If you’ve experienced saunas, you know they’re a sweaty, relaxing way to loosen your muscles. But have you ever heard of an infrared sauna? Infrared sauna benefits are being hailed as much more vast than those of the plain old sauna – and they’re a lot less sweaty.
What is an Infrared Sauna?
An infrared sauna doesn’t heat up the air like a traditional sauna. Instead, it relies on bright red infrared lamps to warm the body.
How is this different? Well, infrared lights use electromagnetic infrared radiation. Which heats up the body’s core temperature. So what you get is the body heating up but not the air around it, and with much gentler temperatures.
Infrared heating temperatures generally range from 110 – 120 Fahrenheit. Compared to 160 F (or even higher) in a traditional sauna. And, without all that steam and humidity, they’re considered to be dry saunas.1
There are three categories of infrared rays:
Today many saunas rely on the more popular far-infrared light (FIR).2
What are the Health Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy?
Infrared therapy is considered safe. In fact, it’s been used in hospitals for some time – even warming newborn babies.
Some experts claim that infrared therapy can:
- Relieve pain
- Heal skin conditions
- Aid blood circulation
- Increase flexibility
- Relax muscles and muscle spasms
- Improve the health of cells
- Detox the body, and
- Help with weight loss by stimulating fat cells.
But, is there any scientific proof of these healing infrared sauna benefits?
Well, the evidence is very limited, but there have been some interesting findings.
Some studies have found:
- That infrared sauna heat may help decrease muscle soreness after strength-training sessions.3
- That mood and fatigue levels may improve in patients who suffer from chronic fatigue.4
- Beneficial effects on skin texture. Some people were reported to have an increase in collagen and elastin.5
- Moderate evidence supports infrared’s ability to support steady blood pressure and circulation.6,7
Can Infrared Sauna Therapy Assist with Weight Loss?
Some “professionals” claim infrared saunas gives cardiovascular systems the same boost as exercising. The body starts sweating and the heart works harder to pump blood flow. This increase in circulation and metabolic rate burns calories.
Saunas do increase blood flow – but from sweating. Weight loss is simply due to sweating out water. Many people notice weight loss after a sauna. But once your body is re-hydrated, that water weight is likely to come straight back on. It is NOT a permanent fix.
It also has nothing to do with infrared “stimulating fat cells.” So you should also be dismissive of these kinds of claims.8
Benefits of Infrared Heat Therapy for Health and Well-being
Like any sauna, infrared sauna therapy can be fantastic for relaxation. Some people find that these saunas can help their muscles and other aches and pains.
Saunas can also be fantastic for healthier-looking skin. This is because sweat can clear out the pores. And infrared therapy is perfect for those who hate sweaty, muggy environments.
Always talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of using infrared therapy for any health condition. And as with traditional saunas, infrared saunas should be avoided if you are pregnant.
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