If you love saunas and want to receive all the health benefits – but in a more convenient form and at a lower cost – you may be interested in investing in a sauna blanket. And if that sounds like something you might to consider, here are 13 sauna blanket benefits to help you decide.
If you want a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about, you can also check out this video before reading on.
What is a sauna blanket?
Before we start talking about the benefits of sauna blankets, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of what they are.
Sauna blankets are similar to infrared saunas, which work by heating your body directly using infrared radiation instead of heating the air around you like a traditional sauna.
This means that in an infrared sauna, the temperatures are lower than in a traditional sauna, as is the humidity. You can expect temperatures of around 120-140°F and humidity of only 5% instead of up to 200°F and 35% in a traditional sauna.
However, these conditions are still enough to heat your body and cause you to sweat, which means you receive all the same benefits in a less extreme environment.
A sauna blanket is simply the same thing in blanket form. You wrap yourself in the blanket and switch it on, and then you just sit there, chill out – and sweat.
So now let’s look at all the benefits sauna blankets can bring you.
What are the benefits of sauna blankets?
Here is a list of the most commonly cited health benefits of saunas blankets – along with our assessment of how likely they are to be true.
1. Raise heart rate
One of the first effects of a sauna is to raise your heart rate, which has all kinds of benefits for cardiac health.
This happens when your body temperature rises, and an increased heart rate is part of your body’s efforts to reduce the temperature again.
Some studies have shown that people who use saunas regularly are less likely to suffer from conditions such as sudden cardiac arrest, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
While these studies mainly concerned traditional Finnish saunas, there’s every reason to believe that infrared saunas and sauna blankets will have a similar effect, making a sauna blanket a great way to try to improve the health of your heart.
2. Improve circulation
As well as improving heart health, since the heat of a sauna makes your heart beat faster, it also causes more blood to be pumped around your body.
This is great for people with bad circulation since it ensures blood makes its way right down to your hands and feet.
It may also help soften hardened blood vessels, which also reduces the risk of heart-related issues.
3. Lower blood pressure
There is good evidence that regular sauna use can also lower blood pressure, although when you first start using a sauna, you may find that your blood pressure increases.
However, if you persist in using a sauna several times a week, you will soon find that your blood pressure drops to a healthier level, with all the associated benefits that brings.
Once again, the research supporting these claims was carried out to investigate traditional Finnish-stye saunas rather than infrared saunas or sauna blankets, but there’s no reason to think the results wouldn’t similar, even if they aren’t quite as pronounced.
4. Reduce stress
One of the most obvious advantages of using a sauna is that it reduces stress, and this is something that’s backed up by both anecdotal evidence and hard science.
If we’re talking about traditional sit-in saunas, it’s hardly surprising that sitting in a dimly lit room filled with steam and nothing else to do other than relax and sweat is associated with lowered stress levels.
When you’re in a sauna, it’s easy to forget about the worries of your daily life, and this is one of the main reasons people visit saunas.
Then there’s also the social aspect since many people visit saunas with friends or family, and even if that’s not the case, you can still chat with other sauna users while you’re there.
It could be argued that using a sauna blanket is not quite the same – and you’re almost certainly going to be missing out on the social aspect.
However, if you shut everything else out and develop your own sauna blanket ritual, possibly by putting on some calming spa-style music and shutting off your phone, there’s no reason why sweating in a blanket can’t have the same calming effects as sitting in a wood sauna.
5. Improve mood
Similar to the point about reducing stress, many regular sauna users report that they simply feel in a better mood after their trip to the sauna, and if you do this regularly, you will be giving your mood a big boost.
Furthermore, it’s thought that visiting a sauna causes endorphins to be released, which also plays a role in regulating your mood, making this another reason why sauna users report feeling happier.
Again, although most of the research is related to traditional saunas, if you take time to savor the moment in your sauna blanket and make it part of an indulgent self-pampering routine, this can also play a significant part in boosting your mood and making you feel happier.
6. Reduce aches and pains
Another major benefit of all saunas is their ability to reduce many kinds of aches and pains.
Without even looking at the science, the mere fact that so many sauna users will tell you that saunas are a cure-all solution whenever they have aches or pains in their bodies.
As with many of these benefits, this is perhaps more related to traditional saunas than infrared ones. However, there is an argument that infrared radiation is able to penetrate deeper into your body, giving you even more effective relief – and the same is true of sauna blankets.
7. Reduce rheumatic conditions
Something that is supported by science – albeit by only a small study – is that infrared saunas specifically are effective at providing relief from joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
Since this study looked at infrared treatments, this is a benefit you can also expect from a sauna blanket, so if you suffer from conditions such as this, a sauna blanket could prove to be a wise investment.
8. Speed up recovery after exercise
Nowadays, sportsmen and women around the world, from tennis and soccer players to boxers and MMA fighters, incorporate sauna use into their recovery sessions after training or competition. This is an idea that also has scientific backing.
