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Infrared Saunas: Everything You Need to Know

There is a lot of talk about infrared saunas as of late. After hearing some conflicting information, we decided to dig into them and see what was true and false.

There are many claims in the wellness community about what an infrared sauna can do. Some say it promotes weight loss, and others talk about the benefits of improved circulation. Additionally, there are claims that it can help with pain relief and remove toxins from the body. Could all this really be true?

Health crazes happen all the time, and it’s easy to get sucked in. However, typically if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. To understand whether or not the claims are correct, we need to look at the technology behind infrared saunas and what users have to say.

Many studies have looked into infrared saunas, and it’s believed that they can help with many chronic health problems. These include high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, migraine headaches, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, and more. There have been no reported findings of adverse effects when it comes to the use of infrared saunas.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

Man relaxing in a luxury infrared sauna.

An infrared sauna will create heat by utilizing light. If you have ever been in a traditional sauna, you know that heat warms the air and that air warms your body. The infrared sauna is going to cut a step out and heat your body up directly.

People use traditional saunas for a variety of reasons, including weight loss. When you sweat in the sauna, the reaction is as if you were participating in moderate exercise. You will notice an increase in your heart rate and an ample amount of sweat. Traditional saunas become quite uncomfortable quickly. Many people have trouble breathing and can only stay in the sauna for a few minutes.

Infrared saunas can give you the same results as a traditional sauna. The benefit of an infrared sauna is that they function at lower temperatures, and your head is exposed, making it more comfortable for more extended periods. The lower temperature is also an advantage to those that don’t handle heat very well.

There are still a variety of studies being done on infrared saunas. It’s believed in medical science that the interaction between the body’s water content and the infrared frequency of the sauna is what brings positive results. The infrared light is electromagnetic energy, which our body experiences as heat. This heat penetrates our skin and impacts the bond of molecules in our cells. The effect of this is exceptionally therapeutic.

6 Tips while Using an Infrared Sauna

While the exact benefit of using an infrared sauna has not been substantiated, it doesn’t change the fact that it feels great and helps many people relax. Many find that it’s a safe alternative to tanning beds, as you get the heat with no harmful UV rays.

Each infrared sauna can be a bit different. The one you use at your spa or health club may lead you to purchase one for your home. Know that you need to review each model’s specific instructions before use. However, there are some guidelines to keep in mind to make sure your infrared sauna experience is fantastic.

1. Stay Hydrated

Bottle of water

Staying hydrated is a critical point in maintaining optimal health. When you use an infrared sauna, you are going to sweat. Making sure to drink a glass of water before and after using the sauna will help ensure you maintain proper hydration. If you are sensitive to heat, bringing a glass of water with you during your sauna session may be advantageous.

2. Sessions Per Week

You will want to start off slow and see how your body handles an infrared sauna. Most spas and health clubs recommend you use the infrared sauna three or four days a week. At the start, you will likely only be able to handle one or two days for a limited amount of time. As your body acclimates to it, you should be able to increase the number of sessions per week. In fact, some people end up using it daily.

3. Timeframes

 

As with your sessions per week, the length of time you spend in the infrared sauna will increase as you get used to it. In the beginning, it’s likely you will only be in there for ten or fifteen minutes. Each time you use it, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time by a minute or two. It’s suggested, for most infrared saunas, that you use them for twenty to thirty minutes.

If you’re using the infrared sauna at a doctor’s office or in a spa, they will likely keep track of the time for you. All infrared saunas have timers on them, so if you are using it at home, make sure that the timer is set. If you stay in the sauna too long, you are risking dehydration.

4. Temperature Setting

Most infrared saunas will allow you to set the temperature between 100 and 150-degrees. When you’re just starting, you should set the sauna to the lowest temperature and see how your body handles it. You can increase the heat a bit at a time. If you’ve used infrared saunas frequently, you are fine to set it at your average temperature.

Many find it advantageous to stay at the same temperature for a few sessions. This allows the body to acclimate to the experience. Additionally, it tends to be more comfortable and will enable you to get used to what it feels like. Remember, it’s easier to increase the heat compared to decreasing it.

5. While in the Sauna

Young woman sitting on wooden bench in infrared sauna, space for text. Spa treatment

Most people dress in something comfortable, like a bathing suit. Many people don’t wear anything at all while in the infrared sauna. This is especially true if they have one in their home. While in the sauna, you can simply relax or take the time to meditate.

Many people find playing music while having their infrared sauna session improves the experience. Be careful not to fall asleep. If you fear you may fall asleep, it may be best to chat with friends or catch up on your favorite series or book.

6. After Your Session

You will want to give your body time to cool down after a session in an infrared sauna. After ten or fifteen-minutes of cool down time, you will likely want to take a shower. During your cool down session, you should drink a glass or a bottle of water. Rehydrating after a serious sweat session is essential. You will also want to clean the unit, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning.

Before You Try an Infrared Sauna

There are a few other things you need to keep in mind before using an infrared sauna to ensure your safety. Below, we’ve provided a few items to ensure a great experience every time you use an infrared sauna.

  • Do not use an infrared sauna if you have consumed alcohol.
  • You will sweat. There’s a possibility you will feel lightheaded when you stand. If you experience this, sit down for a few moments, and when you stand up, do it slowly. Drinking more water will help combat dizziness.
  • If you’re running a fever, you should avoid using an infrared sauna.
  • There is a small possibility that you could experience heat stroke. This is exceptionally uncommon, but if you start to feel overheated, it’s best to cut your session short, ensuring you avoid heatstroke.
  • If you are not properly hydrated, using an infrared sauna can lead to dehydration. This can be very dangerous. Consuming appropriate amounts of water daily is a must if you are going to use an infrared sauna regularly.

Conclusion

You should consult with your physician before using an infrared sauna if you have any major health conditions. While infrared saunas are pretty safe for most people, those with heart problems may not be well suited for the experience.

Most people find the infrared sauna experience to be very therapeutic and rejuvenating. We encourage you to try it and see how relaxed you feel coming out of it. Once you give it a chance, it won’t be long until you are figuring out where to put one in your home!

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