I have a new addiction. This time it’s not chocolate or my favourite unhealthy dish. No, it is the rather sweet torture of holing myself up for about 40 minutes in an infra-red sauna at least thrice weekly. It is a deliciously hot feeling that I simply can’t get enough of since discovering it. I never in the past was one to subject myself to a hot sauna to luxuriate in the feeling of being cooked like a lame chicken, all for the benefit of wanting to attain some health benefit. I always felt too busy to add the leisure of sauna visits to my regular health regime, which I sometimes struggled to keep to from time to time. That was until recently. I recently switched my membership to a new yoga centre that had been right under my nose in my local neighbourhood for all these years but hadn’t realised existed.
Anyway, when I did discover it, its location was so convenient and they offered a much wider range of holistic and complementary therapies and services than my previous centre that for me it was a no brainer. I ended my membership with the previous centre and signed up with Triyoga. The centre happened to have an infra-red sauna facility and I had never understood the difference between a standard sauna and an infra-red one. I had certainly heard about infra-red but not in relation to saunas. To my pleasant surprise, as part of my induction, I was given a crash education on the multi-fold health benefits of using infra-red saunas regularly. As part of my membership, I have unlimited use of their infra-red sauna which I have been using regularly for about three months since signing up.
I certainly can attest to its benefits, particularly its anti-aging effects on the skin! You might ask, well, what’s the difference between a traditional sauna and an infra-red one. I am no expert but as you might have discovered by now, I am passionate about anything that offers holistic health benefits especially when you have anti-aging benefits thrown in! There’s no cure for vanity! So I went to task to do a little bit of research and to read up on the whole science behind it. Traditional and infra-red saunas share many common benefits but there are a few subtle differences. Without getting too much into the detail of it here are some of the main differences and benefits.
Traditional Saunas Vs Infra-red
A traditional sauna operates at a much higher heat range, usually between 80-90°C (185°F -195°F). The heat is more moist and heats the air around you. It also takes longer to reach optimum temperatures with a normal sauna. The heat from a conventional sauna penetrates the body far less deeper than an infra-red sauna so you sweat more water than you do toxins, or certainly a lesser percentage of toxins (about 3 to 4%) than you would do with an infra-red sauna:
Infra-red simply means deep heat and that is the main advantage that it has over the more traditional sauna. Infra-red heat operates at lower temperatures of around 48-85°C (120°F – 150°F), though I still find it punishingly hot. The heat is dry and directed more at heating the object or person in contact with the infra-red rays than the surrounding air. Infra-red heat penetrates the body much deeper than in a traditional sauna, right down to the subcutaneous level where much of the toxins and heavy chemicals and pollutants are stored. So, it is believed that with an infra- red sauna you sweat out about 20% of the chemicals and toxins stored in the body. For this reason the detoxification is experienced at a more cellular and deeper level, which offers superior benefits to that offered by a standard sauna. Besides its definite weight loss advantage, here is a list of other health benefits you can expect from using infra-red saunas on a regular basis. I tend to use it about three times a week but if I could spare more time, I would literally use it every day
Health Benefits of Infra-red Sauna:
A build-up of toxic substances can cause a host of illnesses and even diseases. Getting rid of body toxins through regular use of infra-red sauna may help relieve many types of symptoms and improve overall immunity
It stimulates the circulatory system. This helps to cleanse the circulatory system and better oxygenates the body’s cells.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Regular use of an infra-red sauna may help lower blood pressure. The deep sweat that gets generated in the sauna induces the heart to pump faster. This increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure and helps overall circulation.
When the body’s muscles are heated with infra-red rays, it generates increased blood flow similar to that experienced during exercise. Regular use of an infr-red sauna can significantly stimulate blood flow by up to twice the normal rate.
General Relaxation and Pain Relief
I certainly can attest to the fact that regular use of infra-red sauna has helped a great deal with alleviating my chronic back pain. Using an infra-red sauna is deeply relaxing. Many sufferers of insomnia experience great relief with regular use of an infra-red sauna. It aids the most restful sleep and also helps to alleviate general aches and pains. You won’t regret it.
Expect weight loss and a reduction in waist girth when you begin to regularly use an infra-red sauna. A session will burn you up to about 600 calories without doing vigorous exercise! As the body works to cool itself down, there is a substantial increase in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate which in turn causes the body to burn additional calories.
Anti-aging & Skin purification
Expect younger and clearer looking skin, wrinkles reduced or even eliminated and softer looking complexion. With me, I have noticed that regular use gives my skin a translucent and clear kind of quality. Think of how much is saved when we don’t have to invest loads of money on expensive creams that make spurious claims about eliminating wrinkles when you could get the best treatment for your skin simply by exposing it to infra-red sauna sessions that detox and clear the skin of impurities at the deepest level.
Aids Faster Wound Healing
Use of infra-red sauna enhances the ability of the skin to heal from wounds or injuries by promoting faster cell regeneration and human tissue growth. Expect to experience faster healing of wounds and the prevention of infection.
Improves Overall Immunity
Because the infra-red heat penetrates at a more cellular level to rid the body of poisonous toxins and chemicals, overall immunity is improved as the body is placed in a better position to ward off infections and to maintain a healthy state.
So there, you have it. The many benefits of using an infra-red sauna listed for you. As a precaution, if you already have any health issues or if you wish to ascertain a bit more before embarking on any kind of new health or fitness regime, please seek professional advice from a qualified health practitioner first. One thing to ensure while using any sauna is to make sure you hydrate thoroughly before, during and after each session as you will sweat loads and you might feel a little dizzy if you fail to hydrate properly. If you are not used to the rather suffocating heat of a sauna, I would advise that you start off doing a 15 minutes session and then ramping up to a maximum of about 40 minutes or as your body can accommodate. Again, always make sure to drink plenty fluids (preferably water) before, during and after.
Do feel free to drop me a line to share your thoughts and whether you experience any of the benefits stated. To your health and youthful looks!
From my heart to yours, always,