Sauna blankets are one of a number of modern fitness trends that have been rapidly taking the world by storm over the last few years.
Capable of replicating all of the benefits of a traditional sauna from the comfort and convenience of your own home, they are a truly appealing device.
However, despite their recent sharp uptick in popularity, many people don’t really know what a sauna blanket is, let alone how to use one.
This means the vast majority of the population aren’t able to make the most of all the advantages to your health and fitness that they offer.
With that in mind, I want to give you an in depth guide on how to use a sauna blanket.
We will cover everything from operating the blanket itself, to how to stay safe and get the most out of, while even helping you to work out what make and model of sauna blanket is right for you.
So, if you have been considering jumping on the bandwagon and getting a sauna blanket of your very own, you will be in no doubt of what your next move should be after reading this article.
What Is A Sauna Blanket?
A sauna blanket is a portable device, designed to offer users the benefits and experience of a traditional sauna, from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
They are extremely compact devices, which can be easily folded away, making them ideal for either transport or storage.
Sauna blankets are powered by a heating mechanism, which will usually be controlled by elements that use infrared technology.
The insulated material that the blanket is made of will then trap all of the heat inside, raising the temperature of the user in a similar way to a regular sauna.
While known as a sauna blanket, they are actually available in more than one different style.
While there are some that look like a regular blanket, which the user can lay under or wrap themselves up in, there are others that look more like a sleeping bag, which the user actually has to get inside of.
In addition to being smaller, cheaper, and more convenient than a full size sauna, many people even prefer them to the real thing because your head is not actually in the sauna blanket.
This means it is easier to breathe in and allows you to do things to keep yourself entertained, such as watch TV.
How To Select Your Ideal Sauna Blanket
There are countless models and makes of sauna blankets on the market, each of which has its own unique selling points and people it is designed for.
As a result, it is essential you select the right sauna blanket for you, if you are going to get the most out of it.
To select your ideal sauna blanket, there are a number of factors you need to consider.
Perhaps most importantly is the design of the sauna blanket itself. This can include everything from the size, strength, structure, durability, and material of the blanket to the number of different settings and additional features it has.
You need to make sure the infrared sauna blanket you choose is large enough to cover your whole body, otherwise you won’t be able to get even coverage, so won’t receive its full effects.
This also includes factoring in whether you want a sauna blanket that gets wrapped around you or one which you climb inside, as both provide different levels of coverage for your body.
The technology used in the heating system of your blanket then needs to be considered, as some types of infrared light are more penetrative and effective than others.
This will also determine the temperature settings of the blanket, which is crucial to ensure you can get it as hot as you want.
You then need to ensure that the blanket is made from high quality materials, both in the blanket itself as well as its mechanical components, and has a high quality production value.
This will ensure that your sauna blanket is incredibly effective and lasts as long as possible, even with frequent use.
The additional features of a blanket are another important consideration, yet one that is frequently overlooked. For example, things like a remote control, timer, or pocket for your devices will give you maximum convenience and control over the heat, enjoyment, and duration of your sessions.
Finally, you need to consider the price of the blanket, as well as any guarantees or warranties that come with it. This is extremely important as sauna blankets are generally very expensive items.
Finding one at a price that is within your budget but doesn’t feel too budget will let it provide maximum value, while guarantees offer insurance and peace of mind in case anything goes wrong.
What Sauna Blanket Should You Buy?
As we have established in the section above, there are a number of factors that go into choosing the perfect sauna blanket for each person. This means there is no one size fits all option that will meet all of the needs and wants of every single person.
That said, there are three sauna blankets that generally stand above the others on the market and are a great place for you to start your search. These are the HeatHealers Sauna Blanket, HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket V3, and MiHigh Sauna Blanket.
Three high quality sauna blankets, between them they offer a great range of prices, sizes, maximum temperatures, and more.
