Infrared Saunas Prove To Be Hot Stuff in the Health and Fitness World

The latest trend in the quest for good health, fitness, anti-ageing and detox is the infrared sauna. This new take on sweating it out in stifling wooden room wrapped in nothing but a towel is proving to be a huge hit for everything from chronic pain to detoxing and weight loss.

A traditional sauna will use heated rocks, wood, electric or gas to heat the air in the room and this then heats up your body. Saunas can reach temperatures of up to 176 Fahrenheit.  An infrared sauna uses infrared panels and light to create heat. Instead of heating the air in the room, infrared light is focused on the individual’s body. This means the environment of an infrared sauna is more bearable. It is believed that around 20 per cent of the heat in an infrared sauna goes into the air and 80 per cent directly into the body.

Infrared light has a spectrum. The light that is used in an infrared sauna is called far infrared or far infrared waves. The waves create thermal heat. The far infrared waves penetrate the body and activate the sweat glands. The skin is one of our major organs and is responsible for the elimination of waste and toxins to help keep our bodies functioning.

How long should I use an infrared sauna for? 

The dry heat that is used in an infrared sauna can be deceiving and you might not realize how hot you are actually becoming. It is easy to overheat if your session is too long. This can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It is recommended that an infrared sauna should be around 20 to 30 minutes after you start to break a sweat. Once you start to become more acclimatized to the sessions, then you can increase that up to 45 minutes.

What are the benefits of an infrared sauna?

People have reported better sleep, being more relaxed, clear and tighter skin and relief from sore muscles as a result of using infrared saunas. Sweating is also renowned for helping with detoxifying the body, which has massive health benefits. Improved circulation is reported and as well as being a health benefit, this can also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite. And those who suffer with more chronic conditions like arthritis and chronic fatigue have also reported huge benefits.

Some studies and anecdotal evidence have found infrared saunas can reduce chronic inflammation. The way the sauna reduced the body’s stress response, means that the immune response that causes inflammation is reduced. There are also reports of health improvements in people with high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.

Infrared saunas are not as hot as traditional saunas, so it is much easier for people to tolerate the temperate and reap the rewards. The use of infrared saunas could be a huge benefit to sports people for a quicker recovery from muscle fatigue. A small study has found people reported a relief in muscle soreness as a result of using an infrared sauna.

Another small study showed improved symptoms from people with chronic fatigue syndrome and other research showed a positive impact on people with high blood pressure.

Infrared saunas are reported useful to support weight loss. A study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that people using infrared saunas would burn up to 600 calories in a session. This would work because using the sauna increases the heart rate and metabolic rate that results in burning more calories. This obviously leads to weight loss. This could be the equivalent to an hour’s jogging session.

What to wear in an infrared sauna?

You will need to make sure you have a change of clothes with you as you will sweat. Loose clothing, a towel, a swimming costume or underwear could all be worn in an infrared sauna.

What should you do after an infrared sauna?

The process of heating the body through an infrared sauna will create sweat and release toxins. A cool shower after your sauna will wash away the sweat and toxins. The cool water will also close up the pores in the skin which will make your skin feel rejuvenated and smooth. It is recommended not to throw yourself back into your day after your infrared sauna as take you into a really relaxed state. Make sure you plan your sauna when you have time to ease yourself back into normal life.

Are there any dangers using an infrared sauna?

No serious side effects have been reported in the use of infrared saunas, apart from the effects of dehydration and overheating. There are concerns of people experience thermal injury if they do not feel pain. People who are pregnant or under the influence of alcohol or drugs should not use an infrared sauna.

How much does an infrared sauna session cost?

A one-hour session could cost $65 or some facilities offer a special deal for two people at around $80.

The cost of buying and running your own infrared sauna is cheaper than you might think. Like anything, it all depends on the size and quality of the product you decide to buy. You can get anything from a one person to a five to six-person sauna. Or if you want something bigger, then you would need to speak to the manufacturer about a custom-made model. 

Portable saunas are the cheapest. A lower end basic sauna could cost as little as $100 and a higher end model around $550.

A one to two-person basic permanent sauna is around $1,000 and up to $1,500 for a top quality version. If you want a three to four-person sauna, you are looking at between $1,800 and $4,500. If you are after something bigger and want a five to six-person sauna then you are looking at between $3,000 and $5,000. The electricity costs for running a sauna are minimal. Manufacturers say between 10 and 18 cents per hour or less than $5 per week. Traditional saunas take a long time to heat up – sometimes up to an hour. Infrared saunas take half that time, so are cheaper to run.

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