How to Use a Sauna: 15 Starter Tips for Infrared Sauna Use

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding how to use a sauna is, “How long does it take for my sauna to warm up?”

Answer: Not very long. The Colorado warms up at a rate of 2-3 degrees F per minute. Durango or Rio Grande, a bit faster, at 3-4 degrees/minute. It is important to remember that effective far infrared sauna therapy is not dependent on cabin air temperature.

Convection heat is the old technology and hot air was the driving force.

Hot air temperature and rapid warm up time are much more important in the traditional steam and hot rock saunas, than in your personal infrared sauna.

Tuned Radiant Heat, uses a far infrared bandwidth of ‘sunlight’ energy to heat your body directly. This infrared frequency exactly matches the bio-frequency of the human body. Far Infrared Therapy specifically heats your body and cabin air temperature is of secondary importance in how to use an infrared sauna.

A bit tricky to describe until you actually experience it, but it is almost instantly relaxing and you can feel your body soaking up the warm infrared heat waves.

The warm air temperature in a far infrared sauna supports your sweating environment, but is not what causes you to sweat.

The ideal cabin air temperature range when using a sauna for maximum effectiveness and health benefit is between 115 – 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You can run it hotter if you like, but there is no additional therapeutic benefit.

The temperature settings are variable and the control panel settings range from room temperature to a maximum of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is not recommended to operate sauna at the maximum setting of 150 degrees, same as you don’t run your car at maximum speed for extended time. The more regularly you use your sauna, the more quickly you will begin to sweat. Over time you will begin to sweat at a lower temperature setting.

I begin to sweat in about 8-10 minutes at a cabin temperature setting of 105 -110 degrees. Of course, I have been using my infrared sauna regularly for several years now. Nonetheless, I still have my desired temperature setting between 125 – 130F degrees for most of my session.

Go ahead and start your session when sauna cabin temp is 85 -95 degrees and let your body warm up along with the cabin air temperature.

The heater panels are already emitting tuned far infrared energy at maximum capacity and your body is receiving all the infrared energy it can absorb. Take your time and enjoy yourself.

Far Infrared ‘soft’ heat is calming and relaxing, just like feeling your body soak up the warmth of the sun on a cool day, and as your body becomes more accustomed to raising your core temperature on a regular basis you will sweat twice as much as a traditional sauna! And detoxify 5X more than with a traditional sauna… at cabin air temperatures that are 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit lower than hot rock and steam saunas!

After you have ‘ramped up’ in your first week or two of use, you will probably find that you want to spend more time in the sauna. It feels good, works great, clears your mind and strengthens your body. Stress, body aches and pains all simply melt away.

Convection heat vs. radiant heat.

Since we are heating the body with a tuned bandwidth of “sunlight” that matches our own human body bio-frequency, we are heating the body more deeply, heating more body mass and raising the core temperature of the body, rather than just burning the skin with hot air. This is a defining difference in how you use a sauna and the health benefits you receive.

As you become more accustomed to sweating on a regular basis, you can increase the frequency and duration of your sauna sessions.

Please remember to stay well hydrated on a daily basis and replace your electrolytes. Drinking plenty of fluids daily is absolutely necessary to achieve maximum health benefits and desired results. Pretty easy guidelines, to follow.

15 Tips on How to Use a Sauna

For more detail visit our “How to Use a Sauna” page

  1. Wait at least 1 – 2 hours after eating before beginning a far infrared sauna session.
  2. Best Times for infrared sauna sessions are early in the morning or before bedtime in the evening, although anytime is good.
  3. When you first begin to use your infrared sauna, Start Slowly. After you begin to break a sweat, a 20 -30 minute session is recommended. After becoming acclimated to infrared heat, users average 25-45 minute sessions. Two sessions per day is permissible if you are working on a specific therapy goal.
  4. Stay Hydrated! A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by two and drink a minimum of that many ounces of water on a daily basis. (160 lbs. divided by 2 = 80 ounces of water or eight 10 ounce glasses of water, daily. Drink plenty of good water, fruit juice, iced tea, green tea before, during and after your sauna routine.
  5. You may not sweat a lot during your first 2-3 sauna sessions. This is normal for many people, as they haven’t had a recent history of sweating.
  6. Take care not to overheat during your first few sessions. If you feel lightheaded, have a queasy stomach, or start to get a headache, terminate session immediately. As the body continues to adjust, sweating can increase dramatically and body temperature regulation becomes more effective.
  7. An increase in heart beat of up to 30% above the resting pulse is generally considered safe, unless a medical or heart condition requires keeping your pulse rate lower.
  8. Body temperature should not be allowed to rise above 102 degrees F. “Moderate sauna use is safe for most older people, but diabetics and anyone being treated for heart or circulatory conditions should check with their doctor, particularly if taking medication” states Dr. J.H. Halperin, Professor of Internal Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center.
  9. Watery Fat and Cellulite deposits begin breaking up into smaller water clusters as your core body temperature reaches approximately 100.5 degrees F.
  10. If sauna cabin temperature becomes too hot for your comfort, or the cabin becomes ‘stuffy’, you may slide open the ceiling vent to or, just open the door for a minute or so, to let some fresh air inside.
  11. Sauna Apparel. Lightweight shorts and tee shirt are ok. Swim suits are better. “Birthday Suit” is fine, too.
  12. Place layers of towels on the bench seat to absorb perspiration during your session. Far infrared will penetrate clothing and towels.
  13. By Stretching your arms, legs, neck, back area,etc. during your far infrared sauna session you can achieve increased body flexibility, range of motion, and reduce chronic stiffness and problem areas. Massage congested and “knotty” muscle areas.
  14. If you feel the beginning of cold or flu symptoms, use your infrared sauna 2-3 times per day/ 20 – 30 minute sessions. By inducing hyperthermia, you can strengthen your immune system. In many instances, frequent far infrared sauna sessions will eliminate your cold and flu symptoms completely in a day or so.
  15. When you finish your sauna session, it is important to relax and cool down while your body continues to perspire. Then take a shower.

Visit our page on “how to use a sauna” for more in-depth tips!.


Copyright 2013, by J. M Henson and Bulldog Publishing. All Rights Reserved. All material contained herein is the exclusive property of Rocky Mountain Saunas, Inc. Any unauthorized reproduction or use of materials is strictly forbidden.