Healthy lifestyle is fun. You have high energy, you feel great, you look great and you get to enjoy the benefits of far infrared saunas.
If you thought the sauna was just for the spa, think again.
Far infrared saunas are not only relaxing, but they have many benefits for your total health and wellbeing.
From ancient Roman baths to today’s Bikram hot yoga classes, people enjoy the health boost that a good sweat can bring. And sitting in a far infrared sauna is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health…with pretty much no effort on your part.
But most people are still unaware of the technology and I don’t want you to be.
Sure, most of us probably enjoyed the conventional steam room sauna at the spa or gym (or if we are super lucky in our own bathroom). But what are infrared saunas? Is infrared even safe? How is this any different from the sauna room you’re used to?
Today, we’re going to discover the benefits of far infrared saunas. And I’m not the only one who is crazy about them. They are getting more and more attention from celebrities like Oprah and Lady Gaga. And the entire health community is paying closer attention.
I think you’ll love them too.
What Are Far Infrared Saunas?
Most likely you are already familiar with a traditional wet or dry sauna or steam room. So what makes the far infrared sauna different? First let’s understand what infrared energy really is:
Far infrared therapy is a medical process that involves using infrared rays for gently treating, healing, stimulating, detoxifying, and soothing the human mind and body.
Far infrared rays are invisible rays of energy that can penetrate into the human body and the innermost regions of the muscles, bones, and tissues.
So then we have the far infrared saunas. Many times they look just like regular ol’ saunas. But there are two major differences between infrared saunas and conventional saunas
- The Temperature: Traditional saunas are often significantly hotter than the far infrared saunas. This means you can easily get overheated or very uncomfortable.
- The Heat: A regular sauna makes the air hot and therefore makes your body hot; infrared saunas heat your body directly through far infrared rays so it’s much harder to feel overheated.
Both of these factors tend to make infrared saunas more comfortable for the average person, one of the benefits of far infrared saunas.
Are Far Infrared Saunas Safe?
Infrared may sound scary to some people. And using light to create heat may sound a little too much like a microwave. But it’s actually not as scary as it sounds. Far infrared ray energy is also emitted from our body and our hands, as well as the sun.
The popular Reiki uses a similar technique and ancient Indian yogis were also known to use a palm-heating method, which they claim could cure eye strains and eye dryness when the palms were placed on the eyes.
And that same type of technology is used in neonatal units to warm babies. It is even a method of alternative heating in homes and offices. Plus there are no reported adverse effects from infrared saunas.
So you are free to enjoy all these benefits of far infrared saunas without any worry.
Important side note: The only things to keep in mind are the obvious issues. Don’t allow yourself to get dehydrated and don’t overdo it. If you have a serious medical condition or you’re pregnant you should talk to your doctor first.
7 Benefits of Far Infrared Saunas
Now let’s talk about the “why” behind making an appointment for your infrared sauna experience. There are real healthy benefits of far infrared saunas, and I want to share them with you.
Detoxify Your Body
Let’s start with the obvious: hello sweat!
Our atmosphere is filled with toxins and chemicals as well as heavy metals. We eat these toxins. We touch these toxins. We breathe them in.
Luckily, the body has many systems set in place to detoxify, and the liver and kidneys play a big role in that process. Skin is one of those big detoxifiers too.
As we sweat, our body gets rid of impurities – it’s one of the primary ways that we keep the bad stuff flowing out of the body. And it’s also the reason why a good sweat is recommended on a regular basis (i.e. exercise and now your use of infrared saunas).
Maintenance detoxification does the body good. It boosts the immune system and strengthens it so that it can fight potential illness. Detoxing can even improve nutrient absorption and digestion.
So without a doubt – one of the very top benefits of far infrared saunas is getting gentle detoxification. But it doesn’t stop there…
Get Radiant Skin
Before we jump off the “benefits of all that sweating” bandwagon, gorgeous skin is another reason sweating in an infrared sauna session is going to help you.
Sweat helps clear out your skin. All those clogged pores start purging, and you’re left with clear skin not only on your face, but everywhere.
On top of that goodness, the rays from far infrared saunas can boost your production of elastin and collagen – two substances that keep your skin looking youthful, supple, and firm.
One study discovered all patients reported at least “good” improvements in the texture of their skin after 6 months of infrared treatments.
Far infrared saunas can detox the skin by clearing the pores and enhancing circulation. It may even help to get rid of bags and dark circles from under the eyes.
So whether you’re looking to say goodbye to acne or say hello to youthful skin (or for some of us, do both!), you’re covered by the benefits of far infrared saunas.
Boost Your Metabolism
How much you eat and what you eat are two of the biggest factors when it comes to your weight. How much you burn off is another factor.
Sauna therapies have been called “passive cardio” – and rightly so. It raises heart rates just like the way a treadmill, stairmaster, or elliptical can…but without the extra effort.
In the Harvard Health Publication, your heart rate increases because of the high temperature produced by the infrared therapy. Those increment levels are very similar to the ones you get with moderate-intensity exercises.
