Infrared saunas: we can’t get enough. But do they really do all proponents say they can?
They’ve reached that popularity level of now even being available for purchase at Walmart. (Big Christmas gift, anyone?)
So they must do something. But what’s all the rage?
Here’s how they work: these ‘revolutionary’ saunas heat you up using infrared lights, in the same way that premature babies are kept warm in incubators after they’re born. It’s a different process than the traditional sauna.
What you might call a ‘regular sauna’ uses conduction and convection heat to warm up the air in the sauna and the surfaces in it, which then radiate heat to your body.
Because of this difference, infrared saunas are actually cooler in temperature than regular saunas, but they are said to make you sweat more.
The benefits? Proponents claim they can help you ‘detoxify’ (get rid of heavy metals and other impurities in the body) from your core out, de-stress and relax you at a deep tissue level, raise your metabolism, relieve your pain, improve your circulation, lower your blood pressure, heal your wounds, improve your immune system, reduce your wrinkles, pay off your mortgage faster, keep your house clean and find you a new boyfriend. (Just kidding).
But, looking simply at a wellness perspective, can a sauna treatment truly perform?
Skeptics point to a lack of statistical evidence to back the health claims of infrared saunas- and regular saunas, for that matter. Toxins, for example, are held in your body’s liver and kidneys, and so any detoxification that you get from sweating out the bad stuff in a sauna of any type, is going to be minimal and minute at best, some argue.
To truly ‘detoxify’ additional measures can be necessary.
And as for those who frequent the sauna for weight loss…well, the reality is that you’re likely to gain those pounds back once you rehydrate, which, hopefully you will. Saunas can be a bit of a dangerous environment if you don’t crank that water back into your body, once it’s been taken out.
So what gives, for lack of better words? Do saunas do anything?
Most definitely, I think. There is no doubt that sitting in a sauna of any type makes you feel great. If you’re knocking it and you haven’t tried it, think again. You’re truly missing out. All that heat really does help your muscles relax, and during a long, cold winter, sitting in the womb of an intimately hot sauna can be one of the few times you actually feel truly warm, all over.
It’s amazingly wonderful. So here’s the verdict. Since feeling good physically can work hand-in-hand with raising your spirits, as can the idea that you are “doing something for yourself”, I would agree that sitting in a sauna can probably do wonders for your sense of wellness, if not your actual health.
Can it truly cure arthritis? Maybe not.
But it can definitely help lighten the load- if only for a moment.