5 Ways Infrared Saunas Boost Your Health
If you are dedicated to a lifetime of health and wellness, you should definitely consider incorporating infrared sauna sessions regularly into your self care routine.
Here we reveal the answers to two popular questions when it comes to infra red saunas:
1. Why choose an infrared sauna over a regular type of hot rock sauna?
2. How can an infra red sauna benefit your health and what can you expect if you use one regularly?
What Are Infrared Saunas
The simplest way to sum up the benefit on an infrared sauna is: Its like getting a dose of health-giving sunlight without the ultraviolet component that can harm and burn the skin.
It works by warming up your body, safely and gradually from the inside out to boost circulation and to help expel toxins and heavy metals through perspiration.
An infrared sauna is different from a steam or hot rock sauna, because it slowly heats the body at a more comfortable temperature (generally 40 - 60 Degrees Celsius / 110-140 Fahrenheit), which means it doesn't shock your system with intense and immediate heat the way regular saunas normally do.
Due to this more gradual process, infrared saunas are sometimes referred to as heat therapy rooms or infrared therapy. In simple terms, infrared is the invisible part of the sun's spectrum that allows you to receive many of the benefits of sun exposure and perspiration, without any potential harmful effects.
The 5 greatest health benefits of using an infra-red sauna that we'll dive into here include:
- Reduce Pain and Inflammation
- Healthy Weight Loss
- Better Sleep
- Muscle Recovery
- Anti-Aging due to reducing oxidative stress
How Infrared Saunas Work
Picture this: You are standing outside in the sunshine on a cold day. The sun feels warm on your skin, even though the air chills you. That direct heat transmission happens via the infrared rays of the sun.
In an infrared sauna, the same frequencies of light, which are invisible to the human eye, are emitted using heater panels inside the sauna.
As with exposure to sunlight, your body is warmed in an infrared sauna - but the air is not.
Why Choose An Infrared Instead Of A Regular Hot Rock Sauna
If you've ever used a regular hot rock sauna before, you'll know that they can be extremely soothing and therapeutic and they do offer some wonderful health benefits. However, Infrared Saunas add another dimension to this.
These additional benefits include:
- A more comfortable experience. If you find other saunas just too unbearable to sit in for any reasonable amount of time, you will find an infrared sauna much more enjoyable;
- No steam is necessary with an infrared sauna. That means that you won’t have to deal with mould or mildew as a result of using it;
- Infrared saunas tend to use less energy than other types. This is excellent news for the environment as well as your budget (if you're thinking of installing a sauna at home);
- The safety profile of infrared saunas is well-established. Even newborn babies in hospital wards, in many cases are kept warm and cozy using infrared heat;
- Infrared heat offers superior penetration which delivers greater wellness benefits, primarily because the body gains energy as a gentle radiant heat, which can penetrate up to 1.5 inches (almost 4 cm) beneath the skin to target the cells.
How Infrared Saunas Can Help Your Health & Wellness
Now that you know the basics of what infrared saunas are, how they work, and what some of their main benefits are, let's drill down to the main reasons to use an infra red sauna for your health and healing.
1. Reduce Pain & Inflammation
Because infrared light penetrates deep into body tissue and increases circulation, it is an ideal choice for treating pain and inflammation.
Deep skin penetration is much more effective for healing body pain than what you would achieve using a traditional heating pad or a different sauna type. Because of this simple fact, infrared light has proven itself to be more effective at easing discomfort in deeper tissue.
Research supports these benefits. For example, consider a study from 2015 which tracked the recovery rate in male athletes who were engaged in strength and endurance training.
The researchers found the following:
“Deep penetration of infrared heat (approximately 3–4 cm into fat tissue and the neuromuscular system) with mild temperatures ( such as 35–50°C), and light humidity (such as 25–35%) as is experienced in an infra red sauna, appears favourable for the neuromuscular system to recover from maximal endurance performance.”
Many people experience pain and discomfort from inflammation that puts a hindrance on their physical functions. Thanks to infrared light therapy, many of these individuals are able to treat inflammation without pharmaceuticals or other synthetic, non-natural practices.
Researchers have also checked into the potential benefits of infrared sauna use for patients with painful inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Infra red saunas have been found to alleviate these symptoms by increasing blood flow to damaged tissues and strengthening the body's antioxidant defences.
