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Better Health: What Is a Far Infrared Sauna?

Most of us know what a sauna is.  But when we look for saunas, we find two types: traditional, and far infrared. What is a far infrared sauna? Is it just a heated room where we sweat for fun (and for the health benefits? Or is there more to it?

What is a far infrared sauna?

There's one major difference between the traditional sauna experience and what you'll experience in a far infrared sauna. Heat. Or, more accurately, the heat source. Far infrared saunas have what's known as an infrared radiant heater.

Your Body Produces Far Infrared Heat

Before we talk about saunas, let's take a look at the heat itself. Even though “far infrared heat” is a mouthful (and sounds strange), it’s actually familiar. You just don't think about it much.

But when you feel the warmth of a friend's handshake, you're sensing far infrared heat.

You know the incubators hospitals use for premature babies? They give off far infrared heat. And when you take a break from hiking, you just might sit on a sun-warmed rock that gives off far infrared heat.

The heat lamp in your bathroom is also a source of heat that mimics the warmth we receive through the sun’s far infrared rays.

Far infrared (aka FIR) heat affects your body differently – deeper into your tissues – than traditional heat from hot stones or electrical heaters. The deep reach of FIR heat lets your body release more toxins as you sweat. And you sweat just as much, even though your skin may not feel as hot.

Far Infrared Saunas Are Portable

FIR saunas have smaller heaters than traditional saunas. And they generate less intense heat. Because of that, the walls of far infrared saunas don't need thick insulation like traditional saunas do. They're able to fit well in smaller spaces. And their light construction makes them much more portable.

The most popular type of sauna for homeowners is actually the portable FIR sauna. It's also called a modular sauna room, and comes in pieces that can be easily snapped together. The best part of it is that you can easily take it with you when you move.

There are also other types of far infrared saunas. Some are meant to be used outdoors. You can even get a kit to build your own infrared sauna (if you're a hardcore DIY-er). Or, if you have the means and the desire, you can hire professionals to build a custom FIR sauna inside your home.

Far Infrared Saunas Come in Several Sizes

Have a large family? Friends who enjoy getting in the sauna? Conversation and camaraderie tend to grow when you share the experience with your favorite people.

Which brings up another good thing about FIR saunas. They come in many different pre-built sizes. One- to six-person saunas are available, with the most popular being for either two or four people.

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That's what makes up the typical far infrared sauna. Next, we'll look at exactly how FIR saunas work [ link this to the "how does a FIR sauna work" article ]. The details just might help as you search for the perfect sauna.

If you'd like advice – or to check out sauna models yourself – come on in to The Great Backyard. We're happy to help.

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