Saunas and Their Benefits

Saunas. Steam rooms. Dry heat. Infrared versus traditional. There are so many different terms out there and it can get confusing! What do they do? Which is the best? What’s the difference? At Vessel, we believe an infrared sauna is the way to go but there is so much to know about saunas in general.

Infrared vs. Traditional

While traditional saunas use high-temperature dry heat or steam to warm your body from the outside, infrared saunas work by heating your body from the inside. This is beneficial because you don’t have to endure such high heat and it also allows your body to activate the detox process faster.

So what do we mean by inside-out and outside-in? Well, basically, a traditional sauna heats the air which in-turn makes you hot and then your body’s natural cooling mechanism causes you to sweat. An infrared uses light to penetrate the body and allowing your core temperature to raise first. This means the experience may not be as sweaty or hot, but you’re still getting the benefits of raising your body temperature.

A Little History

Sauna’s have been used for thousands of years. In fact, according to (yes – there is actually an organization out there devoted to strictly sauna research), the first known sauna structures were built into the earth and lined in stone over 2000 years ago in Finland. Finnish culture actually acknowledges their use as far back as 7000 BC. Today, its use is foundational to Scandinavian culture and many people swear by its benefits.

The idea of heat-therapy or sweating is not limited to Finnish history and culture. Native Americans and Aboriginal people from New Zealand and Australia use sweat lodges even today to ceremoniously honor the mind/spirit connection. It is believe that by purifying the physical body one is able to enter into a stronger state of spirit.

Roman bathhouses were used to purify and detox the body and are the cornerstone of today’s spas. Turkish Hammams are also very similar to today’s spas and were used as a form of spiritual and physical purification.

Many other Eastern and Northern cultures have long believed in the benefits of heat purification and therapy for physical, mental and spiritual health. Whether they are used to heal ailments, relax the mind and body, open up the heart, or prepare for something bigger, the ideas of saunas and bathhouses are deeply rooted in our world.

John Harvey Kellogg created the first electric sauna that showcased at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. After that, our modern sauna experience was born.


There are so many benefits to using a sauna. Our ancestors knew what they were doing when they started using them thousands of years ago!

According to Cleveland Clinic, infrared saunas can:

  • Improve heart health by mimicking exercise in your body;
  • Soothe sore muscles and speed up recovery from physical activity;
  • Possibly improve chronic pain;
  • May help decrease depression, anxiety and stress;
  • Promote better sleep; and
  • Help fight off illness and help you avoid the common cold.

While there are many other positive benefits people claim, the above should be enough to convince you to give it a shot. Whether you you decide to go with the traditional sauna or the infrared, it’s worth trying one out to see if it’s for you!

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