While they are by no means the only options on the market, there is almost certainly an option among them that is suitable for the vast majority of people, making them a great place to start for those who are lost when it comes to narrowing down the best options that they have available.
Top Tips And Instructions For Beginners
Using a sauna blanket is a pretty straightforward and easy to understand task, but it can understandably be a little daunting for first time users.
Thankfully, all you really need to get going is your sauna blanket of choice and a place to plug it in.
Begin by selecting where you plan to use your sauna blanket.
Options such as a bed, sofa, or padded chair are the most popular options, as they provide maximum comfort.
Try to lay it as flat as possible and smooth out any major folds or creases.
You then need to plug the sauna blanket in. On some models, this will turn the blanket on automatically, while on others you will have to turn it on yourself.
Either way, select your desired temperature and go and get yourself ready to use it while it heats up.
Once the sauna blanket is sufficiently preheated, it is time to start using it. Depending on the sauna blanket you choose, this can be done either by climbing inside of it or wrapping it around your body.
You then simply need to lay down inside the blanket for the desired length of time.
Make sure you have something to keep you entertained throughout your usage, such as a TV.
Many sauna blankets can also have their temperature adjusted without removing it, in the event it is too hot or cold.
Once you complete your desired length in your sauna blanket, get out of the blanket and make sure to turn it off. Leave the blanket to completely cool down, then make sure you wipe the insides clean before folding it up and putting it away.
How To Prepare To Use A Sauna Blanket
Your preparation for using a sauna blanket should start a number of hours before your session is actually due to begin.
On any day when you are scheduled to use the device, make sure to drink plenty of water in the build-up, as this will help to prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
A short while before your session is due to begin, lay the sauna blanket out in the position where you will be using it and flatten it out, being sure that no major folds or places where pockets of air could get trapped remain.
You will then proceed to plug it in and select the desired temperature.
While your sauna blanket is heating up, you need to go and get yourself prepared to use it.
This will entail changing into the clothes you intend to wear during the session, obtaining plenty of fluids to keep close by, picking a show or movie to keep you entertained throughout, and, if you can, getting a phone or device that will allow you to call for help in the unlikely event of an emergency.
What Should You Wear While Using A Sauna Blanket?
It is extremely important to make sure you don’t wear clothes that fit too tightly when using a sauna blanket.
This could not only cause irritation during your session but could also lead to constriction and an impact on your circulation as your body temperature rises.
For the most comfortable experience, loose fitting clothes are perfect for both your health and enjoyment. Cotton is also generally considered the preferred material for clothing used inside a sauna blanket, as it is light and allows your skin to breathe.
Many people also like to wear an outfit consisting of long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and socks while inside the sauna blanket.
These have not only been shown to elevate the effects of a sauna blanket, as they keep your whole body at an even temperature, but they also prevent too much sweat getting on the blanket itself as well, making it easier to clean.
What Precautions Should You Take While Using A Sauna Blanket?
As mentioned in the preparation section, the main things you need to ensure while using a sauna blanket are that you have plenty of water to hand, to help keep you hydrated, as well as a phone or device to contact someone if you need assistance, for whatever reason.
You also want to make sure you remember to set the timer when you begin your session.
This will all but guarantee that you don’t spend an unhealthy amount of time in your sauna blanket, even in the event that you fall asleep while using it.
Finally, make sure that you remain conscious of how the temperature feels throughout the session.
While a sauna blanket is meant to get hot, it should never get unbearable or reach a temperature so high that it could cause you an injury or complication.
If at any point you feel the heat getting too much, make sure to err on the side of caution and lower the temperature just a little, until it becomes comfortable again.
Do You Need To Do Anything After You Finish Using A Sauna Blanket?
The first thing you need to do after you finish using a sauna blanket is to turn it off and unplug it.
While it is cooling down, go and drink plenty of water, to try and replenish any fluids you lost during the session.
