I discovered infrared sauna a few months ago and immediately fell in love. I nestled into my sauna pod for 30 minutes and came out invigorated, focused, and balances. I saw an immediate positive impact on my skin and my mood. My experience is antidotal but research is on my side.
While the word infrared may sound technical, it only describes a concept that everyone is familiar with: heat. Infrared radiation comes with different healing effects. It is for this reason that many saunas make use of it. In modern saunas, infrared radiation is designed to interact with the body in certain ways.
What is an infrared sauna?
In traditional saunas, warm rocks heat the sauna enclosure. Infrared saunas, on the other hand, generate their heat through the use of infrared bulbs or heat lamps. Rather than heat the room, these lamps directly heat the bodies – the internal core body temperature – of the people in the room. For this reason, infrared saunas are generally about half as hot as traditional saunas.
Infrared radiation isn’t visible to the human eye. People can feel it as heat, however. Most saunas have infrared radiation that goes out at between 700 nm and 3,000 nm. Radiation in different bands has different effects.
- Infrared radiation in the 700 nm band is found naturally in sunlight. It is absorbed by the skin and the cells of the body.
- Infrared radiation in the 1,400 nm band goes deeper into the body. It speeds up blood flow and causes perspiration.
- Infrared radiation in the 3,000 nm band goes in very deep. It raises the body’s core temperature.
- Infrared saunas deliver infrared radiation at precise wavelengths to deliver a number of health benefits. If you are willing to try an infrared sauna, the following are the benefits that you can look forward to.
8 Benefits of an Infrared Sauna
Improved calorie burn
When an infrared sauna causes your temperature to rise, it speeds up your blood flow and causes you to burn more calories. Saunas offer what is known as a passive aerobic workout. According to the American Medical Association, 30 minutes in a sauna comes with an expenditure of about 500 calories. Other studies show that a sauna can raise the body’s resting metabolic rate by 33 percent.
In general, the average sauna visit results in about a pound of water lost to sweat. Sweating is a good way to detoxify the body of harmful elements such as mercury, cadmium, and lead.
Infrared radiation has the ability to lower inflammation in the body. It can be an excellent way to combat pain, especially from conditions such as arthritis. The anti-inflammatory benefits of infrared radiation come about through improved cellular metabolism in response to radiation.
Improved levels of nitric oxide
Exposure to infrared radiation results in raised levels of nitric oxide in the body. The substance is a vasodilator, and it helps in the production of neurotransmitters. A number of benefits from improved blood pressure stability and cardiac function to improved mental health are the result.
Improved production of adenosine triphosphate
The body stores energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a molecule type found in most cells. When cells absorb infrared radiation, it helps them increase the amount of ATP that they store. The result is a readier supply of energy to cells. The production of ATP comes with the additional benefit of improved healing. Superficial injuries such as skin abrasions heal more quickly with exposure to infrared radiation.
Brain healing benefits
When infrared radiation is strong enough to enter the brain, it can improve the speed with which brain injuries heal. Infrared radiation can also increase blood flow, bring more oxygen to brain tissue, and help with tissue inflammation. Some studies have shown that infrared radiation may be beneficial in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Benefits to the skin
The sweating that infrared radiation promotes can clear up the skin. It can also hydrate the skin and improve collagen synthesis, both of which effects can slow down the aging of the skin.
Athletes often use infrared radiation before and after their workout routines to improve performance and recovery. A study that looked at over a thousand athletes found that infrared radiation could help lower muscle stress and inflammation, and improve muscle mass.
If you love visiting a sauna from time to time, you should consider switching to one that uses infrared radiation. From improved skin health to brain health, you may experience surprising benefits.