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After a long, strenuous workout, many people head into their gym’s sauna for a period of relaxation. A sauna’s heat mimics that of moderate exercise – increasing heart rate and increasing sweat output – so it is a favorite among those who are active no matter their level of fitness. Traditional saunas are the ones you will see most often within gyms and spas. They use a heated room with a high temperature to create the desired effects. A lesser known and increasingly more common type of sauna is an infrared sauna. Although its main purposes are similar to that of a traditional sauna, it has particular health benefits that make some choose these over traditional saunas.
How Infrared Saunas Work
Traditional saunas are most often found in gyms and spas. They use heat to create warmth in the room which then heats your body. Infrared saunas, however, use light to directly heat your body without heating the room around you. Sweating and increased heart rate happen at lower temperatures in infrared saunas, making them particularly appealing for those who cannot handle high temperatures.
Infrared sauna’s light – often referred to as near, middle, or far infrared because of where the rays fall on the light spectrum – is able to penetrate into the body’s tissue. The electromagnetic radiation is used in the lamps of these saunas, which makes it easier for the heat to enter the body compared to traditional saunas. But don’t worry – infrared saunas are completely safe! Electromagnetic radiation may sound scary, but this technology has been used for decades in neonatal beds in infant care units in hospitals. In fact, there have been no adverse reactions reported with the use of infrared saunas. Furthermore, studies have found that the use of infrared saunas can have numerous health benefits outside simple relaxation and meditation benefits.
There are three levels of infrared saunas – near, middle, and far. The types of treatment are beneficial to you in different ways, so be sure to find the right level for what you are trying to get out of your session. Few places are able to offer multiple level infrared sauna therapies, but middle infrared are much more common and often have the health and wellness benefits that most people are looking to find. Below is the explanation of the three levels of infrared saunas and what they are best for:
- Near Infrared Sauna – This type of therapy is best for wound healing and boosting immunity.
- Middle Infrared Sauna – This is where most people will be looking for therapy. Middle infrared saunas are used for muscle relaxation, muscle recovery, and increased circulation.
- Far Infrared Saunas – Far infrared saunas may be found in spas because they work more towards detoxification and purification.
7 Health & Wellness Benefits of Infrared Saunas
Although scientific research is scarce on the long-term benefits of infrared saunas, studies have shown that just 15 minutes per day can be very beneficial. The infrared heat penetrates human tissue faster and easier, making the restorative properties more significant compared to traditional saunas. If you are looking for a new way to reach your health and wellness goals while integrating some relaxing therapies, infrared saunas might be a great choice for you. Check out some of the signature health and wellness benefits below (along with the type of infrared sauna you should use to get your desired benefits) to see if it’s something that would be beneficial to your lifestyle.
- Detoxification (far) – Like traditional saunas, the heat from an infrared sauna increases your heart rate and your sweating, thereby getting rid of any toxins in your body. The benefit of an infrared sauna though, is that it can do this at a lower temperature compared to a traditional sauna, making it a great option for those who can’t handle high heat.
- Pain Relief (middle) – The heat from an infrared sauna helps increase circulation and relaxes your muscles, helping to relieve chronic pain. Many physical therapists suggest infrared saunas as a therapy in conjunction with physical therapy.
- Skin Cleansing (far) – The heat from an infrared sauna can help purify your skin by removing toxins and increasing circulation which produces clearer and healthier skin.
- Heart Disease Patients (middle) – Those with heart disease have found that regular infrared sauna therapy sessions have helped them manage their care. The heat of the sauna increases circulation and stimulates increased blood flow which helps heart patients strengthen their heart.
- Muscle Recovery (middle) – Since infrared saunas help increase circulation and blood flow, it can speed up muscle recovery and decrease pain and inflammation after an intense workout.
- Weight Loss (far) – If you aren’t able to exercise due to physical limitations but need to lose weight, infrared saunas can help you do that. Studies have shown that 40 minutes of sauna therapy can help a person lose weight by increasing their heart rate in the same manner as moderate exercise. Just 30 minutes in an infrared sauna can burn up to 600 calories.
- Relaxation (near, middle, or far) – One of the best benefits of sauna use is the benefit of relaxation. Spending time letting your muscles relax is beneficial for you both physically and mentally. Simply taking time for yourself where you are doing nothing except listening to calming music or reading your favorite book has significant health benefits, especially in today’s fast-paced society.
If you are looking for a new type of therapy that has significant health and wellness benefits, infrared sauna therapy might be for you. Whether you are looking for something to help relax and recover your muscles after a long workout, weight loss, or a new beauty regimen, infrared saunas can help you achieve your goals. The unique technology is safer than traditional saunas since it uses lower temperatures to achieve increased heart rate and circulation, making it beneficial for more people. If you are able to find one in your area, infrared sauna therapy is a great addition to your health and wellness routine.