benefits of saunas

The Benefits of Infrared Saunas

There are a number of different saunas that can be used (or even purchased should you have the space for a home sauna). One of the more recent innovations is that of infrared saunas. There are many companies that supply and fit infrared saunas and if you are thinking of investing in a sauna then they will likely to be top or towards the top of the list of the types that you might be considering.

The conventional sauna typically relies on steam to provide a hot and humid environment in which you can relax; the heating method is primarily by conduction and convection. An infrared sauna uses infrared energy to warm the skin through radiant heating.
     Infrared sauna

Advantages of Infrared Saunas

Many of the benefits of having the standard humid hot air sauna apply as well to the infrared saunas. People feel that muscle tightness and stiffness is reduced during infrared sauna therapy and there are those who maintain their arthritic pain is lower. Also just the action of taking time out to sit and relax can be a great way to ease the stresses of everyday life.

Other benefit associated with improved skin quality and tone have also been reported. A specific example is that pores can become unclogged which can improve the appearance of acne affected skin.

A specific benefit of some types of infrared sauna is that they may be more tolerable to some people who struggle to cope with the temperature and humidity of a steam based sauna. Whilst the body is heated by the infrared rays, the air in the sauna is not heated although this is most relevant for far-infrared saunas which tend to be more expensive that low or medium-infrared heaters.

(Misleading) Claims about the Benefits of Infrared Saunas

If you read any of the promotional material produced by suppliers of infrared saunas you may be bombarded with information about how these saunas will transform your life. You will lose weight and "toxins" will be liberated from your body through your sweat. Although these claims are often made about the use of conventional steam-based saunas, they tend to be amplified by infrared sauna suppliers; there will be more detoxification and you will lose more weight.

Please take these assertions with a grain of salt.
Most of the 'toxins' that enter our body via the atmosphere, contact or in our food are dealt with effectively and efficiently through normal liver/kidney function. Toxins are not eliminated through your sweat. Even if you sweat more in an infrared sauna, the degree of detoxification will likely be the same compared with the conventional variety (ie zero).

You will lose weight in a sauna but this is only sweat which will be promptly regained through drinking water. Claims that the action of being in a sauna will result in you burning calories in a similar manner to that of exercising are highly questionable. Calculations often put forward about how many calories are being burned are usually based on the latent heat of vaporisation of water evaporating from the skin. However, the source of the energy required to do this does not come from the body but from the actual heat absorbed from the sauna itself. There is minimal generation of body heat and burning of calories.

Infrared saunas are considered to be safe and standard precautions about the use of saunas should be applied. No specific adverse reactions or effects have generally been reported.

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