I treated my mum to a spa day for her birthday this year; bit more than I’d usually spend admittedly, but what with the pandemic and everything I thought we both deserved a bit of pampering and some quality time together. The spa in question is brilliant; super luxurious, set in beautiful grounds, and all the facilities. Swimming pool, water beds, steam room, outside jacuzzi, ice room, monsoon showers, sauna, you name it we definitely got our money’s worth.
Now, the reason I’m mentioning all of this is that I was recently sent an infrared sauna blanket to review. I know, I didn’t realise it was a thing either, but turns out sauna blankets are the hot product to own right now (no pun intended!) and I want to tell you all a bit more about it. Because spa days are lovely and all that, but they’re a treat, right? There aren’t many of us that can afford regular trips to use these types of health and beauty treatments. And likewise, I know you can buy little garden sauna pods these days, but again, pricey.
So, I’m intrigued. A blanket that acts like a sauna to give you the same health benefits, but at a fraction of the cost. This requires a closer look…
What Is An Infrared Sauna Blanket?
Essentially, it is a sauna in blanket form. So instead of the usual wooden cabin complete with hot coals, a bench, and scantily clad sweaty people lounging about, it’s a blanket that you wrap around yourself in a kind of human burrito stylee. Think of it like a very hot sleeping bag that you plug into the electric. That’s it in basic terms.
In much the same way as an infrared sauna, an infrared blanket uses infrared light to heat the body directly. This means you’re getting all those lovely heat therapy benefits directed towards you and none of it’s lost or absorbed in the space around you (we’ll get onto the science bit in a minute). It’s clever stuff, because this means although the blanket feels toasty and warm on the inside, it shouldn’t be hot to the touch on the outside.
And of course, where the big difference lies is that the blanket is 100% portable; you can take it anywhere, use it anywhere, you can have a sauna at any time. This is the future of infrared sauna technology.
OK, so now we know what an infrared sauna blanket is, let’s take a look at some of the health and wellness benefits of infrared.
What Are The Health And Wellness Benefits of Using An Infrared Sauna Blanket?
I guess firstly the question should be asked, why infrared? Well, infrared is a more direct form of heat, meaning far less heat is lost to the air and to the surrounding surfaces. This results in more heat being directly aimed at the body, which is a good thing. The heat comes from infrared light; light waves that fall within the electromagnetic spectrum that produce thermal radiation. This type of sauna doesn’t rely on the use of water and steam and is therefore better if you suffer from any form of breathing difficulty.
This controlled form of heat is a perfect heat source for a sauna blanket, as it increases your internal core body temperature rather than the space around you. What this means is that not only can you stay in an infrared blanket for longer than you would in a traditional spa (although I’ll talk more about this in a bit as you do need to be careful when you first start), but you’ll notice the benefits more as well.
Which brings me nicely onto looking at what the benefits of using an infrared sauna blanket actually are. Let’s take a look:
- Detoxifying – The purpose of a sauna is to make you sweat, right? And so it goes without saying, that once you get all lovely and sweaty in your sauna blanket, your pores are going to open right up making it easier for all the nasty toxins to be released. Sweating is a naturally detoxifying process that eliminates harmful chemicals and toxins that have built up in our systems from external factors. Infrared heat is seven times more detoxifying than standard heat, which means you’ll sweat substantially more than you would in a traditional sauna. And more sweat equals more detox.
- Calorie Burning – When we get hot the body has to work harder to cool it back down. One way it does this is through sweating (see above) but another way is by burning calories, as this is a form of energy expenditure. When the infrared light heats the body it increases its metabolic rate and this can help burn off up to a whopping 600 calories in a half-hour session.
- Rejuvenated Skin – The deep sweat created by infrared heat can help get rid of unwanted bacteria and dead skin cells. This helps improve the overall appearance of the skin by also reducing puffiness and swelling. This type of heat also helps to boost circulation, which will instantly make your skin glow.
- Body Boost – With the elimination of toxins, the body is able to work harder at doing the things it’s meant to do, like better white blood cell production and cellular energy creation. This results in a stronger immune system and more stimulated antibodies to fight against germs and diseases.
- Pain Relief – Infrared blankets are great for people who suffer from chronic pain as the heat helps ease stiff joints, reduce inflammation, and lessen pain.
- Improved Mood – When we’re in a relaxed state our body produces lots of lovely happy hormones. And there ain’t nothing that’s going to get you more relaxed than being wrapped up all cosy in an infrared sauna blanket. The rush of dopamine and endorphins will leave you feeling super calm, super happy, and super positive.
- Better Sleep – And of course a more relaxed, calmer, stress free you goes hand in hand with better sleep. After a session in an infrared sauna blanket you’ll be ready for the land of nod in no time at all.
