There’s been a lot of talk about using infrared sauna treatments as a means to enhance health, increase metabolism, burn calories and extend life. How can we know what to believe and how do these saunas differ from traditional ones?
Infrared Sauna’s have gotten so much press that Dr. Oz even covered them on The Oprah Show. Within the segment he stated “It makes the same rays that come from the sun and filters out the UV radiation, so it only gives you the infrared radiation”.
When it comes to any of the alternative healing therapies, like infrared treatments, it can be very difficult to decipher what's really going on, so I did a little research to try and help answer some of my own questions about the mysteries behind infrared saunas.
How Do Infrared Saunas differ from Traditional Saunas?
Traditional saunas can be either wet or dry and they work by warming the air, which in turn then warms your body. Infrared Saunas use light to create the heat and it heats your body directly, without warming the surrounding air. The advantage of infrared saunas is they can be used by people who can’t tolerate the heat found in ordinary saunas, plus they allow you to do simultaneous activities, like reading a book, at the same time that you’re receiving the treatment.
How Do Infrared Saunas Work?
The theory behind using an Infrared Sauna is that it causes similar reactions to those that we experience from moderate exercise. They work by using infrared heaters to emit radiant light, which is then experienced as radiant heat and absorbed into the surface of your skin. The idea is that the increased heat will get your heart to beat faster and burn more calories. Plus it’s also thought that the high heat will help lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation, but it can be difficult to measure or qualify these claims.
What are some of the Benefits Claimed from Using an Infrared Sauna?
There are a very wide range of benefits claimed from using infrared saunas and many of them can be difficult to prove. Here are just a few examples of the most commonly claimed benefits:
- Arthritis – relieves some of it’s symptoms
- Increases Metabolism
- Boosts Immunity & Detoxifying Benefits
- Increases Blood Oxygenation
- Decreases Stress
- Promotes Relaxation
According to Dr. Brent Bauer at the Mayo Clinic, it’s entirely possible there could be some tangible health benefits from using an infrared sauna, but he feels that more rigorous studies would be needed in order to confirm these benefits. He also states that “no adverse effects have been reported with infrared saunas, so if you’re considering trying a sauna for relaxation, an infrared sauna might be a good option” and there can definitely be benefits to finding time to relax!
You should always consult with your doctor first for any questions or advice regarding your own health or any health treatments you might be considering for yourself.