You might be looking at infrared saunas for the first time, or you're just curious to learn more about what the term actually means.
To begin with, a brief explanation on traditional saunas: they've been around for about 2000 years and the basic principle of providing a heat source within an enclosed area which heats up rocks, then water is normally applied to create steam and hot air. This hot air comes in contact with your skin, penetration 5-10mm, heating your body up and creating sweat, an increase in heart rate and circulation. Typically a session would last for 5-10 minutes followed by a cold shower or even a roll in the snow! This is repeated 2 - 3 times. The operating temperatures are very high (85 degrees Celsius Plus) and about 20% of the energy created goes towards heating you up.
Infrared saunas use a heat source to selectively emit the most healthy wavelengths from the sun’s energy spectrum, normally referred to as “far infrared”(FIR). The body absorbs FIR or healthy light (energy) to a depth of 45mm creating a deep, penetrating heat. Up to 80% of the energy created goes towards heating you up. Operating temperatures are typically 45-55 degrees Celsius allowing for extended more comfortable sessions.
What about sweating? In a traditional sauna most of your sweat is a surface sweat bought on by the intense temperature, just like you would sweat on a hot day. Although you will remove some toxins from your system, most of the sweat is water and sodium. A far infrared sauna will help remove harmful toxins safely, from deep within the body. Approximately 20% of the sweat induced by the far infrared sauna will be toxins. You may sweat 2-3 times more.
Infrared saunas are also more accessible. They can usually be used by people that have conditions such as high blood pressure that may prevent them from using traditional saunas. They normally run off a household power point, can be placed anywhere in the house (think of it like a piece of furniture that plugs in), they require little or no maintenance and often come with extras to enhance your experience, such as a music player, light therapy, oxygen ioniser or aromatherapy system.
There have been many studies on FIR saunas that have shown improvements with some of the following conditions; back, neck and muscle pain, Rheumatism, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Diabetes, inflammation... the list goes on. For more information of the benefits click here.
A FIR is the sauna of the 21st century, some may say it has revolutionised the health benefits like modern aircraft has for the way we travel great distances!