Recently my husband and I invested in an infrared sauna per my doctor’s suggestion. It was mainly for my fight against Lyme disease but have since found out that it’s benefits go way beyond what I originally thought.
Why infrared and not a regular sauna?
A traditional sauna heats the air around you. An infrared sauna uses infrared light to penetrate your skin and warms you directly without warming the air around you. The temperature in your body goes up quickly, yet the light has no effect on your surrounding environment, which is why you can use infrared saunas within your own home.
It helps your body release toxins, including heavy metals and chemicals, through sweat. But the benefits go beyond detoxification. It assists with relaxation, pain relief, weight loss, increasing circulation, lowering inflammation, chronic illness, candida and purifying your skin.
This isn’t a new treatment since saunas or “sweat lodges” were used for thousands of years for relaxation and detoxification among many people groups including Eastern Europeans and in Chinese medicine. This is a great option for those who can’t tolerate high heat or steam like in a traditional sauna.
How infrared saunas work
Without getting too technical with how infrared saunas work, the far infrared (FIR) light waves are capable of altering our cells, cell membranes, DNA proteins, and cell fluids and water molecules. The FIR photons are absorbed by the body’s molecules which alters how the water functions within our cells. It also has the ability to change the proteins in our body tissues to help improve biological activity. It is the same type of heat that is produced by the sun so it’s a great way to get the benefits of sunlight therapy without the harmful UV rays.
A usual treatment is about 15-20 minutes but can go up to 45 minutes under the direction of your doctor done a few times a week. It can be done in the privacy of your home if you’re willing to invest in the sauna. There are some spas that offer infrared sauna treatments as well where you pay per session. If you’re new to infrared saunas, I would recommend starting out with 5 minute sessions at 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly working your way up to 15 to 20 minute sessions at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is best to heat yourself up or get a mild sweat going before stepping into the sauna so that you can reap the benefits of the full session instead of waiting for your body to heat up. You can sit outside for a few minutes or take Niacin an hour before your session. Make sure you get the type of Niacin that does not state “non flushing” on the bottle. You want the flush since that helps with opening blood vessels and bringing circulation to the surface of your skin so you can sweat more.
Make sure your skin is clean and free of lotions, perfumes, oil or anything else that blocks your pores and inhibits sweating.
What do you feel during a treatment?
It can cause reactions including-
- increased sweating
- increased heart rate
- mental clarity
If you feel light headed during a treatment, or ill, stop immediately, cool yourself down and drink plenty of fluids.
Who can benefit from infrared saunas?
Studies have shown benefits for many conditions. Here are just a few-
- cardiovascular disease
- high blood pressure
- congestive heart failure
- chronic fatigue
- poor digestion
- depression and anger
- chronic muscle and joint pains
- impaired immune system function
- poor circluation
What to do after a session
It’s very important to drink plenty of water, preferably with electrolytes, to replace the minerals you lose while sweating. Also get plenty of rest as well. Take a cool shower to lower your body temperature and to clean the toxins that were released during the session. If you’re unable to shower, wipe yourself down with a wet cloth. Some find that afterward they have a reduction of pain and a feeling of general well being.
No serious adverse effects have been reported. This type of treatment is safe for most people but make sure and check with your doctor first. It’s great for those who can’t normally tolerate traditional saunas or heat treatments. The light won’t damage your eyes either unlike other light therapies. Even though it is able to penetrate 1.5 inches deep into the skin, it is a gentle heat that isn’t painful and doesn’t burn. It’s best to wear as little clothing as possible so that the FIR waves can penetrate into the skin.
If an infrared sauna is not available, but you have access to a regular sauna, you can still achieve some degree of detoxification with 10 to 20 minute sessions at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.
The prices I’ve seen to do treatments at a spa were around the $65 range per session. If you wanted to invest in one for your home, make sure it is a low EMF model, and they can range in price from a few hundred for portable versions up to a few thousand for the more professional model. They’re usually sold by how many people they can seat at one time. We purchased a three person model which gives plenty of space for someone to lay down inside of it. The one person model can fit one person but it will feel claustrophobic so I would suggest at least a two person size.
This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.