SWEATING IS ONE of our bodies’ smartest detox tools. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve been big fans of infrared saunas for years. Recently sauna bars have popped up all over LA and NYC and at-home saunas are the home design perk du jour. Even so, most of us are still in the process of catching on to their many benefits.
Infrared saunas harness the penetrating power of infrared light to heat and heal our bodies on a deep level. In this guide, Laurentine Ten Bosch shares her guide to getting all the benefits of infrared saunas. She’ll give advice on everything from how to pick a sauna that suits you to the health perks of regular use. And we’ve added one of our top picks for at-home infrared….
Growing up in Holland, sauna was a big part of my family’s life. In cooler months we would share time sweating it out together as a family. Then we’d cool off with a cold shower or dip in the pool. (It was winter, remember and I recall my brother Otto checking the water temperature one day and it was 16 degrees Celsius / 60 Fahrenheit!). It was a fun time to connect as a family. It’s still a ritual I love to continue whenever I find myself with access to a sauna.
Getting hot and sweaty might not be your idea of fun. When it comes to your health, however, sweating it out might be just what you need. Saunas are a great way to rid your body of unwanted toxins and heavy metals such as mercury and lead. They can also increase your circulation, relieve unwanted pain, assist in weight loss and purify your skin. Not a bad result for half an hour of sitting down right?
There are a myriad of sauna variants available. This means it can be hard to know the difference between traditional, steam and infrared saunas and their associated health benefits. Fear not, however, we’ve put in the sweaty work for you.
Which Sauna Suits Me?
The dawn of the new millennium has seen the rise of a range of sauna variants. We have therefore broken down the benefits of traditional saunas vs infrared saunas. Traditional saunas use temperatures as high as 85 to 95 degrees Celsius (185 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit). This can be quite uncomfortable for some people. By contrast, infrared saunas use a much milder temperature environment from 48 – 58 degrees Celsius (118 to 136 degrees Celsius). The real value, however, lies within – literally. The heat of the infrared sauna travels much deeper into the body. This produces a more vigorous sweat at a lower temperature.
In short the deeper the heat can penetrate into your body the more effective it can be at drawing out toxins and bringing them to the surface to be expelled through your sweat. When you follow this with a cold shower (or plunge in icy cold water for the fun!) you push the warm blood back into the core of your body. It can then go to work again and draw more toxins back to the surface. I personally like to do this 2-3 times each in a sauna session.
The HigherDOSE Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna is the one of the hottest on the market – literally. The sauna is made with low EMF carbon heaters raising the temperature inside a state-of-the-art Red Canadian Cedar unit with a chic black exterior. The brand’s patented technology includes Full Spectrum infrared, Carbon/Ceramic Heaters, low EMF, and chromotherapy. You can meet the founder of Higher Dose in our interview HERE.
7 Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas
DETOXIFICATION: through assisting in sweat production which is one of the primary means of detoxification for our bodies.
PAIN RELIEF: through relaxing your muscles and alleviating muscle aches and inflammation.
WEIGHT LOSS: as the heat generated by the sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, so will your heart rate which will work harder to lower your core temperature – effectively burning more calories.
SKIN PURIFICATION: through sweating, we allow our pores to open up and detoxify our body’s largest organ – our skin. This, in turn, allows our body to flush out any impurities our body had accumulated.
IMPROVED CIRCULATION: as the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature your circulation will increase along with it.
BACK PAIN RELIEF: a study conducted with 50 patients identified using an infrared sauna assisting in significant relief from back pain.
ALLEVIATING ARTHRITIS PAIN: Infrared treatments have been linked to providing significant relief for arthritis and stiffness within the body.
Additionally, the benefits of heat conditioning can also extend to the cells within our body. Studies have shown that inducing heat-shock proteins can keep components of the cells functioning longer. This helps to prevent damage by scavenging free radicals and increasing cellular antioxidants like glutathione. Heat-shock proteins can even help with muscle gain by imitating cardiovascular exercise.
The Wrap Up
It’s hard to say whether you will experience all the health claims associated with infrared saunas. There is, however, a lot of evidence to suggest that it will do you good. If nothing else, having a sauna is a great way to unwind, de-stress and recover from work, training or a long-haul flight.
Don’t feel guilty for taking some ‘me time’. Book yourself a sauna session and reap the myriad of benefits of this detoxifying and relaxing activity. Check out this article from the pros at Steam Shower Store for 12 helpful tips of how to make the most of the experience.