Infrared Saunas have many wide-ranging health benefits from increasing your energy levels to muscle recovery and even boosting cognitive function, but before you go out and buy this wonder product it’s important to understand what is an infrared sauna exactly, how it works and the features you should be looking for.
In this article we will answer the question, “what is an infrared sauna?” and give you all the information you need in order to chose the right sauna for you.
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What are the health benefits of infrared saunas?
Before we dig deep into the science, let’s take a step back and look at the health benefits of infrared saunas.
People have used heat therapy throughout history – just think about the Romans and their baths, or the use of heat in ancient Chinese medicine.
In recent medical history, traditional saunas were used for detoxification, health and weight loss benefits. Heat therapy has similar benefits to moderate exercise, increasing your heart rate and making the water molecules in your body vibrate, breaking them down into sweat and enabling your body to release toxins.
Unlike traditional saunas which use light to warm the air inside a room, infrared saunas heat your body directly. They can, therefore, be used at a lower temperature, 120º-140ºF (instead of over 200ºF), which many people find easier to tolerate.
They can also be referred to as a type of dry sauna.
Improvements in technology also mean that infrared saunas are more affordable and convenient than traditional saunas and they can be used at home. For a full review of a sauna vs steam room – see our article HERE: https://www.infraredsaunaworld.com/sauna-vs-steam-room/
Today, infrared saunas are used for a wide range of health benefits, which include:
- Detoxification – Infrared saunas are even more effective than traditional saunas in enabling your body to release harmful toxins such as mercury, lead, and environmental chemicals
- Relaxation – Infrared saunas help balance the stress-hormone cortisol, relax your muscles, and release tension. They can also promote the production of neurotransmitters which help improve your mood and boost cognitive function
- Pain relief – Increased core body temperature reduces inflammation which often causes pain, it also makes your heart beat faster, increasing your circulation and relaxing your muscles
- Weight loss – Increasing your heart rate makes your body work harder, burning calories and promoting weight loss. Infrared saunas can also improve your metabolism
- Improved circulation – Increased blood flow promotes muscle recovery, decreasing pain and inflammation, supporting your joints and muscles and increasing your energy levels as oxygen is delivered to your muscles and tissues more efficiently providing them with fuel
- Clearer skin – Eliminating toxins from pores and increasing circulation can help with skin problems. Infrared saunas are often used for their anti-aging benefits
So, you’ve heard all about the benefits, but what is an infrared sauna exactly, and how does it work?
What is an infrared sauna?
An infrared sauna uses light to create radiant heat that deeply penetrates your joints, muscles, and tissues and heats your body’s core.
Think back to the light spectrum you learned about in school – remember ROYGBIV? Red light is at the highest end of the section of the spectrum that is visible to the human eye, and infrared light is just beyond the visible spectrum.
If you want to get technical, the electromagnetic waves that your eye can perceive are between 400 and 700 nanometers (nm). Red light ranges from approximately 600nm to 700nm, and infrared light is from 700nm to around 1100nm.
These wavelengths are considered by scientists to be bioactive which means they affect the function of the cells in your body.
How do our cells use bioactive light?
We all know our cells need nutrients from food in order to remain healthy, but did you also realise your cells need light?
There are 5 different types of bioactive light, each with different wavelengths that affect our cells in different ways.
Blue light – While too much blue light can be unhealthy, particularly blue light from digital devices used late at night, some natural blue light is essential to set our circadian rhythm (our body clock), to wake us up in the morning, and to keep us alert and focused during the day
UV light – The harmful effects of UV light have been well-documented, but we need some UV light from the sun to enable our bodies to process vitamin D.
Far-infrared light (FIR) – FIR warms our cells, leading to changes in cell function and circulation.
Red-light and Near-infrared light (NIR) – Red-light and NIR promote increased cellular energy production.
What is a far-infrared sauna?
A far-infrared sauna is so-called because of where the waves fall on the light spectrum. Wavelengths from far-infrared saunas are considered to be the most effective in detoxification among other health benefits.
Many far-infrared saunas also have a near-infrared panel as these emit wavelengths that do different jobs, including wound-healing and boosting immune function.
Some far-infrared saunas also have chromotherapy lighting. Chromotherapy (sometimes called colour or phototherapy) is the use of coloured LED lights to affect energy and emotions. Colours can help you to feel calmer and enhance relaxation, for instance, or they can stimulate energy and healing. They can also boost your emotional well-being.
An ionizer is a useful feature as it produces negative ions that neutralize bacteria, viruses, and odours and prevent mould. As well as having health benefits, running the ionizer after every session will help keep your sauna clean.
What are the dangers of infrared saunas?
While all the benefits of infrared saunas sound fantastic, you might be wondering if there are any adverse effects, particularly from using an infrared sauna frequently. Too much sunlight can cause cancer, after all, and we’re often told about the dangers of the blue light we are exposed to from our digital devices.
In fact, red light does not contain any harmful UV light so there none of the risks associated with too much sunlight. Infrared light is so safe it’s used in hospitals to keep newborn babies warm.
There is now a large body of research that proves the efficacy and safety of infrared and red light, and infrared/red light therapy has been FDA approved in the treatment of many conditions including wound-healing, acne-treatment, and pain-relief.
An infrared sauna is an efficient and safe method of exposing your body to red, near-infrared and far-infrared light. These are bioactive lights that our cells need in order to regenerate and remain healthy.
Studies have shown that using an infrared sauna regularly has numerous health benefits including detoxification, relaxation, pain relief, improved circulation, weight loss and reduction of inflammation.
So what is an infrared sauna? – an effective way to detox, relax and enable the cells in your body to rest and rejuvenate…
Have you used an infrared sauna?
We’d love to hear about the health benefits you experienced.
Leave us a comment below…
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Infrared Sauna World or its staff.