If you’re a wellness lover, there’s likely a chance you’ve heard about the latest red-hot wellness trend: infrared saunas. Or, more realistically, you’ve probably seen images of them grace your Instagram feed. Since the 2010s, infrared saunas have been a popular health trend provided by spas and gyms to clients. These saunas suggest a wealth of benefits. They have become increasingly popular in recent years as people become more interested in natural health and wellness options. From detoxification to healthy sleep, here’s why this wellness trend has become more popular.
Let’s explore what an infrared sauna is and the health benefits it can deliver. This will help you decide if it’s something you want to explore further.
What is an Infrared Sauna?
An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that is equipped with infrared heaters that are designed to detoxify and heal the body. It is also designed to promote relaxation, boost mood, and more. Unlike traditional saunas that feature hot rock or steam to heat the air that warms your body, infrared saunas generate heat through the use of far-infrared light that can be directly absorbed by the skin and penetrate deeper into the body’s tissues.
An infrared sauna produces heat at lower temperatures than traditional saunas, typically between 120°F – 140°F. The infrared heating works by generating heat similar to that of the sun, directly penetrating the skin up to 1.5 inches deep, producing sweat quickly and efficiently. The infrared sauna is intended to promote detoxification and healing of the body, relaxation and other health benefits including better circulation, toxin release through sweat, and pain relief.
“Infrared heat is very gentle,” says Kaps. “The experience is similar to lying in the sun on a warm day and feeling the heat radiate to the core of your body.” Unlike traditional (hot rock or steam) saunas—which operate at well in excess of 200°F—infrared heat has the benefit of being effective at a more comfortable operating temperature of 100°-150°F, which is why it’s less likely to interfere with breathing and more likely to be manageable for an entire 60-minute session’s duration.
Infrared saunas are a hot health trend. Spas and gyms offer them to clients and suggest they provide many benefits. You can also purchase your own infrared sauna for your home.
Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas:
Infrared sauna therapy has various health benefits, such as helping your immune system detox via infrared lights. Many studies have looked into using infrared saunas to treat long-term health problems and discovered some evidence that saunas may help.
Many individuals who are sensitive to the humidity and hot climate produced by traditional saunas find far-infrared saunas more comfortable and subsequently the preferred choice.
Holistic practitioners, as well as various therapies, incorporate the use of far-infrared saunas. As a result of the unique application of light waves, the body’s internal temperature is increased, reducing blood pressure, accelerating the detoxification process, and relieving pain.
High blood pressure, heart failure, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, headaches, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis are among the conditions studied.
Exposing your entire body to this light via an infrared sauna allows the heat to penetrate your skin to the cellular level and enhances detoxification at a cellular level.
Researchers have conducted multiple studies on far-infrared saunas for several years, and the results they’ve encountered include:
- Improve circulation
- Detox your body
- Improve heart health
- Relaxation & fatigue reduction
- Reduce arthritis pain and chronic pain
- Improve skin health & slow down the aging process.
- Boost the immune system
- Increase weight loss
- Heart health
- Better sleep
Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas
It is widely accepted that aerobic exercise promotes positive blood circulation, but unfortunately, vigorous exercise is often prohibitive to many individuals. However, there are other ways of improving blood circulation and perhaps the safest and most effective is broad spectrum infrared sauna therapy. However, using infrared therapy sauna or just a infrared heating pad can improve blood circulation.
1. Infrared Saunas Improve Circulation
Using an infrared therapy sauna or just an infrared heating pad can improve blood circulation. While in a seated or reclined position, blood circulation during the sauna session is comparable to moderate exercise.
Inflammation occurs in the body as a response to injury, stress, and illness. Where there is inflammation there is also a lack of oxygen. When the body is exposed to the infrared light spectrum nutrient and oxygen-rich blood circulates at an increased rate through the body.
Improved blood circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients at faster rates to the vital organs, brain, joints, muscles, skeletal structure, and skin. A heightened level of oxygen running through the body reduces the occurrence of inflammation and therefore pain.
An infrared sauna is one of the most powerful tools to detox and increase the detoxification process.
Exposing your entire body to this light via an infrared sauna allows the heat to penetrate your skin to a little deeper level and enhances detoxification of heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins. When you’re in a hot room, it will cause you to sweat, and that is one of the primary ways we release toxins that accumulate in our tissues. The infrared light is a push that helps release toxins on a cellular level. In this way, the body is purified and cleaned. The entire metabolism is stimulated and strongly boosted.
3. Improved heart health
Studies show that infrared saunas can help boost heart health and reduce blood pressure. Researchers equated the physical response of an infrared sauna session to walking at a moderate pace.
During an infrared sauna session, infrared light penetrates the skin, and the core body temperature increases dramatically. In response, the body has to work hard to cool itself and maintain thermal regulation. As a result, the body induces sweating, vasodilates arteries, and increases the heart rate and volume of blood pumped by the heart each minute. What’s happening mimics moderate aerobic cardiovascular exercise, and a lot of the same physiological responses that happen when you’re exercising.
Therefore, regular use of infrared saunas may provide many of the same benefits as regular exercise, such as cardiovascular conditioning.
4. Relaxation & fatigue reduction
Long-term stress is the cause of countless physiological effects on the body, including increased blood pressure, weight gain and weakening of the immune system.
