Sauna therapy has been used for hundreds of years to improve both physical and mental health and well-being. Today’s modern version is called infrared sauna, or a dry sauna.
What is an infrared sauna?
An infrared sauna, or dry sauna, uses a smaller space and produces heat faster than a traditional sauna. Infrared saunas use infrared technology to emit infrared radiant heat, which heats the body rather than the surrounding air. This type of heat is instantly absorbed by the body and raises the body’s core temperature.
The heating method of an infrared sauna comes from two sources: ceramic rods and carbon panels:
- Ceramic rods utilize extremely high heat from small glass rods built into the sauna walls to heat the sauna, causing some parts of the body to get more heat exposure than others. Note this can cause possible hot spots and burning on the body.
- Carbon panels produce a more even heat than ceramic rods.
Are there different types of infrared saunas?
Yes. The two types are:
- Far Infrared Sauna – uses Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and was first used in 1950, the same time electric saunas were being created. A far infrared sauna uses a type of energy that is naturally occurring and is produced by a process called “direct light conversion.”
- Near Lamp Infrared Sauna – uses heat lamps as a direct light and heat source. The light emitted is similar to sunlight and warms the body like exposure to sunlight does.
What are the benefits of using an infrared sauna?
Deep tissue repair, treating injuries that require heat therapy (such as arthritis), increasing circulation and soothing the muscles after a workout are just some of the benefits of using an infrared sauna. Both the far infrared and near lamp infrared saunas offer deeper detoxification since the light penetrates the skin more deeply.
For those especially interested in beauty benefits, infrared saunas are incredible for detoxification. Whether you sweat naturally or inside a sauna, your sweat helps remove the toxins that have accumulated in your liver and skin. Saunas also help clear acne since the skin is cleansed of pore-clogging impurities, dead skin cells and makeup.
However, one misconception is that infrared saunas can be used for weight loss. While you can burn extra calories and lose water weight through the increased level of sweating, by no means should sauna usage be a substitute for some healthy exercise. To burn calories, get moving!