Infrared saunas are a type of sauna that uses heat and light to help relax and detoxify the body. Also called far-infrared saunas or near-infrared saunas, these omit infrared light waves that create heat in the body, causing you to sweat and release stored “toxins.”
While ongoing research is still being done to determine their long-term effects and potential benefits, as of now infrared sauna treatments seem to be safe, inexpensive and powerful. These small devices are proving to help many people suffering from pain feel better — and also very importantly, more relaxed!
How Infrared Saunas Work?
People who stand behind infrared sauna therapy believe it naturally has an inflammation-lowering effect, acts similarly to antioxidant nutrients, activates the cells, helps with wound healing, boosts the metabolism and helps remove toxins from the body.
Infrared sauna treatments cause reactions in the body, including:
Increased sweating (some people even report heavy or “vigorous sweating”)
Increased heart rate
The same type of clarity-of-mind feelings as moderate exercise
Relaxation responses triggered by the body’s parasympathetic nervous system
The Types of Saunas
Traditional saunas are heated through electric or wood burning heat. They can be dry or wet. Wet saunas introduce steam through steam generators or by throwing water on hot rocks. Traditional saunas are very, very hot, and put most people’s heat endurance to the test.
Far infrared saunas use heating elements that mainly emit light in the far-infrared range. This type of far-infrared light does offer some light therapy, but it doesn’t penetrate the body as well as near-infrared light does. Additionally, far-infrared saunas typically emit harmful levels of EMFs, though some manufacturers are working to reduce the EMFs in their product.
Near infrared lamp saunas combine heat therapy and light therapy. The light from near-infrared saunas can penetrate the body up to 9 inches, according to NASA. Additionally, NIR saunas generally emit very low levels of EMFs. Because of the spectrum of light, NIR saunas allow the air to stay cooler while still heating the body.
Why do we need to detox?
Our environment is much more toxic than ever before– between petroleum-like compounds such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuels to flame retardants to phthalates and PCBs, it’s estimated that we’re exposed thousands of more toxins than our grandparents.
Ideally, our bodies eliminate these toxins through the main eliminative channels– urinary tract, the bowel, lungs, skin, and mucosal linings in your nose, eyes and ears. However, if the influx of toxins is too great, the body will store these chemicals and heavy metals into fatty tissue (including the brain) as a form of self-protection. It’s important to support our bodies detox pathways so that we can safely removed these toxins. In enters the near infrared sauna…
Sweating is one of the body’s most natural ways to eliminate toxins, making it a crucial part of detoxification. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.
Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.
3. Pain Relief
If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.
4. Weight Loss
The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article, titled Effect of Sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.
5. Improved Circulation
As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions, especially in the middle-infrared level, can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation after intense exercise.
6. Skin Purification
Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.
7. Heart Health & Blood Pressure
According to a review of all of the published scientific literature about these infrared saunas, the biggest researched benefit seems to be the coronary benefits, most notably in their ability to help normalize blood pressure and reduce the chance of congestive heart failure.