This is because sitting in a hot sauna warms and relaxes tired muscles, allowing them to recuperate more quickly.
Since infrared radiation penetrates your body and muscles, you can expect at least the same – if not a more pronounced – effect from using an infrared sauna or a sauna blanket.
9. Improve skin
One of the most commonly suggested benefits of infrared saunas and sauna blankets is improved skin condition.
This is sometimes challenged since there is currently little science to back it up. However, because the increased heat sends more blood flow to your skin and the heat and sweating opens your pores, it seems reasonable to accept that there’s a good chance this claim is true.
Furthermore, most sauna users report a pleasant skin “glow” after using a sauna, and this can be achieved in a sauna blanket as much as in a sit-in sauna.
The only downside of a sauna blanket here is that since you have to leave your head outside of the blanket, you won’t receive these benefits to your face or complexion.
However, that aside, sauna blankets are a great way to improve your skin and can be used to relieve conditions like psoriasis and general dry skin.
10. Reduce chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that isn’t well understood, but there is some evidence that infrared saunas and, by extension, sauna blankets may help.
Although the study concerned was very small-scale, after four weeks, participants reported improvements in many of the symptoms, including fatigue levels and pain.
What this means is, if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and are looking for something that may bring you some relief, sitting in a sauna blanket has to be worth a try at the very least.
11. Extend life
Although this might seem like a big claim, it’s logical that if sauna blankets can reduce heart problems, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and bring you all kinds of other benefits, then the long-term result must be that they can contribute to extending your life.
Of course, since sauna blankets are so new, no long-term studies have yet been done to confirm this – but since it’s very unlikely they can do you any harm, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use them if you want to try to live longer.
Aside from the health benefits that sauna blankets and other types of sauna can bring you, there are a couple of advantages that relate specifically to blankets – and the first is that they are so convenient.
If you have a sauna blanket at home, you can use it as often as you like – you won’t need to make a special trip to the gym or the spa every time you want to benefit from some infrared rays.
On top of this, if you travel, they are compact and lightweight, which means you can easily take them with you.
This is especially useful for sports players traveling to competition since they can take them with them when they’re on the road and can then use them to aid recovery in the hotel in the evening after competing.
Another advantage that sauna blankets have over other types of sauna is the cost.
Some top-end sauna blankets might not seem so cheap, but when you weigh the cost up against how much you pay for each sauna treatment in your local spa, by using your blanket a couple of times a week, you will soon recuperate the cost.
This is especially true of infrared spa treatments since they tend to be particularly expensive.
Similarly, if you compare buying a sauna blanket with fitting a traditional or sit-in infrared sauna in your home, the prices simply don’t compare, meaning sauna blankets are the least expensive way of enjoying all the benefits of a sauna in the comfort of your own home.
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Despite all the clear benefits of sauna blankets, there are a couple of often-repeated claims that are not true, so let’s have a look at these now.
The first false claim is that sauna blankets – and saunas in general – can help with weight loss, but unfortunately, this is untrue.
This idea probably comes from the fact that when you sit in a sauna, if you weigh yourself after, you will probably find you have lost a bit of weight.
However, this will only be water you have lost through sweating, so it doesn’t really count as losing weight – and you’ll put it back on as soon as you drink a glass of water.
Some people will also tell you that you burn calories and lose weight in a sauna because it speeds up your metabolism. But again, this is false.
Saunas speed up your heart rate, like when you exercise, and they make you sweat, also like when you exercise.
However, they don’t speed up your metabolism or burn any fat. If you want those benefits, we’re afraid you’re just going to have to go and do some sport. Sorry.
Another common myth is that saunas help you detoxify your body because you somehow “sweat out” all the nasty stuff your body has accumulated. But again, this is not how it works.
Sweat consists almost entirely of water, and your body creates it as a way to help cool you down when you get too hot. However, sweating doesn’t have anything to do with detoxification – your liver and kidneys take care of that.
This also means that you can’t “sweat out” a hangover – and if you try, you’ll probably make your headache worse because sitting in a sauna or sauna blanket will make you more dehydrated.
Boost immune system
Finally, claims that saunas of any kind can boost your immune system are dubious at best.
Having said that, a healthy immune system depends on reducing stress, so it’s possible that by using a sauna or sauna blanket for relaxation and stress relief, you can also give your immune system a helping hand.
One small study in Austria did show a correlation with (traditional-style) sauna use and lower instances of catching the common cold. However, this research was far from conclusive, and it’s a long way from proving that saunas can help prevent you from getting sick.
Plenty of benefits at a much more affordable price
As you can see, sauna blankets have a long list of associated benefits, and in many ways, they are just as good as traditional or sit-in infrared saunas. We hope you’ve found our post informative, and with this information, you can now decide if a sauna blanket is right for you.