Most of us already know you must sweat to burn those calories and cleanse the body of toxins, but if a person is unable to exercise, what then? How can they work up enough of a sweat to do them any good at all? According to its faithful fans, infrared heat has many more health benefits to it than simply dropping excess weight. Europe and Asia have been enjoying its benefits for years now, and now finally Infrared therapy is beginning to make its way across the U.S.
When the body is exposed to radiant energy (infrared), your core temperature rises, not the air you breathe, and this brings on a healthy sweat. Naturally, there are those who haven’t tried it yet who wonder how something so easy could be so beneficial, and according to all the data gathered on this subject so far, doubters are in for a pleasant surprise.
What’s the Difference Between Traditional Saunas and Infrared?
Specifically, traditional saunas bring sweat by heating the air around you while infrared (aka far-infrared sauna) does so by raising the body’s core temperature. It’s called “far” simply because of where the infrared waves hit the light spectrum, and it works its miracle by penetrating skin cells and warming them from the inside out. Infrared produces the same results at a lower temperature than a traditional sauna and is therefore an excellent idea for anyone who can’t tolerate the higher heat of traditional sauna therapy long enough to do them any good.
Infrared and Your Health
Sweating to get well is not a new idea. This type of therapy goes all the way back to ancient Eastern cultures who already understood the best way to cleanse the body of toxins that brought illness was to sweat it out. From rooms heated by an open fire pit to a modern infrared “pod,” it’s safe to say methodology may have changed over the last few thousand years but the basic idea and need for this kind of therapy hasn’t.
Detox wouldn’t be possible without a lot of sweat, every drop that comes out carries its own load of toxins with it. Comparisons between traditional and infrared saunas were made and it is a verified fact that infrared allows you to eliminate approximately seven times more the amount of toxins than traditional saunas do. The more heat you can take, the more you sweat, the bigger the benefits get.
- Lose weight. When infrared increases the inner core temp, the heart rate rises with it as if you had just finished exercising. As the body works to lower core temp it burns calories and off comes the weight. In an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association it is said that a single 30-minute session with infrared burns approximately 600 calories.
- Pain relief. Infrared heat eases stiff, sore muscles and inflamed joints by increasing circulation.
- Improved circulation. As infrared brings up your core temp, circulation increases. Regular sessions will stimulate blood flow as well as improve blood pressure and muscle
- Skin purification. When toxins are flushed out via sweat you are left with clean pores, as well as smoother, healthier skin.
- Relaxation and sauna therapy. Infrared brings about relaxation by helping to keep the body’s cortisol level in balance. Cortisol is the body’s biggest stress inducer hormone so keeping it balanced makes perfect sense. Heat therapy is a natural mood booster by causing muscles to relax and encouraging tension to pour out along with the sweat.
- Helps with sleep issues. Obviously, when you’ve been so thoroughly cleansed and are feeling relaxed sleeping problems are going to be easier to handle.
There Are Different Infrared Levels for Different Purposes
Near, middle, and far are your choices. The difference in the levels represent their wavelength size as well as intensity of treatment. Depending on your individual needs, you can choose any of the following.
- Near is considered best to increase immune function, as well as helping wounds heal.
- Mid-level works best to help muscles relax and increase circulation.
- Far-level is most often used for detoxification.
Deciding which level is best for individual needs isn’t difficult. Anyone who faints easily, is prone to seizures, or suffering from blood pressure issues should consult with their doctor before using infrared therapy. Anyone who is pregnant or trying to be as well as nursing mothers are also advised against this type of heat therapy.
Is It Really Worth the Expense?
Therapy is typically about $50 per session or, you could spend thousands having a spa installed in your home. The full extent of its health benefits isn’t yet thoroughly documented but from what science has discovered so far, the answer is yes, infrared kills stress and it is certainly worth the price to feel so good after a session. Considering the medical benefits already documented so thoroughly, isn’t your health worth it?
Those who have never “gone infrared” before might find it difficult to decide but that is to be expected. Start slowly with 4-minute sessions at about 160 to 180 degrees and then gradually increase the time until you’re at 15-30 minutes per session. It’s all about the heat really, so if you don’t have access to an infrared sauna you can still at least partially achieve the effect you need with a traditional sauna. If you’re looking to get your own infrared sauna, make sure to check out our extensive guide.
Though not as thorough, 10 to 20-minute sessions in a standard spa set at 180-190 degrees will be helpful with detoxification. It won’t be as cleansing but is still far better than allowing toxins to remain in your body causing biological chaos wherever they settle. The ancients mentioned earlier in this blog knew the best way to chase away illness was to place the sick person in an over-heated room and let sweat do its magic. According to all the recent buzz about infrared therapy, and documented modern health evidence, they were right.