The health benefits of infrared saunas are pretty awesome. But here’s the thing, I never considered myself a “sauna girl”. I mean, sure, I had a few experiences hopping in one of those sweaty, moist boxes of heat, but I never lasted more than about ten minutes before I felt like I was suffocating.
Then I had my last birthday.
My husband treated me to a three-hour detox spa experience at a neighboring town. Um, heaven. And surprisingly, my favorite part of the whole experience was my time spent in the infrared sauna. I felt so calm, rejuvenated, and refreshed when I got out. And my skin was glowing like it had never glowed before.
So I did what any “normal” hippie chick would do… I convinced my husband to get rid of our sofa set and buy an infrared sauna instead. Because, sauna.
Okay, so getting rid of the couches was a long-time coming event – one I’ll have to better explain in another blog post. (In a nutshell: Having more space to stretch, squat, move, and dance is way cooler than sitting on couches that were destroying my back.)
Where was I? Oh yeah, the sauna. After selling our lovely living room furniture we decided to go crazy with the extra cash and purchased our very own sauna. (I bought one from this lovely local company. And no, I’m not affiliated with them. I’ve just really loved my sauna and wanted to share.)
You guys. I love my infrared sauna. It’s seriously one of the best investments I’ve made for my health.
What is an infrared sauna?
Infrared saunas are a type of sauna that combine the use of heat and light. This light emits infrared light waves that create heat in the body, causing you to sweat. Many people struggle with regular saunas due to how hot and “stuffy” they can feel. With an infrared sauna, the environmental temperature stays at a much more comfortable heat while the infrared light can cause a more vigorous sweat at lower temperatures. (Meaning, no suffocating feeling! Wahoo!)
Basically, the infrared light heats your body directly without having to warm the air around you like a traditional sauna.
6 Incredible Benefits of Infrared Saunas:
This may seem pretty obvious because usually when you hear “sauna” you think “relaxing” but it doesn’t make it any less true. Unlike a more traditional sauna , infrared is gentle and soothing. The heat that comes from the infrared light helps relax the muscles, relieve tension, and bring less stress to the whole body. For this mama, my sauna time is special “me” time. I love it.
One of the other benefits of infrared saunas is pain relief. If you suffer from muscle or joint pain then an infrared sauna may be your answer as it helps increase circulation and decreases inflammation to your muscles. Not only did getting rid of our couches help my back, but the sauna experience sped up my recovery process.
As someone who struggles with circulation, this is a big one for me. As your core body temperature rises from the infrared light your circulation naturally increases and the infrared light can help stimulate blood flow up to twice the normal rate. If you do consistent sessions with an infrared sauna you’ll see that this increase in blood flow continues to help decrease pain and inflammation while also helping your muscles recover from your latest intense workout.
Sweating is one of our bodies most natural ways to get rid of excess junk. Sweating is a great and safe way to heal and stay healthy. As we sweat we eliminate those toxins that tend to build up in our body. Other benefits of infrared saunas come from the usage of infrared light – allowing your core temperature to rise which helps you achieve a deeper detoxifying sweat at the cellular level.
The increase in core temperature increases your heart rate – an increase heart rate causes your body to work harder to lower that core temperature or keep up with the increased heart rate causing your body to burn calories and help with weight loss. One article titled, Effect of Sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories. Yes, you read that right.
Improved Skin Health
Sweating can help clear out those pores. The removal of toxins from your skin results in clearer, softer, and healthier looking skin. And certain infrared treatments can help stimulate collagen production that can help reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin tone. I seriously feel like I just had the best facial whenever I get out of my sauna.
The benefits of infrared saunas sounds pretty great, right? So the question then turns to – how do you pick a good sauna?
How to choose the best, infrared sauna:
When it comes to picking an infrared sauna there are a quite a few things to look at (reputable seller, safety certifications, etc) but here are a few things you may not have known to look for in picking out an infrared sauna:
- Carbon Fiber Heaters/Panels. Carbon heaters will provide the most advanced infrared heating system available as opposed to steel heaters or ceramic rods/tubes.
- Larger heating pads. The surface area of heat is an important number to look at. Any infrared heat emitter can only be as effective as the total surface area of the heat emitter itself. So look for something that has large wall-mounted heating panels, including rear, side, front panels, floor and leg panels. Full body coverage means more benefits and better results in less time.
- The right type of wood! Stick with a Cedar or Hemlock wood. Other woods like pine, fir, poplar, or redwood can cause issues like splinters, be too soft and start to decay, or start to produce a distinct odor. Cedar or Hemlock are sturdy, durable, and do well when it comes to moisture and heat. Plus they are both good insulators.
- Extremely low-EMF. Many far infrared saunas create notoriously high levels of harmful electromagnetic frequencies. EMFs impair the body from engaging in detoxification and rejuvenation processes. Look for an infrared sauna with extremely low-EMF.
So there you go! I realize getting a sauna may seem like a bigger investment than many can swing, but seriously, ditch the couches and try it out. If space and funds are tight, you can still get a lot of the great benefits of infrared sauna with something like this portable sauna found online.
Have you reaped the benefits of infrared saunas yet? If nothing else, go find a local gym or spa and give it a whirl. You may just find a happy sweet place, too.