The Benefits of Infrared Saunas vs Traditional Saunas: Why Health Gurus are Hopping on This New Trend
- Infrared sauna use is one of the latest health trends making a wave in the world of wellness.
- These saunas use infrared light rays to heat your body directly, rather than heating the air around you to bring your core temperature up.
- Fans of infrared saunas claim a wide range of health benefits, many of which could offer a boost to those preparing for surgery.
Here at Mend Well, we’re all about getting healthy before your procedure so you can go under the knife strong and recover quickly. And, lucky for us, that means we get to dive-deep into some pretty exciting health trends. Today, then, we’re talking all about the benefits of infrared saunas as compared to traditional saunas. Get the ice-water ready—things are heating up on the blog today!
What is an infrared sauna and how is it different from a traditional sauna?
An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses invisible light to create heat, rather than using warmth to create heat. Rather than heating the air around you with warmth (like in a traditional sauna), infrared light rays penetrate your skin and your skin perceives them as heat. This heats your body directly, rather than heating the air around you to heat your body.
Because of the light’s unique ability to penetrate your skin, it can heat your core temperature to around 103 degrees Fahrenheit, while keeping the air around you at a cool (ha! ) 120-140 degrees. Traditional hot-rock saunas heat the air around you to 180 degrees, which can make staying in them for an extended period of time more difficult. Because of this, many people tout more tolerable temperatures as one of the major benefits of infrared saunas.
What is infrared sauna light?
Infrared rays are one of the sun’s invisible rays (while the colors of the rainbow are the sun’s visible rays, infrared and ultraviolet light are the sun’s invisible rays). You can’t see the light from the infrared lamps (typically, the lamps are in the form of panels on the inside of the sauna walls) while you’re sitting in an infrared sauna, but you’ll definitely feel it heating up your body.
What are the benefits of infrared saunas?
Sauna-lovers swear by the benefits of infrared saunas, which, according to mindbodygreen.com, include:
- Detoxification: Sweating is a surefire way to eliminate toxins and, because the infrared rays penetrate your skin up to three inches, you sweat much more, eliminating up to seven times as many toxins as you would in a traditional sauna.
- Relaxation: Heat generated from infrared saunas helps your muscles to relax and works to relieve tension in your body.
- Pain Relief: Infrared saunas can decrease painful inflammation by improving your circulation.
- Weight Loss: Because your body has to work to cool itself down, you can burn around 400-600 calories in a single 30-minute infrared sauna session, according to LiveStrong.com.
- Improved Circulation: As your core temperature increases, so too will your circulation. A Japanese study of 49 people with congestive heart failure found that infrared saunas increased the amount of blood pumped to their heart.
- Skin Purification: Ever notice how dewy your skin is after a sauna session at the spa? The same phenomenon happens after an infrared sauna session. Sweating out the body’s toxins leads to cleansed pores and healthier, happier skin.
PRO TIP – Be sure that you are hydrating before and after your sauna session! You will lose fluids during an extended sweat.
How do the benefits of infrared saunas relate to surgery?
If you have an upcoming surgery scheduled, the benefits of infrared saunas can be a great way to help rid your body of toxins or even just treat yourself to some much-needed rest and relaxation before your procedure. We especially love infrared saunas for after surgery, though, if your doctor signs off on this. Athletes and others swear by using infrared saunas after orthopedic surgery, as it’s one of the only ways they can stay “active” by burning calories and working up a sweat when on crutches or in a sling! Plus, while the research on this one is minimal, a number of infrared sauna users claim their time in the sauna helps wounds heal quicker (and we say it’s worth a try).
Overall, while the experience and benefits of infrared saunas will vary for each individual, treating yourself to a nice sweat session in a relaxing environment isn’t a bad way to test out this new, far-reaching trend! (Someone pass the lavender spray, please.)