According to a journal in the American Medical Association, a 30-minute infrared sauna session can burn about 600 calories. Of course, you are going to lose some water weight (which is temporary), but burning those calories can have a legitimate impact on your weight.
Though you should never rely on the benefits of far infrared saunas to lose weight (gut health, nutrition and lifestyle are the priority) why not take advantage of the chance to lose some pounds with minimal efforts?
Reduce Your Stress
As if you didn’t already know, chronic stress is a silent killer. Unfortunately, most of us experience it more often than we’d like. What better to press the “reset” button than to step into a far infrared sauna?
Investing the time and money to reap the relaxing benefits of far infrared saunas is an act of self-care. And notice that I used the word investment. Because it’s an investment into yourself and the rewards are more than worth it.
Besides busting stress levels, sauna therapy can release dopamine and serotonin, two of our “feel good” brain chemicals. They are exactly what are released when you exercise, have sex, or eat delicious food.
Essentially, they are your body’s natural “high” and they combat stress head on. So you can probably understand exactly why you will feel awesome after your infrared session.
And as I mentioned before, the temperature makes the far infrared sauna experience more comfortable than a regular sauna experience. Though it is quite warm and you will sweat (quite a bit), I tend to like it much better.
Protect Your Heart
In the same way that the increased temperatures can rev your heart rate and help you burn calories, they can also improve heart rate levels (similar to what you can achieve with physical training).
Infrared saunas can even lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation.
Of course, stay super aware. If you have any serious heart condition(s) (or serious medical condition in general), get the “go ahead” from your doctor before you try the infrared sauna.
Boost Your Brain
Yes – far infrared sauna use can even support your brain!
Here are some of the cognitive benefits of far infrared saunas. Use of infrared sauna therapy can:
- Enhance the creation of new brain cells, also called neurogenesis. It also safeguards existing neurons against potential damages.
- Improve norepinephrine levels significantly, which makes you more focused and more alert.
- Help in the production of prolactin hormone that promotes the growth of myelin (nerve fiber insulation in the brain) that is responsible for how quickly your brain processes things
Ditch The Pain
Have you ever been to a hot yoga session where the heat helped you stretch and loosen all your tense muscles? The same concept applies to infrared saunas too – but it goes a bit deeper.
Since it is not only heat that is helping your muscles relax – but actual infrared heat – you will feel the ultimate relief… from decreased pain and spasms to improved recovery time.
All of the other benefits of far infrared saunas can assist in relieving pain too – like promoting relaxation and detoxification.
Where To Use Infrared Saunas
There are two main ways to seep up all the benefits of far infrared saunas:
- Spas/Gyms/Infrared Sauna Studios/Health Practitioners: Many places across the country are now offering far infrared saunas to their guests. Wellness spas, day spas, gyms – even health practitioners like chiropractors and naturopaths – will have one or two infrared saunas. Sometimes you can find a studio specifically designed for infrared saunas.
- At Home: You can actually buy luxury saunas with built-in infrared technology that resemble conventional saunas.
Tips To Know Before You Heat Up
Now that you’re all up to date on the benefits of far infrared saunas, what should you expect at your first session? Here are the basics of everything you need to know before getting a good infrared sweat.
Before you lose all that water, you need to drink extra water.
Don’t just chug some water right before your sauna experience. Make sure you are getting more than enough water the day before you go and during the entire day of your session.
Get Naked, Or Close To It
Depending on the location of the sauna, some will allow you to get fully undressed; others will be in public view. If you find yourself in the latter, try to wear the least amount of clothing that you feel comfortable in – like a swimsuit.
Start Shorter, Than Increase
If infrared saunas are new to you, your first session may be as short as 1o minutes though with infrared technology most people will be able to stay in for much longer than that since the heat is not as intense. Your best bet is to listen to the trained professionals and follow their guidance when it comes to the length of your session.
Sweating May Be Slow At First
If you do not sweat as much as you anticipated on your first session, don’t worry that it’s not working. The more you go, the more you sweat. Remember detox is not a one-and-done sort of deal. It’s a process.
Replenish With Electrolytes
As you sweat you are losing essential minerals along with the bad toxins. Make sure to replace them with electrolytes after your session. But don’t go for the artificially colored, sugary sports drinks. Organic coconut water is the better option.
Enjoying The Benefits Of Far Infrared Saunas
Sweating is a tad underrated in our society. We are kind of sweat-phobic. We want to make sure our deodorants keep us dry to the bone. And we blast our A/C all summer (guilty as charged!).
But let’s take advantage of our body’s brilliant way to detox and improve our health. A little sweat won’t hurt – in fact, it could be the best thing you’ve done for yourself all week.
Now all you have to do is set up an appointment at a far infrared sauna near you. If you love the experience, you can look into the at-home options as well.
Have you spent any time in a far infrared sauna? What was your experience? If you haven’t tried it, which of the benefits of far infrared saunas appeals to you the most? Tell me all about it in the comments below!