Is Infrared Sauna for Me? Benefits and Side Effects

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Infrared saunas have been used for almost thousands of years for a number of health purposes. They make use of infrared lamps in order to warm your body directly. Unlike the traditional sauna that typically operates between 150F and 180F, infrared saunas can operate at a much lower temperature, which is usually 120F and 140F. In fact, as claimed by the manufacturers, only 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air whereas the rest 80 percent heats your body directly. In this article, we will look at the benefits, side effects and the precautions to be followed when it comes to infrared sauna.

All You Need to Know About Infrared Sauna

infrared sauna

 

Benefits of infrared sauna

There have been a number of studies related to the benefits of traditional sauna. But considering infrared sauna, there is very little as well as lack of solid evidence.

Talking about the benefits of infrared sauna, most of them are similar to that of a traditional sauna. Listed below are a few benefits:

  • Clear and tighter skin
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Weight loss
  • Detoxification
  • Relaxation
  • Better sleep
  • Relief from joint pain such as arthritis
  • Relief from sore muscles
  • Beneficial for people with chronic fatigue syndrome

Side effects of infrared sauna

Dehydration

Due to excessive sweating caused by infrared sauna, dehydration can happen very quickly to those who dehydrate much faster as compared to healthy adults. In order to prevent this, it is advised that you drink plenty of water before, during and after the session.

Medications

In case you are currently taking medications such as diuretics or barbiturates, beta blockers that can affect your heart rate as well as your body’s natural abilities to sweat, make sure you talk to your doctor before using the sauna.

Joint injury

If you have recently had a joint injury due to an accident, exercise or sports, make sure that you use infrared sauna only after most of the swelling has gone down. Heat can aggravate the inflammation which can further affect the healing process.

Heat stroke

When dehydration is left untreated, it can result into a much more serious condition, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself down after being exposed to heat for over a period of time. If you feel any of the warning signs including nausea, headache, fainting, rapid heart-beat or dizziness, exit the infrared sauna immediately.

How to use an infrared sauna?

If you have decided to give infrared sauna a try, it is important to follow-up with certain guidelines about the same. We have listed below a few tips that you must consider before you go to hit your session:

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water before you go to an infrared sauna. Make sure you drink a glass of water before you begin with your session. However, if you are sensitive to higher heats, you can also carry a water bottle into the sauna.

Length of time

If you will be using it for the first time, begin with 10-15 minutes. You can gradually increase the time until you reach the suggested time, i.e.20-30 minutes. Make sure you set the timer and also, that you do not stay there for too long which can increase your risk of becoming dehydrated.

Choose the temperature

The average temperature ranges from 100F to 150F. if you will be using it for the first time, begin with 100F and you may want to stay at the same temperature for a few sessions. However, you can increase the temperature in each session until you reach 150F.

Clothing

This is completely your choice. While some people prefer going in naked, others prefer wearing a bathing suit.

What to do inside

Meditate, listen to music, get your friend along with you or just relax. But make sure you do not sleep.

What to do after the session

After your session has been completed, give your body some time to cool down. Once the temperature goes down to normal, you can take a shower or bath. The most important thing is that you must ensure that you drink plenty of water.

Number of sessions per week

It is generally recommended to use the sauna three to four days per week. However, if you are healthy and can tolerate it for four days, you may use it daily.

Things to know before your session

  • If you are an alcoholic, you should avoid using an infrared sauna.
  • As the infrared sauna will make you sweat (a lot), you may feel lightheaded when you get up. In this case, get up slowly and sit down for a while after you leave the sauna. Drink plenty of water and let your body cool down.
  • Some people may experience overheating (heat stroke and exhaustion) or dehydration as well.
  • If you are not well or is suffering from fever, it is advised that you wait for sometime and then get back onto it, once you get better.

Conclusion

A 20-minute sweat session will always make you feel good. Even if you feel that your sweat session isn’t providing you with all the benefits it promised, just know that it is a lot beneficial for your overall health and well-being. From making you feel relaxed and giving you some much needed time to reducing joint pain and loosening up stiff muscles, people have been using it for a number of health conditions. But in case, you are pregnant, suffering from a heart disease, currently on a medication or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is best to avoid its usage.

References

http://time.com/4481947/infrared-sauna-benefits-healthy/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41371-017-0008-z

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