An infrared sauna blanket works similarly to a sauna. However, instead of sitting in a communal room, a person wraps a blanket containing infrared rays around themselves to warm their body.

Research reports that some individuals in the United States use saunas for relaxation as well as health benefits, including sleep and mental well-being.

Some people believe these infrared sauna blankets may have various health benefits, including possible pain relief, weight loss, and improvement to the immune system. However, there is limited evidence to verify these claims.

This article evaluates the effectiveness and safety of sauna blankets, explains what to consider when purchasing one, and answers some frequently asked questions.

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According to 2019 research, infrared sauna blankets work by using electromagnetic radiation to stimulate living tissues.

The same research notes that these blankets are more effective than saunas and may provide health benefits, including:

  • improving blood circulation
  • improving metabolism
  • accelerating detoxification
  • triggering calorie consumption and fat burning

Further research investigating the effects of infrared sauna blankets is limited.

A 2014 clinical trial looked at the effects of sauna blankets on people with decompensated heart failure and found it may be beneficial as an adjuvant thermal therapy.

Infrared sauna therapy, in general, may be beneficial for certain musculoskeletal conditions, according to a 2022 systemic review. It cited knee osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic myofascial pain as being conditions that may improve from infrared sauna therapy but noted its effects on low back pain and muscle damage in sports injuries are debatable.

Sauna bathing

A 2018 review looked at the benefits of sauna bathing beyond pleasure and relaxation purposes. It did not compare this to sauna blankets specifically but concluded that sauna bathing, in particular, may help:

Learn more about the benefits and risks of a sauna.

There is no evidence to suggest that infrared sauna blankets are not safe. However, a person may wish to consult a doctor before using the device.

People who are pregnant should avoid sauna therapy in any form.

Anecdotal evidence advises that individuals with heart conditions should avoid sauna therapy. This may be due to the heat and humidity placing pressure on the cardiovascular system.

Children should stay in a sauna blanket for less time than adults. Some 2021 research recommends children under 6 years should avoid this therapy completely as they do not regulate their heat and sweat as well as adults, so they are in danger of overheating.

Some factors a person may wish to consider when looking to purchase an infrared sauna blanket include:

  • Materials: Some individuals may prefer one material over another. For example, one material may react with a person’s skin. However, they should make sure the material they choose is easy to clean.
  • Budget: A person should ensure the infrared sauna blanket they choose is within their price range. They also may wish to consider any returns or trial periods as well as warranty information.
  • Temperature range: Individuals should check the temperature of the sauna blanket ranges from as high and as low as a person wishes to go.
  • Safety functions and timers: A person may want to ensure the product has safety functions, such as switching off once it reaches the maximum temperature. Additionally, some products allow people to set how long the blanket stays on.
  • Sizing: Individuals who are particularly tall should check the product’s dimensions before purchasing.
  • Hands-free: Some people may require a hands-free style with arm holes so they can use their hands while wearing the blanket.

This section answers some common questions about infrared sauna blankets.

What are the benefits of an infrared sauna blanket?

Infrared sauna blankets may benefit blood circulation and metabolism, accelerate detoxification and burn fat and calories.

However, research into the benefits of infrared sauna blankets is minimal.

How do I clean an infrared sauna blanket?

This varies between infrared sauna blankets. However, most manufacturers use easy-clean materials, meaning a person can wipe the blanket with a cloth.

A person should consult the cleaning instructions that should come with the device.

How often can people use an infrared sauna blanket?

This may vary between individuals. However, many manufacturers claim that the blanket is safe for everyday use.

Infrared sauna blankets work in the same way as a sauna. They expose the body to high temperatures, which may have a variety of health benefits, including those for musculoskeletal conditions. However, research on sauna blankets specifically is limited.

Therefore, a person may wish to consult a doctor before using one of these devices. Before purchasing, a person should also consider their budget and the various features of each infrared sauna blanket.