Does Infrared Sauna Burn Fat?

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 10, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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Entering a sauna is often a much-anticipated pleasure after a demanding training session.

As a doctor, my initial encounters with the new infrared saunas at the gym allowed me to engage in enlightening conversations with fellow personal trainers and medical colleagues regarding the potential health benefits. Our discussions naturally led to the subject of body fat reduction and overall weight loss.

In response, I decided to delve into the relevant scientific literature to ascertain whether the use of an infrared sauna holds promise for impacting fat cells positively.

Here is what my research has unveiled.

Quick Summary

  • Infrared saunas do not directly burn fat or lead to significant weight loss, but they can enhance muscle recovery and potentially aid in calorie burning.
  • Traditional saunas use steam to heat the air, while infrared saunas directly warm the body, with no clear evidence favoring one over the other for weight loss.
  • Studies published in the National Center for Health Research have not established a definitive link between infrared saunas and weight loss.
  • Personally, I find infrared saunas beneficial for relaxation and recovery, though they should not be relied upon as a primary method for fat loss.

Does Infrared Light Burn Fat?

Pinching side body fats

No, infrared light doesn’t burn fat, and it does not help you lose weight directly. In my medical experience, while infrared light doesn't directly burn fat, it's a great addition to a holistic fitness routine.

Studies published in National Center for Health Research so far have not shown a clear link [1]. But you do have to take a closer look at how infrared saunas work and what the heat effect can influence.

First of all, scientists have shown that going to the sauna can help you with weight loss [2].

However, when it comes to an infrared sauna, the way your body heats up to cause more sweating is very different, and the result is a limited impact on fat.

Sweating in the sauna primarily leads to water weight loss, which is temporary as you'll replenish fluids afterward.

Therefore, weighing yourself post-sauna doesn't accurately reflect weight loss.

If you want to support your body in burning more calories and fat, then I would suggest that you add a stimulant-free fat burner to your supplement stack.


Is There A Difference Between A Traditional Sauna And Infrared Sauna?

Traditional saunas use hot air and steam to raise the air temperature, causing your body to sweat and potentially aiding in fat burning, while infrared saunas directly heat your body differently. Having patients who tried both, I find traditional saunas use steam for a more intense sweat, while infrared saunas provide a deeper, more penetrating heat.

The other thing your body will do both during and after your trip to the sauna is increasing metabolic processes, and it will also help you build up more muscle mass [3].

Infrared saunas work differently by emitting infrared heat that directly warms your body without heating the air. While it's debated which sauna type is more effective for calorie burning, current research doesn't show a definitive advantage for either. Personal preference plays a role in choosing between the two.

However, unlike traditional steam saunas, infrared saunas offer a unique potential fat-burning advantage due to their ability to penetrate deeper into the skin, potentially leading to more significant weight loss and detoxification effects.

Related Articles:

Other Benefits of Infrared Sauna

A woman in relaxing in Sauna

Next, I did some research on how your body benefits from using an infrared sauna. And I found some excellent research published by Cleveland Clinic that listed some important things [4].

From training sessions of my patients, I've found infrared saunas incredibly effective for muscle relaxation and sleep improvement. Additionally, they may benefit the cardiovascular system by potentially lowering blood pressure due to increased body heat and sweating.

And finally, sweating flushes out harmful toxins from your lymphatic system, so it will detox you to support your overall health and immune system [5].

Regular infrared sauna sessions, along with a balanced diet and exercise, can help in weight loss. They're not a magic solution, but they do help ditch excess water weight, leading to better weight control and a healthier body.

For the best results and safety, stick to the sauna guidelines like session duration and frequency. Also, be mindful of any health risks, especially if you have specific medical conditions.

“Far-infrared saunas provide a gentle, side-effect-free, effective mechanism for detoxification. Their waves penetrate deep into the human body, elevating the body's surface temperature, activating circulation, sweating, and excretion of toxins from the lymph and blood through the skin.”

- Marilee Nelson, Writer at


Should You Use An Infrared Sauna Every Day?

No, you shouldn’t use infrared saunas every day. It’s best to plan these sauna visits for after your tougher training sessions to get the most benefits for your recovery times.

Is An Infrared Sauna Safe For Obese People?

Yes, an infrared sauna is generally safe for obese people. However, if you have other significant underlying health issues due to obesity, like heart and blood pressure problems, then talk to your doctor first.


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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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