7 DO'S AND DON'TS OF USING A ONE-PERSON INFRARED SAUNA
Suddenly, your health-savvy friends are forgoing happy hour in favor of a soothing infrared sauna session. An infrared sauna is a newer health routine garnering acclaim for its numerous health benefits. Unlike a traditional sauna that heats the space inside a sauna, which in turn heats your body and makes you sweat, with an infrared sauna, your body absorbs the heat directly.
This guide will look at the seven do's and don'ts to maximize your sauna session in a one-person infrared sauna.
What is an Infrared Sauna?
As mentioned in the introduction, traditional saunas, which date back almost 2,000 years, operate by heating the air around you to make you sweat. On the other hand, infrared saunas use electromagnetic radiation to heat your body directly.
Research shows that infrared light is ideal for penetrating the soft body tissues, increasing the core temperature and inducing the cardiovascular system to produce sweat. The infrared light can deeply penetrate the tissues, and is believed to increase detoxification levels as well as the muscle-soothing and happiness-boosting benefits. Infrared sauna heat can increase the body temperature by 2 to 3 degrees without the excessive sweating of a conventional sauna at a lower temperature.
Benefits of Infrared Saunas
The benefits of an infrared sauna are similar to those of a conventional sauna. However, infrared saunas are cooler than most traditional saunas, making them more comfortable for users while producing similar benefits. Below are some benefits of a one-person infrared sauna:
Improved Heart Health
Your body's natural response starts within minutes of entering an infrared sauna. You'll notice beads of sweat appearing on your skin, and your blood vessels widen, increasing the blood flow and heart rate. This effect is similar to walking at a moderate pace when considering physiology, which is important. Thus, an infrared sauna helps boost your heart health and reduce blood pressure.
Soothing Sore Muscles
The increased blood circulation from an infrared sauna helps speed up muscle recovery after physical activity. Regular sauna sessions help athletes improve performance.
Research studies show that one-person infrared sauna therapy can help treat chronic pain. People who had regular sessions showed improved results with the treatment.
A good session in an infrared sauna warms your soul as well. Therefore, regular sauna sessions may help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s premium self-care from the inside out. Another benefit of an infrared sauna session is a more relaxed and better sleep.
Fighting Off Illness
Regular sauna sessions can prevent the common cold, reduce oxidative stress, cancer, and degenerative diseases such as dementia. Other health conditions mitigated through regular infrared sauna sessions include high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and headache.
4 Dos of Using a One-person Infrared Sauna
You must stay hydrated before and after a one-person infrared sauna session because you'll sweat a lot. So, ensure you keep your thirst quenched and your fluids up. It's advisable to drink spring or filtered water before entering a sauna, throughout the session, and after leaving. You must also incorporate some hydration salts to replenish the electrolytes lost through sweating.
You can make your own using raw honey and pinches of salt dissolved in warm water. There are rehydrating mineral drops that you can add to water to help rebalance your mineral reserves, such as sodium, zinc, and potassium, as you sweat.
It's important to avoid drinking sugary fluids such as sweetened coffee drinks, fruit juices, or soda. You can take sports drinks with electrolytes and coconut water if looking for flavor. Dehydration can lead to further fatigue and dehydration.
Do Increase your Blood Flow before Your Infrared Sauna Session
Your blood flow will increase if you dilate your blood vessels before entering a sauna. This will make your tense muscles relax more easily, relieving your tired joints. These benefits are ideal for arthritis or other chronic pain conditions. So, to kick up your blood flow, you can do several things, such as:
Yoga or Qi Gong
A quick gym session
Stair runs of jumping jacks
Jog around the block
Do Protect Your Hair
Moisture is one of the essential ingredients of proper hair growth. Since a one-person infrared sauna produces dry heat, it can hurt the coils and curls of your hair strands. For most sauna bathers, saunas are a frequent healthcare routine. However, people often overlook the side effects of this therapy, which could eventually damage hair cells.
