A Dramatic Improvement to a Time-Tested Approach
Saunas are a proven approach for improving health — enjoyed across the globe and throughout history as a powerful way to support the natural healing abilities of the body. And now this technique is even better: thanks to the latest technology, you can enjoy all the benefits of traditional saunas with far greater ease and efficiency, all through the power of infrared saunas.
The unique approach used by infrared (or “IR”) saunas actually makes them different from and in fact better than traditional saunas. To understand just what makes IR saunas such a significant improvement on the traditional approach, let’s take a look at exactly how saunas promote health and why the unique technology of IR saunas makes a great approach even better.
The Proven Benefits of Saunas
To begin, let’s take a look at the numerous health-benefits saunas provide. Among other healing properties, saunas can give you:
- Improved Circulation, Reduced Blood-Pressure & Better Cardiovascular Health — Numerous studies have shown that saunas dramatically improve heart health, including reduced blood-pressure and greater circulation. In fact, saunas have been demonstrated to be a safe and effective part of the treatment of a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2718593/ http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1127811)
- Relief from Chronic Muscle Pain, Joint Pain & CFS — We all know saunas help ease muscular tension, which in turn can help reduce discomfort in both muscles and joints. Saunas also aid systemic relaxation, making them especially beneficial for those dealing with the challenges of chronic pain. Finally, saunas have been shown to have potential benefits for those suffering from conditions such as chronic fatigue, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2718593/#b10-0550691 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2718593/#b11-0550691 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18685882)
- Improved Mobility — Even those without chronic pain know saunas are a great way to enhance flexibility. Thanks to the dual benefits of promoting elasticity in the muscles and joints while improving circulation, saunas can be a powerful too for enhancing recovery and keeping the body healthy, which is why many athletes consider them an indispensable part of their training.
- Greater Immune Function — We all know stress dramatically reduces our ability to fight illness, which is why the relaxation provided by saunas can greatly improve immune function. In addition, by raising core-temperature and enhancing circulation, regular use of saunas can further support the natural disease-fighting powers of the body.
- Profound Relaxation — We also know that chronic stress not only challenges our our health but also significantly reduces quality of life. By promoting deep relaxation, saunas can help you calm your mind and give you a valuable chance to reset. In addition, unlike other relaxing activities like yoga or massage, the privacy of a sauna can offer solitude we might not get through more “social” forms of relaxation.
- Additional Benefits — Finally, saunas have been linked with a wide range of additional health-benefits, including improved management of the symptoms of diabetes, enhanced skin-rejuvenation, and even improved lactation for nursing mothers. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20569036
“No Sweat:” How Saunas Improve Health & Why It Has Nothing to Do with Perspiration
With all these benefits, you’re probably already sold on saunas, however, to understand what sets IR saunas apart, we need to understand a bit about where these benefits come from. Most people assume it’s simply a matter heat and the resulting sweat, but in reality, the healing power of saunas has nothing to do with perspiration.
The benefits of saunas actually come from warming the inside of the body, not the surface — that is, from heating the muscles and soft-tissues, not heating the skin. When we warm the muscles and tissue of the body, they naturally become more pliable, reducing muscular discomfort and promoting parasympathetic activity — the part of the nervous system that helps heal and regenerate. In addition, many believe that raising the core temperature of the body supports our natural mechanism for fighting off pathogens and bacteria, further enhancing immune function.
More importantly, when internal temperature starts to rise, our bodies naturally begin to increase both respiration and circulation in order to dissipate excess heat, essentially mimicking many of the key adaptations we experience during exercise. In fact, research shows that raising internal body-temperature serves as a beneficial challenge or “eustress” to the body which supports over-all health just like activity.
This gentle but powerful increase in both respiratory and cardiovascular function is a key part of what makes saunas so beneficial for all of us and especially for those for whom traditional exercise may not be practical. It’s also where the significant circulatory benefits of saunas come from, in turn making it such a powerful tool for those with heart conditions. Essentially, saunas allow you to enjoy many of the key systemic benefits of moderate activity with a minimum of exertion and a maximum of safety, making it a great tool for both rehabilitation and athletic recovery.
But What About “Detoxification?”
