Saunas have been around for centuries. They can be found at spas and gyms and you can even have one installed at home. And thanks to technology, infrared saunas have stolen the show. A traditional sauna is also called a “sweat bath.” It can get quite hot, reaching anywhere from 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat can be dry or wet and involves using steam.1
Many people use saunas for stress relief. It is even used to treat inflammatory conditions like joint pain, bronchitis, and asthma. Regular use can reduce blood pressure, offering a natural remedy for hypertension.2 Traditionally, saunas pour water over hot rocks to make steam.3 More modern saunas use wood stoves or heaters to crank up the temps.4 However, infrared saunas are totally different. Here’s the breakdown of what they do.
What Are Infrared Saunas?
Infrared saunas use infrared warmers. They reach a maximum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so they’re not as intense as traditional saunas. They offer a more comfortable experience, too. Despite the lower temperature, bathers will sweat more because of the way infrared heat penetrates the skin. To add to these, you get 5 amazing benefits.
Benefits Of Infrared Saunas
1. Infrared Saunas Improve Heart Health
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. It’s responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths.5 Needless to say, heart health is a major concern. And infrared sauna therapy can help here.
According to JAMA Internal Medicine, an infrared sauna can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. It can even increase heart rate, helping your body improve cardiac output. In fact, it’s linked to a lower risk of sudden cardiac death and mortality from heart disease. The more frequent a sauna is used, the better the protection.6
2. Infrared Saunas Relieve Pain
Infrared saunas have been used to treat chronic pain.7 In a 2009 study in Clinical Rheumatology, infrared sauna therapy helped patients with rheumatoid arthritis and even decreased their levels of fatigue. Most importantly, infrared saunas didn’t cause any adverse side effects.8
3. Infrared Saunas Increase Antioxidant Activity
Eating antioxidant-rich foods is one thing, but infrared sauna therapy will make it better. The saunas temporarily promote oxidative stress – in a good way! This behavior activates antioxidant protection, enhances cell response, and stabilizes membranes.9 Think of it like a practice drill for your body.
4. Infrared Saunas Help With Exercise Recovery
There’s a reason why many gyms have saunas. In a 2015 study, infrared sauna therapy was found to help the neuromuscular system recover after intense endurance exercise. The heat penetrates deeper than normal saunas, giving your muscles maximum benefits.10
5. Infrared Saunas Improve Wound Healing
Sauna therapy is also known for its skin-related benefits. After all, sweating profusely opens up pores and boosts circulation.11 The saunas, however, can also do wonders for wound healing. In a NASA-based study, researchers discovered that our mitochondria are highly receptive to infrared light. Therefore, infrared saunas can improve cell regeneration and tissue growth.12 It increases skin cell growth by 155 to 171 percent!13
Remember, before enjoying a sauna, drink lots of water and always use clean towels. Only use a sauna if you’re in good health. To be safe, double check with your doctor.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑11||Crinnion, Walter J. “Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems.” Alternative Medicine Review 16, no. 3 (2011): 215-226.|
|↑2||Hannuksela, Minna L., and Samer Ellahham. “Benefits and risks of sauna bathing.” The American journal of medicine 110, no. 2 (2001): 118-126.|
|↑4, ↑7||Beever, Richard. “Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors.” Canadian family physician 55, no. 7 (2009): 691-696.|
|↑5||Heart Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑6||Laukkanen, Tanjaniina, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, and Jari A. Laukkanen. “Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events.” JAMA internal medicine 175, no. 4 (2015): 542-548.|
|↑8||Oosterveld, Fredrikus GJ, Johannes J. Rasker, Mark Floors, Robert Landkroon, Bob van Rennes, Jan Zwijnenberg, Mart AFJ van de Laar, and Gerard J. Koel. “Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.” Clinical rheumatology 28, no. 1 (2009): 29.|
|↑9||Khodarev, V. N., N. L. Zhemchuzhnova, E. V. Olempieva, and N. V. Kuz’menko. “The influence of general infrared sauna on the antioxidant systems in the blood of volunteers.” Voprosy kurortologii, fizioterapii, i lechebnoi fizicheskoi kultury 5 (2012): 10-13.|
|↑10||Mero, Antti, Jaakko Tornberg, Mari Mäntykoski, and Risto Puurtinen. “Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men.” SpringerPlus 4, no. 1 (2015): 321.|
|↑12||Whelan, Harry T., Robert L. Smits, Ellen V. Buchmann, Noel T. Whelan, and Scott G. Turner. “Effect of Light-emitting Diode Irradiation on Wound Healing.”|
|↑13||Whelan, Harry T., Robert L. Smits, Ellen V. Buchmann, Noel T. Whelan, and Scott G. Turner. “Effect of Light-emitting Diode Irradiation on Wound Healing.”|