It's that time of year where things start to cool down and I sometimes find myself longing for some heat. The days are shorter, which means a lot less sunshine to boost our spirits (and our vitamin D!). We're also moving into "sick season", and I'm all about finding ways to avoid coming down with anything nasty. This is where my love for the infrared sauna comes in!
Infrared saunas are a healing modality I often recommend to my clients. You can find many claims of health benefits, like these outlined by Sunlighten, a maker of infrared saunas. There hasn't been in-depth research on many of the benefits though, so some may be skeptical. I can say from personal experience, and the experience of my clients', that I definitely notice some of the benefits when I use the infrared sauna throughout the winter months.
Besides warming my body up when it's -20 below, I experience a boost in my mood and my immunity. And it feels so good to sweat out all the junk in my system! Whenever I feel something coming on, or if I have a stuffy nose, the infrared sauna provides relief. It's also a great place to disconnect and catch up on some reading or meditation.
How does an infrared sauna work?
The temp in an infrared sauna is much lower than a traditional sauna. It's usually adjusted between 110-150 degrees and your session is 15-40 minutes. If you've been in a sauna in the past, know that an infrared sauna will feel very different.
These types of saunas use heat and light to create the warmth that penetrates your body and helps you to detox. It's similar to the infrared rays of the sun, which are the healthiest rays. There are near, mid, and far infrared rays and each have different benefits. It can be most beneficial to get the full spectrum, which many infrared saunas have available. Fun fact: these rays are the same type used in neonatal units for premature babies.
Some of the immediate effects you'll notice:
- Lots of sweating: This is how your body detoxes. It can sometimes feel like you're doing a super intense workout even though you're just sitting there. Definitely bring a couple towels with you and water to replenish.
- Increased heart rate: Your body is heating up and your circulation and blood flow are improving, so your heart rate increases slightly as well. It can truly feel like a little workout even though you're not moving.
- Relaxation & decreased stress: This is similar to effects you may get from exercising, but you're relaxing in an infrared sauna instead.
What are a few of the potential benefits?
- Detoxification: All that sweating you'll be doing? It's helping move the toxins stored in your body out through your sweat.
- Pain relief: The heat penetrates your muscles and can provide relief from chronic pain.
- Stress reduction: It's easy for your stress to reduce when you're in a relaxed state. The gentle heat relaxes you and can also improve your sleep.
- Lower blood pressure: Your heart rate and blood flow increase while your blood pressure lowers.
- Skin purification: You can notice glowing skin immediately after detoxing in an infrared sauna because the impurities are pushed out.
- and so much more!
For more info on infrared saunas, benefits, and even some research, check out this article from Dr. Axe or this article on 23 Health Benefits of Saunas, According to Science. And if you want to read about someone's experience in an infrared sauna, you can read this article from the HuffPost.
Feeling enticed? Awaken for Wellness in St. Paul is my favorite place to go for infrared sauna if you're in the Twin Cities area. If you're not, there's likely a holistic practice, yoga studio or spa near you that offers it.
As always, I'm here if you need support for detoxification. It's so important that it's built into many of my healing programs here at Thrive Nutrition.