Even a short sauna session can provide some tremendous short and long-term benefits. Most notably, you feel refreshed, more energetic, and more relaxed. A good sweat session can also alleviate muscle tension, reduce muscle soreness, and promote well-being. But if you don’t feel comfortable stepping inside a regular sauna or your doctor advises against that, another option can work: an infrared sauna.
Read on to learn precisely what it is, how it differs from a regular sauna, and what are some of its potential benefits.
But First: What Is An Infrared Sauna?
A traditional sauna works by heating the air, causing your body to warm up. As a result, your core body temperature goes up, and you get sweaty, which promotes some of the associated benefits.
An infrared sauna aims to achieve a similar outcome but goes about it differently. Unlike a classic sauna, infrared uses lamps that leverage electromagnetic radiation to warm your body directly. Instead of having to warm the air, these waves hit your body, causing your core body temperature to increase more rapidly, even if the temperature in the cabin isn’t that high.
For reference, the average temperature inside a regular sauna is 70 to 90˚ C, whereas it stays between 48 and 60˚C inside an infrared sauna. Despite achieving similar results, an infrared sauna could be better than a traditional one for some people. For instance, people with medical concerns or those who simply cannot tolerate heat for too long would be better off inside an infrared sauna.
8 Potential Benefits of An Infrared Sauna
One notable benefit of using an infrared sauna is that it promotes relaxation and can ease muscle tension and soreness. As a result, you might find it easier to fall asleep at night and get enough deep rest to feel rejuvenated in the morning.
Other good tactics to improve your sleep include:
- Keeping your bedroom cool (between 16 and 21˚C)
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening
- Doing some relaxing activities before bed (reading a book, meditating, taking a bath, etc.)
Improved Skin Tone
Another benefit of an infrared sauna is that it can improve skin tone and its overall appearance. These effects are possible because the sauna causes your core body temperature to rise, prompting your body to sweat. In addition to flushing out toxins, which we will discuss next, sweating can clean your pores and remove excess oil that can otherwise increase the risk of acne and clogged pores.
Flushes Out Toxins
The third benefit is straightforward. An infrared sauna promotes sweating, allowing your body to flush out toxins more effectively. As a result, you can more effectively eliminate harmful compounds that accumulate in major organs, such as the liver and kidneys, and in fat and skin cells.
Potentially Superior Weight Loss
Weight loss primarily comes down to creating and sustaining a calorie deficit––consuming fewer calories than you burn. Doing so forces your body to break down fat and lean tissue for the remaining energy it needs.
With that said, an infrared sauna can be a valuable tool in your weight loss arsenal. Using a sauna causes you to lose significant amounts of water weight, which results in reduced scale weight. While that doesn’t mean you’ve lost fat, it can be motivating and help you stick with your diet and exercise plan.
Improves Cardiovascular Function
Research suggests that infrared saunas can be used as great tools to improve cardiovascular function, lung capacity, and exercise tolerance. These effects can occur in people with heart or lung-related issues, as well as in healthy individuals.
According to some data, there is fair evidence that regular use of an infrared sauna can improve heart function and normalise blood pressure, both of which play a role in long-term health outcomes.
In addition to promoting a deep, relaxing sensation, infrared saunas can provide pain relief and serve as a natural pain management strategy. Exposure to high temperatures can cause your body to produce and release endorphins, similar to the effects experienced after exercise. Endorphins are opioid hormones that reduce pain perception and often bring about a euphoric feeling, often referred to as a runner’s high. Fortunately, you don’t have to run to experience these benefits.
Could Support Wound Healing
Infrared sauna therapy could potentially support wound healing by speeding up the entire process. More specifically, infrared light can affect the body at the cellular level, up-regulating specific processes.
According to some research, infrared light, such as that used in an infrared sauna, can impact mitochondria and promote tissue regeneration for quicker healing.
Using an infrared sauna could positively impact your cardiovascular system thanks to its ability to encourage blood circulation.
First, exposing the body to higher temperatures can cause blood vessels to dilate, making it easier for blood to flow. Such effects can lead to a natural reduction in blood pressure, leading to better cardiovascular outcomes down the road.
Second, infrared light that warms up the skin can stimulate cutaneous blood circulation, which is one bodily mechanism for controlling its temperature. According to some data, sitting in a sauna can cause a similar increase in heart rate to that experienced during low-intensity exercise, such as a light jog in the park.
While we certainly need more research before concluding, infrared saunas appear quite beneficial. Most notably, such a sauna would allow everyone to experience benefits, even if they don’t have the tolerance to expose themselves to high temperatures. n addition to being more tolerable, an infrared sauna can boost your well-being, raise your energy levels, and provide direct health benefits.