There are few better feelings than the experience of a great infrared sauna session. From the time you step in to the time you step out, one is seemingly transformed into a world of relaxation and improved health benefits. Best of all, this can be achieved in the comfort of your own home.
What Is An Infrared Sauna?
An infrared sauna is a unique type of sauna that uses lower temperatures (within the average range of 100-140 degrees) infrared light lamps to heat up the body instead of a higher temperature convection style (with average ranges of 180-200 degrees), much like the traditional sauna does.
Infrared saunas are usually made up of 3 different types of lighting known as near, mid, and far-infrared.
- Near-infrared lighting is made up of short wavelengths that penetrate the body on the topical level, assisting with skin health.
- Mid-infrared lighting goes deeper into the skin than near-infrared with longer wavelengths, targeting muscles and joints.
- Far-infrared lighting is the farthest level of infrared. This style of lighting heats the body from within, promoting sweating and other healthy detox functions.
When it comes to overall health and getting in a quicker sauna session, hotter does not always mean better. The infrared style sauna is suggested to be more comfortable and healthier than a traditional hot air sauna because the lower temperature allows people to tolerate the effects for a longer period of time.
Full Spectrum Saunas from Health Mate use a combination of all 3 types of lighting to target each area of your body and provide the maximum number of benefits.
What are the Benefits of An Infrared Sauna?
Some of the benefits that come with infrared sauna sessions can include:
- Improves overall quality of sleep
- Weight loss. There is evidence that in a 30 min infrared sauna session, up to 600 calories can be burned.
- Helps promote relaxation
- Increases circulation
- Alleviates joint pain
- Increased range of motion
- Treatment of chronic health problems
- Helps to purify the skin
While there needs to be continued use of the sauna to maximize your overall health benefits, the great thing is that there are benefits that can be noticeable even right after your first sauna session. These can include toxin detoxification through sweat, a better range of motion, and having an overall more positive mood.
Sweating usually occurs after the first 10-15 minutes of entering the sauna. Some individuals may notice that it takes more time to sweat, as a result of your body adapting to the environment or other factors including your overall hydration levels. That’s why it’s extremely important to stay hydrated in order to facilitate healthy sweat levels and have your body working optimally.
How to Use an Infrared Sauna?
While infrared saunas provide a vast number of benefits to the human body, there are important things to know before getting into one. Please read our list of medical contraindications and then consider the following tips to make the most of your sauna session.
1. Warm Up The Sauna to your Desired Temperature
Many people ask – “Do I need to let the sauna warm-up before I get in?”
The answer is simply based on your personal preference. Many people enjoy feeling the increasing warmth as the sauna heats, while others prefer the sauna to already be hot inside when they step into it.
2. Stay Hydrated
While infrared saunas produce less heat than traditional saunas, your body still sweats at a significant rate during a session which causes the body to lose fluids quickly. It’s important to always drink water before you enter the sauna, and even bring in a durable water bottle or tumbler to continually replenish your fluid loss. Drinking coconut water is also a great choice due to the benefits of hydration and additional vitamins.
3. Keep a Towel Handy
The last thing that you want to worry about when enjoying your infrared sauna session is not having a towel to absorb your sweat, especially in the presence of others. Wearing an absorbent robe is also a great choice, which helps to prevent the need to wipe down more often. Having a towel and a robe is also beneficial to help extend the life & cleanliness of the sauna, preventing the wood from absorbing too much sweat over an extended period of time.
4. Length of Time
Like anything that involves any external forces acting upon the body, such as weightlifting, it’s important to start slow when starting your infrared sauna experience. The external force acting upon the body is infrared light. It’s invisible, but there are still things happening to your body. Taking your time to have your body adjust allows you to get an accurate understanding of how your body reacts and you can either increase or decrease your time spent.
How often you should use an infrared sauna comes down to how you feel, and what your body is capable of. Roughly 10 or so minutes is a great time for a beginning sauna session. As you progress and your body gets more acclimated, you can bump up the time to a usually suggested 20-30 min. You can adjust the time and also temperature level to ensure your session is tailored to you.