Try not to rush around too much though, as a sauna blanket will affect your heart rate and blood pressure, so could leave you feeling a little weak or dizzy immediately after the session.
Once your sauna blanket has completely cooled down, you need to wipe away all of the excess sweat from inside it.
This can be done using either a damp cloth and a little soap or an antibacterial wipe or spray. Once you have cleaned it, you then need to make sure you completely dry it as well.
Once it has been washed and dried, carefully fold it up and store it away, to ensure it doesn’t get damaged while not in use.
How Often Should You Use A Sauna Blanket?
While using a sauna blanket is a relatively safe activity, it is something you need to make sure you don’t use too often either.
Overuse can not only negate some of the benefits of sauna blankets but can even cause some adverse effects in the process.
The best solution is to schedule weekly sessions that are evenly spaced out, with no more than three sessions in your sauna blanket being planned during any seven day period.
This will allow you to keep up with your program, without the risk of causing any negative effects on your body.
Can You Use A Sauna Blanket On Your Bed?
Sauna blankets are very versatile and mobile pieces of equipment, and they can be used on a an extremely large range of surfaces, which includes your bed.
In fact, a bed, in addition to a couch or reclining chair, are among the most popular places for people to use their sauna blanket.
Each of these surfaces provides a great level of comfort throughout your session, while also allowing you to enjoy a film or program on TV to keep you entertained while you are using the sauna blanket.
What Are The Ideal Temperature Ranges For A Sauna Blanket?
Each person’s body has a different temperature threshold, so no single temperature will be able to provide an experience that is both beneficial and comfortable for everyone.
However, in general, the ideal temperature is usually somewhere from 100 degrees Fahrenheit up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
If a sauna blanket gets too hot, it can cause issues like severe dehydration or even burn your skin. Yet, on the other hand, if it doesn’t reach an appropriate temperature, it won’t be as effective or provide the full range of benefits.
Most good sauna blankets will allow you to adjust the temperature, with many even allowing you to do so without having to exit the blanket.
This means you should always be able to adjust the settings if you feel things are getting too much or maybe even need to be ramped up a little.
Beginners will want to start out at temperature on the lower end of this range, or maybe even below it, to give their body time to get used to the heat and experience of a sauna blanket.
This is also true for those who know they are extremely sensitive to the heat.
What Sort Of Benefits Can Be Achieved By Using A Sauna Blanket?
There are numerous proven medicinal and therapeutic benefits to using saunas and a sauna blanket is capable of replicating almost all of them.
These benefits nearly all derive from the ability of both types of saunas to use extreme heat to relax the muscles and central nervous system.
Some of the most popular benefits of sauna blankets include:
- Improved brain, lung, and heart health
- Enhanced circulation and relaxation
- Speeding up your metabolism and exercise recovery
- Easier development of lean muscle mass
- More noticeable weight loss and a reduction of fat and cellulite
- An accelerated flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles
- A soothing, relaxation, and reduction of soreness in connective tissues, muscles, and joints
- The dilation of blood vessels, which improves oxygen flow
- A better quality of sleep
- Clearer, tighter, more elastic skin
- A reduction in pain
- The prevention of fatigue
- Greater flexibility and physical performance
- A more effective immune system and response
- Full body detoxification
A combination of these benefits also makes a sauna blanket a great option for promoting recovery from certain illnesses, injuries, or even mental situations like stress.
People suffering from conditions such as arthritis, asthma, congestive heart failure, obesity, high blood pressure, and pneumonia have all noted significant improvements in their symptoms when following a consistent regimen with their sauna blanket.
The level to which each of these benefits occurs will vary based on a range of factors.
These can include the health, age, or weight of the user, the quality of the sauna blanket, the strength of the infrared rays that it uses, and even the particular benefit in question.
Unlike traditional saunas, a sauna blanket uses an infrared heating mechanism and leaves your head exposed. This allows it to penetrate deeper into the muscles, while also eliminating the stuffy feeling saunas often cause and making it easier to breathe.
