Infrared saunas have become a very popular health trend and studies suggest that saunas provide a wealth of health benefits. Sauna usage (and it's benefits) have become so popular, most spas and gyms offer them to clients. Even better news is you don't have to go to the gym to get these benefits. You can purchase your own personal infrared sauna and get these health benefits daily in the comfort of your home.
WHAT IS AN INFRARED SAUNA ?
Saunas use heat or steam to create the warm atmosphere that will raise your core body temperature. You will sweat and your heart rate will increase to pump more blood to your skin. This is your body's way of cooling you down and the process mimics the effects of exercise and provides similar health benefits.
Where traditional saunas use heating elements to raise the temperature of the air inside, the infrared saunas use infrared light to heat your body while the air around you stays unchanged. The result is your core temperature rising without having to sit in a room where the ambient temperature is close to 200° Fahrenheit. Some people find infrared saunas are more comfortable than traditional saunas.
INFRARED SAUNA BENEFITS
• Improved Skin Tone. Infrared sauna therapy dilates the blood vessels, effectively increasing circulation throughout the body. This increased circulation not only helps remove waste products, but also helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Since our skin depends on these nutrients to form collagen (which keeps our skin firm), infrared sauna therapy can be a great way to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.
• Flushes Out Toxins. Our immune systems are up against an arsenal of toxins that our ancestors never dreamed of. Some examples are pesticides, toxic metals, environmental pollution, PCBs in plastics, and even GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Combining this with a lifelong poor diet is a set-up for accumulated toxins in your body and a potentially weakened immune system.
• Weight Loss. It turns out taking a rest in an infrared sauna can also aid in weight loss. In a study of obese adults, researchers discovered that body weight and body fat had significantly decreased after 2 weeks of sauna therapy. Researchers theorize this is due to increased heart rate and the body working (burning calories) to cool itself. Interestingly, in the same study, patients at a normal body weight (with loss of appetite) had experienced an increased calorie intake. This shows that infrared sauna therapy may actually help to balance weight and appetite by increasing the hunger hormone (ghrelin) in low appetite patients, while keeping those same hormone levels balanced in patients who were obese.
• Improves Cardiovascular Function. Infrared sauna therapy has also been shown to be good for your heart. The effects have proven so powerful that studies have associated sitting in an infrared sauna with a reduced risk of sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease, fatal cardiovascular disease, and even all-cause mortality. These effects are due to the increased heart rate, blood flow, and improved blood pressure in patients using infrared sauna therapy. Interestingly, researchers compared the cardiac output patients experience in the sauna room to going on a brisk walk.
• Pain Relief. Another excellent aspect of infrared sauna therapy is it's ability to reduce chronic pain – without the negative side effects experienced from some pain medications. Studies show that patients with rheumatoid arthritis and who underwent infrared sauna therapy for four weeks experienced reduced inflammation, reduced pain, stiffness, and fatigue following the treatment.
• Wound Healing. Infrared sauna therapy also has the remarkable ability to speed up the wound healing process. Studies out of NASA has shown that infrared light significantly increases tissue growth and cell regeneration due to our mitochondria (membrane-bound cell organelles that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell's biochemical reaction) which is readily accepting of infrared light.
• Boosts Circulation. Infrared sauna therapy has also been found to improve circulation. This can have far-reaching benefits, from better skin tone (as discussed earlier) to lowered blood pressure. In fact, researchers discovered infrared sauna therapy significantly improves blood vessel function in patients with diabetes and people who smoke.
• Fights Chronic Fatigue. A recent study found that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which results in extreme fatigue with no definitive cause, is greatly relieved in patients using infrared saunas. The study involved CFS patients sitting in a 140° Fahrenheit sauna for 15 minutes, followed by bed rest under a blanket for 30 minutes and performed once a day, five days a week, for a total of four weeks. While there is no clear answer as to why infrared sauna therapy benefits CFS patients, researchers theorize it may be due to it's ability to reduce oxidative stress and improve cardiac output, both of which have been linked to CFS. (It is important to note that while the patients didn’t necessarily perceive the effects during the treatment, they definitely felt less fatigue after the four weeks of treatment.) So, spending less than an hour a day for four weeks to relieve chronic fatigue seems like a worthwhile treatment!
