Exposing your body to high heat for overall health benefits. Eases pain, reduces stress, improves cardiovascular health, skin problems, and asthma.
Is an Infrared Sauna Better Than a Traditional Sauna?
There’s nothing quite like a 20-minute sweat session in a sauna. You feel more relaxed and rested after you’re done, and the heat helps relieve sore muscles and improves your overall health and well-being.
But if the high temperatures of a traditional sauna are just too much for you to handle, an infrared sauna may offer the benefits of a sauna without the extreme heat.
What is an infrared sauna?
Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they use infrared lamps (that use electromagnetic radiation) to warm your body directly. These saunas use infrared panels instead of conventional heat to easily penetrate human tissue, heating up your body before heating up the air. An infrared sauna can operate at a lower temperature (usually between 120˚F and 140˚F) than a traditional sauna, which is typically between 150˚F and 180˚F.
The benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy
North America is only beginning to fall in love with infrared saunas, but not everyone knows about the associated health benefits.
Infrared saunas heat our bodies up which get our hearts pumping faster as if in a workout. As Japanese studies have shown, two weeks of daily sauna benefits vascular function in patients with mild heart damage and are safer than standard exercise. Through the use of infrared saunas our blood flow increases, even after our saunas sessions ends. Additionally studies have shown that saunas decrease our blood pressure and increase arterial compliance. This means healthier and more stress resistant arteries.
While heating our bodies up produces a natural fever state that aids us in fighting off infections and illnesses. An additional benefit is the creation of disease fighting white blood cells. Heating the body spurs our immune system to increase production of these cells that flight off incoming diseases and keep our immunity higher.
Doctors recommend the use of saunas to help the body battle the symptoms of Lyme disease. Author and lifehacker Tim Ferriss credits saunas with helping him in his battle with Lyme disease. As the body accumulates a higher level of toxins (including damaging neurotoxins) the infrared saunas aids in recovery by allowing the sweat to eliminate them internally. This requires a slow build up of sessions starting at once a week to several times per week as needed. This also helps with the sore muscles and pain associated with the disease.
Infrared saunas have been shown to be 7x as effective as other traditional saunas. So detoxification is achieved through eliminating toxins through the sweat glands. Because of air conditioning and increasingly sedentary lifestyles modern people no longer sweat like we used to. So as our skin absorbs pollutants or gets increasingly clogged this puts additional strain on our organs to detoxify. Just as the body creates a fever to rid itself of harmful microorganisms, saunas can protect us and raise our immunity levels.
While not a stand-alone fix infrared saunas are a valuable addition to any weight loss toolkit. Saunas benefit us by mimicking a workout at the gym by increasing our heart rate and the body responds by increasing oxygen flow and burning calories. A whopping 600 calories can be consumed during a half hour infrared saunas session.
Finns have been noted to have incredible skin. This has been credited to the popularity of sauna in their country. Infrared waves help spur the body into increasing production of collagen and elastin. Collagen is well-known to keep skin resilient and glowing and elastin keeps wrinkles away. As blood flow increases towards the skin during a session there are increased nutrient benefits keeping us look younger and healthier.
Saunas have traditionally been popular spots for distraction-free socializing. Saunas allow for private and quiet environments for socialization. The relaxation of the heat and natural wooden ambiance lend themselves to relaxing time to catch-up, get to know each other better, or simply enjoy a peaceful moment silence together. The best saunas are designed to be relaxing environments for a time out from the rest of the world. In a natural wooden environment free from distractions the sauna has become an oasis of calm for many.
The benefits of saunas on mental health is become more and more understood and widely known. Saunas have been shown to effectively work to prevent Alzheimer’s and other mental afflictions. Part of this is due to the increased production of myelin which helps increase the rate neurons enter and leave the brain.
Saunas are popular to use after a strenuous workout for several good reasons. The first is that the increased circulation helps to deliver oxygen rich blood to the deprived muscles as well as relaxing the muscles. Saunas have also been reported to significantly raise human growth hormone that counteracts the effects of aging and increases muscle mass. Studies have also been done to prove the long term pain reducing effects of regular sauna use.
What should you know before you try an infrared sauna?
There are a few things you should know before indulging in your first session:
• Avoid using an infrared sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
• If you feel ill or have a fever, it’s best to wait to use the sauna until you’re feeling better.
• Using an infrared sauna will cause you to sweat a lot, so you may feel lightheaded when you stand up. If this happens, make sure you get up slowly and sit down once you leave the sauna. Drink water immediately after finishing your session and wait for your body to cool down before doing anything else.
• In extreme cases, some people may experience overheating (heat stroke and heat exhaustion) or dehydration.
• If you have any health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or are under medical care, get cleared by your doctor before your first session. Even though infrared saunas have been found to be fairly safe, you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your health and safety.