Why Do I Feel Worse After Infrared Sauna? 32 Possible Reasons

I love hopping in our infrared sauna after a long day and feeling the stress of my day just melt away with the heat. It feels refreshing, and I often feel renewed afterward.

Sometimes that isn’t the case, though. I’ve had occasions where I have felt worse after. I’ve felt exhaustion (from my session being too long) and headache (from dehydration) after. And if you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’ve experienced something like that, too.

But why?

In this article, we do a deep dive into 32 possible reasons for you feeling worse after your infrared sauna session and how you can avoid it the next time you hop in the sauna.

Why do I feel worse?

While infrared sauna therapy is renowned for its health benefits, like improved blood circulation, detoxification, and weight loss, it also has the potential for negative side effects. These adverse effects might include muscle cramps, brain fog or stomach aches, among others.

Infrared light penetrates deep into the skin, increasing blood flow and stimulating detoxification through sweat. According to a 2012 study published by PubMed, this can lead to the release of harmful toxins and heavy metals, like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury from fat cells.

Is it normal to feel sick after my infrared sauna session?

Sick woman in robe with tissue sitting in infrared sauna

Feeling a bit off after an infrared sauna session can concern many. Questions like “Why do I feel worse after infrared sauna?” or “do saunas make you tired?” often arise. The infrared light in these sessions boosts blood flow and aids detoxification, releasing harmful toxins from fat cells.

This can sometimes lead to flu-like symptoms after sauna, including dizziness or a headache after infrared sauna.

While it’s common to feel tired after sauna or even experience chills after sauna, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s body reacts differently. Drinking plenty of water and consulting medical professionals if symptoms persist is crucial.

The Most Common Symptoms When Feeling Bad After An Infrared Sauna Treatment

After an infrared sauna session, some individuals might experience certain symptoms that leave them wondering, “Why do I feel worse after infrared sauna?” While the infrared sauna benefits are numerous, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects. Here are some of the most common symptoms people report:


It’s not uncommon to feel tired after sauna sessions. The infrared heat increases blood flow and stimulates the detoxification process, which can sometimes leave you feeling drained, or sauna makes you tired.

Dizziness Or Nausea

The intense heat can sometimes cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to feelings of dizziness or nausea. Hydrating with plenty of water before and after the session is crucial to help counteract this.


Some individuals report a headache after the infrared sauna. This can be due to dehydration or the body’s reaction to detoxification. Drinking water and taking it slow can help alleviate this symptom.

Skin Irritation

Infrared light can sometimes cause irritated skin, especially for those with sensitive skin or pre-existing skin conditions. Showering after the session is essential to remove any harmful toxins released during the session.

Feeling Sick In Other Parts Of Your Body

The body’s detoxification process can sometimes lead to muscle aches, stomach aches, or other discomforts. It’s vital to listen to your body and consult with medical professionals if symptoms persist. Everyone’s body time is different, so finding what works best for you is essential.

Why Do I Feel Worse After Infrared Sauna Use? (32 Possible Reasons!)

Woman in robe standing in infrared sauna holding ice pack to head while experiencing a headache

While many individuals relish the rejuvenating effects of an infrared sauna session, some might encounter discomfort or adverse effects. Let’s explore the potential reasons behind these feelings.

Immediate Physical Effects

The body’s immediate reactions after an infrared sauna session can vary, leading to different physical effects:

1. Dehydration

Dehydration can occur if one doesn’t consume enough water before or after the sauna. The body loses fluids rapidly during the session, making it essential to hydrate. Always drink plenty of water before and after your sauna experience to counteract this.

2. Excessive Sweating

In an infrared sauna, the body tends to sweat more, significantly losing fluids. Wearing lightweight clothing and taking breaks can help manage this. Remember, excessive sweating can sometimes make you tired after sauna, so it’s crucial to pace yourself.

3. Low Blood Sugar

If you have yet to eat adequately before the session, you might experience a drop in blood sugar, leading to feelings of dizziness or weakness. A light snack before your infrared sauna session can help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

4. Hypotension

A sudden decrease in blood pressure post-session can cause feelings of lightheadedness. It’s advisable to rise slowly after lying or sitting in the sauna to allow your body to adjust and prevent dizziness.

5. Overheating

Staying in the sauna for extended periods, especially during the initial sessions, can cause the body to overheat. Listening to your body and starting with 15-minute sauna sessions is essential, gradually increasing the duration as you become more accustomed.

Toxin Release and Detoxification

The infrared sauna experience intensifies the body’s detoxification process, which can sometimes lead to specific discomforts:

6. Release of Stored Toxins

During the session, the body releases harmful toxins stored in fat cells. This detoxification can sometimes lead to feelings of nausea or a headache after an infrared sauna. Showering immediately after can help wash away these toxins and refresh the body.

7. Herxheimer Reaction

This is a temporary reaction that occurs when the body detoxifies at a faster rate than it can handle. Symptoms can include flu-like symptoms after sauna. To mitigate this, start with shorter sessions and increase the duration.

8. Liver Overload

A rapid detox can strain the liver as it processes the released toxins over time. Supporting liver function with a balanced diet and adequate hydration can help alleviate this.

9. Kidney Stress

The kidneys, responsible for filtering toxins, can experience stress due to the sudden influx during a sauna session. Drinking plenty of water post-session aids the kidneys in processing and eliminating these toxins.

