What Is an Infrared Sauna?
An infrared sauna is similar to a regular sauna, in that it uses heat to raise an individual’s core body temperature, causing an increase in heart rate, blood vessel dilation, and increased sweating.
All these effects combine to cause an increase in blood circulation, and many positive health benefits, along with creating a hot, relaxing environment.
An infrared sauna uses light to create heat. This type of sauna is also sometimes referred to as a far-infrared sauna, since the infrared light waves fall “far” on the light spectrum.
Infrared radiation (FIR) cannot be seen by the human eye, since it is an invisible form of electromagnetic energy. Instead, the body experiences infrared light energy as radiant heat, which can penetrate up to 1.5 inches into the skin. The wavelengths of light from infrared saunas impact the bonds between molecules in cells, causing therapeutic effects.
Infrared Sauna Vs Traditional Sauna
While both traditional saunas and infrared saunas are great for heating up, sweating, and detoxifying the body, the two saunas achieve these goals in different ways. Both types of saunas have their benefits, but infrared sauna typically allow users to stay in longer and retain more body heat during the duration of their stay.
The Way They Heat
A traditional sauna uses heat to warm the air, which warms the body. An infrared sauna uses infrared light to directly heat the body from within and raise its core temperature, as opposed to heating the air around the body.
In an infrared sauna, less heat energy is lost to heating the air, with about 20 percent of the heat working to heat the air and the other 80 percent works to directly heat your body. This method of heat dispersion safely increases core body temperature.
Additionally, there are differences in temperature between the two types of saunas. An infrared sauna operates at a lower temperature (usually between 120˚ F and 140°F) than a traditional sauna, which is typically set between 150°F and 180°F. This lower temperature allows you to stay inside the sauna for a longer period and enjoy its effects.
Duration of Stay
While the duration of stay in a sauna will depend on a variety of factors, such as size of sauna, previous use of saunas, health of visitor, and temperature of sauna, in general a person can stay in an infrared sauna for a longer duration than in a traditional sauna. In fact, individuals that are unable to tolerate the high temperature of a regular sauna are often able to use an infrared sauna due to its lower temperature, benefitting from its use.
People have been using saunas for centuries to find relief from pain, discomfort, and to treat all sorts of health conditions and ailments. The health benefits of infrared sauna therapy are similar to those of using a traditional sauna, including:
- Weight loss
- Relief from sore muscles
- Relief from joint pain such as arthritis
- Improved circulation
- Reduce blood pressure
- Relief from chronic fatigue syndrome
While it might seem like there is a laundry list of things an infrared sauna can help with, there has been clinical research that shows how the heat, infrared light, and relaxing nature of infrared saunas work to reduce health issues.
Infrared light treatment has been shown to provide pain relief and condition improvement during treatment of patients that have Rheumatoid Arthritis, without enhancing disease activity or exacerbating any side effects of the condition.
In another study, infrared sauna treatment showed clinic advantages in the treatments of patients with advanced heart failure. In fact, infrared sauna treatment has been helpful in decreasing cardiovascular risk factors, normalizing blood pressure, and treating congestive heart failure
Finally, there has been some success with the use of infrared saunas as a way to treat individuals with chronic kidney disease.
Skin and Healing Benefits
In addition to the internal health benefits of infrared sauna therapy, infrared saunas can also help with improving skin and decrease the healing time needed to heal wounds and scars. As the largest organ in the body and the way that infrared light permeated the body, the skin benefits the most from infrared sauna treatment.
Infrared sauna is a great way to detoxify the body on a cellular level while aiding cell health, boosting muscle recovery and injury healing, and ensuring clearer, tighter skin.
Infrared radiation has been shown to have positive effects on premature aging skin, such as wrinkles, rough texture, and hyperpigmentation.
This type of treatment has beneficial effects on skin texture and the decrease of wrinkles, since it increases collagen and elastin contents. Skin treatments with infrared radiation (including infrared saunas) are effective and safe in the improvement of the appearance and texture of photo-aged skin.
In addition to skin appearance, infrared light can also help speed up and improve the natural healing process for wounds and injuries. While a traditional sauna has health benefits, an infrared sauna is more effective at helping heal skin wounds, scars, wrinkles, and hyperpigmented spots.
Some studies on athletes have shown faster healing with heat, so infrared saunas are a great way to speed along the healing process, when used in conjunction with proper nutrition and electrolyte reuptake, sleep, and massage or chiropractic care.
Stress Relief Benefits
In addition to the measurable health benefits of infrared sauna therapy, infrared saunas can also aid in relaxation, stress relief, promoting better sleep and establishing an overall positive routine for well-being.
Loosen up stiff or tight muscles, relax in a soothing heat, reduce any joint pain or soreness, and spend some time by yourself for quit or tranquil reflection.
Here at Elite Wellness, we use an infrared sauna that features eight Low EMF heating panels, a LED display panel, and Bluetooth capabilities for soothing music and light during your time in the sauna.
For people that enjoy the heat from the sun or tanning beds but want to avoid UV rays that can cause skin damage, wrinkles, and even cancer, infrared saunas are a much safer and healthier way to achieve that warming, soothing feeling.
Likewise, infrared saunas can be extremely beneficial for individuals who suffer from season affective disorder, or just need to warm up during cooler months. Infrared saunas not only warm the body, they can also help boost mood and offer stress relief.
Infrared Sauna Safety
Infrared heat is completely safe and healthy for everyone. This type of light is naturally occurring, without any of skin damage of harmful UV rays associated with unprotected sunlight.
There are no reports of negative effects from infrared saunas, apart from normal safety precautions that are recommended for any sauna experience. Since a sauna does heat the body, it’s important to be aware of risks of dehydration, overheating, and possible interactions with other medications or health treatments.
In order to lessen any risks of dehydration, drink plenty of water before entering an infrared sauna and get out of the sauna if you feel dizzy or lightheaded. First time visitors should limit their time in the infrared sauna to shorter stays of 15-20 minutes, or even less so they can observe the effects on their body and get used to being in this type of sauna.
The potential health benefits of infrared sauna therapy are absolutely worth trying the treatment out for yourself, provided there are no health complications that would prevent you from doing so.
Try Infrared Sauna
At Elite Wellness, health and wellness is our number one priority. We offer an interactive environment geared towards athletes and anyone looking to improve their quality of living.
Stop by our Ashburn, Virginia location today and try out our infrared sauna. Our 3-person infrared sauna causes physiological reactions similar to moderate exercise, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate. We provide you with a towel to use during your infrared sauna session and allow you to stay up to 45 minutes in a private infrared sauna room.
Book an infrared sauna session online now!