Just a few minutes in the gentle warmth of an infrared sauna will help you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and renewed.
The heat and warmth from the sauna can help induce a sense of relaxation and calm, reducing stress and anxiety. Aside from the sheer feeling of sitting in an infrared sauna with relaxing heat around you, those infrared lights are directly impacting physiological process in the body which can lead to more relaxed state.
As your heart rate goes up and your blood vessels dilate, there’s an increase in blood flow to the skin. Then your sympathetic nervous system becomes more active in order to maintain a temperature balance in your body. Your endocrine glands begin to get involved in this response. Your body’s reaction to the heat can make you more alert and less perceptive to pain, and it can possibly give you a feeling of joy. The heat relaxes your muscles, including those in your face and neck. These muscles are often tense after a long day.
This relaxation effect is one of the biggest benefits of using a sauna. To add to the relaxation, you can practice meditation while in the room. When you soothe your body physically, often the mind and the emotions follow suit. The effect is long lasting and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
5. Joint, Arthritis, and Muscle Pain relief
Using an infrared sauna as part of a healthy lifestyle promotes temporary blood flow increases to muscles. This helps relieve inflammation, metabolic waste products, as well as deliver oxygen-rich blood to the muscles for faster recovery. Muscles relax best when tissues are warm for enhanced flexibility and range of motion, while relieving muscle tension and pain.
Studies have also shown that time spent in an infrared sauna can relieve different forms of arthritis. Radiant heat has been effective in the treatment of sprains, neuralgia, bursitis, muscle spasms, joint stiffness and many other musculoskeletal ailments. Much of the normal stiffness, aches and pains of aging can be lessened with regular sauna usage.
6. Improved skin health and anti-aging
Infrared saunas promote healthy and glowing skin by promoting circulation, reducing wrinkles, and improving acne.
The profuse sweating achieved after just a few minutes in our sauna carries off deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and immaculately clean. Increased circulation draws your skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface.
You’ll see improved tone, elasticity, texture and fresh color. Increased blood circulation has also been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, lesions and cuts. In addition, open wounds heal more quickly, reducing scarring. Forego expensive cosmetic treatments and rejuvenate your skin the affordable and natural way.
7. Boost Immune System
The penetrating infrared wavelengths from infrared saunas raises the core body temperature, inducing an artificial fever. A fever is the body’s mechanism to strengthen and accelerate the immune response, as seen in the case of infection.
This enhances the immune system, and combined with the improved elimination of toxins and wastes via intense sweating, it can increase overall health and resistance to disease. Additionally, infrared saunas help to increase the production of white blood cells, improving overall immunit8y.
8. Increase weight loss
Using an infrared sauna can help lose weight by increasing metabolism and burning calories.
Some wellness experts explain the link between infrared saunas and weight loss. Infrared light waves penetrate the skin. They can literally burn fat and clear your system of excess body fat and blood floating fats, like cholesterol.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association has stated that regular use of an infrared sauna imparts a similar boost to the cardiovascular system as running. When you relax in the gentle heat, your body produces sweat and the heart pumps blood more efficiently. This increases metabolism and burns more calories. Sauna lovers equate that with weight loss.
This is called a “passive aerobic workout,” because although the body receives all these benefits, it is not stressed in the same way as a normal workout. The body is more relaxed and in parasympathetic mode during that time.
Relaxation might also be related to weight loss in an infrared sauna. It’s definitely possible that using an infrared sauna might make some people feel better-and lead to weight loss. After all, many people say infrared saunas help them feel more relaxed and less stressed. Stress plays a huge role in weight gain and weight loss.
Plus, in one study published in SpringerPlus, researchers found that infrared saunas (which emit infrared light waves for heat) improved exercise recovery. So, if your workout leaves you with two days of limp-inducing soreness, sitting in a sauna might help you get back to the gym sooner.
9. Heart health
Infrared saunas can be very effective for those who cannot participate in traditional exercise programs due to medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular or respiratory problems.
Clinical research shows a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure occurs with regular infrared sauna use. Both are key factors in maintaining a healthy heart. A 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri Kansas City, infrared heaters were shown to lower blood pressure through a 30 minute infrared sauna session 3 times per week. The study concluded that infrared sauna therapy dilated blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure.
Additionally, a Japanese study published in the October 2008 issue of The Journal of Cardiology examined the clinical effectiveness and safety of infrared blood pressure therapy. This was compared to standard therapies for patients with chronic heart failure. The report concluded that far-infrared sauna therapy is both safe and effective at improving clinical symptoms and cardiac function as well as decreasing cardiac size in chronic heart failure patients. Repeated infrared sauna treatments improved impaired blood vessel functions in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This suggests a preventive role for infrared sauna use in arteriosclerosis.
10. Improve sleep quality
Quite often when people relax and slow down, they can feel sleepy or tired. This is especially true if you have a sauna session at the end of the day or after a workout. If you use an infrared sauna before bed, you can relax your body and mind. This makes it easier to fall asleep and remain asleep. In general, a calmer mind sleeps better for longer than an agitated one.
If you make a habit out of using our infrared sauna, you’ll extend these calming benefits by making it a part of your bedtime routine.