Infrared saunas have increasingly grown in wide-spread popularity!
Many top celebrities swear by the benefits of infrared saunas, like Kim Kardashian who uses one for weight loss and Jennifer Aniston to keep her skin looking ageless.
When asked about her wellness routine in W Magazine, Gwyneth Paltrow quoted: “For me, wellness has always been about a lot of sleep, hydration, exercise, sweating (I sit in an infrared sauna daily), walking and eating nutrient-dense foods.”
Saunas may be all the rage right now, but the concept of sweating to benefit our health has been around for centuries. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist: “Sweating inside a heated space was practiced by many cultures from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Russians, as well as the Native Americans.”
Regular Sweat VS. Sauna Sweat
So sweating is good for me– why do I have to sit in a hot box to do it? After all, we live in the south y’all– it’s hot. I can step outside and start sweating in five minutes. Can’t I just take a jog outside versus sweating in an infrared sauna?
Amazingly, it’s not the same!
Both type of sweats were studied and analyzed…guess what they found?
The sweat of people using a far infrared sauna contained cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals (such as mercury, aluminum, and arsenic), nicotine, sulfuric acid, ammonia, and other undesirable elements!
In conclusion, the benefits from sweating in an infrared sauna are AMAZING and detoxifying!
Infrared Saunas VS. Steam Saunas
What’s the real difference?!
Traditional (steam) saunas use extreme convection temperatures to heat the body outside in whereas infrared saunas use infrared waves to heat the body inside out.
In simplest language, it’s like comparing ovens to microwaves.
Do traditional saunas get much hotter? Yes, but how hot the air gets is not as important as how hot your body gets.
Are the benefits pretty much the same? Yes, except our core body temperature takes a lot longer to activate heat shock proteins (which boosts our immune response and makes healthy cells stronger!) in a traditional versus infrared sauna.
And let’s be honest… wouldn’t we all prefer 30 minutes in an infrared sauna at 140 degrees versus that same amount of time in a 200 degree traditional sauna if the benefits are the same?
This brings us to the question: what are the main health benefits infrared saunas are touting?
Let’s take a look at the top five!
1. HEART HEALTH
Good heart health starts with good circulation right??
According to Leigh Erin Connelly, M.D.: “Symptoms of poor circulation run the gamut, from brain fog, numbness and burning or tingling sensations in toes or fingers to pain in the legs when walking, shortness of breath, fatigue and chilliness, especially in the extremities.”
According to one controlled study, using the far infrared sauna for just 15 minutes every day, followed by a 30 minute bed rest with a blanket for 2 weeks, has shown to decrease the cardiac size in Chronic Heart Failure patients.
According to Dr. Junger: “Infrared saunas can elevate the heart rate similarly to cardiovascular exercise, so expect to burn off anywhere between 200-600 calories per session.“
2. HORMONE REGULATION
Cortisol is our main stress hormone. Think elevated blood pressure, rapid heart beat, anxiety… all of these are a result of elevated cortisol. The long-term activation of this stress-response system can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This is when our hormones become a rollercoaster– and not the fun kind.
This is why it’s so vital to the health of our hormones that repeated IR sauna therapy has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, according to one study.
In addition, there was a different study examining diabetic mice who were exposed to whole-body hyperthermia three times a week over a 3-month period. This is akin to what happens in a sauna. Over a 3-month period, these diabetic mice experienced a 31% reduction in insulin levels. Not only that but they also found blood glucose levels to have significantly decreased!
3. CHRONIC PAIN RELIEF
Systemic thermal therapy, as seen in a sauna, has been studied to be a promising method for the treatment of chronic pain.
Here are just some of the conditions in which infrared sauna therapy has been proven successful:
Low Back Pain
The pain scores of 40 patients with chronic low back pain of over six years fell from 6.9 out of 10 to 3 out of 10 after using infrared therapy.