Everything in this world, even infrared saunas, needs to be used with a balance in mind. Spending too much time in an infrared sauna can cause unwanted effects including dehydration, so listen to your body and make sure to stay within the suggested range.
5. Wear proper clothing
It’s important to make sure that the clothing you are wearing feels comfortable to you and is breathable. Most individuals simply wear robes inside the sauna to absorb sweat, but throwing on a tank top and shorts is perfectly fine too. Don’t forget to remove any jewelry, as an infrared sauna may not be the most ideal place for them and could lead to damage over time.
Individuals also tend to sweat after they exit the sauna for an extended period of time. While showering is the most ideal option after your sauna session, prepare your clothing choices in case you can’t.
6. Ditch the Shoes
Try to avoid wearing shoes inside an infrared sauna because not only are they dirty, they can absorb moisture from your sweat and cause issues for the health of your feet. Opt for open-toe sandals instead so your feet can breathe and you can wipe them down with a towel.
7. Listen to an audiobook
Time spent in an infrared sauna should be used wisely, to better yourself! If you prefer to be partaking in an activity instead of doing nothing, or reading a book is not your style, listening to an audiobook is a great way to pass the time quickly and improve your knowledge.
8. Relax & Enjoy the Experience
Infrared saunas were built to improve health, help detox, enhance wellbeing, alongside a number of other benefits. Implement the same benefits to your mind and habits, as you should take the short time in the sauna to partake in activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, reading, yoga, and anything else that takes your mind off the stressors of the day.
Try to avoid bringing in your phone or any other electronic device so you can unplug and recharge your own figurative batteries. While there have been anecdotal reports of electronics working fine while in an infrared sauna, challenge yourself to not be dependent on it and look for other ways to occupy your time.
When Is The Best Time To Use A Sauna?
While everyone’s schedule differs widely, the best time to use an infrared sauna ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Using an infrared sauna either in the morning or in the evening is suggested to be beneficial. According to an excerpt by Dr. Lawrence Wilson:
“It is best to use a sauna first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. These are the times one is most relaxed and it will be most effective. The more one relaxes, the more one will sweat.”
Using a sauna before and after workouts is also very beneficial. When used before the workout, it helps to warm up and loosen your body and muscles, and increase your range of motion. Using it after a workout helps to aid in muscle recovery and relaxation.
The important thing to keep in mind is to always listen to your body, and incorporate infrared sauna therapy where it’s right for you during your day.
Should I Shower After The Sauna?
When finally stepping out of your infrared sauna, your body will more than likely be covered in sweat from head to toe. Instead of immediately running to the shower to cool off, ideally, you want to take a few minutes to have your body acclimate and get to baseline with the normal environmental temperature.
Taking time to do this can help to prevent sudden circulatory disturbances which could also shock the system for some individuals.
What Should I Do After An Infrared Sauna Session?
Your sauna session should be a pleasant and enjoyable one. This experience doesn’t just stop after you get out. Depending on what time of the day you have your session, there are various things you can do to maximize your experience.
1. Make sure to rehydrate
Since your body has lost a lot of fluids in the sauna, you want to make sure that your body gets replenished to fight off dehydration.
2. Supplement your body with healthy foods
Make the most of your sauna session by opting for healthy foods including fruits and veggies to promote an even more beneficial environment for your body. One important benefit of an infrared sauna is toxin detoxification, so you can essentially negate this factor if you end up opting for junk food, sodas, or candy. You’ll end up feeling better with healthier foods, and look better too.
3. Take some time to cool down
Whether you’re enjoying your sauna experience in the morning or evening, a beneficial element to keep in mind is to take a few minutes after your session to just relax. Doing this in the morning can prepare you for a positive day ahead. In the evening, this can help to promote better sleep.
4. Go for a walk
Help to promote healthy circulation from sitting down for an extended period of time by going for a short walk. Not only can you get your steps in, but you’ll be more in tune with your body about how you feel.
Health Mate has been manufacturing quality in-home infrared saunas for over 40 years. Our wide selection of infrared saunas for sale ensures there’s something for everyone. For even more in-depth articles on saunas, check out our infrared sauna blog. Contact us today and let us help you improve your health and kickstart your way to healthier habits.