We tried out Celluvac’s latest launch, the Infrared Sauna Blanket.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll know that we are huge fans of infrared light therapy. Our first foray into the world of red-light therapy was trying out an infrared sauna. We then took it home by investing in a hand-held infrared light device and for the last three years we have sworn by its magical healing properties.

When infrared sauna blankets came out onto the US market, our interest was piqued but they were not available locally. It came as no surprise that Celluvac launched their own for the South African market. Celluvac, a proudly South African, women-owned business are at the forefront of bringing the coolest wellness products to South Africa.

What is an infrared Sauna Blanket?

Celluvac’s infrared sauna blanket consists of the blanket, a control box, power cable, remote control and an instruction manual. The blanket resembles a sleeping bag and is made from a high-quality PU material on the outside and waterproof PVC on the inside.

Using relatively little space and at a fraction of the cost it would take to install a real sized sauna in your home, an infrared sauna blanket allows you to enjoy a sauna experience in the comfort of your own home.

Infrared sauna blankets use the power of far-infrared light. If you’re interested about the technology and how it works, I wrote an in-depth article about infrared light therapy here. In summary, far-infrared light is characterized by its wavelength, we can’t see it, but we can feel its heat. The energy emitted from far-infrared light affects tissues at a cellular level, effectively healing damage, which makes the list of possible benefits quite long. 

The infrared sauna blanket is supposed to not only deliver the healing energy of infrared light, but also encourage a detoxifying sweat. 

Its main benefits are claimed to be;

  • Detoxing the body
  • Promote glowing skin
  • Boost your mood
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improve sleep quality 
  • Help you recover faster after exercise

The question is, does it actually work?

How to you use the Infrared Sauna Blanket

Taking the pieces out of their box and examining them was a bit intimidating to start with but operating it is very easy. You simply connect the blanket’s power cords to the control box, plug the power cables into the box as well and then plug it in and turn it on.

Once it’s on, you simply select your temperature and time, let it preheat, dress in long pants, a long sleeve shirt and socks (i.e., covering all skin) and climb in, zip yourself up and get busy relaxing.

The blanket itself comes with a host of warnings on who can or can’t use it as well as safety instructions, so it is imperative to read it before you give it a go. It’s important to note that anyone who has a skin disease, a pacemaker, an implantable device, heart disease, broken bones, cancer, breast implants, is pregnant or post-surgery and more would need doctor approval before usage.

My Experience using the Infrared Sauna Blanket

I’ve tried out an infrared sauna and use an infrared light, so naturally my expectations were based on those experiences. I was imagining a red glow and a lot of sweat.

If you’re looking for a red glow, you’ll be sorely disappointed – red light and infrared light aren’t the same thing. Also, keep in mind that the lights are built into the blanket, so you’re not supposed to see them. I knew this but couldn’t help wishing it emanated a healing red glow.  If you’re looking for sweat though, you might have come to the right place, BUT it might take you a few tries to get it right.

My first few sessions felt like I was encased in a heated sleeping bag, not unpleasant, especially in cold South African winter, but the lack of sweat mystified me. In any sauna blanket review I’ve read or advert I’ve seen, the subject is profusely sweating. My review was “Meh” and I was sure it wasn’t for me.

Being one to not give up, I decided I needed to dedicate more time to trying it and research before fully writing it off. I experimented multiple times with time and made sure I had the heat setting all the way up (it gets up to 80?C). I had no success on my first few tries. Then I came across an article in which a lady shared her experience after using one for a year. In it, she described her sessions as 50 minutes long and mentioned the importance of not getting out early. The last ten minutes, she said, are apparently where all the benefit is. It’s what the first 40 minutes are setting you up for.

It seemed like the exact timing is the ingredient I was missing. Setting the timer to 60 minutes, the heat to 80?C, making sure it preheated for exactly 10 minutes and climbing in for exactly 50 minutes, suddenly worked for me. 

At twenty minutes, I began to feel uncomfortably hot, but I felt more clammy than sweaty. That is when I realized my heart rate was rising. At thirty minutes is when the first beads of sweat started to form and at forty minutes it was close to unbearable. By minute 48 my face was stinging from the salt of my sweat and when I eagerly jumped out at 50 minutes, I was shocked to discover that my clothes were soaked through.

Some people claim that you can burn up to 600 calories using one so before getting in I decided to track my session as a workout on my Garmin. It clearly does raise your heart rate (I reached almost double my resting HR) so in effect it helps you burn more calories while you lie down and relax, but the number was 65 calories for me – I certainly wouldn’t substitute it for a workout. 

The infrared sauna blanket isn’t a workout/heart rate pumping tool, it is a tool to promote recovery. I haven’t used it long enough to be able to say for sure that it’s a worthwhile investment or that has long term benefits, but I was incredibly surprised at how I felt immediately after my breakthrough sweat session. My sore leg muscles from an increase in running mileage felt soothed, and I was in a vastly noticeably better mood – almost as if I was experiencing a post exercise endorphin high. The next day I managed to wake up with my alarm clock (a personal and daily struggle) and my legs felt a lot fresher.

I was certain I had figured it out but when I gave the same guidelines to my sister to follow, her session was much like the first few I had had. Does it take a while to figure out? Does it take your body a few sessions to acclimatize? If your body temperature is too low because it is a freezing cold day, will you just not sweat? The answer is I just don’t know, but if I can continuously replicate the effects of the sweaty session I had, I certainly see the potential of long-term benefit.

If you want to try it for yourself, the infrared sauna blanket is available here

Celluvac sent us their Infrared Sauna Blanket to test out. This article was not sponsored, previewed or pre-approved by Celluvac. Opinions are our own.

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