Sauna therapy has been one of the best forms of physical therapy for ages. And like many other things, modern technology has given the basic sauna a new life and a new dimension of effectiveness. Infrared saunas are the latest in sauna therapy and provide a list of health benefits that are nothing short of amazing.
To be the best, you need the best, and infrared saunas are not simply a luxury that 5-star hotels and resorts can brag about. They are critically important elements for elite performance and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows you to live your best at an entirely new level.
WHAT IS AN INFRARED SAUNA?
All sauna therapy is based upon the concept of heat. What differs is the source of that heat. Infrared saunas use light as their source. The sun’s light is both bright (ultraviolet) and warm (infrared). Infrared differs from visible light in that infrared waves are invisible.
These saunas use a single wavelength of infrared light that is within the electromagnetic radiation spectrum or far-infrared radiation. Sometimes they are referred to as far infrared waves and thus far infrared saunas.
HOW DOES AN INFRARED SAUNA WORK?
Infrared light has an incredible capacity to modify and alter human tissue below the soft tissue of the skin. The radiant heat stimulates the body’s cells to grow and induce more activity, i.e. generate ATP. Just as exposure to sunlight has an incredible amount of positive effects on the body, the same goes for infrared saunas.
INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS
The list of overall health benefits of infrared sauna treatments is very impressive and extensive. Here are some of the most important benefits of infrared saunas that most people enjoy.
As with anything, you should consider any pre-existing health conditions and seek your doctor’s advice before engaging in sauna therapy.
The benefits to blood flow and circulation an infrared sauna can provide are extensive. Infrared light results in the blood vessels dilating which increases blood flow and improves circulation.
This increased blood circulation is not only better for your cardiovascular system but also significantly aids in muscle recovery as well. With that said, infrared sauna bathing can also be used to achieve low blood pressure for those with high blood pressure issues.
Detoxing your body has amazing effects on your immune system support and overall healthy living.
Social media is saturated with the latest detox smoothie that everyone must try. But, that’s not exactly how detoxification works. It is directly connected to your core temperature.
Your sweat glands have two primary functions:
- To regulate core body temperature
- Cleanse toxins from the body (along with respiration and urine)
Detoxification has long been known to be a benefit of traditional steam saunas. However, as infrared rays penetrate deeper into the body’s soft tissues, it is far more effective at flushing heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body.
This is primarily because heavy metals tend to reside deeper in the body than other toxins.
ENCOURAGES WEIGHT LOSS
Another known benefit of traditional steam saunas that is greatly enhanced by infrared saunas is weight loss. Increased circulation and blood flow through the blood vessels creates a healthier cardiovascular system and a more effective one.
This increased circulation stimulates your metabolism resulting in the body burning calories. In most cases, you can burn the same number of calories in a sauna session that you would burn with a brisk walk.
It is important to note that the resulting loss is primarily water weight and not fat.
RELIEF FROM MUSCLE AND JOINT PAIN
One of the best reasons to use infrared sauna therapy as part of your workout regime is how significant its muscle pain relief and joint pain relief are. In fact, it aids in overall muscle recovery. Sauna use increases the flow of blood throughout the entire body, a critical factor in reducing chronic pain and pain in general, especially DOMS.
While regular sauna therapy also can help reduce pain, infrared heaters are more effective. Significantly, due to their penetrative effect. As such, infrared therapy has also had positive effects on people who suffer from ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Repeated thermal therapy has been shown to have incredible results on both chronic fatigue syndrome as well as improving sleep overall. A steam sauna also has this result, but an infrared sauna is far more effective.
However, it is important to note the benefits of improved sleep. Not only are you more energetic and less tired, but your muscle recovery improves significantly as well as your overall mental wellbeing. Good REM sleep has incredible effects on mood, anxiety, and depression.
Along with detoxifying the body, infrared therapy can also help with various skin conditions. Your skin is reactive to both infrared light and infrared heat. This is one of the biggest infrared sauna benefits that a regular dry heat sauna doesn’t provide.
Infrared sauna therapy does have anti-aging benefits, and you may even see a difference in skin tone. Healthy skin is younger-looking skin. And better skin tone also improves how healthy and young your skin looks.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF AN INFRARED SAUNA
Safe and effective sauna therapy comes with a few rules and procedures that need to be adhered to.
This is the biggest rule of thumb. Heat exhaustion is a very real possibility. You need to drink plenty of water before, during, and after infrared sauna therapy.
START AT A LOWER TEMPERATURE
Infrared sauna therapy should start at 45°C to get the body accustomed to the infrared heat and gradually increase to 65°C.
STAY IN FOR SHORT BURSTS
Infrared sauna therapy should begin with 20-minute sessions and slowly increase to 30 and then 45 minutes.
DO SOMETHING TO RELAX
Just relax during your session. Read a book, have a conversation, do whatever helps you to decompress and simply relax.
WHEN SHOULD I USE AN INFRARED SAUNA?
The health benefits of the infrared sauna differ slightly from those of a traditional sauna and should influence your scheduling. They are great to use at night before going to bed, as studies have shown that they can decrease core body temperature and thus increase melatonin levels (sleep hormone). But due to their effectiveness for muscle recovery, after a workout is also a good idea.
ARE INFRARED SAUNAS SAFE?
Infrared saunas are completely safe when used properly. Even hospitals use infrared heat on newborn babies. All saunas are safe if used properly. There are rules and recommendations you need to adhere to. For example, because a sauna is an environment of high heat, you need to be properly hydrated.
WHAT HEALTH BENEFITS DO TRADITIONAL SAUNAS PROVIDE?
Traditional saunas promote alertness which is why they are best for mornings. They also are good for weight loss, circulation and heart health, detoxification, anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, stress management, relaxation, relief from muscle soreness and tension, improved immune function, and much more.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I ENGAGE IN INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY?
Due to their safety, you could have an infrared sauna session daily. You could have two sauna sessions in a day, though there’s no evidence having multiple sauna sessions in a day increases the health benefits at all. It’s best to not let your body get accustomed to the effects, so using it 4-6 times a week is best.
So, what are you waiting for? Sometimes it’s difficult to believe how much you can benefit from doing nothing for 30 to 40 minutes, but when it is done inside an infrared sauna, you will only need one session to become a believer. Give it a try.