You come home from a long day and want to relax.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had your very own sauna, where you could sit and sweat away from the day’s stress while also improving the health of your skin and your body?
Having a sauna at home does not have to be just for the uber-rich.
With today’s portable sauna units, anyone can have the healing benefits of sauna bathing right in their own home.
How does a portable sauna differ from more permanent structures? And how exactly do you use one?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about using a portable sauna at home.
What is a Portable Sauna?
Portable saunas provide the same heat therapy benefits as a regular sauna but without the price tag or permanence.
Portable saunas allow you to enjoy a sweat bathing experience every day no matter where you are.
They are simple to use and come in several configurations.
These lightweight and collapsible devices mean you no longer must have tons of extra room or a large budget to have a sauna in your own home.
Most portable saunas are constructed using one of two primary designs.
The most common kind is a small, tent-like structure that allows your head and hands to stick out while you sit comfortably inside.
These are usually made from nylon or other heat- and water-resistant fabrics, but some are made of wooden or plastic panels that fold.
This portable sauna design is just large enough for the average person to sit inside on a chair, close the tent or panels around them, and enjoy the healing benefits of heat therapy.
The other typical design for a portable sauna unit is a tube-like structure, inside which you lay down while your head sticks out from one end.
The tube can be made from the same tent material as the first design, or it can be more rigid and covered in fabric or other material.
In the tube design, your hands may be stuck inside, or, for some models, you may stick your hands out of holes in the top of the tube.
Portable saunas use one of two different sources of heat.
The first is a steam generator, which creates a warm but moist environment inside the sauna.
The other type of heater is an infrared panel which emits far-infrared waves of energy that heat your body from the inside.
Both heaters accomplish the primary goal of using a sauna, which is to force your body to sweat.
Because the inside of the sauna can become moist, either from the steam or from your own sweat and body heat, you want to be sure that the chair, pad, or other materials on the inside of the unit are made from waterproof materials.
The upright units may come with a chair, or you may need to supply your own chair.
The purpose of a portable sauna is to be able to pack it away, move it, or use it in many locations, so all these units are made to be lightweight, foldable, and transportable.
Some may be heavier than others, requiring a special case on wheels to move it easily.
There are many different types of portable saunas, so the exact way yours works will depend on which you choose.
But the experience will be similar.
You sit or lie inside, you sweat due to the high heat, and you relax and enjoy your sauna experience.
How to Properly Use a Portable Sauna
Most portable saunas work very similarly to traditional, larger units.
Once you have your portable sauna set up and preheated, you strip off your clothes and then sit down or lie inside, closing the zipper or securing the panels around you so that the interior holds in the heat.
During the time you are inside your portable sauna, your body is exposed to the heat supplied by the steam or infrared heater, and you sweat while you relax.
Depending on the specifics for your make and model, your portable sauna may have specific procedures or recommendations.
It is always important to read your owner’s manual carefully.
This is especially true for using your heat source.
You want to know exactly how to operate your heater since it controls the temperature inside your portable sauna unit.
If your portable sauna has an infrared heater, it works by heating your body directly, as opposed to heating the air around you.
Infrared waves are invisible wavelengths of light that can penetrate your skin.
Infrared light is what gives the sun its warmth, and your body will feel its effects quickly.
Steam heaters work by heating the air inside the portable sauna unit.
The hot air touches your skin, and you start to sweat.
The difference is that you are heating your body from the outside in with steam and from the inside out with infrared.
Which you choose is a matter of preference.
Some like that infrared heaters do not have to get as hot as a traditional sauna to effectively heat your body.
Others prefer the moist heat of the steam generator for their skin or health.
How to Use a Portable Sauna
You should take a brief, cleansing shower before you begin your sauna.
This removes all the oils, dirt, and skincare products from your skin, which can clog pores and produce an uncomfortable experience.
Read your manual to determine the exact procedure for using your type of portable sauna.
Here, we describe the basic process, but yours may be slightly different.
Once you are comfortable with setting up and preparing your sauna, you should enter it, sit or lie down, and close the unit to trap the heat inside.
You can enjoy your sauna experience for as long as you are comfortable, and most people like to start with 10 minutes and extend their stay as they become comfortable.
Like a traditional sauna, portable saunas can be enjoyed in brief periods of hot and then cooling down.
You can leave your portable sauna, cool off in the room or under a shower, and return whenever you like.
Most people prefer to enjoy any type of sauna experience while they are naked, but if you prefer, you can wrap yourself in a towel.