Studies also show that more regular and regimented users of saunas yield enhanced benefits in comparison to people who only use them occasionally.
Are There Any Risks To Using A Sauna Blanket & Can You Avoid Them?
While sauna blankets are considered safe to use for the vast majority of people, provided you use them sensibly and as advised, there are still a few potential risks and side effects that they can cause.
The most common issues people experience when using a sauna blanket are dehydration, heat stroke, dizziness, overheating, and exhaustion, due to the high temperatures they make the body reach.
Other, less common issues include low blood pressure and heart problems, although these almost exclusively occur in people with underlying health concerns. Most of these problems can, thankfully, be avoided if you are careful though.
If you make sure not to use your sauna blanket too frequently or for too long, keep the temperature to levels that are comfortable and that your body can handle, and ensure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout your sessions, you are unlikely to experience any adverse effects.
Who Should Avoid Using A Sauna Blanket?
Sauna blankets are great devices that offer a number of health and fitness benefits for a wide range of people.
However, while safe to use for the majority of people, there are those who should avoid using a sauna blanket altogether.
Anyone suffering from poor levels of hydration should avoid using a sauna blanket until they rectify the problem. Dehydration is one of the main complications of saunas in general, and a condition like this puts the person at considerably greater risk.
Drinking alcohol should be avoided before or during your sessions in the blanket for the same reason, as it is a drug that has been proven to dehydrate both the brain and body.
This is also true for most illegal narcotics.
In a similar vein, sauna blankets should be avoided during pregnancy, as the dehydrating and overheating possible can extend beyond the user and to their baby, potentially being harmful to their development.
While there is no concrete evidence, most manufacturers also recommend avoiding sauna blankets while fasting and for at least 24 hours before breastfeeding, in order to err on the side of caution.
Being ill is another instance where it is advised that you avoid using a sauna blanket, as the device has the potential to make your symptoms worse or possibly even cause you to develop more severe complications.
People who have had a heart attack recently should avoid them for the same reasons.
There are also a range of medical conditions that you should avoid using a sauna blanket if suffering from.
These include haemophilia, type 1 diabetes, angina, almost all cardiovascular diseases, and low blood pressure, while people with metal joint replacements may also experience complications.
Finally, you should also avoid using a sauna blanket while taking certain medications.
This includes things like blood thinners and beta blockers, as well as anything that alters the blood pressure or heart rate of the user.
Are There Different Types Of Sauna Blanket?
Sauna blankets are available in a range of different makes and models, yet most of them boast a similar set of features and offer the same benefits, just to differing degrees.
However, there are two major things than can split sauna blankets into different “types”.
The first is the style of the blanket itself. Some will look like a traditional blanket, while others seem more like a sleeping bag.
Choosing which of these you prefer will depend on your size, how constricted you want to feel, and whether you would rather lay on, be wrapped in, or climb inside your sauna blanket.
The other difference is the type of infrared rays that it uses. Infrared light is split into three different categories: near, mid, and far.
Far infrared light emits intense heat, while near infrared light relies almost exclusively on light. Mid infrared rays are a combination of the two and offer elements of both..
Most sauna blankets will use far infrared rays to create the sauna experience, yet some will use mid and even occasionally near as well.
It is important to check which type of rays the sauna blanket you are looking at uses, in order to get a good idea of the sort of results it is capable of producing.
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A sauna blanket is a fabulous piece of equipment that can offer a wide range of benefits to the human body, but only if you know how to use it effectively.
This can include everything from boosting mental and physical capabilities to helping you to recover from injuries or diseases.
This article will hopefully have given you all of the information you could possibly need to select the ideal sauna blanket for your own situation and use it to produce the greatest benefits possible.
That means there shouldn’t be anything left in your way to stop you from purchasing your chosen sauna blanket and starting to see all of the incredible results that it can offer for yourself.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost