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What is an Infrared Sauna?

The use of sweat bathing or “hot air baths” has been a common relaxation and detoxification strategy among people all over the world for centuries.

Sweat lodges were a part of Chinese, Native America, and Eastern European culture, and they are still quite common today.

Modern saunas come with many more options, and the newest innovation in electric saunas is the use of far-infrared light to provide the same soothing and wellness-giving benefits as a traditional sauna.

A traditional sauna works by heating the air inside a closed room using a conventional heater.

Infrared saunas work differently. Instead of using a heat source to warm the air, they use infrared lamps to warm your body directly.

This results in a cooler sauna experience (between 120- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit) than a conventional sauna (which can be close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit).

In an infrared sauna, 80 percent of the energy used goes to heating the skin with the remaining 20 percent heating the air.

Woman and man in a sauna

Benefits of FAR Infrared Sauna

Enhance Detoxification →

  • While conventional saunas are excellent for helping to detoxify the body, infrared saunas may be even more effective.

  • Sweating is your body’s natural way of eliminating toxins and pollutants from your skin, blood, and tissues.

  • This excretory pathway is more effective at removing heavy metals than urine or feces.

  • Infrared therapy draws out more heavy metals like aluminum and mercury than other forms of sweat bathing (1).

  • Infrared treatment also helps you sweat out higher levels of lipids, alcohol, nicotine, and other toxins.

  • Infrared therapy, when applied to the body, vibrates the water molecules inside you, where many pollutants are encapsulated.

  • This subtle vibration reduces the ionic bonds of the water molecules, encouraging the release of these toxins more readily.

  • A session in an infrared sauna can help you release sulfur dioxide, chlorine, mercury, and other unwanted compounds from your system.

Improve Blood Circulation →

  • Sitting in an infrared sauna can boost your blood circulation, which can supply more oxygen to your cells and tissues.

  • When your cells receive more nutrients, you will experience better relaxation, reduced stress, improved sleep, and less pain.

Helps Treat High Blood Pressure →

  • While we need further research to confirm this, there is initial evidence to show that FIR therapy, such as what you receive from an infrared sauna, can decrease overall blood pressure, cardiac ejection resistance, and total peripheral resistance (6).

Reduces Pain and Inflammation →

  • Far infrared rays increase your production of several critical immune cells, including t-cells and white blood cells.

  • These wavelengths also help to reduce muscle spasms and soreness while also reducing pain and inflammation.

  • Those with rheumatoid arthritis can see improvement in their range of motion and pain when they use an infrared sauna regularly (4).

  • In addition, those with chronic back pain can also get relief. Using FIR therapy daily can reduce back pain without adverse effects in most cases of chronic lower back pain (5).

Helps with Chronic Fatigue →

  • A recent study suggests that using an infrared sauna could help relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating disease that causes pain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, and a wide range of other symptoms (8).

  • Daily exposure to FIR helps relieve symptoms and allowed participants to live a fuller life.

Can Help Decrease Cellulite →

  • Cellulite is pockets of fat trapped within your tissues, which then results in dimples on the skin, which many believe to be unsightly.

  • Cellulite is more common in women than men and often appears on the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.

  • Even those who are physically fit can have cellulite.

  • The radiant heat produced by infrared saunas penetrates deeper and creates higher internal temperatures than a conventional sauna.

  • This boosts your metabolic rate and helps you burn excess fat more readily, including that which results in cellulite.

Can Improve Wound Healing →

  • Your skin is your external barrier and protection for your body against injury and disease.  Broken skin is a pathway for pathogens to enter your body and cause infection, so taking care of wounds is essential for keeping you healthy.

  • Infrared saunas are unique in that they can help to improve wound healing, unlike conventional sauna treatments.

  • The use of near-infrared therapy, which is one of the three types of infrared waves emitted by infrared saunas, enhances wound healing.

  • According to one study, this wavelength promoted faster cell regeneration while improving tissue growth in humans (11).

  • Wound size decreased by as much as 36 percent, and cell growth was enhanced by over 150 percent.

Promotes Relaxation and Stress Reduction →

  • Sitting in a sauna is a relaxing experience, which is why it remains so popular today.

  • The warmth of infrared heat helps not only reduce your stress but also leaves you feeling renewed and rejuvenated.

  • A daily sauna session is perfect for releasing tension and helping you cope with everyday worries and stress.

  • An infrared sauna also affects your autonomic nervous system, which allows your body to rest and digest, which enhances healing and rejuvenation.

Boosts Immune System→

  • Regularly using a sauna can improve the function of your immune system.

  • When you raise your internal temperature by exposing your body to heat stress, such as from infrared rays, you are mimicking the effects of having a fever, which provides a little “workout” for your immune system.

  • The more often this occurs, the fitter your system is when it comes to fighting diseases.

  • The heat shock proteins (HSPs) that are released when your body is heated play a role in this immunity-boosting process (2).

  • Those who use an infrared sauna regularly can reduce the occurrence of infections and diseases substantially.

  • Many studies show as much as a 50 percent reduction in colds with regular sauna use (3).

  • This included a reduction in the frequency, duration, and severity of these common infections.

Boost Weight Loss →

  • Sitting in an infrared sauna burns calories, and single 30-minute sessions can burn as many as if you were rowing or jogging for the same amount of time.

  • These wavelengths penetrate your body deeply, accelerating the breakdown of cellulite and fat in your tissues, and these types of tissues more readily absorb this energy.

Improves Allergy Symptoms →

  • Many people suffer from seasonal allergies or hay fever, which is technically known as allergic rhinitis.  This condition is the result of excess inflammation in the nasal passages due to an overactive immune response to allergens in the air.

  • Hay fever is the most common chronic illness worldwide, and getting relief from this condition often requires using medications that often have serious side effects.

  • Because infrared therapy boosts your circulation and lowers inflammation, it is also helpful at reducing the allergic response.

  • Those who use an infrared sauna regularly could experience a reduction in itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, or nasal congestion (9).

Helps Repair Nerves →

  • Nerve damage can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and other unpleasant symptoms, but using infrared therapy like in a sauna can help improve nerve function.

  • The wavelengths in infrared saunas promote the repair and regeneration of nerve tissues, which can help to treat various injuries as well as peripheral nerve diseases (7).

Helps Treat Diabetes →

  • Using an infrared sauna can help relieve many of the symptoms that are often experienced by those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

  • While diabetes is a disease resulting from elevated blood sugar, it also causes nerve pain, fatigue, and cardiovascular problems, all of which can be improved through regular sauna use.

  • Those who use an infrared sauna treatment for 20 minutes three days per week for three months reported reduced stress, less fatigue, a better mental outlook, and improvements in their overall health in one study (10).

 Could Treat Cancer →

  • There is some evidence to support the use of far infrared therapy to stop the growth of specific cancer cells.

  • HSPs can inhibit tumor growth, which can help keep cancer from spreading, and this form of treatment works best with lung, breast, and tongue cancers (12)

 Can Help with Certain Heart Conditions→

  • if you have arteriovenous fistula, then you have areas of your body that do not receive adequate blood flow.

  • This condition results in individual capillaries being bypassed by blood flow that goes directly from an artery to a vein.

  • Arteriovenous fistula is most common in the legs and, while rare, still affects about 200,000 people a year.

  • Far-infrared therapy can help to treat this condition and improve blood flow to and from the affected area (13).

 Can Improve and Protect Your Skin→

  • The radiation from far-infrared wavelengths has been shown to help suppress the formation of sunburn damage that occurs after exposure to UVB rays (14).

  • In addition, the sweating that occurs when you sit in a sauna helps you sweat out impurities and dead skin cells which clog your pores, leaving behind glowing and cleaner skin.

  • The boost in circulation to your skin helps you look younger and more radiant as more nutrients are delivered to the surface.

Improves your Well-Being →

  • The combined effects of using an infrared sauna mean that you can enjoy better health, improved well-being, and more positive health outcomes over time.

  • The combination of reduced inflammation, better circulation, fewer pollutants, and improvements in other symptoms means that you will feel better, sleep more soundly, and enjoy life more.

  • Regular use of an infrared sauna even boosts your mood (15).

 Precautions and Considerations

  • Most people experience no problems when using an infrared sauna, and use of FIR therapy has no detrimental health effects that have been reported.

  • Even those who usually cannot tolerate the high heat of traditional saunas find they can use infrared saunas easily, so they can work for more people.

  • Infrared wavelengths are invisible and do not damage sensitive tissues, such as the eyes, unlike the wavelengths used in other forms of light therapy.

  • The gentle, radiant heat of infrared therapy warms your body from the inside without pain or burning.

  • But, if you take medications or have a medical condition, you should talk with your doctor about how FIR could affect you.

  • If you have a history of heart problems, using a sauna can cause problems, so discuss this with your doctor.

  • Saunas can cause fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for those with a heart condition.

  • If you are prone to overheating or heat exhaustion, you should limit your time in the infrared sauna.

  • Everyone should drink water before and after using any type of sauna to remain sufficiently hydrated.

  • You should not use an infrared sauna if you have been drinking alcohol or if you have a fever or feel sick.

  • While using the sauna, you may feel lightheaded. Be sure to move slowly and carefully to leave the sauna, then sit down again once you are outside the room.

  • for a complete list of contraindications and precautions click here

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