As you’re probably already aware, infrared saunas provide many benefits to your health and well-being, primarily through the process of sweat-driven detoxification. There are many more infrared sauna benefits to be had from each session, though. To get your head around the hype, we’ve listed the top six benefits and what you can do to get the most out of your sauna session.
Table of Contents
- 1 Infrared sauna benefits: health
- 2 How to get the most from your infrared sauna
- 3 The heat is on: Make the most of it
Infrared sauna benefits: health
Detoxification is the process by which the body excretes harmful toxins and chemicals from the body. The largest organ in the human body is the skin, so it’s natural for infrared sauna detoxification to be highly effective when it comes to detoxification of the body.
Perspiration, or sweating, is the primary means of toxin elimination for the skin. The energy from the infrared sauna acts to heat the skin and subsurface layers of tissue, relaxing muscles and fat cells which encourages release of harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins.
Anti-aging and skin purification
Healthy skin isn’t just the result of expensive cosmetic treatments. Infrared saunas assist your body to fight off the effects of aging, removing wrinkles and improving skin tone. Heat treatment using infrared saunas has shown to improve the softness, elasticity, and clarity of the skin, making sauna therapy an essential tool to assist you with your life longevity.
The time you spend relaxing is a little-appreciated benefit to your level of health and wellness, and is more important than most people realise.
New studies into the effect of stress on the human body regularly highlight stress as a major contributor to many negative physiological effects on the body, including high blood pressure, weight gain, and a weak immune system.
In addition, a side benefit to relaxation is the reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is used by the body to raise blood pressure and heart rate in “fight or flight” scenarios. Sauna, combined with stretching, meditation, affirmations, calming music or simply silence, will all act to reduce cortisol production in the body, thus increasing your wellness and reducing hormonal stress.
Increased cellular health
Heat from the sauna causes the heart to beat more vigorously and the blood vessels to dilate. This allows the body to clean the circulatory system, excrete and process toxins trapped in fat cells, and better oxygenate the muscles and their cells.
Infrared heat is particularly beneficial in assisting the recovery of tissue injuries such as sprains and strains, joint discomfort, ligament inflammation and more, as the heat is able to penetrate up to 4 cm beneath the skin surface, and the increased oxygen flow speeds up recovery from injury.
Lower blood pressure
Closely tied to the state of relaxation that comes hand in hand with a sauna, blood pressure has been observed to reduce after prolonged use of infrared saunas. The relaxation, increased blood circulation, and the removal of harmful toxins all contribute to your body’s ability to function better.
Yes, it is possible to lose weight while sitting and doing nothing.
While using an infrared sauna, you are placing additional heat load on your body to the point that the body works harder to cool itself. The resulting increase in heart rate, metabolic rate and sweat generation, leads to fluid loss from trapped stores in the body and also calories burned to support the body’s cooling efforts.
The result is a gentle cardio workout while you sit and relax!
How to get the most from your infrared sauna
Using an infrared sauna is a powerful way to cleanse your body of harmful toxins stored in your body. To make the most of it, you need to do it right the first time. This will also help you reduce the dangers associated with saunas.
Let’s show you how it’s done.
What to do before you start
Before starting your infrared sauna session, you want to wait 1-2 hours after finishing a meal to ensure your body is not busy digesting, and to reduce the likelihood of nausea under the stress of additional heat. Since saunas involve a significant amount of sweating and fluid loss, you need to drink at least half a litre of water (2 cups) before your sauna. It’s recommended you take a water bottle in the sauna with you to replenish your stocks while you bake.
Once you’re ready, it’s recommended you start with 20-30 minutes of sauna 3 times a week for 3-12 months, increasing the duration and number of weekly sessions as you become acclimatized. If you’re really sick, start with 5-15 minutes to gradually ease into detoxification.
It’s not recommended to use sauna for sessions longer than 60 minutes. Any longer than this puts stress on your body that is counter productive. Remember to schedule a rest period after you’ve had a sauna. Aside from the sauna itself, this is the next most important ingredient in an effective sauna therapy session.
For your hygiene and to protect the timber finishing of your sauna, bring towels with you to sit on and wipe away your sweat. Be sure to remove all your jewelry and as much of your clothing as possible to get the maximum effect of the infrared rays, and to experience the liberation from clothing.
Most modern saunas have a stereo installed, allowing you to plug your MP3 player in for your in-sauna entertainment. If you have some music/meditation/visualisations that you’ve been meaning to listen to but haven’t found time, this is the perfect occasion to catch up on your zen.
During your sauna
Once you’re underway, move around every few minutes so different parts of your body are directly exposed to the infrared panels. Try seated, lying (if there is room), and be sure to turn around and expose as much of your body as possible to the heat. If the heat starts to make you light headed or dizzy, open the door slightly or sit outside to recover.
Enjoy your sauna experience. If you’re so inclined, the sauna is a great place to meditate and do your visualisations. Relax and focus on your breathing at all times to help you achieve a state of calmness and peace that harbours recovery and rejuvenation of the body.
Remember above all to keep sipping your water throughout the session to remain hydrated, and replenish those now-starving muscle tissue cells.
To finish off
Brush your skin – including the face and scalp – with a body brush or loofah to remove loosened dead skin cells. Afterwards, shower as soon as you can in order to wash off any lingering toxins. Avoid using any soap, shampoo or moisturiser, as these can block up the open pores of the skin and stop the post-sauna detox effect. If you can’t shower, don’t sweat. Just wipe yourself down with a wet towel.
Your body will have sweat out a lot of fluid, so remember to keep replenishing water even after your sauna is finished. Drink at least 500ml of water over the 10-15 minutes following your shower.
As a final recommendation, take time to rest for 10-30 minutes. This helps transition the body back to homeostasis (balance) and decreases the chance of lightheadedness or fatigue later in the day.
The heat is on: Make the most of it
The health benefits of infrared sauna are many, with more uses and health benefits being uncovered every day as their use becomes more commonplace in the health and wellness industry.
It seems the great Caesars and pharoahs before us were on to something when they created the ancient steam baths for their benefit. The good news is, we can all experience this royal luxury in the comfort of our own homes with the infrared sauna.
Find your local spa and book a session, or check out some reviews and purchase your own in-home sauna. You might be surprised at how affordable they really are.