If you’ve always wanted a sauna but were intimidated by the high electrical bills and intense temperatures generated by traditional saunas, you should investigate infrared saunas. They use a new technology with substantial advantages and they are increasingly popular.
The idea of a sauna, of course, is relaxation and rejuvenation. Traditional saunas do that by generating steam and high temperatures between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared saunas generate heat like the soothing heat of the sun, only without harmful ultraviolet rays. Technically, infrared is electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than visible light and shorter than radio waves. Infrared penetrates the skin about an inch and a half deep and heats it directly. As a result, infrared saunas run at only 110 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but generate the same relaxation and health benefits, and then some.
For example, did you know that infrared saunas can offer pain relief as tissues are heated, blood vessels dilate? The result is a reduction in muscle spasms, stiffness in joints and general aches and pains from such conditions as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Similarly, the increased blood circulation in the skin can improve its elasticity, texture, and tone. Studies also show that if muscle tissue is stretched while heated, it retains the extra elasticity much longer. Amazing though it may sound, heat therapy in an infrared sauna even improves cardiovascular conditioning by increasing heart rate as the body attempts to cool itself via sweating. This can even have a positive impact on high blood pressure. This same cardiovascular workout, resulting in sweating, also burns calories. A single infrared sauna session can burn the equivalent in calories of running two to three miles. Although there are many reasons to own a sauna, weight loss is an added bonus.
In terms of infrared sauna health benefits, perhaps the most important is the detoxification that occurs as the deep heat penetration helps remove toxins stored in fat cells. Most people do not know that our skin is actually also our largest organ, acting very much like a third kidney. In fact, recent research suggests that individuals exposed to carcinogenic toxins may well benefit from infrared sauna therapy, as it helps flush out harmful substances.
Firefighters, the often-unsung heroes in our daily lives, are an excellent example. Few people know that firefighter health risks go well beyond getting wounded while working in burning buildings. Smoke inhalation and exposure to noxious chemicals and a large variety of carcinogenics can have devastating long-term effects. In fact, firefighters are at a far greater risk of developing cancer from exposure than the general population.
For a firefighter, detoxification can be a life-saving regimen, and again infrared saunas can help. In addition to some researchers’ belief that infrared therapy can stimulate our bodies’ immune system, tumor cells are thought to have less tolerance to heat than healthy cells. And infrared saunas’ ability to detox the body by flushing out toxins stored in the skin helps get rid of residuals from exposure to diesel exhaust, chloroform, soot, styrene, benzene and carcinogenic heavy metals. Infrared saunas can also be beneficial in burn care, another professional firefighter hazard.
Be it detox and ridding your body of harmful chemicals, getting a good workout, or simply seeking deep, soothing relaxation, infrared saunas are a remarkably effective and beneficial means to good health.