The bottom line is, if you've ever suffered from ongoing body pain or inflammation, experimenting with the use of infra red saunas is well worth considering.
2. Promote Healthy Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight, the first port of call of course, is always a healthy diet and regular exercise.
But if you want to speed up the process or add another dimension to your weight loss goals, regular sessions in an infra red sauna are the way to go.
Studies have shown that when a fat cell is exposed to infrared light, it releases 99% of its contents almost instantaneously. This remarkable process leaves the fat cells deflated, allowing the body's lymphatic system to kick start the process of metabolising or melting away the fat.
One of the significant features of using infrared saunas is how it boosts natural circulation, which is crucial to weight loss and ongoing healthy weight management.
Additionally, there are significant cardiovascular benefits, primarily due to the way that infra red saunas can help to normalise blood pressure.
3. Support Better Sleep
Everyone requires quality sleep to function well.
But all too often, many people wake up in the middle of the night regularly or simply don't get enough quality sleep and wonder why they suffer from constant exhaustion.
Infrared saunas can play an important role in getting better sleep at night, not only due to the health restorative benefits, but also due to the soothing impact of infra red light.
Infra red light doesn't act as a stimulant but instead influences a calming, sedative effect within the body.
With red light, your body will recognise its time to rest. Your circadian rhythm will return back to normal and you will transition into a healthier state of deep sleep, which is why using an infra red sauna is a very useful tool to consider if sleep is a problem for you.
4. Muscle Recovery
Top athletes and very active people are including infra-red saunas into their training routine to manage recovery and to help reduce lactic acid build up in the muscles.
Specific benefits include, boosting cellular mitochondrial efficiency by delivering energy to the cells through respiration. And also, regulating cellular metabolism to accelerate recovery.
Additionally, infra-red saunas increase cardiovascular activity, improving oxygen and blood flow into the muscles, resulting in more efficient repair and rebuilding of muscles and other tissue.
5. Anti-Aging and Reducing Oxidative Stress
There is much evidence to support that your body can sweat out heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and other harmful toxins that can contribute to the degeneration of organs and tissues.
This is why using an infrared sauna on a regular basis can be a helpful anti-ageing practice.
Additionally, using an infrared sauna can help stimulate antioxidant activity because it causes adaptive reactions to the natural stresses formed during a session inside the sauna, such as abnormal body heat and perspiration.
Many age-related diseases are associated with oxidative stress, which is why if you want to reduce the effects of ageing you need to reduce this process by countering it with antioxidant rich foods and activities such as infra red saunas.
How To Access Infrared Saunas
The goods news is these days, most major towns and cities have studios, hubs and recovery centres, that offer infra-red sauna sessions which you can book for 30-60 minutes at a time and experience in private rooms.
Additionally, infra-red saunas are becoming a popular addition to health-conscious households because of their compact size, low maintenance, no fuss and ease of use.
The following are the simple steps to using an infrared sauna:
1. Set the temperature and timer gauges. A good range is 35-60 degrees Celsius (100-140 Fahrenheit) and 30-45 minutes as a duration;
2. Wait for the sauna to reach at least half the target temperature before hopping inside (studios that offer infra red saunas will normally start the sauna 15 minutes before your scheduled session start time to ensure that its warm and ready to go for you when you arrive);
3. Place a clean towel on your seat for comfort and take an extra towel to manage your sweat throughout the session;
4. Bring a metallic or ceramic water bottle with you, include a few ice cubes and fill the bottle. Take it with you in the sauna and hydrate during your session;
5. Wear only minimal clothing e.g. under wear or swim wear are best;
6. Enjoy your sauna experience - listen to a podcast or some chill-out music inside the sauna as the infra-red heat will not damage your iphone.
The Main Takeaway
Whether you are looking to support your general health and wellbeing, detoxify, lose weight or ease pain and inflammation in your body, infrared saunas are a wonderful practice to add to your self care routine on a regular basis.
Anytime you're feeling under the weather due to cold or flu symptoms, or even after a big night or weekend, infra red saunas can really help your body to get rid of toxins that they are weighing you down.
To find an infra red sauna studio in your area, jump onto google and search infra red sauna studios, recovery centres or day spas and you'll quickly find a list of locations nearby that offer sessions that you can book.