There’s something about getting your sweat on through exercise that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Most people think a good sweat session can only be associated with really intense exercise, like cycling or running or even weightlifting, but that isn’t necessarily true.
By using an infrared sauna, you can also get the benefits of sweating it out without going through the intense exercise of running or cycling. Infrared saunas have been known to have many benefits and can enhance the quality of life for those who use them.
Unfortunately, these saunas are not the right option for everyone and there are some people who may be warned to not use them at all. Is using an infrared sauna right for you? What benefits can you expect and how will know if it’s not working for you? Here’s what you need to know about using an infrared sauna.
First, What Is an Infrared Sauna Exactly?
These saunas are a little different from other saunas in that they produce dry heat, as opposed to using steam for more heat that is humid.
If you’ve ever been in a sauna, chances are it was a sauna that uses an electric sauna heater as that has been the most popular option for personal and commercial saunas for years.
These infrared ones, however, work a little differently in how they heat. They use electromagnetic radiation coming from infrared lamps, and this works to heat your body directly rather than heating the air around your body. Doing this allows users to experience a more intense sweat but at a lower temperature.
They will heat your core body temperature, and this is thought to penetrate deeper into the body which will help heal deep tissue while promoting detox while sweating through your pores.
How Do You Use an Infrared Sauna?
Most people who use saunas will do so at the gym or health club, maybe even at a spa – the majority of people don’t have a personal sauna in their home. By the way, if you want to experience an infrared sauna at home, you can consider having a portable infrared sauna and infrared sauna blanket.
If you want to try one of these the next time you’re at the gym, it’s important to know that they don’t all work the same. Your gym will post instructions on how to use the one they have, but there are a few general tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience with an infrared sauna.
Whether it’s the first time you’re using one, or the hundredth, making sure you drink enough water is imperative for the body’s health. Try to drink a glass of water before going into your sauna session, and you may even want to bring a bottle of water into the sauna the first couple of times especially if you are sensitive to heat.
Select Your Temperature
Not all saunas run at the same temperature, and they don’t even have to be the same for all users as everyone likes the level of heat a little different.
Typically, saunas run at about 100-150 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want to start at the lower end of that scale if you’ve never been in a sauna before. You can always increase the temperature the next time you use it as you acclimate to it.
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Choose Your Time
For those who aren’t really used to being in a sauna, it’s recommended to stay in for only about 10 or 15 minutes. As you get used to it and you use it more often, you can work up to about 30-minute sessions at a time. Make sure you set the timer so you don’t stay in for too long.
While some people choose to wear bathing suits into the sauna, others may choose to wear nothing at all. What you wear is completely up to you and what you feel comfortable in.
Sessions per Week
The amount of time you spend in the sauna every week will largely depend on your individual needs and health. As you are starting out, start slow with one or two days and see how you feel afterward.
Keep an eye for signs of hydration or being bothered by the heat (that doesn’t go away after a reasonable period of time).
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Benefits of an Infrared Sauna
The benefits experienced by those who use an infrared sauna are actually very similar to the ones reported by using any sauna. If you want to try using an infrared sauna sometime, you may experience the following benefits
It isn’t exactly clear how using a sauna betters your sleep, but people who use one on a regular basis often report getting a night of much more restful sleep and they have more energy during the day. Studies have shown that since a sauna is known to relax its users this helps them fall into a much more restful and peaceful sleep.
If you’re having troubles sleeping at night, using a sauna at the gym can help your body settle down and relax so you may find that you’re sleeping better in no time.
Using the infrared sauna heats your body’s temperature up, and as your body experiences a warmer environment you will get these feelings of relaxation.
When your body warms up, it will naturally relax (and maybe even want to go to sleep a bit). Use this to your advantage and help yourself relax, destress a little.
Since saunas promote sweating with the heat you’re experiencing, this sweat will help to detoxify your body. Sweating will help your body get rid of all the toxins and harmful things in your body that build up over time. It’s very healthy for you to sweat on a regular basis and get all of that out of your system.
Relief from Sore Muscles
When you’re working out on a regular basis, you probably experience at least some muscle soreness. Using an infrared sauna is said to work by heating up your core temperature instead of just the air around you. This will help to reach the deep tissues and give you relief from sore muscles.
Using this infrared sauna may also help provide relief for those who live with arthritis or other joint pain on a regular basis.
As mentioned, using the sauna promotes sweating so your body will get rid of all the toxins in it. The things we eat and drink will be reflected in your skin, so if your diet isn’t great or you eat a lot of processed foods this might really affect the clarity of your skin.
Using a sauna on a regular basis, and sweating more, will better your skin (even without an expensive skincare routine).
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Disadvantages of Using an Infrared Sauna
While those who use a sauna frequently report benefits like increased sleeping and clearer skin, that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for everyone to use.
Just like any kind of treatment, there are pros and cons to using an infrared sauna, and it might not be the right choice for everyone or it may not provide any benefits for some people.
If you’re wondering about the drawbacks of using one of these saunas, here’s a few things you need to know.
Low Blood Pressure
The heat in saunas has been known to lower blood pressure (also known as hypotension) so if you have had issues with your blood pressure in the past (especially low blood pressure) it’s important to think about this before using a sauna.
Of course, talk to your doctor who is treating you for the blood pressure condition to make sure that it’s safe for your to use one of these saunas before you get in.
Being exposed to heat, especially a level of heat you aren’t used to, can cause a little light-headedness in first-time users of these saunas.
Extra heat can sometimes lower your respiration levels, which means less oxygen than normal is getting to your brain and that causes light-headedness. Make sure you are breathing intentionally and keeping your breathing deep and regular while using the sauna.
Prolonged exposure to the heat in these saunas can cause severe dehydration and even heat exhaustion. Due to the fact that these saunas are dry heat, it’s really important to stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after using one.
With this in mind, make sure you know the limitations for you and how long you can stay inside one of them comfortably so that you don’t overheat.
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Using an infrared sauna can definitely bring some refreshing benefits to your life – including better sleep and clearer skin, as well as relieving some of your joint and muscle soreness – but that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for everyone.
Before starting to use a sauna, make sure you have checked in with your doctor to verify it’s the right option for you and there aren’t any big risks in you using one.
Once you’re ok to use one, start with slow, short exposures to the heat and make sure your body can handle it and you feel it’s beneficial for you to keep using one.