When shopping for an infrared sauna, you might come across a lot of different terms that make you scratch your head.
One of those terms is FAR Infrared.
When it comes to using heat therapy with infrared light, there are a few different types available, Near and Far Infrared.
Far Infrared simply means the light lives further down the infrared spectrum. Studies have shown that Far Infrared light is good at penetrating the soft tissues of the body to increase the core temperature and induce the cardiovascular system to produce perspiration – which is why they are perfect for sauna use!
For a better picture of how to use your far infrared sauna, here are the 9 dos and don’ts you should follow for best results.
TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING YOUR FAR INFRARED SAUNA SESSION
DO – GET YOUR BLOOD FLOWING BEFORE YOUR SAUNA SESSION.
If you are able to dilate your blood vessels before you enter your sauna, your blood flow will increase. As a result, your tense muscles will
relax more easily and bring extra relief to tired joints. These benefits are wonderful if you suffer from arthritis or other chronic pain types.
Some things you can do before entering your sauna to get your blood flowing:
A quick gym session
Yoga or Qi Gong
Jog around the block
Jumping jacks or stair runs
DO – PROPERLY HYDRATE BEFORE YOUR SESSION.
Drinking enough water is highly important. While you sit in your sauna, up to 2% of your fluids will be lost during your session. If you’re under-hydrated, this can lead to further dehydration and fatigue:
Drink 16 to 20 ounces of water before using your sauna.
Avoid drinks with high sugar content, like soda, sweetened coffee drinks, or fruit juices.
If you want flavor, opt for sports drinks with electrolytes coconut water. They are great for keeping your body hydrated and ready to replenish anything that’s lost.
DO – TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE YOUR SESSION.
Bathing or rinsing off before you enter a far infrared sauna will help rid your skin of any excess lotions, oils, makeup products, sweat, and dirt.
Once showered and inside your far infrared sauna, consider using a bath brush or sauna whisk. Use it to brush your skin softly, which will stimulate pores and help with blood circulation.
DO – CHOOSE THE BEST SITTING POSITION.
The way far infrared saunas work is by heating your body directly. That means, you should position yourself directly in front of the heaters. Most far infrared saunas, like the 1-Person Dynamic Sauna Barcelona Edition (pictured below), include full body heating panels, as well as heaters placed at your feet for maximum coverage.
Check your posture! Sit up straight so the far infrared heaters will be directly aimed at the front and back of your body.
If you don’t have full coverage of your body, try rotating every 7 minutes or so.
Many far infrared saunas come with chromotherapy lighting – use that in tandem with the infrared heater. Choose one light per session.
DO – CHOOSE THE BEST SITTING TIME FOR YOU.
“How long should I stay in a sauna,” is one of the most popular questions asked about using a sauna like a pro. While you should follow some general guidelines, sauna session times are not law. Use your personal comfort level to determine how long you should stay in your far infrared sauna. Your sessions may be shorter or longer than most.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you get started: Typical sessions last between 15 to 20 minutes, while some sauna pros will sit longer with cool down sessions in between. If you are just starting out, we recommend you build your tolerance over time, starting with 10 - 15 minutes, taking a break, and then gradually increasing the length of time you spend in your far infrared sauna.
THINGS TO AVOID WHEN USING YOUR FAR INFRARED SAUNA
DON’T – DRINK ALCOHOL BEFORE YOUR SESSION.
Drinking alcohol affects your blood pressure, slowing down your heart rate and your blood circulation. Combining that with the heat of a sauna (which does the opposite to your circulation and heart rate), can be downright dangerous.
Here are a few other risks associated with alcohol use before or during sauna use:
Lightheadedness, fainting (and heatstroke)
Headaches & Nausea
While some people think that using the sauna for a hangover cure is a good idea to “sweat it out,” we’d advise you to think again! Hangovers are often caused by dehydration. If you aren’t drinking sufficient water and you get in a sauna with a hangover, you can become even more dehydrated, intensifying your symptoms.
DON’T – POUR WATER ON THE HEATER OF YOUR FAR INFRARED SAUNA.
With traditional saunas, you can pour water over the rocks on the heater to make steam. With far infrared saunas, the carbon or ceramic heaters are placed on the walls and floor in order to directly heat your body. They cannot and should not be used with water to make steam!
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Infrared saunas offer tons of health benefits, but unlike traditional saunas, you are not able to use them to create steam rooms. For far infrared saunas, we recommend using the chromotherapy light for an additional health boost.
DON’T – SIT TOO LONG IF YOU PLAN TO EXERCISE AFTER YOUR INFRARED SAUNA SESSION.
Far infrared saunas are designed to relax your body and muscles, which is the opposite thing your body needs before a workout.
So, if you plan to exercise after you use your far infrared sauna, feel free to do so, as long as you do not sit inside it for too long. We recommend using it to stretch for a maximum of 5 or 10 minutes. This is a great way to quickly warm up your body.
You can use your sauna while you workout. Learn more about doing yoga in a sauna by clicking here.
And it’s always recommended to hit the far infrared sauna after your workout. It’s a great way to relax all the muscles you just worked out and can help you achieve longer, more intense workouts over time.
DON’T – FORGET TO COOL DOWN AFTER YOUR SESSION
After you leave the far infrared sauna session, you should cool down. Take a room-temperature shower or plunge in the pool.
Afterward, sit or lie down to finish cooling down. You will feel fantastic and rejuvenated, but you shouldn’t exert yourself too much for at least 10-15 minutes.
During this time, you should be hydrating with water to replenish all the water you just sweated out.
By learning the top far infrared sauna dos and don’ts, you should have longer, more enjoyable and more effective sessions. Plus, following these tips will mean you maximize your beneficial heat therapy on your way to achieving your health goals!