5 Tips For The Best Sauna Experience

sauna couple

Tony and his wife had been enjoying their recently shifted lifestyle of working remotely. However, he and his wife missed the social interaction their on-site jobs provided before the pandemic. Plus, being in one place all day left them less motivated to exercise. They decided to purchase an infrared sauna to help with some stress and break up their day. Tony did his research on brands, benefits, and which size he and his wife needed. When he finally placed his order, he couldn’t wait for it to arrive. The infrared sauna would be the perfect wellness solution and provide the relaxation they’d been desperately seeking. He was sure they would have the best sauna experience.

What they hadn’t figured out yet was what would be the best sauna routine. How often was it safe to use it? What is the right temperature setting? Would they be able to relax and detox the way everyone always talked about?

Tony and his wife are like many first-time sauna owners. A little extra advice is all they need to take their sauna experience from so-so to completely satisfying!

The Ideal Infrared Sauna Temperature

Getting acclimated to your infrared sauna takes some time, especially if you’ve never used one or are used to steam saunas. Typically, you’ll want to start with shorter, 10–15-minute sessions and scale up from there. In addition, you’ll want to find a temperature setting that is comfortable.

Man adjusting sauna while woman sits inside smiling

It’s a good idea to set your sauna at 100°F – 120°F initially. Since infrared penetrates your skin and muscles at any setting, you’ll still benefit from a lower temperature. Starting lower will give you an idea of how quickly your body will react and begin perspiring. The infrared heat will cause your heart rate to increase, which is perfectly normal. However, if you have any heart issues, you’ll want to consult a medical professional before use.

After you’ve gotten in a sauna groove and your body is used to the heat, you can increase the temperature. The most highly recommended setting for adults is between 120°F and 140°F. At that level, you’ll be sweating a good deal and reaping the most rewards from your session.

Once you have found your sweet spot for both session length and temperature, the next part to plan is your optimal time of day.

Morning or Evening? Planning Your Infrared Sessions

You might’ve read that the best time for a sauna visit is when you first wake up. Others claim the ideal time is just before bed. In reality, the best time is whatever works for you. Our busy schedules don’t always allow us a solid lunch hour let alone a sauna break during the day. It’s important to get the most out of your investment though, right? You wouldn’t want your sauna to turn into a storage shed, the way treadmills become clothes racks.

If you’re using your sauna as part of a fitness or sports regimen, you’ll find the sessions are great for added muscle relaxation and recovery. Scheduling a 20–30-minute sauna break just after a workout or game is the best bet for maximum results.

Trouble getting centered when you first wake up? Start your day with a sauna session. Even a 10-minute escape to your sauna can set a course for productivity and focus. Add a meditation routine for even greater calm.

An older man sleeping on his side in bed while wearing pajamas.

Infrared saunas are also ideal for pain management. Some doctors recommend daily therapy for chronic pain relief. Sauna bathing regularly at any time of day can also help develop a strong immune system, ward off potential illness, and keep pain at bay before it builds.

Finally, infrared can help banish insomnia. Tossing and turning at 2 a.m. can be dreadful, but sauna time before turning in can make the difference between a wakeful or blissful night. Infrared heat’s reduction of oxidative stress levels along with inflammation helps promote calm and tranquility. One study showed that red light in particular, or near-infrared, was conducive to sounder sleep.

Whichever time of day you choose, your sauna is safe to use daily. Your needs may change for sauna sessions throughout the year. They may help you to stay warm during winter, keep your skin looking amazing during summer, or replace a workout when you’re injured. No matter when you step into your sauna, just be sure you’re doing one thing every time—drinking plenty of fluids.

The Importance Of Hydration

One of the first things you’ll notice during an infrared sauna session is the amount of sweat produced. It operates at a lower temperature than a steam sauna but the rays penetrate deep below the skin’s surface, so increases your heart rate and circulation more rapidly. This leads to more intense and prolonged sweating.

woman drinking water

Since you lose a significant amount of fluids via sweat, you need to be sure to replenish. The best plan is to drink water before your session and during. Our bodies don’t signal thirst right away, so it’s best to hydrate before you reach that point.

In addition, it’s important not to drink anything that will dehydrate you, such as caffeine or alcohol. Avoid these types of drinks for an hour or more before stepping inside your sauna.

If you’re using your sauna at night before bedtime, you might want to enjoy something decaffeinated that promotes sleep. Drinking certain teas or coconut waters can help bolster this effect.

Hydrating after your sauna session is beneficial as well. Since your body will be detoxifying, drinking plenty of water is a great way to stay energized and help your liver do its job.

The Best Sauna Attire

Having your own infrared sauna comes with lots of perks. One of the best is that you won’t have to share your sauna with a group of strangers at a gym or spa. Sure, you might have a partner or family members getting saunified, but a home sauna lends itself to more privacy.

That means you can wear, or not wear, anything you wish in your sauna. Keep in mind that you’ll naturally be perspiring heavily, so whatever you wear will need to be moisture-wicking and breathable. Comfort is key!

Ideally, you’ll want to keep a towel handy, sit or lean on a towel, or wear a terry cloth or cotton fabric robe, so it can absorb sweat. The natural wood of your sauna is meant to have some varied coloration and grain patterns, but oils and perspiration from your body can result in unwanted stains.

towel lady

It’s recommended that you wipe your sauna down after each use so you can prolong the beauty of your sauna panels. Plus, it’s simply a good hygiene practice.

Getting Into Zen Mode

So, you’ve set aside time to enjoy your personal sauna break and are ready to reset your day or evening. You might have a hundred thoughts racing through your head, an unfinished to-do list or an ache that just won’t let up. How to get into sauna mode?

Never fear, your zen is here!

Along with leaning back and letting the infrared do its job, you can make great use of the Bluetooth feature in your sauna. Put on some relaxing tunes, or even better, download a popular meditation app, pop in some earbuds, or don a headset and sail off to sauna bliss.

If a total zone-out is not your thing, try a podcast or catch up on that article you’ve been meaning to read. The quiet time inside your sauna provides the perfect moment to focus on something other than daily stressors.

To engage more senses, try aromatherapy. One of Health Mate’s most popular accessories enhances relaxation and is customizable using your favorite essential oils. In saunas with chromotherapy, you’ll experience the added benefit of color to relax, energize, and more. Each color provides a health benefit separate from the mid- and far-infrared rays.

All Set?

Ultimately, Health Mate wants you to enjoy your sauna, and following these tips can lead to a restorative infrared sauna experience. Learn more about the benefits of sauna bathing and check out our full line of saunas to get details on each model.