Infrared Sauna and its Benefits

As most big corporate gym members know, a sauna after your workout makes you feel relaxed. The heat relieves those sore muscle symptoms and makes you feel great afterward.

What is an infrared sauna?

Infrared saunas use infrared panels that utilises electromagnetic radiation to produce heat. Of this heat 80% is directly absorbed by your body since electromagnetic radiation heats up tissue before it heats up the air. This principle allows an infrared sauna to operate at lower temperatures (between 48˚C and 60˚C) compared to traditional saunas (between 65˚C and 82˚C) thereby allowing a more comfortable experience to the end-user.

Studies have shown that the benefits of using an infrared sauna includes:
relief from sore muscles
increase recovery from strength-training sessions
relief from joint pain such as arthritis
improved sleep
relaxation
detoxification
weight loss
clear and tighter skin
improved circulation
aid with chronic fatigue syndrome
reduce blood pressure

No negative effects have yet been documented in these studies.

Important points to consider before going for your first sauna session:
• Drink water. Make sure you’re hydrated before going into an infrared sauna. Drink a glass of water before your session. Bring water into the sauna.
• Temperature. A first time user should start at a lower temperature (48˚C.). You can gradually increase the temperature each session until you reach 60˚C.
• Length of time. For first-time users: 10 to 15 minutes. Increase gradually to 20 to 30 minutes. If you stay in too long, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
• Clothing. Most centres will have a dress code for sauna goers which is important to abide by. This will likely include bathing suits or towels covering appropriate areas.
• What to do whilst in the sauna: Relax, read, meditate, listen to music, or socialise with friends.
• After your session is done, it’s suggested that you let your body cool down gradually. Once cooled down, feel free to take a shower. Just make sure you drink plenty of water.
• Most facilities that offer infrared sauna treatments recommend using the sauna three to four days per week. If you are healthy and tolerate the four days with ease, you can consider using the sauna daily.
• Avoid using an infrared sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
• If you feel ill or have a fever, it’s best to wait to use the sauna until you’re feeling better.
• Using an infrared sauna will cause you to sweat a lot, so you may feel lightheaded when you stand up. If this happens, make sure you get up slowly and sit down once you leave the sauna. Drink water immediately after finishing your session and wait for your body to cool down before doing anything else.
• In extreme cases, some people may experience overheating (heat stroke and heat exhaustion) or dehydration.
If you have any health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, are pregnant or are under medical care, get cleared by your doctor before a sauna session.

Sources quoted:
Is an Infrared Sauna Better Than a Traditional Sauna? Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on May 29, 2018 — Written by Sara Lindberg https://www.healthline.com/health/infrared-sauna-benefits#1
Bauer BA. (2017). What is an infrared sauna? Does it have health benefits?
Crinnion WJ. (2011). Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems.
Eisenstadt V. (2018). Personal interview.
Mero A, et al. (2015). Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men.
Merz B. (2015). Sauna use linked to longer life, fewer fatal heart problems.
Soejima Y, et al. (2015). Effects of Waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: A pilot study.