woman using an infrared sauna tent

Ever wondered – how does an infrared sauna tent work?  They use infrared light to gently heat the body. Infrared energy heats the body directly without heating the air inside the tent.  The infrared heaters are built into the fabric of the tent walls. Sauna tents are small, lightweight, and designed to fit one person at a time. 


How does an infrared sauna tent heat the body? They use a type of heat energy called infrared light to gently heat the body.

lady smiling and gesturing happily


Infrared energy is emitted from a heat source positioned inside the fabric of the tent walls. It travels through the air and penetrates the skin to gently heat your body from the inside.

Infrared heat is a great way to enjoy a sauna as it heats the body directly without heating the air around you. This type of sauna provides all the same health benefits as a traditional sauna.


They are easy to use and can be set up in just five minutes. Allow a short period for the tent to preheat and then climb inside, relax, and enjoy the sauna session in the comfort of your own home.

Portals on the top and the front of the sauna tent allow your head and arms remain outside. This means you can breathe comfortably and use your hands to access the controller, a bottle of water, or your phone.

They come with a little foldable chair to sit on and a footpad to warm your feet. You just sit inside the tent and relax.


Infrared heat is a form of light energy. This form of light is not visible to the human eye. However, when it strikes the body it is absorbed through our skin and we feel it as heat.

picture of inside an infrared sauna

It is a safe form of heat and should not be confused with harmful UV light. In fact, infrared is used in hospitals to keep newborn babies warm. It’s a safe and trusted heat source.

Sauna tents use infrared heat to gently and safely heat your body. The heat penetrates your skin and heats you from the inside. Infrared heat is a great way to trigger an intense sweat.


• Best Infrared Sauna Tents 2024click here


How are sauna tents built? What materials do they use? And, how are the infrared heaters fitted? They are specially designed one-person, home sauna devices. Let’s take a look at the individual components and get a better understanding of ‘how does an infrared sauna tent work’.

stones balanced in a spa sauna area


Infrared sauna tents are constructed from durable Moisture-Resistant Polyester material. Polyester is naturally robust and will stand the test of time.

Polyester is inherently water-resistant. This is an important feature for a sauna tent as it needs to withstand contact from sweat and moisture.

The tent comes with a Pole Frame to support the fabric structure. The poles are made from plastic in budget models and lightweight metal in high-end tents.


Sauna tents use Carbon Fiber FIR heating elements. FIR stands for Far Infrared Radiation. It is a sub-region within the infrared light spectrum and is the favored heat source for infrared saunas.

Carbon fiber heaters are a good choice for sauna tents as they don’t get as hot as the ceramic alternative – the heaters are positioned inside the tent walls. Carbon fiber heaters generate infrared light at temperatures of 140-150 °F.


The infrared heaters are built into the fabric of the tent walls. They are positioned on the back and sidewalls. The front wall is used or access and has a zip running from top to bottom.

Because the tent is such a small area on the inside – they heat up very quickly and you will feel the infrared heat warming you within minutes.


The best infrared sauna tents come with a foot pad. This is a small heating plate that sits on the floor of the tent.  All you need to do is place your feet on top and it will begin heating the soles of your feet with infrared warmth.

bare feet walking on a floor

It feels great!  And, it speeds up the sweating process by accelerating the rise in your body temperature.  A heater for your feet – not what you might expect when considering how does an infrared sauna tent work.


Sauna tents are small. Designed to fit just one person – they are compact lightweight home sauna units.

They measure in and around 30” wide x 30” deep x 40” inches high. Each model will be slightly different but this is a good general measurement for your average infrared sauna tent.


They are built with portals so you can free your head, neck, and arms from the sauna. A portal on the roof is used to pop your head through. And, two portals on either side of the front panel allow you to slide out your arms.

Freeing your arms means you can reach the handheld operating device, a bottle of water, or even check your phone. There is a large zip opening on the front panel that allows you to step in and out of the sauna.


Infrared sauna tents come with a handheld controller that allows you to switch the unit on/off, set the temperature, and even set a timer to limit the duration of the sauna session.

The temperature can be set in Fahrenheit and Celsius and you can limit your session to your preferred number of minutes.


When discussing ‘how does an infrared sauna tent work?’ – we need to take a look at how we actually use an infrared sauna tent.  Using an infrared sauna tent is easy. There are three main steps: set-up, heat-up, and your relaxing sweat session. When you are finished allow time to cool down, shower, and stay hydrated.

how to use a sauna tent


Before you begin you’ll need to assemble your sauna tent. The first step is to create the frame support structure using the poles.

Just slide them together as per the manufacturer’s guidelines and then hang the sauna tent over the frame. It’s not a complicated process and will take no longer than 5 minutes.


Plug the sauna into your electrical supply and power it on. Then using the handheld controller select your desired temperature.

It will take some time for the sauna to preheat 5-10 minutes. If you’d prefer not to wait you can get inside and begin warming up with the sauna as it approaches the desired heat level.


When you’re ready get inside. Unzip the front panel and carefully climb inside. Seat yourself in the sauna chair, place your feet on the heat pads, and zip the unit back up again.

You can pop your arms through the arm portals and then adjust the neck fitting to close comfortably around your neck.  Relax and get comfortable.


Once you’re inside, just sit back and relax. The sauna will now take care of everything else. You’ll notice that very quickly you’ll begin to feel the infrared heat as it gently passes through your skin.

This will be followed by a healthy sweat that will flush out toxins, cleanse your skin, and relax the mind and body.


When you are done, switch off the sauna using the controller, unzip the front panel and carefully step outside.  You should be feeling refreshed at this point and most people work up a healthy sweat in just 10-15 minutes in an infrared sauna.


Allow some time to cool down. Your body will take 10-20 minutes to reestablish its natural body temperature. You may continue to sweat during this period.

Stay hydrated by sipping plenty of fluids. You must replace the fluids lost due to sweat. Then you can take a shower to freshen up – and you’re done.

Are you thinking about investing in an infrared sauna tent? Want to find out more before you make a purchase? Check out the Pros and Cons of an Infrared Home Sauna Tentover here.


About the Author


• Allied Health Specialist

Meet Amy, a dedicated advocate of sport, fitness, and the application of infrared sauna therapy. Originally from Texas, she moved to the Sunshine State at an early age. Growing up in the Tampa Bay area, she enrolled in the University of Tampa where she graduated with a BS Degree in Allied Health and a MS in Athletic Training.

Amy’s expertise lies in infrared sauna therapy, with a special focus on the synergistic effects of infrared sauna in combination with traditional therapies. She has a passion for exploring and developing innovative approaches to wellness enhancement and injury recovery.

Amy began her journey as a swimming coach at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Central Florida. Here she developed a passion for applying her sporting knowledge to help individuals achieve their goals. Transitioning to a role more closely aligned with her allied health and athletic training degrees, she delved into the field of infrared sauna therapy. She has been instrumental in pioneering the use of infrared sauna in rehabilitation and injury recovery.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Amy is actively involved in a community-based soup kitchen where she helps support her local homeless community. In her free time, she enjoys cycling and exploring her local national parks, including Biscayne Park, Big Cypress, and the Everglades.

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