One study shows that 13 female patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia experienced a significant reduction in pain (11%-70%) after just one 15-minute infrared sauna session set at 140 degrees (much cooler than a steam sauna) and the effect of infrared sauna therapy became stable after 10 treatments.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis
Another study observed 17 rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis patients, who were treated for a four-week period with a series of eight infrared sauna sessions. Pain, stiffness, and fatigue all showed clinical improvements during the 4-week treatment period.
[ PLEASE NOTE: the infrared sauna should NOT be used for acute injuries of any kind, like a sprain or strain, as heat will make you flare up and feel worse! Ice / cryotherapy is recommended. ]
4. MENTAL HEALTH
When the topic of bettering our mental health is broached we typically picture counseling, journaling, or prayer and meditation to name a few… but infrared sauna therapy?! The studies are here to prove it!
One study investigated the effects of four weeks of sauna sessions on 28 patients diagnosed with mild depression. Their scores on somatic complaints, relaxation, and hunger all improved. WOW!
Another study concluded that “a negative mood, including anxiety, depression and fatigue, and the performance status significantly improved” for 10 patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after using an infrared sauna for four weeks. (Take note that in Japan infrared sauna therapy is called “Waon therapy”, which is how it’s worded in this study.)
On a more personal note, one of my clients privately messaged me the morning after her sauna appointment, exclaiming: “My attention span and mood is so much better today! It’s so wild. I’ve been reading up on it and it’s amazing– the benefits!”
5. GLOWING SKIN
When I was in naturopathic school, we all became familiar with the “BULLS” acronym to remember the five different drainage pathways in our body.
- B — BOWELS
- U — URINE
- L — LIVER
- L — LUNGS
- S — SKIN
Out of all these pathways our body detoxes, the skin is the largest organ in our body. This is why sweating to eliminate toxins through our skin is so important to keep it radiant and healthy.
One study shows that infrared waves can even improve psoriasis and speed up wound healing due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
With the powerful combo of healing infrared waves, sweating to shed off dead skin cells, and increased circulation to the skin, that post-sauna glow is instantly visible!
Although the sauna is safe for most populations, there are a few reasons that would make a session contraindicated, such as:
- Wearing a heart pacemaker or other electrical implant
- Fever or infection
- Recent heart attack / uncontrolled high blood pressure
- History of dizziness / fainting / heat sensitivity
- History of seizures
- Bleeding disorders
- Acute strains / sprains
- Open cuts or burns
Make the Most of Your Sauna Experience
Before the Sauna
Be sure to HYDRATE well, not just with water, but with electrolytes low in sugar or trace minerals. In Dr. James DiNicolantonio’s book The Mineral Fix, which I’m slowly reading through myself, he lists the five most important minerals lost in sweat, which are:
Power up your detox by booking a Whole Body Vibration session and ionic foot detox to enhance your circulation and lymphatic movement beforehand.
If you’re on Dr. Jess’s Kill, Bind, Sweat protocol, take your “kill” supplements, wait an hour to take your binder (e.g., activated charcoal, diatomaceous earth– I personally like Advanced TRS), then immediately enter the sauna.
During the Sauna
It’s best to enter a sauna in as little clothing as possible, such as a bathing suit or athletic wear. We also have a cotton robe to offer if you’d prefer. It’s encouraged to bring your own water bottle and towel into your session, and you are welcome to bring your cellphone, but we highly recommend putting it on airplane mode while listening to music or podcasts to eliminate EMF exposure.
This is also the perfect time to read, meditate on Scripture, and practice breathing exercises while your body rests, recharges, and resets.
After the Sauna
Remineralize your body (I like CT Minerals by Cellcore, because it’s 100% absorbable, with over 69 plant-derived trace minerals! Use my code: 0mtLnNGQ), drink coconut water and/or make a smoothie, and make sure to shower off the toxins released as soon as possible! This is also the prime time to receive a massage, since your muscles are relaxed, as well as to stretch or foam roll.
The Overall Result
Infrared sauna therapy is an age-old tradition and a scientifically proven means to eliminate toxins and improve immunity. Take back your health and book a session by itself or, as we highly recommend, in combination with our Whole Body Vibration machine and ionic foot cleanse for a powerful three step detox in our private wellness room!