Infrared Sauna Dangers: Can it Cause Cancer?

Infrared saunas are in trend these days as more and more people now prefer compact, efficient and dry heat saunas over traditional steam and electric saunas.

They have low operational cost, one of their key benefits, and are easy to operate. Portable infrared saunas are lightweight and compact.

Note: For those who don’t know the difference between an infrared and traditional sauna, the former (infrared) raises the core body temperature using radiant energy without raising the temperature of the room, whereas the latter raises the temperature of the room first and then the body. 

While there are many benefits associated with it, there are some potential infrared sauna dangers too. 

What Are The Dangers of Infrared Saunas?

Many of the infrared sauna dangers are the same as that of traditional saunas. Mostly, they have to do with the subjective condition of the users and not with the sauna itself. 

1. Overheating

If you are a first time user of the infrared sauna, there are high chances that you might overheat the body.

You won’t suffer from thermal injury. But overheating causes your skin to turn clammy and as a result you  start feeling nauseous, dizzy or faint.

The best practice, therefore, is to gradually extend the time of your sauna session, and set the temperature at a very low level at the start. 

2. Dehydration

Dehydration, like overheating, is a result of mainly the ill-advised practices of users.

If you enter the sauna without properly hydrating the body, chances are you would experience symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth, sleepiness and headache

a man helping a woman dehydrate with a wet towel

3. Sperm Motility

This particular danger is associated with the infrared sauna only.

Long exposure to Electromagnetic radiation can lead to demonstrated impairment of sperm count and motility. Men who are looking to start a family may want to avoid using infrared sauna. 

4. Medication

Certain medications, especially insulin and skin-based or trans-dermal medication, can have adverse effects on the body when you take them during infrared sauna therapy.

It is highly recommended to consult your doctor before committing to sauna therapy. 

5. Depletion Of Nutrition

Infrared sauna sessions are so intense that long-term, heavy usage of the sauna can lead to the depletion of some vital minerals and nutrients from the body in some cases.

But if you back it up with a solid diet, you won’t have problems. 

Can Infrared Saunas Cause Cancer?

In an infrared sauna therapy, the body is exposed to infrared heater radiations which despite their low intensity can make some people skeptical.

Many, without evidence, claim that infrared sauna exposure can lead to cancer.

But till now, there is no conclusive research that relates cancer to the infrared saunas. 

When Should You Avoid Infrared Saunas? 

It is usually recommended to consult the physician before using an infrared sauna even if you don’t have any chronic or acute illness.

However, there are two cases in which you should always avoid infrared sauna:

  1. When you are going  through pregnancy
  2. When you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol

What About the Health Benefits of Using an Infrared Sauna? 

The health benefits of infrared sauna therapy are many, and unlike the potential dangers, there are many conclusive researches to support that.

Infrared radiations are known to offer benefits like weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improve overall medical condition. We have discussed this in a separate article – Infrared sauna benefits and disadvantages.

For now, it is sufficient to know that sauna therapy detoxes the body of toxins and has healing effects. 

Final Thoughts

Infrared sauna dangers are minimal and not a single one of them is lethally harmful to the body. Many of the dangers can be avoided if you are scrupulous in the usage of sauna, and follow the best practices. 

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