For roughly the last 2,000 years, mankind has been enjoying the physical and social benefits of spending time in saunas – both ‘wet’ and ‘dry.’ When you take out the humidity, delete the heat and add infrared to the mix, you’ve got the ‘next gen’ therapy – the infrared sauna – and an excellent way to give physical and mental health an almost instant boost.
What’s so cool about the radiant heat of infrared saunas is that it doesn’t super-heat the room – instead, it warms the body from the inside out, penetrating the skin more deeply than traditional saunas, and enhancing the restorative and relaxing effects of the heat. Infrared’s radiant heat is also a lot more comfortable for those who need to avoid excessively hot or humid environments, but still need/want to get their sweat on. (And sweat you will!)
As the cooler months approach, now’s the perfect time to get into an infrared sauna groove and enjoy this good-for-you treat meets treat-ment, that’s great for boosting immunity, managing blood pressure, boosting circulation, and cultivating relaxation. Here are four sauna benefits to inspire your new seasonal routine:
Get sick less this season
Sure, infrared saunas are fun and relaxing, but more importantly, they help boost immunity by raising the body’s core temperature, usually by about 2-3 degrees. With that comes plenty of toxin-flushing sweating as well as blood vessel dilation, which enhances circulation and oxygen delivery to your whole body. As your body temperature goes up, it stimulates production of white blood cells, rallying them to fight off the viral and/or bacterial invaders that are making you feel unwell. So when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold of flu, hit the infrared sauna to rally your body’s natural defenses.
Boost metabolism – and drop blood pressure.
Unless you’re pumping iron when you’re in the infrared sauna room, your time there won’t make you fitter or give you a movie star physique, but it may help you burn off a few calories, by some estimates upwards of 300 or more per session. How this happens is unclear, but studies suggest that raising the core body temperature can give a light boost to a sluggish metabolism. More importantly though, there’s evidence indicating that infrared can help normalize blood pressure, assist in the treatment of congestive heart failure, speed muscle recovery and ease chronic pain, good news for those dealing with these assorted health challenges.
Tame your pain – and soothe sore muscles
Got aches, pains, stiff or sore muscles? Infrared sessions can help ease them all. For decades, pro athletes, Olympians and sports medicine practitioners have managed pain, reduced injury-induced inflammation and speeded healing by using infrared to the stimulate blood flow needed to enhance muscle and joint repair. With infrared sauna sessions, we non-elite athletic types can get back in the game sooner in a healthy way, instead of relying on potentially dangerous anti-inflammatories, steroids or pain meds.
Relax – and get in the infrared groove
To get started on all the relief and blissed-out relaxation of a good, detoxifying sweat, try signing up for a session or two at a day spa, resort facility or local infrared sauna studio, like NYC’s HigherDOSE or LA’s Shape House. If cost and space aren’t an issue, home versions, like Clearlight Infrared Sauna, are another option (prices start around $2,000), Before you sign on though, be sure to get the OK from your doctor before diving into a regular sauna routine.
Don’t forget to re-hydrate your body with high-quality electrolyte-rich water after each sauna session to replenish the minerals lost while you sweat. For increased support, add Collagen Refresher to any beverage to nourish bones, skin, and connective tissue from the inside out.