Infrared saunas are innovative saunas that cause users to break into a sweat by interacting with the body directly. While a traditional sauna or steam room will cause people to sweat by heating the air around them, infrared waves heat material directly—in this case, the cells in your body. The air around you can still be cool even if you are exposed to infrared waves.
This is a much more comfortable way to break into a sweat than a traditional sauna as you can do so without sitting in a piping hot room. However, are they everything they are made out to be? The following are some of the known benefits and disadvantages of infrared saunas.
While the research into infrared saunas is still in the preliminary stages, there are some benefits of the technology that are often spoken of. The following are some of the benefits that are more or less considered common experiences and results of using an infrared sauna.
Infrared saunas have been found to be useful for improving sleep. The logic is the same as why people take a hot shower before going to bed. When you take a hot shower and step out into the relatively cooler air, the process of cooling off nudges the brain to release more melatonin—the sleep hormone which is released when the body begins to cool down in the evening, preparing to go to sleep. An infrared sauna will work in the same way by tricking the body into releasing more melatonin.
The process of sweating in the sauna will open out your pores and will help to flush toxins out. This is a benefit of the traditional sauna which will apply even in infrared saunas. The process of sweating itself is a good way to detoxify the body and flush out any impurities by way of perspiration. This is also a great way to keep your skin feeling dewy, clean and fresh.
If done properly, a good session in the sauna can also help control breakouts and acne. Once you have stepped out of the sauna, allow your body to cool off and then take a cool shower to close your pores. There are also studies to suggest infrared radiation slows the process of skin aging.
Infrared saunas are also different from traditional saunas as they can operate at a much lower heat. While traditional saunas are usually between 150˚F and 180˚F, infrared saunas can operate between 120˚F and 140˚F. This allows people who cannot withstand the heat of a traditional sauna to also enjoy a sauna session at a much lower temperature.
You will still break into a sweat in an infrared sauna but the heat will not be as high. This is a more gentle way to experience a sauna session as the temperature is much lower compared to a traditional sauna. The sauna will be effective, and you do not have to sit uncomfortably in the heat you find too much to take.
Infrared saunas have shown to be beneficial to manage chronic and regional pain. Heat therapy is, as it is, used to treat muscle and joint pain. Infrared saunas are beneficial in the same way. This may not be the primary way to treat pain, but can be used along with physiotherapy and proper nutrition.
While there are benefits to infrared saunas, there are also some disadvantages. Again, it must be reinstated that the effects of infrared sauna are still being researched in the early stages. Even the benefits cannot be taken to be a guarantee. The following are some of the possible drawbacks of infrared saunas:
Infrared saunas are known for dry heat as opposed to the heat generated from steam and hot rocks. But the dry heat can still cause overheating and dehydration. The lack of steam and the dry air in the sauna room may lull you into thinking you will not be dehydrated. However, you are still sweating and your airways will constrict just like a traditional sauna. It is extremely important to stay hydrated while you are in the sauna. It is also important to limit your exposure as you would with any other sauna.
An infrared sauna is not recommended for people with heart problems or hypotension. When your body heats up in the sauna, both of these medical issues may aggravate. It is important to consult your doctor before doing a sauna session, especially if you wear a pacemaker or tend to have high blood pressure. This is also not a recommended therapy method for people with lupus and multiple sclerosis.
While a good session in the sauna can be beneficial for your skin, it can also lead to overdrying of the skin from exposure to heat. This is an avoidable occurrence as you simply need to be mindful of moisturizing well after a sauna session. You may be sweating at the time and it does not feel like your skin needs any moisture. But the heat will eventually dry up the skin, therefore, secreting more natural oils, possibly even leading to breakouts.
Infrared saunas are the newest rage and certainly have some benefits that have been spoken of widely. This is an innovative and easy way to fit a spa session into your day, especially why you do not have the time to use the steam room at your local gym.
Infrared saunas also give you the same benefits of a regular sauna, but with more comfort as the temperatures do not need to be as high. You will also not feel suffocated by steam in the room as the infrared waves will use dry heat to heat the cells in your body directly instead of heating the air around you.
But if you are looking to use infrared saunas for more radical benefits like pain relief or weight loss, it may still be too soon to say whether this will actually be beneficial. For better sleep and for feeling lighter after a good sweating session, an infrared sauna is a great option.