While a sauna can dry out your hair, the deep condition can assist in locking the moisture and keeping your scalp hydrated. Although sauna sessions won't cause permanent damage, they may leave your hair unmanageable and frizzy.
Before stepping into an infrared sauna, consider wrapping your hair in a damp towel or using a specific sauna hat to help keep the moisture in and the heat out.
Do Use a Towel and the Right Clothing
Before starting your one-person infrared sauna session, you should undress completely. From there, you can wear a towel, a swimsuit or a cotton outfit, depending on your situation and personal comfort. Since you're looking to expose your body surface to the heat as much as possible, you should wear nothing. You can place a towel or another absorbent material on the bench to absorb the sweat. This also helps prevent staining the wood, which could encourage deterioration. A towel also helps as a cover for privacy.
A swimsuit is another option if you'd rather cover up inside your sauna. The swimsuit should be loose-fitting to steer clear of your skin and heat. It's advisable to wear a swimsuit made of breathable fabrics for maximum ventilation.
If you want even more coverage, you can wear light outfits made of cotton. For instance, you can use an oversized cotton shirt with cotton shorts. You can also use a cotton wrap that doesn't absorb too much heat while allowing your skin maximum exposure to infrared heat. Ultimately, it's your sauna, your rules and personal preference.
3 Don'ts of Using a One-person Infrared Sauna
Don’t Eat Too Big of a Meal before Your Sauna Session
Having a light snack before your sauna session is okay, but too big of a meal can be problematic. This is because digestion needs plenty of work from your body. As a result, the blood rushes to the digestive system. Being in a hot infrared sauna environment, the concentration of the blood flow is on the outer skin layers.
This sudden temperature change can make some individuals uncomfortable and dizzy, especially the elderly. It's, however, important to eat a light snack before a sauna session, such as a fruit or yogurt. A warm chamomile drink or warm tea beforehand will help you sweat. If you've had a heavy meal, you should wait for at least two hours before visiting the sauna.
Don’t Drink Alcohol Before or During a Sauna Session
Avoid consuming alcohol before and after a sauna session, as it will increase the dehydration from the sauna heat. Lack of proper hydration also causes you to feel the alcohol effects more quickly than you'd otherwise. Alcohol is a diuretic that increases dehydration.
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Besides, alcohol-related accidents like burns and sprains are more common in a sauna under the influence. More serious accidents can happen, such as heart stroke and heat contusions after passing out in a sauna. Taking too much alcohol while in a sauna bathing can affect the body's ability to maintain normal blood pressure.
Particularly, there is an increased risk of an orthostatic hypotensive reaction with concomitant accidents and fainting. Moreover, alcohol ingestion, specifically the hangover phase, may expose you to cardiac arrhythmias due to the sauna's increased adrenergic activity. Thus, heavy drinking and sauna bathing creates real health risks.
Don't Fall Asleep During Your Sauna Session
Let's face it; an infrared sauna session can be relaxing, so much so that you may fall asleep. The maximum period a healthy individual should spend in a one-person infrared sauna is up to 20 minutes at a time. Spending longer than this, the immense heat could have adverse effects, bringing out dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, illness, and more.
The main issue is dehydration and related effects, such as electrolyte imbalance, heart injuries, kidney problems, hypovolemic shock, seizures, and heart injuries.
Likewise, falling asleep in a sauna may increase your body temperature to abnormal levels for longer than is recommended. Extreme hyperthermia symptoms include:
Fast breathing or heart rate
Light-headedness or fainting
Nausea and vomiting
Prolonged temperature changes can also affect blood pressure; so, if you are receiving treatment for blood pressure issues, it's important to get approval from your doctor to prevent serious health complications.
By understanding the dos and don'ts of using a one-person infrared sauna, you should have more effective, enjoyable, and longer sauna sessions. Besides, following these tips will maximize the beneficial heat therapy to reach your health goals. If you're looking to install an infrared sauna in your home, you have several options, from one-to-two-person size infrared saunas to the large infrared saunas that can fit up to eight people.