“There are far more studies on regular saunas, but so far, studies on infrared saunas imply that the benefits may be similar,” says Tanmeet Sethi, M.D, a board-certified Integrative Family Medicine physician and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “[And] the benefits of a regular sauna are vast and quite impressive.”
Sethi explains that most research on saunas comes from Finland, where sauna usage is a part of their culture. “Benefits are mostly through the mode of improvement in cardiovascular health through reduction in blood pressure, improvement in endothelial function, reduction in inflammation, and improved arterial compliance,” she says.
Per Sethi, these benefits are linked to better sleep, cardiorespiratory function, improved immune system health, lower risk of neurocognitive disease, and “even improved pain and muscle recovery after injury.”
“I think of it as a way to get cardiac exercise without movement, which is really an exciting prospect for those with less mobility,” Sethi adds.