9 HEALTH BENEFITS OF FAR INFRARED SAUNAS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Saunas help your body and mind relax after a stressful day, but there’s more to them than that. Infrared saunas, for example, are a special category among the many sauna types with their various health benefits. This includes a stronger immune system, a powerful heart, and more.
But aside from the technology, what exactly makes infrared saunas different? In this post, we’ll tell you what infrared saunas are and why they are great for your body.
How Does an Infrared Sauna Work?
Traditional saunas use steam to increase the humidity levels and temperature inside the room to a range of 150 °F to 195 °F. Different from traditional ones, an infrared sauna directly heats up your body with the use of infrared rays. They penetrate your skin and stimulate your body to heat up.
When you sit or lie down in an infrared sauna, the heaters will produce infrared light waves that are absorbed by your body, causing your body temperature to rise. As your body temperature rises, your heart rate and circulation will also increase, leading to a number of potential health benefits.
Infrared saunas usually raise the temperature to a range of 120 °F to 140 °F, which is a lot more tolerable than the higher temperature range of traditional ones. Take note, though, that they don't affect the temperature of the room. This allows you to stay inside the sauna longer as you sweat at cooler temperatures.
Both types of saunas can help you soothe your muscles and give you better sleep. But health benefits of far infrared saunas also include healthier skin, losing weight, detoxifying, and improving blood pressure levels.
Far Infrared Sauna Benefits: 9 Reasons They're Great for Your Body
The health benefits of far infrared saunas can pile up to a long list, depending on how you use them. They’re not only great for your heart but also help you achieve your weight loss goals.
However, it is important to note that while far infrared saunas may have these potential health benefits, they are not a substitute for medical treatment, and it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new health regimen.
Without further ado, here are nine of the top benefits you can get from far infrared saunas.
1. Boosted Cardiovascular System & Heart Health
The elevated temperature that you experience inside an infrared sauna can make your heart beat faster in a bid to regulate your blood flow.
Over time, your heart health may improve in terms of better blood pressure levels, decreased cardiovascular risks, reduced stiffness of your arteries, and favorable changes in your lipid profiles.
Some studies also support the associated benefits of saunas to cardiovascular health. A study in Finland suggested that people who used saunas 4 to 7 times per week had a 63% lower risk of cardiac arrest. They are also found to have a 50% less chance of death from cardiovascular diseases.
2. Stronger Respiratory System
Saunas are also known to help with breathing via heat therapy, especially for those who have lung problems like asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), common colds, and similar issues. This is because they can help open your airways, lower stress, and relieve phlegm.
A review by Mayo Clinic Proceedings also revealed that saunas are great in bettering lung capacity and breathing. In addition, some studies in the review also linked the usage of saunas to avoiding pneumonia.
3. Robust Immune System
Another far infrared sauna benefit is the development of a more robust immune system. The high heat brought by the infrared rays raises your core body temperature, which then emulates the natural defense mechanisms of your body. These mechanisms will signal your body to produce white blood cells, which help fight infections.
Plus, most bacteria and viruses die in high heat, although there are some rare exceptions. Still, it’s a great countermeasure to preventing bacterial and viral infections.
4. Better Rest
If you want to have a great night’s sleep, entering a sauna before doing so may be a great idea. Saunas also help you relax and rest better through thermoregulation and the release of melatonin. Thermoregulation refers to how your body temperature is controlled, while melatonin is a hormone that helps your body rest.
The heat will help you soothe your muscles, make you more alert, and even make you feel joy. Of course, as your physical body gets soothed, your emotions are likely to follow. Plus, you can also do some meditation practices to truly relax during your sauna session.
Some models have built-in Himalayan salt panels, like the 3-person model from Golden Designs, pictured above.
Using Himalayan salt in your sessions at regular intervals may also be beneficial in boosting the resting benefits of infrared saunas. If backlit, these Himalayan salt panels can also boost the mood and atmosphere in the room.
5. Chromotherapy Benefits
A novel concept that you might not have heard of yet is chromotherapy, also known as color therapy. This form of treatment uses colors and lights to address mental conditions and even physical health.
