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Infrared Saunas: The What, How and Health Benefits

Infrared saunas are gaining popularity and for good reason. While working out, eating healthy, and exercising are all important for your health, infrared saunas are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. They can help you get the most out of your health routine, and also provide a sense of peace and serenity in your busy day. Some people report feeling relaxed after an infrared sauna session, while other report relief from muscle soreness, regardless of the specific sensation people feel, they all report a feeling of overall healthiness. 

What Are Infrared Saunas

Let’s back up a little bit. Many people have heard of saunas and experienced them. But, what exactly is an infrared sauna? While traditional saunas work by heating the air around you, infrared saunas work by using electromagnetic radiation to warm your body directly. This allows them to operate at lower temperatures than traditional saunas. Infrared heat penetrates the body at a deeper level than heated air, which helps people to get a better sweat at a lower level. 

How To Use Infrared Saunas

Whether going to the spa to experience an infrared sauna or for those who are lucky enough to have them at home, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure you have the best experience possible. Keep on reading for a few of my best tips:

1. Choose the right temperature: Most infrared saunas range from 100˚F to 150˚F. All people have different tolerances, regardless of how long they have been enjoying saunas. However, if you are new to the infrared sauna game, I’d recommend starting on the lower end of the temperature scale. The goal is to eventually get to 30 minutes of sauna time each session. Instead of going in during maximum heat and staying for 5 minutes, try lower heat for a longer period of time and work your way up. 

2. Drink plenty of water: Infrared saunas, much like traditional saunas, do make you sweat. It’s extremely important for safety reasons to ensure you are properly hydrated before a sauna session. At a minimum, drink a glass of water before entering the sauna and bring water with you inside the sauna. Severe dehydration can be damaging to your body. Even if you are not a big sweater, saunas somehow pull it out of everyone. Don’t skimp on your water intake before any sauna session.

3. Time your sessions: Some people may find it more difficult than others to stay in a sauna for the full 30-minute session. I recommend starting with 10-15 minutes if you are a new infrared sauna user. Timing yourself and adding a minute each session can help your work up to the full length of 30 minutes.

4. Consistency: As is true with everything, consistency is key. In order to start reaching higher temperatures and longer sessions, you must be consistent. This is likely a new sensation for most people, and thus, it is important to allow your body time to get acclimated. I like doing sauna sessions as much as possible, but at least a few times a week. It’s a great addition to yoga since they both help me to center myself and come out feeling truly relaxed. 

Benefits of Infrared Saunas

There are many different benefits to using infrared saunas. Below are just a few that people report experiencing:

  • Better and Deeper Sleep
  • Relaxation
  • Detoxification
  • Weight Loss
  • Sore Muscle and Joint Pain Relief 
  • Better Skin
  • Improved Circulation

While there has not been a ton of scientific research done on the health benefits of saunas, it has been found that there are virtually no downsides to infrared saunas, and most people at a minimum report feeling significantly relaxed. For this reason, hopping in an infrared sauna after an intense workout, or after a long day at work, can greatly help your body to recover. In addition, starting your day with an infrared sauna session can also help to give you clear energy and a beautiful glow.

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