How to Use an Infrared Mat

woman lying on an infrared mat

Using an Infrared Mat is easy. All you have to do is follow our 8-Step Guide on How to Use an Infrared Mat and you’ll be enjoying the relaxation and healing effects of infrared heat energy in the comfort of your home – in no time. We’ve also got some great tips on how to use an infrared mat to maximize Relaxation, Pain Relief, and Blood Circulation, see below.

Using an Infrared Mat Overview

Infrared Mat Operation – 8 Easy Steps

pair of legs laying on an infrared mat

Infrared mats are incredibly easy to use. While different models may come with slight variations in set-up and operation they all follow the same general principle. All you need is a flat heat-resistant surface and an electrical power source. Follow the steps outlined below and you’ll be enjoying the relaxation and healing effects of an infrared heating pad in minutes.

1: Choose a Suitable Surface

First up, you’ll need to choose a suitable surface for rolling out your mat. Choose an area that provides a flat surface and ample area to fit the full dimensions of the mat. A floor space is your best bet. Just be careful to use a space that has a heat-resistant surface as the infrared mat will get hot.

2: Power Up

Once the mat has been unrolled you should begin connecting the leads and powering the device on. Most infrared heating pads come with leads that are permanently hard-wired into the mat. If you have a mat that is not hard-wired you will need to connect the controller lead and power lead to the mat.

Once these are in place you should plug the other end of the power lead into an electrical circuit – an electrical wall socket. Then power on the device by switching the ON/OFF switch on the handheld controller to the ON position.

3: Set Temperature & Duration

Now that your mat is set up and ready for operation you will need to set the temperature and duration for your session. The Best Infrared Mats allow you to set both your preferred temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and duration in minutes. Some infrared heating pads only allow for temperature adjustment. Use the controller to set temperature and duration.

Beginners should start with lower temperatures and duration to allow their body to become comfortable with infrared heat therapy. Then, if you feel comfortable doing so, you can slowly increase the temperature and duration of the session. A 5-10 minute session works well for beginners. And, we advise staying on an infrared mat for no longer than 30 minutes.

4: Dress Appropriately

It will take a few minutes for the mat to heat up. You should use this time to prepare yourself for the infrared heating mat session. Begin by dressing appropriately. You’ll need to wear comfortable-fitting clothing that covers your body from foot to neckline. The surface of the mat can become quite hot – especially at higher temperatures.

To prevent skin irritation or burning you should cloth all areas of the body that will directly contact the mat. For added comfort, you place a towel on the surface of the mat. You should also place a cold drink within arm’s reach of the mat before you begin the session.

5: Begin Session

woman on an infrared hetaing mat

Once the mat has reached operating temperature and you have dressed appropriately – you can lay down on the infrared heating pad and begin enjoying your session. If you are using a full-size infrared mat you can target the entire body in one go.

If you are using a smaller infrared heating pad you should place it in direct contact with the area of the body you wish to treat. You can use the controller to adjust the temperature during your session if you need to make things a little hotter or cooler.

6: Relax & Enjoy

Now you are in place – all you have to do is lay back, relax, and enjoy the sensation of deep penetrating infrared heat. Many people like to close their eyes and allow themselves to drift off at this point. Others use the time to listen to music, a podcast or even read a book.

If the infrared mat does not have an auto-shutoff you should set a timer to alert you at the end of the session. Most infrared mats will automatically power down once the time duration has been reached but not all models come with this feature.

7: Roll Up & Pack Away

Once the session is over you should climb off the mat, power it down using the handheld controller, and remove the electrical connection from the power source. Then allow the mat to cool down. Any condensation on the mat will air dry at this point.

After 15-20 minutes and once the mat has become cool to the touch you can roll it up and pack it away. Infrared mats roll up very neatly and can be easily stored beneath a bed or in the bottom of a wardrobe until next time.

8: Shower & Change

This is a good time to take a shower and freshen up. Most people will experience localized sweating when using an infrared heating mat. While you are waiting for the mat to cool you can use that time to freshen up and jump into some clean clothes.