MAXIMIZE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR INFRARED SAUNA SESSION
• Prepare with a workout. The first thing to prepare for an infrared sauna session is to get your blood pumping – pretty much anything you can think of to dilate those blood vessels. That means that before exposing yourself to infrared heat, develop an exercise routine or perform one of the following activities:
1. Go for a gentle gym session – perhaps a slow jog on the treadmill, the bike or rower.
2. Smash out a yoga session. Work up a little bit of a sweat before hitting the sauna.
3. Go for a 15-minute brisk walk around the block.
4. Do a plank workout. It strengthens your abs, but also your shoulders, legs and glutes.
• Have a relaxing shower. Cleanliness is vital during an infrared sauna therapy session. Before diving in, hit the showers and completely rinse off every inch of your skin. Don’t let your sweat replace your shower. This means thoroughly washing your face so that all makeup, sweat and dirt is gone. You want to enter into that sauna completely fresh, with no chemicals in the pores of your skin.
• Drink plenty of water before your session. Not drinking enough water is a mistake that many new infrared sauna users make. Let’s face it. Infrared saunas get hot. While you won’t be exposed to extreme heat, these machines are specifically designed to raise your core body temperature, so they’re going to make you sweat. The simple way to approach is to treat your sauna session like a regular workout. Pump yourself full of water. If you are thirsty after your infrared session, that means you simply didn’t drink enough water.
• Do not drink alcohol before an infrared sauna session. Infrared heat and alcohol don’t mix well together. Drinking beer, wine, spirits or any other kind of alcohol will get your liver and kidneys working overtime, and your body will enter into a state of dehydration. So if you choose to drink on the days you enter into an infrared sauna, you may suffer from excessive dehydration. Remember – it’s your core temperature that will be rising. The results from drinking can therefore be harsh. And, no, there’s no such thing as ‘sweating out your hangover’. Just drink plenty of water.
• Don’t eat just before your session. After a workout to prepare for a sauna session, you might feel a little hungry. We suggest holding off from eating until after your sauna session. This is because, when you’re exposed to the infrared lamps, your circulation may boost and increase the flow of glucose, oxygen and amino acids throughout your body. The result is that your body may delay digestion because it is focused on spreading nutrients throughout your body. If you do give yourself a full stomach before your session, you run the risk of suffering some nausea and actually stop your body from digesting your food. If you desperately need to eat, eat something light (such as a salad).
• Take a cold shower after. After exposure to some intense infrared heat, all your pores will have opened and your body will feel cleansed. Your blood pressure will be pumping. You’ll be working up a pretty good sweat. Your core body temperature will be more than what it usually is. So once you’re done, it’s time to rinse away all those toxins that have been released through your sweat and close those pores shut. You don’t want the toxins to be reabsorbed into your body after working so hard to get them out. A cold shower will not only close your pores, it will rejuvenate your entire body by boosting your circulation. If you care to go one step further, use a loofah to scrub yourself and get rid of all the dead skin cells lingering on your body as well.
IS INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY SAFE ?
Some may question the safety of infrared sauna therapy due to infrared light’s ability to penetrate beneath the skin layer. While no serious adverse side effects have been reported in the use of this therapy, it is not recommended for young children and elderly adults who may easily suffer heat exhaustion and dehydration, nor is it recommended for those taking medications that may impair their ability to sweat. Most notably, be sure to talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have before trying out infrared sauna therapy.
The sooner you start infrared sauna therapy, the better you will feel. Results regarding how long it takes to notice benefits from infrared sauna use varies by person and circumstance. However, some people report feeling an improvement in mood, skin appearance, or pain immediately following a single session. SHOP TODAY and start enjoying the benefits of infrared sauna therapy while relaxing in the privacy of your home.
Want to learn more? Dive in to our Team Royal blogs here....