It's the middle of winter here in Perth at the moment, and my favourite way to warm up coincidentally has a huge assortment of health benefits - yay!
Infrared Saunas are similar to regular saunas in that they warm the body; however, these heat the body directly with the light spectrum of natural sunlight (but no nasty UV rays!), as opposed to the warming of the environment with very high temperatures such as in regular saunas. This makes them safer, less humid, much easier to tolerate, and more resistant to bacterial spread.
The long list of health benefits associated with Infrared Sauna usage definitely makes incorporating it into your routine worth considering.
Infrared therapy is great for:
- Removing accumulated toxins from the body. The infrared detoxifies the body through perspiration, with studies showing that 15-20% of the sweat excreted in an Infrared Sauna is made up of toxins, including heavy metals, as opposed to 3-5% in a regular sauna.
- Improving and purifying the skin. Not only are toxins removed from the skin, but essential nutrients are also brought to the skin's surface in the blood. This can assist in improving the skin's texture, colour, and elasticity.
- Strengthening the immune system. As the nasties are removed while you sweat, the body is also tricked into a fever-like state due to the increase in body temperature. The immune system strengthens as it fights off the fever. Whenever I feel a cold or flu coming on, I immediately jump into my sauna to get the fever kick-started as quickly as possible!
- Muscle relaxation and pain reduction. Heat is fantastic for relaxing muscles, and for improving their flexibility and mobility. The heat means blood rich in oxygen is supplied to all of your muscles, promoting healing from arthritis, and muscle strains, sprains and general pains.
- Healing and inflammation reduction. While the blood delivers oxygen, the heat also enables the lymph system to flow more easily throughout the body. Cells all around the body are activated in the warmth, promoting cell growth and repair.
- Weight loss. You can burn up to around 60 to 90 calories in a thirty minute sauna session!
- Strengthening the cardiovascular system. Infrared Saunas increase heart rate, and therefore increase blood flow, without increasing blood pressure.
- Relaxing! Whether you take in a book or listen to some music, or just sit quietly or meditate...you'll feel deeply relaxed, and quickly. This is one of the reasons Infrared is so highly regarded in the treatment of chronic stress and fatigue related conditions.
It's really important to drink LOTS of water before, during, and after an Infrared Sauna session to replace that which is lost from the body through sweat. It is also advised that, due to the potency of Infrared therapy, sessions are kept to around 30 minutes maximum. A 5-10 minute rest after the sauna's been switched off allows the body to finalise the detoxification process, and enables the body temperature to start to return to normal.
Will you be giving Infrared Sauna sessions a try this winter? We'd love to know your thoughts!