Using an Infrared Mat for Relaxation

woman meditating and relaxing her mind

Infrared mats are great for relaxation. Laying back and unwinding on a heated infrared mat helps calm the mind and relieve stress. In fact, many people use infrared heating mats solely for relaxation.

As infrared heat deeply and gently penetrates the body it has the effect of reducing stress, improving mood, and promoting better sleep quality. Here are some tips on how to use an infrared mat for relaxation.

Find a Peaceful Space

If you plan on using an infrared mat for relaxation the most important tip is to choose a peaceful space to unroll the mat. To feel the full effects of its powers of relaxation you need to be in a quiet space, free of distractions.

Phone to Silent Mode

Another top tip is to put your phone on silent. Mute all those notifications so you can unwind and de-stress without the constant reminders of what’s going on in the outside world. To get the most out of your session you need to be able to completely switch off mentally.

Comfortable Temperature

Choose a temperature that you find comfortable and allow the mat to preheat. You should choose a temperature that is moderately warm and not intense heat. Moderate heat works well for relaxation. And, higher temperatures work best for pain relief and injury recovery.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Once you are in position and lying on the mat you can close your eyes and practice some well-established relaxation techniques. Some people like to meditate or listen to calming music. Others prefer to practice breathing exercises. If the device does not have an auto shut-off feature, you should set an alarm on your phone in case you fall asleep.


Using an Infrared Mat for Pain Relief

man with a sore knee

Infrared mats are regularly used to treat many types of pain including muscle pain, back pain, and joint pain. Infrared energy deeply penetrates and gently warms the body. As the affected area begins to warm up it can have a pain-relieving effect.

Although this deep penetrating heat is known to have a pain-relieving effect you should consult a doctor before using an infrared mat to treat pain. Pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions should avoid using an infrared mat. Here are some tips on how to use an infrared mat for pain relief.

Identify the Affected Area

The first thing you need to do when using an infrared mat for pain relief is to identify the affected area. While this may seem like a straightforward step you should bear in mind that the affected area is not always the location where you can feel the pain. For example, a slipped disc in the lower back can cause leg pain in a condition known as sciatica.

Set the Temperature

Set the temperature on the infrared heating pad. You should choose a heat level that is effective in treating pain but that you also find comfortable. In general, higher temperatures work best for pain relief. Aim high, but don’t use a temperature that feels uncomfortably hot.

Contact Area

You should place the affected area of the body in direct contact with the infrared heating pad. If you have a sore knee place the knee directly on the mat. If you are using a small infrared pad, wrap the pad around the knee. Note, infrared mats or pads should not be placed on the head or face.

Enjoy the Session

Once in place, you should just lay back and enjoy. Allow the infrared heat to work its magic and relieve the pain. Set a timer in case you fall asleep and limit the session to the recommended duration. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for session duration.

Using an Infrared Mat for Better Circulation

woman holding a heart image in her hands

The heat generated by an infrared mat may play a role in stimulating blood flow and better circulation. As infrared heat gently penetrates the body it dilates blood vessels which can promote blood flow throughout the circulatory system. Here are some tips on how to use an infrared mat for better circulation.


Hydration is key at all times when using infrared heat therapy. But, it’s especially important when trying to promote blood flow. If you are using an infrared mat to promote circulation you should ensure you are properly hydrated before the session begins. Drink at least one glass of water before you begin and leave some water next to the mat so you can continue hydrating during the session.

Take a Shower

Taking a shower before you begin the infrared heat therapy is a great way of stimulating blood flow and waking the body up. Jump in the shower while you are waiting for the infrared heating pad to warm up and you’ll be reinvigorated and ready to go when it has reached its heat level. Cold showers are particularly effective!

Loose Fitting Clothes

Wear loose-fitting clothes. Loose-fitting clothes don’t restrict the body and limbs, feel more comfortable, and do not create resistance to natural blood flow. Choose a loose-fitting top and full-length bottoms if your whole body will be in contact with the mat.

