an elderly man drying after receiving the benefits of an infrared (IR) sauna session.

How an Infrared (IR) Sauna Benefits Seniors and Older Adults

As we get older, you’ll find that our bodies don’t move as much as in our youth. Thanks to joint pain, weakness, and other limiting factors associated with aging, it can feel like our movement increasingly becomes dependent on particular medications. Read below to find out more about the IR sauna benefits for seniors and older adults.

It’s for this reason that seniors and those in an older demographic may be exploring more gentle, immediate approaches to treatment that have more of an onus on lifestyle and general well-being.

This article explores how infrared saunas can be a lifestyle-changing choice for those who consider themselves as being older, as well as discussing how they can effectively treat common issues that come with old age.


How are infrared saunas suited for elderly individuals?

When compared to available options out there, IR sauna benefits are the best choice for older adults thanks to their safety, convenience, and comfort.

Since traditional saunas (i.e. steam baths) work by heating the ambient temperature, it can be a very dangerous and uncomfortable experience for most seniors – owing largely to the physical body’s difficulty in regulating heat the older we grow, citing issues in being increasingly unable to disperse heat, via a reduction in the amount of sweat produced per gland. Adding on the increased humidity of more traditional saunas, and the capacity of the body to maintain its narrow temperature range becomes an exponentially concerning health risk, for those in upper age ranges.

On the other hand, infrared saunas use infrared light to heat the body directly, resulting in lower ambient temperature and a more comfortable experience. Additionally, infrared saunas can help apply the following benefits to seniors:


Reduces the Sensation of Weakness

According to a 2020 study by Geriatrics Gerontology, infrared saunas were the most effective method to improve older adults’ quality of life.

In the study, 67 participants (aged 67-93) suffering from varying degrees of frailty underwent a 15-minute sauna session with a 30-minute rest covered with a warm blanket twice a week for three months. 

The study found that about 26 per cent of the patients improved their frailty status, suggesting that infrared saunas do hold a significant implication on improving strength and mobility in weakened adults.


Diminished Joint Pain

One of the most common problems seniors and older adults face later in life is chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. These debilitating conditions severely limit most seniors’ quality of life, as pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints increasingly begin to limit your range of movement, and as a result your mobility in the day-to-day context.

Luckily, IR sauna benefits can help relieve stiff joints since they trigger heat shock proteins – a group of proteins with anti-inflammatory properties. When regular sauna sessions are combined with prescribed medications, seniors may have an easier time enjoying more physically demanding activities.

According to a 2019 study conducted by Clinical Rheumatology, 24 patients – seven with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 17 with spondylitis (AS) – underwent a daily infrared sauna session for two days a week, lasting for over a month.

After reviewing the results, the researchers found that infrared saunas can comfortably inflict short-term benefits in decreasing joint pain and stiffness for RA and AS patients.


Improved Metabolic Rate

Another issue most older adults face is that our metabolic processes do not catch up with our age; we don’t break down food as efficiently compared to our younger years, for similar reasons of atrophying muscle groups and processes in our previously mentioned capacity to maintain consistent body temperature.

Pair that with irregular exercise thanks to joint pain and long sedentary periods, life obligations and other commitments, and your metabolic rate will start to rapidly deteriorate.

Since infrared saunas increase your core body temperature, your metabolic rate also rises even if you’re not currently exercising.

Moreover, infrared saunas can also help in sweating out the toxins and acids (acquired by eating) from your body, leading to an overall better digestive function and gut health.


Improved mood levels

Ageing gracefully can sometimes lead you to spend more time alone. While this can be both a pro and a con, loneliness can lead to risk of developing various health issues.

Spending time in a sauna can improve overall mood since they are proven to increase endorphin production– the body’s natural pain reliever and ‘feel good’ hormone while also mitigating cortisol production, the body’s stress hormone.

With infrared saunas, older folks can sleep better at night, have more energy during mornings, and have a warm respite on colder days.


Risks associated with sauna use

Seniors and older adults may need to be extra careful with sauna use, especially if they have existing health conditions such as hypertension. With that said, here are some essential sauna tips for keeping your experience safe and comfortable at all times:

  • Always ensure the infrared sauna is at an ideal temperature for your body
  • Limit sauna sessions to only 10 to 20 minutes to avoid overexertion
  • Drink plenty of water before and right after an infrared sauna session to prevent dehydration

Note: While saunas do have proven cardiovascular-related health benefits, elderly individuals may have different reactions that can intensify any existing conditions. 

With that in mind, we highly recommend consulting with your health professional first before buying or using an infrared sauna.

If you’re on the lookout for a perfectly safe sauna to take home, our sauna models in particular are designed with health in mind. Our commitment to safety, performance, and convenience makes us the first choice for seniors, older adults, and their wellness experts.

Contact us today and let us help you pick the perfect sauna model (or compare other brands) to start your journey to better health, at home.