Sweating inside a heated space has transcended time and many cultures: From Roman times, to the Ancient Greeks and Russians, as well as the Native Americans who had sweat lodges, the benefits of sweating have been known to mankind. The skin is our largest organ, and sweat is one of the major elimination channels for toxins.
Saunas are a common fixture in many fitness centers, spas and other health-related facilities across the United States.
When choosing what type of sauna you want to use, your options have expanded from just a traditional sauna, to having the additional option of the infrared sauna. Each type of sauna comes with its own differences.
Differences between infrared and traditional
One of the main differences between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna is the heat involved while inside the unit.
Traditional saunas use temperatures as high as 185 to 195 degrees F. While completely safe, some people cannot tolerate this level of heat and so find it uncomfortable or intolerable.
Infrared saunas use a much milder temperature environment of between 120 to 150 degrees F. With this type of sauna, the heat travels deeper into the body. This allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature.
Steam saunas are not as hot, and are generally kept between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dry saunas are somewhat humid, but obviously not as humid as steam saunas, which have a 100% level of humidity.
A dry sauna usually maintains about a ten-percent level of humidity, varying of course by the application of steam via hot rocks and water.
Infrared saunas have a very low level of humidity, about the same as the inside of your house.
Dry and steam saunas require more overall power to run, up to three (or even five times) as much as infrared saunas. This means that a traditional sauna is almost three times as expensive to run as an infrared sauna.
Benefits of using an infrared sauna
Infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.
Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone.
Infrared saunas can relieve muscle aches and joint pain by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.
The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss.
Immune system support
The penetrating infrared wavelengths from infrared saunas raises the core body temperature, inducing an artificial fever. A fever is the body’s mechanism to strengthen and accelerate the immune response, as seen in the case of infection.
This enhances the immune system, and combined with the improved elimination of toxins and wastes via intense sweating, it can increase overall health and resistance to disease.
As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation.
The profuse sweating achieved after just a few minutes in a sauna carries off deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and clean. Increased circulation draws the skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface for a natural glow.
Many people report improved skin tone, color, elasticity and texture. Increased blood circulation has also been shown to help improve acne, eczema, psoriasis, and aid wound healing with reduced scarring.
Infrared waves have been studied and results seem to show that they have been effective in treating wounds and other issues related to type 2 diabetes, inhibiting bacterial growth and promoting healing through increased circulation and detoxification, because the far infrared rays boost circulation, relax muscles, and promote healthy cells.