Relax & Enjoy

Once you’re in position, just lay back and enjoy. Let the infrared heat penetrate your tissue, dilate the blood vessels, and promote blood flow. Your work is done. You can shut your eyes and enjoy some ‘me-time’ while the heat does its thing.


Infrared Mat Safety Precautions

woman on a infrared mat looking at her phone

These mats use a special type of  light energy called far infrared light to penetrate and heat the body. Infrared heat is considered safe and is used in hospitals to keep newborn babies warm. It is generally considered safe to use but several safety precautions should be considered when using an infrared heating mat.

Medical Advice

If you have any concerns about using an infrared mat you should seek medical advice before using one. Pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions should avoid using an infrared heating mat or pad.

Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines before using an infrared mat. These are usually found in the user manual provided with the mat.

Avoid Contact with Water

Infrared mats contain an electrical circuit. They use electricity to power an infrared heating element. Do not spill or allow water to contact the mat at any time.

Time Limit For Session

Limit the duration of your session to a period that feels comfortable. You should not spend any time on an infrared heating mat beyond the time you feel comfortable. If you begin to feel too warm you should stop using the mat.

Do Not Sleep on Mat

You should only spend the recommended time relaxing and recovering on the mat. The best infrared mats come with a time that allows you to set a time limit for the session. If this feature is unavailable you set an alarm in case you fall asleep. Spending an extended period on the mat could cause overheating.

Open Wound or Rash

You should avoid applying infrared heat to an open wound or a rash. If you have a wound or rash seek professional medical use and do not treat using an infrared mat.

Cleaning & Maintenance

lady smiling and gesturing happily

Cleaning and maintenance are essential steps to ensuring you get the most out of your infrared mat. You should refer to the manufacturer’s user manual supplied with the mat for details on how to clean and care for your infrared mat. Every mat is different and you should always follow the specific guidelines for your mat.

Although you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific mat, here are some general cleaning and maintenance tips that apply to most infrared mats. Mats should be cleaned periodically to remove any sweat, dust, or debris that has accumulated on the mat surface.

1: Use a Towel

The best way to protect your infrared mat and guarantee its longevity is to place a towel between you and the surface of the mat during use. This will protect the mat from sweat and keep it clean during use. If you use a towel, only periodic cleaning of the mat surface will be necessary.

2: Allow to Cool After Use

Always allow the mat to cool after use. When you’re finished, switch the device off and unplug it from the electrical socket. Remove the towel, (if using one), and allow 15-20 minutes for the mat to cool down before cleaning or packing away. The mat should remain unrolled during this period.

3: Cleaning

If the mat needs cleaning – consult the user manual and strictly follow those guidelines. Ibfraed mats contain electrical circuits so care must be taken to avoid contact with water. Some infrared mats can be cleaned using a damp cloth and a gentle cleaning solution.

4: Storage

Mats should be stored in a manner that keeps them safe and out of harm’s way until their next use. Take a look at the user manual for instructions on how to store your mat. Most mats must be rolled back into the same position they were delivered in and placed inside a storage bag alongside their cables and control panel. And, they should be stored away in a dry, cool location.


About the Author


• Health & Wellness Consultant

Ellie is a fully trained and highly skilled massage therapist. Hailing from sunny Florida, she brings a wealth of expertise to the health and wellness realm. She holds a LST qualification in Massage from the esteemed Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences and specializes in techniques that promote relaxation and healing.

Her experience extends beyond massage and encompasses a diverse range of therapies including infrared sauna. She developed her expertise at the Equinox Sports Club in San Francisco and has led sessions in pilates fusion, outdoor run clubs, and vinyasa yoga. Ellie is highly regarded for her ability to tailor treatments to individual needs.

When not immersed in the world of holistic wellness and local sports and fitness clubs she enjoys exploring Florida’s natural beauty and participating in outdoor activities. With her unique blend of expertise, experience, and passion for wellness Ellie looks forward to helping you discover the benefits of sauna and sauna therapy.

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