10. Skin Irritation

The skin, the body’s largest organ, plays a significant role in detoxification. The release of toxins can sometimes cause skin irritations or rashes. Using mild, natural soaps, post-session can help soothe the skin.

Energy and Fatigue

The body’s energy levels can fluctuate after an infrared sauna session, leading to feelings of exhaustion or revitalization:

11. Adrenal Fatigue

Extended exposure in the sauna can sometimes strain the adrenal glands, leading to fatigue. This might be why some individuals feel tired after sauna sessions. Monitoring your body’s response and adjusting the session duration is essential.

12. Low Electrolyte Levels

Sweating excessively can lead to a loss of essential electrolytes, causing feelings of fatigue or muscle cramps. To counteract this, consider replenishing with an electrolyte-rich drink post-session.

13. Heat Stress

Exposure to infrared heat can sometimes cause heat stress, especially if the sauna temperature is too high or the session is too long. Always ensure you’re comfortable with the temperature settings and take breaks if needed.

14. Sleep Disruption

While many find that sauna sessions aid in better sleep, others might experience sleep disruptions, especially if sessions are close to bedtime. Schedule your sauna sessions earlier in the day to ensure restful sleep at night.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Old man with heart condition in infrared sauna

Certain medical conditions can influence how one’s body reacts to an infrared sauna session :

15. Cardiovascular Issues

Those with heart conditions might experience increased heart rate or changes in blood pressure during a session. It’s crucial to consult with medical professionals if you have any cardiovascular concerns before using the sauna.

16. Respiratory Conditions

Individuals with respiratory issues might find it challenging to breathe in the warm environment of the sauna. Ensure you’re comfortable, and consider using a mask or breathing aid.

17: Skin Conditions

People with sensitive skin or pre-existing skin conditions might experience heightened irritated skin post-session. Doing a patch test before a full session is advisable to gauge your skin’s reaction.

18: Autoimmune Diseases

Those with autoimmune diseases might experience flare-ups post-session due to the body’s heightened immune response. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any sauna regimen.

19: Medication Interactions

Certain medications might interact with the effects of the sauna, leading to adverse effects. It’s essential to discuss with your doctor if you’re on any medications before using the sauna.

Incorrect Infrared Sauna Usage

Woman and man sitting with eyes closed in sauna practicing mindfulness meditation

Using the sauna incorrectly can lead to various discomforts:

20: Overheating the Sauna

Setting too high temperature can lead to heat stroke or other negative effects. Always start at a comfortable temperature and adjust as needed.

21: Extended Session Duration

Staying in the sauna for too long, especially during initial sessions, can lead to body temperature spikes and discomfort. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration.

22: Not Drinking Enough Water

Dehydration can occur if one doesn’t hydrate adequately before, during, or after the session. Ensure you drink plenty of water to maintain hydration levels.

23: Using Harsh Cleaning Products

Using strong chemicals or cleaning products in the sauna can lead to skin irritations or breathing issues. Choose natural, mild cleaning agents to maintain a safe environment.

24: Not Taking Breaks

Continuous exposure without breaks can lead to exhaustion or heat stress. Listening to your body and taking short breaks during the session is essential.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies can sometimes be triggered or exacerbated by elements within the sauna environment:

25: Allergies to Wood or Materials in the Sauna

Some individuals might be allergic to specific woods or materials used in the construction of the sauna. Check the sauna’s materials if you notice skin irritations or respiratory issues.

26: Allergies to Cleaning Products

Residual chemicals from cleaning products can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Ensure the sauna is rinsed thoroughly after cleaning, and consider using hypoallergenic cleaning agents.

27: Allergic Reactions to Essential Oils

While essential oils can enhance the sauna experience, they might trigger allergies in some people. Always patch-test any new oil on a small skin area before using it extensively in the sauna.

28: Allergic Reactions to Sweat

Though rare, some people might develop rashes or irritations from their sweat, especially in prolonged sessions. Rinsing off immediately after a session can help alleviate this.

Individual Variability

Everyone’s body is unique, and reactions to infrared sauna sessions can vary based on several individual factors:

29. Variation in Individual Tolerance

Some might find they can tolerate longer sessions or higher temperatures, while others might feel tired after sauna sessions or experience flu-like symptoms after sauna use. It’s essential to find a balance that suits your body.

30. Genetic Factors

Genetics can affect how one’s body reacts to heat and the detoxification process. Some might have a higher predisposition to certain symptoms post-session.

31. Age-related Differences

Elderly people or children might react differently to the sauna than adults. Always ensure the sauna temperature and duration are appropriate for the age group.

32. Personal Health History

Past health conditions or surgeries can influence how one feels after a sauna session. Before starting infrared sauna treatments, consult medical professionals if you have a complex health history.

Final Thoughts

Wow, okay we just threw a ton of information at you there. As you can see, it’s pretty nuanced as to what may be causing your discomfort after your infrared sauna session.

It’s crucial to understand the type of sauna you’re entering, whether a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna session. Always check the sauna temperature and settings before settling in.

Factors like body temperature, blood flow, and blood vessels play a role in these reactions. Moreover, headaches after infrared sauna or chills after the sauna can be signs that you might be pushing your limits.

Always prioritize your safety and well-being. Drink plenty of water to avoid risk of dehydration, and consult medical professionals if you experience adverse reactions. 

DISCLAIMER: We are not medical professionals, nor do we claim to be. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort.

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