Infrared saunas have become really fashionable recently and are the latest trend in “detox.” Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Dr. Mehmet Oz, of the Oprah Winfrey show, are all regular advocates.
Many of us are more accustomed to traditional saunas, so this technology is still not well known in the UK. So exactly what is an infrared sauna – I decided to go and check them out!
What are Infrared Saunas?
Infrared Sauna therapy practiced today was the invention of a Japanese doctor, Tadashi Ishikawa, who received a patent for inventing healing infrared heaters in 1965.
The main difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna is the infrared sauna heats the body directly without heating the surrounding air. Normally traditional saunas become very hot and cause reactions such as heavy sweating and increased heart rate.
More importantly, an infrared sauna produces these results at a lower temperature, which makes it more useable to people like me, who can’t tolerate the heat of a conventional sauna.
9 Health benefits of an Infrared Sauna
1. Alleviates pain
The high-temperature heat of the sauna causes the release of the endorphin hormones. Endorphins act as a natural analgesic, calming all kinds of pains, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, trauma, and many other muscle, joint, tension, and bone conditions.
2. Heals muscle injuries
It relaxes muscles, makes them more flexible, avoids spasms, reduces pain and inflammation, reduces stiffness, improves tissue irrigation etc.
3. Rejuvenates the skin
The heat generated in the sauna penetrates the three layers of the skin, combating the effects of age. It helps in eliminating acne, blackheads, and other skin imperfections. Infrared heat also hydrates the dermis, activates the production of collagen, and keeps the skin young and smooth for a longer period of time. (I also love a Gua Sha facial for anti-aging.)
4. Increases self-esteem
Using a sauna regularly has been shown to increase self-confidence, the ability to make decisions, improve relationships, and, ultimately improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
5. Reduces depression
The increase of self-esteem produced by the use of the sauna, induce relaxation that eliminates stress, helps block negative thoughts, and reduce states of depression and sadness.
6. Reduces blood pressure and improves blood circulation
Heat therapies have proven to be one of the most effective natural remedies to achieve arterial and venous vasodilation and the elimination of salts from the body. This reduces the blood pressure of people with hypertension and prevents serious heart problems.
Heat also expands the circulatory pathways and regenerates blood cells. These actions facilitate blood flow, restore damaged heart tissue, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular accidents such as heart attacks, stroke, or embolism.
7. Detoxifies the organ
Through sweating, toxins are eliminated that have built up by exposure to pollutants. The body releases heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and also expels harmful substances such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sodium, lactic acid, and sulphuric acid.
8. Helps to lose weight effortlessly
One of the most discussed and controversial benefits of the sauna is weight loss. As the body is subjected to high temperature, it causes an increase in energy consumption that helps with weight loss. You can burn up to 500 calories per session with no effort required!
9. Reduces stress and anxiety
The controlled temperature affects the nerve endings and causes a sensory slowdown from the epidermis to the brain, which causes the person to enter a state of mental and physical relaxation, eliminating stress and anxiety.
How to use Infrared Saunas?
Infrared light has a longer wavelength than visible light, and there are three infrared categories: near, middle, and far.
These new saunas combine near-infrared light and heat therapy. Unlike traditional saunas that heat the air around you, these infrared saunas use radiant energy to raise the core temperature of the body.
According to Dr. Michael Hamblin, principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, the sensation can be felt beneath the skin. Therefore, heat passes through the skin, muscles, tendons, and subcutaneous layer. (Dr. Michael Hamblin also has some interesting theories on cancer so check him out!)
To take full advantage of the infrared sauna, it’s important that you follow these tips:
- Drink a glass of water before entering the infrared sauna, as excessive sweating can dehydrate you. Find out why I only use a Berkey Water filer system here.
- Take two clean towels, one to put on the bench for hygiene reasons and another to remove excess sweat on the face, as it is usually very uncomfortable.
- It is important that your body and face be clean when you enter the sauna. Therefore, before entering the sauna, take a shower with soap and rinse well so that there is no residue on your skin.
Ideally, you are naked when you take your sauna.If the sauna is public, so you can use a swimsuit or a towel. In most places they usually have some rules of conduct and dress code, so check these out first.
- Once you are inside, breathe deeply and relax.
- Also, you should drink water from time to time so you don’t get dehydrated. Infrared saunas have an estimated time of treatment (30 mins.) Don’t exceed it because the excess heat can reheat your tissues.
- When you leave the sauna take a warm shower so that your temperature is regulated.
- Drink plenty of water afterwards.
I don’t suffer from any major health problems, but I do suffer from a bad back from standing all day. On top of that, I also suffer from anxiety and muscle/joint stiffness. Lying in the sauna, I found my stress levels decreased very quickly, and my anxiety disappeared.
Not only that but I also found my anxiety didn’t come back for a few days after my first treatment. Then with regular use, it decreased significantly, so I can highly recommend regular treatments for anyone who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks.
This and CBD oil have been my best cures for anxiety so far. Recently a lot of people have been commenting on my skin too, how I look glowing and healthy. All of which has been a nice bonus!
Finally, I have noticed my joint pain has reduced too, so I am definitely going to keep using an infrared sauna regularly.
Where to find Infrared Saunas
Infrared Saunas can be found at some gyms, hotels, or holistic centres. There are not many around where I live, but you can purchase one for home use. Hot tubs have been popular for a long time, but I think there are a lot more health benefits from an infrared sauna. Plus they are a lot more economical to run.
The sauna is the size of a shower cubicle, so you could keep it in a shed or an outhouse. Or there are portable versions if you don’t have much space. Infrared saunas are also eco-friendly as they use very low energy heating elements that cost pennies to run.Firzone Portable Infrared Sauna Tourmaline Pro
Having a sauna at home seems an excellent solution for me, jumping in whenever I want and privately too. Can you imagine the pleasure after a tense and stressful day, being able to jump into your own sauna? Amazing!
What do you think – have you tried or would you try an infrared sauna?
|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|