Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Saunas help people relax and detoxify through sweating. But sometimes, the traditional dry sauna can be too hot for some people to cope, bringing the need for a better alternative. And what better option than infrared (IR) saunas?

Infrared saunas are more comfortable, making it possible for most people to tolerate and stay longer in them. But are they good? What are the infrared sauna health benefits?

What’s an Infrared Sauna and How Does It Work?

An IR sauna is a wooden cabin with infrared heaters to help your body relax and detoxify by raising your body temperature.

Unlike traditional saunas that use dry heat or steam to warm the room, infrared saunas use infrared lamps/heaters to warm your body.

Infrared waves from these lamps penetrate human body tissues easily, heating the body. In the process, the thermal energy increases, causing a more intense and relaxing sweat, but at lower temperatures.

A traditional sauna can heat the room to a maximum temperature of 195°F. Some people may find such temperatures unbearable, especially those with sensitive skin.

However, with infrared saunas, the heat is usually between 120° and 140°F, which most people find gentle. Since the heat is bearable, you can stay in the cabin longer, gaining all the sauna’s benefits.

Infrared saunas are safe since they use light to create heat that warms your body directly instead of warming the air first.

Beware that IR saunas might have some side effects. You may experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Once you enter an infrared sauna wooden cabin, the heat immediately raises your skin temperature and pulse rate. In the process, blood vessels get more dilated as the heart pumps more blood, making you sweat intensely.

Through this experience, you get the following IR sauna health benefits.

Infrared Sauna Relieves Pain

Infrared heat penetrates deeper into human bodies, allowing muscles to relax and increasing blood circulation. This process helps relieve inflammation, soreness, and stiffness in joints and muscles.

The increased blood flow people get from sauna heating means more oxygen goes to the paining muscles and body joints, aiding recovery. Your muscles don’t only get relief from pain and tension; they also become more flexible due to infrared warming.

Infrared saunas are increasingly being adopted as an alternative treatment modality for arthritic pain.

Hospitals use this method as pain relief treatment for patients with inflammatory arthritis, helping them feel better by relieving their symptoms.

According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, IR sauna treatment results in short-term pain and stiffness improvement in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis.

From the study, IR sauna treatment has zero adverse side effects, and patients show tolerance.

Infrared saunas can also benefit older adults. Aging comes with aches, stiffness, and pains all over the body.

Regular infrared sauna sessions can help lessen such discomforts and pain. Before going for a sauna session for treatment, ensure you discuss it with your doctor to see if you’re fit for it or not.

An Infrared Sauna Session Detoxes Your Body

As you sweat intensely in an infrared sauna session, your body releases the built-up toxins in the body through sweat glands. This toxin-releasing process is known as detoxification.

IR sauna sessions allow your body to sweat, removing heavy metals and other harmful substances accumulated in the body over time.

Things like mercury, lead, nicotine, and alcohol can be harmful, but thankfully, sauna sessions can help eliminate them from human bodies.  

IR Sauna Sessions Are Good for Your Heart

The CDC estimates that about 18.2 million adults in the US have coronary heart disease, while one in every four deaths in the US can be attributed to heart issues.

Lifestyle changes are the major contributor to heart diseases. Preventive measures exist, including bathing sessions in an infrared sauna.

According to a study on the use of IR saunas to treat cardiovascular risk factors, far infrared saunas provide short-term improvement in heart functioning in people with congestive heart failure and systolic hypertension.

IR sauna sessions help normalize blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and decrease cardiovascular risk factors.

Have the sauna sessions regularly for better results, but only after the doctor has given you the go-ahead signal.

Infrared Sauna Reduces Stress and Fatigue

One of the many merits of infrared sauna therapy is relaxation, especially after a busy day. The moment you get inside the cabin and feel the gentle warmth from the infrared heaters, your body and muscles become relaxed.

The sauna makes you feel like a completely different person in a few minutes. It puts your nervous system into a parasympathetic state, creating body balance as it heals from stress and fatigue while restoring itself.

When stressed, your body releases high cortisol levels, keeping you in a constant stress state. Thankfully, a complete infrared sauna session reduces the level of this stress hormone, helping you feel less stressed in the end.

IR Sauna Therapy Aids in Weight Loss

Weight loss is among the many infrared sauna health benefits.

As the infrared sauna heats your body, the body produces sweat to remain cool. During such sessions, your blood circulation increases, making the heart work even faster. The result is increased metabolism and weight loss.

Since infrared saunas warm the body directly, they tend to get deeper into the body where the rays can even reach the deep fat pockets. This deep penetration causes lymphatic drainage, leading to weight loss.

You may need to use the sauna regularly in your weight loss journey. A thirty-minute infrared sauna session can burn up to 800 calories, equivalent to the amount you would burn running.

Infrared Sauna Sessions Improve the Skin Appearance

As you sweat out the harmful substances and metals in an infrared sauna session, the sweat also carries out dead skin and other impurities.

This process is possible thanks to the infrared rays that go deep into your skin, reaching impurities planted deep in the body. You get clean, tight, glowing skin in just a few minutes.

IR saunas can be of great help to people suffering from the following skin conditions:

  • Premature skin aging
  • Loose skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Rough skin texture 

By decreasing elastin contents and collagen, IR sauna sessions can reduce wrinkles, improving skin texture and appearance. After cleaning the skin, this treatment also helps speed up the scars and wounds’ healing process.

Infrared Sauna Can Help Manage Diabetic Cases

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, about 10.5% of the American population suffers from diabetic-related diseases.

Thankfully, those managing diabetes can use different holistic methods, including infrared sauna therapy, to help improve their quality of life.

Type two diabetes patients can partake in daily infrared sauna sessions, but only after doctor recommendations.

The harmful toxins and fats harbored in the body of patients can inhibit their healing process, but infrared saunas enable them to sweat these toxins out.

Also, the greatest issue diabetic people face is weight gain, so anything that can help manage their weight without stressing them much is helpful. A single 30-minute sauna session can burn between 600 to 800 calories, assisting diabetic people in managing weight.

Diabetic patients become resistant to insulin after a lot of sugar enters their bloodstream. But the heat therapy from the regular use of infrared saunas produces heat shock proteins and nitric oxide, increasing their insulin sensitivity.

Ideal Time in an Infrared Sauna

When starting an infrared sauna session for your health benefits, you should consider how long you’ll be staying. If recommended by the doctor, they will give you a proper timeline to guide you through all your sessions. Therefore, it’s better that you follow the timeline as recommended.

An infrared sauna takes between 10 and 15 minutes to heat up, which is also the best period to stay for a start. You can do this at least twice a week before slowly increasing your stay, but don’t go beyond 40 minutes in one session.

But before going for an infrared sauna session, you should prepare for it well to avoid experiencing adverse side effects.

One way to avoid the side effects is by drinking lots of water a day and even hours before your session. Doing so ensures you don’t get dizzy or lightheaded before the session ends. You won’t feel dehydrated either, which is what most people fear.

You may get bored sitting sweating in a room for all those minutes, so bringing in some form of entertainment can be a better idea.

Final Thoughts

Infrared sauna health benefits range from body relaxation, detoxification, weight loss, and relieving pain to reducing stress. However, not everybody can enjoy this therapeutic process. Pregnant women and people with underlying conditions such as high/low blood pressure, heart diseases, and breathing conditions should first consult their doctors.

You should also be aware of its possible side effects and take correct measures before going for your session. Drinking lots of water is one way to avoid lightheadedness and dehydration during IR sauna sessions.

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