Why You Shouldn’t Convert an Infrared Sauna to a Traditional
Infrared saunas lack steam and top out around 120-130 degrees F. After experiencing an authentic sauna, many IR owners start to ask if they can convert them to traditional saunas.
The short answer is no, but you can find ways to increase the heat.
A traditional sauna has rocks that can be used to create steam by pouring water on them. Finding a balance between heat and relative humidity is important – essential for a true sauna experience.
Unfortunately, an infrared sauna box is simply not designed to handle humidity. A lot of it will escape and create problems in the surrounding rooms, and it could lead to mold and rotting wood.
You can hack your infrared sauna to get hotter by insulating the top and adding another heater. However, without the humidity you are not getting the steam required for a traditional sauna session.
Is an infrared sauna even a sauna?
Most Finnish people and sauna enthusiasts would reject calling infrared rooms saunas at all. According to SaunaDigest, it’s not a sauna unless it can reach good temperature (160-200F), has rocks, and can create steam.
By definition, this is basically true – here’s from Dictionary.com
a bath that uses dry heat to induce perspiration, and in which steam is produced by pouring water on heated stones.
Note: the pronunciation is another debate.