You should also place a towel on the chair or the pad on which you are sitting or laying down.
Your hands may be free from your portable sauna unit, which means they are accessible in case you would like to read, watch TV, or talk on the phone.
Be sure to have any materials you might need close by so that you do not need to unzip your unit to retrieve things.
This will let out a lot of the heat, thus reducing the efficacy of your sauna experience.
Keep a small towel nearby while enjoying your portable sauna experience, as well.
You can use this to keep sweat from rolling into your eyes.
After you have exited the portable sauna, you should cool down, and then take a cleansing shower to remove any sweat or toxins that have been excreted from your body.
Once you are completely cooled down, you can dress and put away your portable sauna unit after cleaning it thoroughly.
Best Accessories for Portable Saunas
Because of the size constraints of a portable sauna, you generally do not need many accessories to enjoy your sauna experience.
Most people will want to invest in a heavy-duty extension cord, which will allow you to place your portable sauna where you like and still be able to plug in your steam generator or infrared heater.
Another critical aspect of the portable sauna experience is comfort. If your unit does not come with a comfortable chair, you should purchase a comfortable model that suits your needs.
There are many that are also foldable or collapsible, making them perfect for storing with your portable sauna unit after you use it.
Those who opt for a steam generator may wish to use essential oils, herbs, or other plants to include aromatherapy with your sauna experience.
Some steam generators allow for aromatics to be added, but you should read your owner’s manual before using these.
Portable saunas can generate high temperatures, and you will sweat while you are inside of these units.
Most people can use a portable sauna with no problems by following some simple guidelines.
If you are in doubt about whether using a sauna is safe for your specific medical condition, you should talk with your doctor.
Be sure you are well hydrated before you use your portable sauna.
Keeping a cold drink nearby and sipping throughout will also help.
Be sure to replenish electrolytes after your sauna experience by adding a pinch of salt to your water.
You should not use a sauna after eating a heavy meal or after consuming alcohol of any kind.
Drinking alcohol before a sauna can dramatically lower your blood pressure and lead to complications, including sudden death.
If you start to feel sick or dizzy while using your portable sauna, stop use at once and cool down thoroughly.
Sauna heat can affect you differently at various times, so just because you had no trouble in the past does not automatically ensure each session will feel the same.
Those with kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, or blood pressure problems should talk with their doctor before using a sauna.
You want to ensure you are adequately hydrated, are not dropping your blood pressure too quickly, or are not aggravating heart problems with sudden changes in temperature.
Those who are pregnant or sick should avoid using a portable sauna.
Be sure to wait 24 hours between your sauna sessions to protect yourself from possible complications.
Children can safely use a sauna but should be supervised, and their time should not exceed 15 minutes.
If your unit is not adjustable and will not accommodate their size, though, they should not use a portable unit.
Anyone who has never used a sauna before should limit their exposure to 15 minutes or less until you become acclimated to the hot temperatures.
Benefits of Portable Saunas
Portable saunas provide you with many of the same health and wellness benefits as permanent sauna rooms or units do.
That means you get nearly all the benefits without the high price tag when you purchase a portable sauna.
Using a portable sauna can help improve your circulation, lower your stress, relieve your pain, reduce your inflammation, and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
Sweating releases toxins and wastes from your body through your skin, and this can help your cells, organs, and immune system work more efficiently.
By examining the research on sauna usage around the world, scientists have been able to show that sauna use is linked to:
- Improved heart health, including reduced blood pressure, enhanced blood flow, and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular problems.
- Improved brain function and less neurodegeneration.
- Lower levels of inflammation, which can help with joint pain and stiffness as well as other medical conditions.
- Fewer issues with sleeping, mood disorders, psychological problems, and stress.
- Improved energy levels as well as enhanced athletic performance and muscle strength.
- Improved cellular health and mitochondrial function.
- Better results when trying to lose weight.
- Enhanced immune system function, leading to fewer colds, flu, or other illnesses.
Not everyone has the room in their home to build a permanent sauna room, but that should not stop you from getting the healing benefits of a good sweat.
Investing in a portable sauna allows you to enjoy the cardiovascular and other health-saving benefits of this practice without all the fuss and extra space.
Portable saunas are available in several styles and use infrared heaters or steam generators to help you sweat, which has many significant health benefits.
Because these units are small and packable, they are perfect for those who live in apartments, people who travel often, or anyone who would like to improve their health.