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The Secrets of Sauna Sweat

All of us have either used a sauna or seen someone use one on tv or in a movie. Most of the time we think of saunas making us sweat to lose weight and body fat, but regular sauna use can provide many more benefits to our body than that. Some even more beneficial to our health than weight-loss alone.

I just recently tried out an infrared sauna for myself at the spa my wife works at. This was a whole new experience to me. Not only have I never been in an infrared sauna before, I have never been in any kind of sauna at all. 

This along with the fact that I am warmer and normally sweat more than most anyway, had me skeptical about how hot or long I could tolerate the sauna for. We decided to start out with 125 degrees, which we worked up to 133. We stayed in the sauna for just under 1 hour.

I have to say, I loved it! I don't know exactly why I felt as good as I did when it was all over, but I felt amazing. It was almost like a runners high or that great feeling after you get done working out really hard. Maybe it was from sweating out toxins or reducing the inflammation in my body. I'm not quite sure because there are so many benefits to sauna bathing after I got looking into it, that it could be a number of different reasons.

Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they use infrared lamps (that use electromagnetic radiation) to warm your body directly. “These saunas use infrared panels instead of conventional heat to easily penetrate human tissue, heating up your body before heating up the air,” explains physical therapist, Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT, CPT, MASP.

An infrared sauna can operate at a lower temperature (usually between 120˚F and 140˚F) than a traditional sauna, which is typically between 150˚F and 180˚F. Manufacturers claim that in an infrared sauna, only about 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air and the other 80 percent directly heats your body. Supporters of infrared saunas say the heat penetrates more deeply than warmed air. This allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature.

The supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna are similar to those experienced with a traditional sauna. These benefits include better sleep, relaxation, detoxification, weight-loss, relief from sore muscles, relief from joint pain such as arthritis, clear and tight skin, improved circulation and help with chronic fatigue syndrome. 

For centuries people have been using saunas all over the world, for all sorts of health conditions. While there are several studies and research on traditional saunas, there aren’t as many studies that look specifically at infrared saunas. One small study on 10 people found that those with chronic fatigue syndrome benefited from using an infrared sauna. Another small study of the same size showed that infrared saunas helped decrease muscle soreness and increase recovery from strength-training. Then according to one review, several studies have found that infrared light therapy saunas may help reduce blood pressure.

The sauna we used happened to be a an infrared light therapy sauna, which we tried out the blue light with. The card that explained all the different light therapy options says blue is cooling, electric and astringent. It cools down inflammation, fever, high blood pressure, stops bleedings, relieves headaches, and calms strong emotions like anger, aggression or hysteria. It brings tranquility, anti-itching, anti-irritation and anti-stress properties, soothing suffering.

Blue can be used for any type of ailment associated with speech communication or the throat. Making it an excellent natural therapy for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx. I wanted to try this one out because of the anti-inflammatory properties, which I believe worked. Sauna's have also been associated with lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. As well as boosting endurance performance of competitive male runners, making sauna use a game changer for any athlete.

If you have any health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or are under medical care, get cleared by your doctor before your first session. Even though infrared saunas have been found to be fairly safe, you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your health and safety.

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