You’ll notice we still haven’t mentioned sweat, and that’s because perspiration actually has nothing to do with the health-benefits of saunas. Sweat is, of course, a natural part of how we respond to heat, but perspiration itself has no health-benefits, including the often-promoted idea of “detoxification.” In reality, our sweat glands exist solely to cool the body and aren’t connected in any way with the organs of detoxification, so the sweating experienced during saunas doesn’t help “eliminate heavy-metals” or “cleanse” the body. In fact, excessive sweat can even deplete valuable minerals, which means the perspiration encountered in traditional saunas not only isn’t beneficial but can actually be detrimental if experienced in excess. (http://uamshealth.com/healthlibrary2/medicalmyths/canyousweattoxinsoutofyourbody/
Of course, it’s worth noting that saunas do support detoxification, but this is from a combination of enhanced circulation and respiration, increased internal temperature, and improved parasympathetic activity — in other words, the sweat we experience in traditional saunas is simply a slightly-messy side-effect and contributes in no way to the benefits. This means that, ultimately, if there was a way we could experience the benefits of saunas with less sweat, we’d actually be improving this time-tested approach — and this is exactly what IR saunas do.
How IR Saunas Work & Why This Makes Them Superior to Traditional Saunas
As you’ve seen, the benefits of saunas come from the internal heating of the body, but traditional saunas work from the outside in, using external heat to (slowly) warm the body. Of course, if our goal was to warm the skin, this would be great, but since our goal is to warm the muscles and deep-tissue, this means that traditional saunas are actually highly inefficient. Basically, traditional saunas need to warm the room, then our skin, and finally the muscle and soft-tissue before we can even begin to experience benefits, not only wasting energy but also wasting a lot of time.
To make matters worse, this high external-temperature can actually be irritating to the skin, eyes, and even the lungs. And higher temperatures mean more sweating, which, as discussed above, can be dehydrating to the body and can deplete essential minerals. Perhaps most important of all, unnecessarily-high temperatures can actually be draining to our nervous systems, off-setting many of the calming benefits of our session. And since many traditional saunas use fire or steam to warm the air, this means the longer we need to stay, the more we are inhaling either irritants, germs, or both.
This finally leads to why infra-red represents such a dramatic improvement over traditional saunas: what if, instead of warming the bodies from the outside, we could actually warm them from the inside? This is in fact what IR saunas do: using infrared light-waves to generate heat directly within the body — waves that can penetrate up to 1 and 1/2″ into muscle and soft tissue. (https://draxe.com/infrared-sauna/)
This might sound unusual, but it’s actually something you experience all the time. Think about going out on a cool but sunny day — the air around you might be a bit chilly, but the sun on your skin quickly warms you, in fact because the waves of energy from the sun increase the energy of the cells of your muscles, skin, and clothing, raising your temperature. IR saunas work on a similar principles, warming you directly from the inside out without the wasted energy of needing to warm the room.
Again, not only is this approach more efficient than traditional saunas, it also means you can experience greater benefits in a room that’s actually far less hot, which means that IR saunas can offer all the healing properties with less sweat, lower fatigue, and far less exposure to some of the less-desirable aspects of traditional saunas. Most important of all, it means you can enjoy all the benefits of traditional saunas in a fraction of the time.
Getting the Most from Your Infrared Session
So now that you know all the benefits IR saunas can offer you, let’s take a look at how you can get the most from your IR experience.
- Before your session, keep food light & hydrate — Most of us are more comfortable in the heat when our digestive systems are lighter, so keeping food light before your session will allow you to relax more fully. This also improves circulation, as heavier meals naturally draw circulation to the digestive system. And try to hydrate well, as this will also support better circulation and help you get the most from your session.
- Start gently — Like any form of relaxation, IR sessions don’t have to be long to have tremendous benefits — a30 minutes can significantly calm the mind and allow the nervous system to reset. And since your goal is to help the parasympathetic nervous system, a shorter but more relaxed session will have greater benefits than a long session that leaves you feeling drained or like you had to rush to fit it in.
- Enhance your session by relaxing in your own way — Again, the more relaxed you are during your time, the more your parasympathetic nervous system will be able to do its work, so any supporting practices that help you relax are a great addition — whether meditation, breath-work, visualization, or simply setting aside the worries of the day. Whatever works for you, relaxing as fully as you can will help you get the most from your time.
- After your session, hydrate well & consider scheduling some “down time” — Although IR saunas generate less sweat than traditional saunas, it’s still good to be sure to hydrate well both before and after. And, just like it can be helpful to allow time after a meal in order to digest, it can also be helpful to set aside a bit of time after your sauna — perhaps a short nap or just a little quiet time — in order to continue the healing work of your session.
Schedule Your IR Sauna Session Today…
Now that you know all the healing benefits of IR saunas, why not schedule a session today? Saunas also make a great gift for friends and loved ones, especially during the stresses of the holidays, so consider purchasing a gift certificate or two — a perfect way to support yourself and others in greater health & peace….
We are thrilled to bring a Signature IV Sunlighten Infrared Sauna “the ONLY far infrared technology clinically shown to lower blood pressure, increase core temperature and aid in weight loss…” to our wellness center and share this experience with our community!
Book your session here! Questions? Call 970.222.2777