a portable infrared sauna can provide some significant advantages. Amazon.com can be a great place to buy one, because it's a trustworthy, dependable online store that often has portable infrared saunas available for bargain prices. Typically, Amazon's products are also good quality, so you won't need to worry much about buying a sauna that gives off toxic fumes.
Portable Infrared Saunas do what a sauna does...in a smarter, more comfortable way
Think of the benefits people seek from a regular sauna:
All these same benefits are achievable with a portable infrared sauna. And more.
"Far infrared" (or FIR) occurs at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum. These are heating rays (the sun produces them) that we can feel (as warmth) but can't see.
Far infrared heats objects more than air. Your body is an object, right? That means you can get in a portable infrared sauna and have your body be warmed just as much as in a traditional sauna, but without all that stifling heat!
Portable infrared saunas only heat the air around you to 110°-130°F, while a conventional sauna will heat it to at least 175°F and can go as high as 230°F!
That's a huge comfort difference. Yet because your body is being heated, you can sweat just as much! And here's the thing:
Because far infrared is radiant heat, your body is being warmed below the surface. This means toxins have a better chance of being knocked loose from the fat cells inside your body than if you were using a traditional sauna!
Acne could improve. Your immune system might be strengthened. You may finally find relief from insomnia.
Saunas offer many of the same benefits of exercise.
You warm up. Your heart rate increases. Your blood flows better. And, of course, you sweat.
(And everyone knows that sweat releases toxins.)
To top it all off, you burn calories ... big time.
People swear by the skin benefits too
And it's no surprise. You're clearing out those clogged pores (dirt and chemicals) and increasing blood flow to the skin's surface. How could that not be good???
There's even a fancy medical word for a sauna's effect on your blood vessels - vasodilation. The warming causes the muscle wall of your blood vessels to relax (in order to carry heat to the surface of your skin) - increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
That's why spending time in a sauna feels so good.
And now it's affordable
A portable infrared sauna means you don't have to join a fancy health club or build a sauna (can you imagine?) in your own home.
Nope. Infrared technology means you can have an effective, pleasurable sauna for a price you can afford and in a form you can take with you! Who would have thought?
I’ve tried to cover as much ground as possible here about portable infrared sauna devices. If you still think of something that I haven’t mentioned here or if you have a specific recommendation to make about a portable infrared sauna that you own and use, please feel free to comment in the section below. I’d appreciate it, thanks!
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