Infrared saunas have become so popular because they’re advertised for all sorts of purposes – weight loss, depression relief, increased lifespan, better circulation- but many are still cynical about whether or not this form of healthcare works. And this skepticism is reasonable- after all, nothing can be used to treat every ailment a person can have.
Some think the jury is still out on the effectiveness of infrared saunas, and they don’t know if it would be worth it to start using them. Yet, even credible, mainstream sites tout the benefits. Whatever people think of infrared saunas, or whatever they may be used for, it’s most important that people understand their limitations and strengths.
Here are the five things to know before committing to an infrared sauna:
1. Infrared saunas do not detox
One of the most common misconceptions about infrared saunas is that your body releases toxins through the sweat that the heat of the sauna causes. This may seem logical at surface level, but it just isn’t true.
The body’s toxins are stored in its fat cells, which release their toxins in the sweat when fat cells are burned. Although you do sweat in saunas, you don’t burn fat cells, so it isn’t an effective form of detox.
But fear naught! Infrared saunas can still be a useful form of self-care for everyone.
2. Infrared saunas can improve overall mood
Fatigue and depression are extremely common problems to have. In fact,
they are so common that hundreds of treatments have been offered to help people with these issues, and people are willing to try everything. Although it is best to find what works for the individual, it may be helpful to try infrared saunas as a means of improving neuroticism.
Studies have shown that infrared sauna treatments can improve negative mood, perceived fatigue, anxiety, and depression. What’s best is that unlike other forms of treatment for mental health, infrared sauna therapy has virtually no reported negative side effects and is easily accessible.
Even if you don’t suffer from mental illness, you can still stand to mentally benefit from using infrared saunas.
3. Infrared saunas can reduce oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs when the body does not have enough antioxidants to
detoxify the free radicals that the body produces. This sounds complicated,
but all you have to know is if you do not have enough antioxidants, oxidative damage can occur to proteins, genes, and other molecules in your body, and this can be bad news for your health.
To prevent this, studies have shown that infrared sauna therapy can decrease oxidative stress in patients and hamsters with chronic heart problems better than control groups that were given standard medication.
This finding shows that infrared saunas can help every person combat oxidation in their body, which is known to have its own set of benefits (less fatigue, prevent memory, loss prevent eyesight degradation, and more). In this way, infrared saunas can help improve the health of every person that uses them.
4. Infrared saunas can reduce joint pain and stiffness
Although infrared sauna therapy does not cure joint pain, rheumatoid
arthritis, or other inflammatory conditions, it has been proven to help ease symptoms. In a study to explore the effects of infrared sauna therapy on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, infrared sauna therapy was shown to reduce pain, stiffness, and fatigue with statistical significance, and it did not show signs of exacerbating the illness.
The study noted that infrared sauna therapy can serve as a means of temporary relief from joint pain and stiffness while causing little to no adverse effects. So, infrared sauna therapy can serve as a means of worry-free relief for patients with joint pain, and you can also enjoy all the other benefits of infrared saunas while you’re at it.
5. Infrared saunas can improve heart health
Studies of saunas have shown that the body reacts to infrared saunas in what is referred to as “thermal stress”. When your body is exposed to intense heat, your cardiovascular system increases your heart rate, which triggers a chain reaction that decreases arterial blood pressure, improving your heart’s fitness.
Furthermore, studies have also seen subjects with poor cardiovascular health show statistically significant improvements in artery dilation in a matter of week after regular infrared sauna therapy treatment, as a result of the body’s reaction to thermal stress.
So, if you want a jump-start on your heart health, or you want to improve your already troublesome heart health, infrared saunas are a risk-free, safe way to go.
So there you have it: infrared saunas can’t be used to treat everything, but they do have impressive benefits. From improving overall mood and heart health to reducing oxidative stress and joint pain, most would stand to benefit from infrared saunas.
They aren’t mysterious or magic, they’re tools that should be researched and understood before using. So do more research if you want, and have fun in the sauna!