Every year brings a slew of new wellness trends, but there’s one that’s definitely staying on the “in” list: Infrared sauna and its portable counterpart, the infrared sauna blanket. If you want to reap the benefits without heading to an expensive spa or dropping thousands on a full-size sauna (Gywneth Paltrow’s at-home sauna goes for $6,600)—the infrared sauna blanket could be for you. We spoke with experts to learn more about the benefits, plus tips for shopping the best ones.

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What’s the difference between saunas and infrared saunas?

Sauna bathing is a wellness ritual that’s been around for centuries. But what makes an infrared sauna different from the classic version with hot rocks? While traditional saunas use heat to warm the air, infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate and heat the body directly. They’re also not as hot as the traditional sauna, so they’re easier for some to tolerate.

So, what about infrared sauna blankets? Compared to the infrared saunas you might find at gyms, spas, or wellness centers, you can use these blankets at home. Yana Delkah, MD, a board-certified emergency medicine physician in NYC points out that we don’t have data directly comparing the two, however, if they can get to the same heat levels, they should be able to provide many of the same benefits, but in a more compact, affordable, and convenient package. Temperatures in infrared saunas typically land between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 Fahrenheit while blanket temperatures can reach up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, are there any health benefits to using infrared saunas?

“I’m a huge fan of the practice to help aid our body’s restorative process,” Frank Lipman, MD, a chief medical officer for The Well tells Glamour. Athletes often use infrared post-workout to help with muscle ache recovery, stiffness and sore muscles. “Radiant heat stimulates blood flow which aids faster healing, assists with muscles and joint repair and helps tame pain and inflammation,” says Dr. Lipman.

Plus, infrared saunas can improve blood circulation and give your skin a glowy complexion. Regular infrared sauna sessions stimulate better blood flow which helps increase collagen production, meaning it can help with wrinkles and skin texture, says Dr. Lipman. And of course, many people turn to saunas for general relaxation. “The gentle, soothing heat helps relax muscles and promote a sense of calm, which can reduce stress and anxiety,” says Jonathan Leary, MD, founder and CEO of Remedy Place, a social wellness club.

Do infrared saunas help burn calories?

There aren’t any studies to back up claims that using an infrared sauna can help you burn calories or lead to weight loss, but you can lose water weight from sweating, which can help if you’re feeling bloated, says Dr. Delkhah

The sauna blanket features to look for

For starters, make sure the sauna blanket has low electromagnetic fields (EMFs) otherwise known as ‘radiation.’ These emissions can be associated with health risks, says Dr. Leary. “Even though it’s hard to get to 0 EMF, that is what the goal should be,” says Dr. Delkhah. You’ll also want to look for a fabric that’s made with waterproof materials that are easy to clean, like nylon and polyurethane (PU) leather—two common materials you’ll find in the list below.

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