Features Of The Sun Home Saunas Infrared Sauna Blanket
Before I get on to my experience of using the Sun Home Saunas infrared sauna blanket I want to tell you about its main features. Now, despite being called a blanket, it is in fact more like a sleeping bag, in that you have to climb in and are encased snugly inside rather than just laying it out over yourself (sauna bag just doesn’t have the same ring to it though, does it!?!) There are sturdy industrial-grade velcro strips that run down the entire length, which makes it really easy to get yourself in and out of the blanket and ensures a decent seal to prevent any heat loss. There is also a velcroed opening at the bottom of the blanket, which I presume is there should you prefer to let your feet stick out – I guess some people possibly may feel a little claustrophobic in there.
The blanket itself is made out of high end non-toxic fabrics that are both soft and comfy but also incredibly practical. With all that sweat going on inside the blanket it’ll definitely need a wipe down between sessions and the nature of the fabric used makes this a really easy process.
As for the controls, you simply plug one end of the control panel into the socket at the base of the blanket and then the other end into your usual electric supply at home. The control panel allows you to change the temperature (ranging from 35ºC – 75ºC) and the timer (ranging from 30 – 60 minutes) settings of the blanket, so there’s lots of variation. It’s easy to use, honestly as simple as pressing a labelled button, and then you just need to wait roughly 15 minutes for the blanket to get to your desired temperature setting before the timer starts. It’s safe to get into the blanket at whichever point you like, I prefer for it to warm up before getting in but you may prefer to get in as it’s warming up, and it will automatically switch off once reaching the end of the set time. If you haven’t used a sauna blanket before, or indeed if you haven’t used any kind of sauna or sauna product before, it is advisable to start off with a low temperature and shorter duration, just while you acclimatise and get used to the sensation. Over time you can turn up the heat as you see fit and stay in there for up to an hour at a time. It goes without saying that the hotter it is and the longer you stay in there, the sweatier you’ll get and the more beneficial you’ll find it.
One important factor that is worth mentioning, which you’ll have probably noticed from the photos, is that unlike a traditional sauna, you must be fully clothed to use the infrared sauna blanket. The reason for this is that you will sweat, a lot, and so it’s important to wear comfortable, ideally cotton based, clothing that can aid absorption of this sweat. Obviously, the whole point of using a blanket like this is to sweat, but equally you don’t want your pores to get clogged up with this sweat. Moisture wicking clothes, like those you would choose to work out in, are the perfect choice. This also then makes the clean up job a hell of a lot easier!
Oh and if that wasn’t enough, the blanket comes in a storage bag complete with carry handle meaning you can easily take this bad boy pretty much anywhere you like.
My Experience Of Using The Infrared Sauna Blanket
So, as you can see, I wasn’t the only who used this blanket! Yep, the husband had to get involved as well – he loves a sauna. I want to be completely honest and say let’s be totally clear here, one of the huge perks of this product is that you can be sat on the couch watching Netflix whilst using it. Not that I’m lazy or anything, but we’re all relatively time short these days, so I’m all for a bit of multi-tasking, even in my self-care practices. This blanket fits into your lifestyle in whatever way suits you. Sure, you can do the whole lie down, take time for yourself, mindful meditation thing with it if that’s your bag, but honestly that not for me. Also, I’m fairly certain I’d fall asleep in it (yep, it’s that relaxing) and I’m not sure that’s entirely a good thing, but if you do accidentally fall asleep, at least the timer setting will switch it off!
It is quite a big, hefty thing, so you’ll have to make some space somewhere to store it, that’s also easily accessible. You don’t want to bung it at the back of some cupboard somewhere and forget all about it. We’ve all got ‘those’ things right! It just about fits under my sofa, so it’s not using up valuable cupboard space, I can see it and therefore not forget about it, and it’s easy to pull out and set up whenever the urge to sauna takes my fancy – usually when I’m watching Married At First Sight Australia (yes, I really am that trashy!). I’ve been using the blanket for roughly a fortnight now, and so have gradually ramped up the heat and the duration. And I’ve got to say I’m quite enjoying it. I like that it doesn’t have that whole dry air, struggle to breathe thing that traditional saunas make me feel. And even though the blanket is a little bit cumbersome, there’s also something strangely comforting about the weight of it – I guess it works a little like a weighted blanket does in that respect.
I am by my nature someone who gets stressed easily, feels overwhelmed with life in general and who totally sweats the small stuff. Well now that I’ve been using this blanket for a while, I’m feeling like my sweating has a purpose. I love how it makes me feel afterwards, I love that it can be used anywhere, and I love that I can essentially set up a spa like environment from the comfort of my own home. Now, all I have to stress about is making sure I get in there before my husband does… and no, before you ask it doesn’t fit two people!
Priced at $499.00 (usual price $699.00) I get that it’s not cheap, but I always like to think about products in terms of cost per use. If you love the whole sauna experience, if you like to take care of yourself, if you’re looking for ways to relax your body and mind, and if you think you would frequently use a product such as this then seriously, go for it. You’ll have lowered that cost per use in no time. And another way to look at it is by comparing how much you would spend using a traditional sauna at say a spa or your local gym, versus the cost of a blanket, which when purchased is yours to keep and use whenever you feel like it and without having to share it with other people… well, other than the husband maybe.
*Article written in collaboration with Sun Home Saunas, however all views and words are my own.
**Always seek advice from your GP before using products such as these, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.