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Get ready to sweat...in a good way.
There’s nothing like a good sweat. Whether you’re jogging through your go-to park, hitting the Peloton leaderboard (or not, that's cool too), or just basking in the heat (with plenty of SPF!) on a spring day, there’s just something magical about feeling each bead of sweat drip down your back as your heart rate accelerates. That's one of the reasons why infrared saunas are very much a thing.
“Unlike a traditional sauna that heats the air around you, infrared saunas warm up your body directly using electromagnetic radiation,” explains Darshan Shah, MD, a cosmetic surgeon and the founder of Next|Health, an integrative medicine center and spa. That infrared radiation can actually soak deep into your skin, which feels warm and toasty. You might also feel an exercise-like high and increased energy levels (thanks to the endorphins from sweating) right after too.
As fabulous as infrared saunas are though, they can cost $60 to $70 a sesh and may be hard to find. That might be part of the reason why at-home infrared sauna blankets blew up in early 2020. And while the idea of getting your infrared on without leaving your house sounds kind of amazing, keep in mind that it might not be exactly the same experience since your head is left out of the party, says Dr. Shah.
JFYI, these sauna blankets (and infrared saunas in general) don't use UV lights, so there's no risk of burning your skin. That said, you should steer clear of them if you have certain health conditions, explains Dr. Shah. “They may not be the best fit for those who suffer from heat-triggered migraines, vertigo, or dizziness,” he says. “Also, if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or are taking blood pressure medications, consult with your medical provider before using an infrared sauna blanket.”
Of course, these don't come cheap—but if you use it regularly, the coziness (and endorphin boost) of the infrared sauna blanket alone is well worth the investment.
Sold? Cool. One quick thing: If you don't already visit the infrared sauna regularly, Dr. Shah suggests starting with one 30-minute session a week at a lower temp and gradually increasing up to 45 minutes, three to four times per week, raising the temp as high as feels good. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after every treatment (we got you with some smart water bottles to track that).
Ready to find your new go-to sauna blanket? We did the homework for ya and rounded up the nine of the best infrared sauna blankets out there.
This cult fave is extra pricey because it features an amethyst and tourmaline layer (fahncy, right?), a charcoal layer, and a clay layer. It's unclear whether they provide extra health benefits, but they ARE a reason to brag to your friends.
So, the inside of this blanket is made with 96 smooth jade and tourmaline stones, which just sounds cool. Plus, the brand offers a ton of super helpful instructional videos to make sure you get the most out of each and every session.
The MiHIGH blanket is another layered situation, but it’s lightweight and compact enough to pack in a suitcase.
This top-rated sauna blanket has two heating zones and an automatic shut-off that detects when the blanket goes above 185 degrees. When that happens, the heat turns off and an alarm sounds (we love a safety feature). It also has a zipper closure, which makes it easy to get in and out.
If you tend to run sweaty, this is the blanket for you. JSYK, basically all infrared sauna blankets are made from some kind of waterproof material, but the Gizmo Supply blanket has waterproof PVC on the inner layer and a thick combination of leather and polyurethane material on the outside. No sweat could ever escape.
With this blanket, you can cool down without getting out thanks to two zipper compartments that let your arms breathe. They're also convenient for putting all your group chats on do not disturb until you're done.