While more research is needed to fully report on the health benefits of chromotherapy, it’s an old practice with many claimed advantages. For example, green and blue colors are supposedly able to relieve stress and soothe emotions.
Bright light therapy with warm colors of yellow and orange are also thought to help with seasonal affective disorder. Meanwhile, yellow and red hues are considered helpful in boosting a person’s energy.
Health Mate’s Renew 3-Person Infrared Sauna features an LED lighting panel that helps you practice chromotherapy if you so wish.
6. Weight Loss
Talking about stress relief, did you know that reducing stress is a key factor in weight loss? Studies suggest that stress causes increased appetite, and fighting it can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Also, recall that saunas have soothing and relaxing effects.
Respiratory health is also a crucial aspect of losing weight. With better lung capacity and improved breathing due to regular sauna use, you can exercise longer and do more intensive physical activities. On top of that, you can relieve your muscles inside the sauna, making you ready for another gym session faster.
Metabolism is also positively affected by the high heat inside the sauna. Your heart pumps blood faster, which translates to a boosted metabolism. If you have higher metabolic rates, you can burn calories more quickly. You can also lose water weight due to sweating during your sauna relaxation session.
It’s commonly believed that sitting in a sauna regularly can help detoxify your body. This is because you are supposed to “sweat out the toxins and harmful chemicals.” However, this is a myth, considering that sweat is composed of electrolytes, pheromones, bacteria, and minuscule amounts of toxins.
Most of the toxins in the body are managed by your kidney and liver, so saunas have little impact on this aspect. But it does help you get rid of odor-causing bacteria, which is already a huge benefit.
To ensure that you get rid of the bacteria and toxins in your sweat, a configurable infrared sauna model that guarantees deep body penetration of infrared rays would be best. TheraSauna’s Classic TSP4237 2-Person Far Infrared Sauna (pictured below) is a great choice as it features a full spectrum that allows for consistent control to a 9.4-micron level.
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8. Improved Skin Health
If you want to have clean, clear, and glowing tight skin, regularly using your sauna may be of help. The heat of a far infrared sauna may help to improve the circulation of blood to the skin, which may help to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce the signs of aging.
Some other benefits of infrared saunas include reduction in acne, dead skin removal, reduced sebum, collagen increase, and pore rejuvenation. On top of that, it may also help you in removing pimples, boils, inflammation, blackheads, and whiteheads.
Heat is known to be helpful in unclogging pores, and your sauna is a good source of it. As your pores get unclogged, your skin becomes smoother and arid of dirt. Do cleanse and apply moisturizer after your sauna session to protect your skin.
9. The Nordic Cycle
One practice of many sauna enthusiasts is the Nordic Cycle, which involves switching between hot and cold temperatures. The sauna provides the hot space, while a cold shower is commonly the counterpart. But how does it work?
It starts with a 20-minute or more sauna session, followed immediately by a cold shower or dipping in a cold pool. Then, after your body has cooled down, you just need to repeat the process until you’re feeling great and refreshed.
The quick switching between the two opposite temperatures helps regulate your blood flow and reduces lactic acid buildup.
How Long Should You Stay Inside an Infrared Sauna?
The answer depends on your heat tolerance and experience. If you are just starting to know about saunas, a 5-minute to 10-minute session would be great. As you get more used to it, you can try increasing the duration.
The ideal length of time to stay inside an infrared sauna is 15 minutes. But some professionals and veterans stay up to 45 minutes. Those in Finland (the inventors of saunas) recommend that you exit the room once you feel hot enough.
Clinically speaking, you should never stay for too long inside the sauna as it may cause dizziness. If that happens, leave immediately. There’s also the risk of dehydration. Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
Final Word on the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Saunas
Aside from soothing your mood and muscles, infrared saunas prove to be beneficial to your cardiorespiratory health too. A relaxation tool and a therapeutic device in one, you’d be hitting two birds with a stone with your infrared sauna! So maximize these nine health benefits by getting the right infrared sauna for your home today.