Losing Weight with an Infrared Sauna

    Scale with tape measure and apple

    One of the many benefits of using an infrared sauna is weight loss. An infrared sauna creates an environment where the user burns calories, just by sitting passively inside.

    With the growing trend of seeking less invasive and more natural methods of health care, medical professionals are beginning to see the importance and value of heat therapy. This has made infrared saunas popular among many doctors as an effective treatment for their patients.

    How to Win by Losing with an Infrared Sauna


    Using an infrared sauna increases your heart and metabolic rate, as well as your cardiac output, resulting in an overall improvement of cardiovascular fitness. When we perspire, our body begins the process of cooling itself. As our body sweats, we  lose water weight, but since our body is burning calories, we're also losing  actual weight.

    Green apple with a tape measure

    Infrared Saunas Help with Weight Loss 

    Hippocrates famously stated: “Give me a fever, and I can cure any disease.” Although this statement applies to far more than weight loss, one of the many benefits of sweating is that it increases our metabolism.

    As our metabolism increases, our body burns more calories. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that a 30-minute sauna session can burn as many as 600 calories!

    Infrared Saunas and Weight Loss Go Hand-in-Hand

    Our body’s core temperature increases while we're in a sauna, and as a result, our body works hard to cool itself. The blood flow increases, along with the cardiac output and metabolic rate.

    These increases improve our overall cardiovascular fitness, and because our body is working hard to cool itself, we are burning a lot of calories.

    Passive Cardio Workout

    A passive cardio workout occurs because of the increased demand on our cardiovascular system. It’s not uncommon for diastolic blood pressure to decrease because of the improved blood flow and the dilation of the vessels and capillaries.

    Our vital organs and endocrine glands also increase their metabolic processes. In every aspect, our body is working hard to cool itself, and all of these things contribute to a higher calorie burn.

    Man Standing on Scale

    Effective Method of Burning Calories

    Based on a 150-pound person, 30-minutes of brisk walking would burn 150 calories. However, if this same person were to run at a marathon pace, they could increase their calorie burn to as much as 593 calories!

    Our bodies burn .586 kcal in order to produce a single gram of sweat, and since infrared saunas cause us to sweat, a 30-minute sauna session could burn over 600 calories. Simply because they're so effective!

    Traditional Sauna vs. Infrared Sauna

    A traditional sauna helps our body achieve these benefits as well, however, an infrared sauna is  far more efficient. Infrared saunas can generate as much as 3 times more sweat – which translates to our body working much harder to cool itself. As a result, we burn far more calories in an infrared sauna.

    It may feel as though you're relaxing in a stress-free environment during an infrared sauna session, but actually, your body is actively conditioning your heart and burning calories.

    Woman running with city in background

    Infrared Saunas as a Replacement for Exercise

    Now, we're not saying that you shouldn't exercise, but if you're unable to exercise for any reason, an infrared sauna can be a huge asset.

    In 2003, a study was conducted with 25 obese adults. Each participant used an infrared sauna daily for 15-minutes. At the end of 2-weeks, all 25 participants reduced not only their body weight, but also their body fat. 

    One of the participants was physically unable to exercise, and after 10 weeks of sauna use, showed a weight loss of over 30 pounds, including a body fat loss of 11%!

    Infrared Saunas and Injury Prevention

    In addition, infrared saunas can help you gently warm-up prior to stretching or working out. Taking a sauna before working out is a great way to help prevent injuries, especially for outdoor exercise such as running during winter cold weather.

    Who Benefits from Using an Infrared Sauna?

    All of this puts infrared saunas in a unique position because of the role they play in cardiovascular conditioning. They're not only an effective tool for those seeking weight loss, but they also have the ability to help individuals in 3 very diverse groups:

    • Individuals who  can not  or  do not  exercise.
    • Individuals who are trying to lose weight.
    • Individuals who are extremely active.

    Woman inside an infrared sauna

    Infrared Saunas as a Weight Loss Tool

    The number of fat cells within our body is determined early in life, and they'll shrink and expand throughout our life. However, the number of cells will always remain the same. 

    When we gain weight, our fat cells grow larger and often absorb toxins. As the fat accumulates, it can develop into a gel-like substance called cellulite which is made up of fat, water, and toxins. Cellulite forms in pockets below the skin.

    Weight Loss Benefits of Infrared Sauna Use

    In 2009, a clinical study was conducted which showed significant results in weight loss and waist circumference when an infrared sauna was used over a 3-month time period. The study proved that incorporating an infrared sauna into a weight loss program is beneficial.

    First, because of the increased energy (calorie) demands placed on keeping the body cool through the act of sweating; and second, because of the “excretion of fat.”

    How The Body Burns Fat

    According to the Mayo Clinic, as our body converts fat to usable energy, both heat and waste products are generated. The waste is composed of water and carbon dioxide and exits our body through urine, sweat, and our breath as we exhale.

    When an infrared sauna is used, the body is assisted with releasing unwanted fat and toxins. As we sweat, the energy demands on our body help us burn and break down the fat, which also releases toxins that are trapped inside. 

    The sweat then sweeps the waste products out of our body. As a result, our body is able to rid itself of cellulite.

    Dock with white rails going into ocean

    Infrared Saunas and Exercise

    Even though an infrared sauna shouldn't replace exercise if you're physically able to be active, its nice to know that regular sauna use can offer many of the same benefits of exercise. 

    For those who are unable to exercise, the use of a sauna can provide a passive cardiovascular workout at a level that may be extremely difficult to achieve any other way.

    Improving The Body's Recovery Time

    In addition, people who begin a weight loss program will often incorporate an exercise routine as well. Many have never exercised before, and for others, it may have been quite some time. 

    Not only will these individuals be able to take advantage of all the weight and fitness benefits of sauna use, but they'll also speed the recovery of sore muscles, and reduce the time it takes their body to recover.

    Many studies show that regular use of an infrared sauna can burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce body fat. However, the key to helping you maximize your results is to incorporate this powerful tool into a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and physical activity.