Looking for an alternative method to weight loss? Many people, for a variety of reasons, are interested in learning how to lose weight without exercise.
Perhaps they are injured and can’t keep up with their gym sessions.
Or, maybe they just don’t like exercise at all.
In other cases, time is the biggest problem. They want to workout, but with a busy career and family obligations, they just can’t ever seem to squeeze those gym sessions in.
The good news is that the gym is not the only way to go about achieving weight loss success. The benefits of an infrared sauna not only include weight loss, but a number of other great things that can enhance your overall health and well-being.
Curious to know more?
Check out the video below where you’ll learn a bit more about why an infrared sauna is a wise choice.
Now that you have a bit of a primer on this concept, let’s answer the question of what is a sauna?
What Is A Sauna?
When I say the term ‘sauna’ to you, what do you immediately think of? Most people tend to think of a wooden room they go sit in that’s full of steam and creates a very hot environment.
Perhaps you went into a sauna as a kid on a family vacation to an outdoor hot springs or you may have taken a trip to the spa and took in a sauna there.
Others may have visited a sauna after going to the gym before – a place that’s more often called a ‘steam room’.
Whatever you want to call it, a sauna is an enclosed room that utilizes hot air to create a steam ‘bath’ for the body, giving you an alternative method to clean yourself and become refreshed.
Most people utilize regular saunas as a means of relaxation. After a hard day, they want to go sit in the sauna and just let every muscle in their body relax as they release any pent up stress or tension they are experiencing.
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Infrared Sauna Versus Traditional Sauna
The main difference between these two types of sauna’s is how the heat is produced.
Both saunas will be relatively dry inside, however a traditional sauna is kept about 10% drier, until it is being utilized.
As soon as a traditional sauna is used, that is, water is thrown on the rocks to create the steam that makes the sauna effect, the humidity will shoot way up.
It’s this humidity that then penetrates the skin, raising your internal body temperature and causing you to sweat extensively.
With an infrared sauna, no steam is being created, thus the sauna remains at a lower overall level of humidity.
Here are the main differences between the two to note.
In most cases, the temperature of a traditional sauna will come in at around 150 to 185 degrees F.
The highest temperature allowed for these rooms is set at 194 degrees, so you will never experience anything above this.
When looking at the temperature for an infrared sauna however, you’ll find that it’s much lower, set between 120 and 140 degrees F.
So for those who dislike high heat environments, this already provides one reason to choose an infrared sauna over a traditional one.
Don’t let this lead you to believe you won’t be sweating however.
You will sweat heavily in both types of saunas, despite the difference in heat.
The fact the heat is much lower in an infrared sauna is also important to note because if you want to spend more time in the sauna relaxing, this will lend well to choosing the infrared sauna over the traditional.
You can only sit in a traditional sauna so long before the heat becomes too much, whereas since an infrared sauna is kept lower, you can sit there longer.
This could mean that you have the potential to see greater overall benefits.
Method Of Heating The Body
As noted, in a traditional sauna, the primary method of heating the body is through high heat steam that increases your internal core temperature.
In an infrared sauna however, heat waves will penetrate the body to increase the internal body temperature.
The far-infrared emitters, as they’re called, create infrared energy in the sauna, which is close to the same wavelength that the body naturally emits energy.
This means the energy produced by the sauna is being very well received. It penetrates into the skin, muscles, and joints, offering its beneficial effects (more on this in a second).
Duration Of Heating
You may have heard the recommendation before that you should never sit in a sauna too long.
As you will be sweating heavily while in there, if you were to fall asleep or simply relax a little too long, you’d quickly find yourself becoming dehydrated and this could get downright dangerous.
This is why it’s important to both understand how long it takes for the sauna to get to peak temperature as well as how long you should stay in the sauna while at that temperature.
With a traditional sauna, you’ll typically be looking at around 30-40 minutes for the sauna to get to maximum temperature.
This means you need to turn it on, wait, and then go in.
Going in too early could reduce the benefits the sauna has to offer while reducing the total amount of time you can spend in the sauna. Infrared saunas on the other hand, as the infrared energy is being emitted by heaters, are ready to use just about immediately after turning them on.
Some people may prefer to wait about ten to fifteen minutes before going in and allowing the room to reach at least 110 degrees F, however some choose to sit in it right from the beginning.
As the method of heating is different, this also extends the total time that you can stay in the sauna. Traditional recommendations for most normal saunas are to sit in for 10-15 minutes per session.
Since infrared saunas have that lower air temperature and you can feel the effects of the heat faster, you may sit in the sauna for 20-30 minutes safely before coming out.
Keep in mind these are general recommendations however.
Some people may find 30 minutes is a little much.
Pay attention to how you are feeling.
If at any point you start to feel dizzy, weak, or unwell, get out immediately.
This is likely due to either the body overheating, or more commonly the case, dehydration.
The Experience Finally, the last difference to note about the two saunas is the overall experience they tend to foster.
Traditional saunas are usually bigger and favor a few people going in together.
This creates an atmosphere of social bonding and intimate conversations.
While if you are at the gym with a stranger, you may not be sharing your life story with them in the sauna, if you are in a more private health club with a friend, it can be a great opportunity to relax while socializing.
In contrast, infrared saunas, often due to their smaller size, are built to accommodate just one person only (most of the time).
Therefore, this type of sauna tends to foster more of a private escape. You might go in here to relax and de-stress from the day while alone.
There is nothing wrong with either of these two things, it’s just vital to note that depending on the experience you are looking to create, this may have you leaning towards one type more than the others.
As far as health benefits go, there is definitely no question about which method is going to be more beneficial.
Infrared saunas are one of the best overall health and wellness practices you can be utilizing in your day to day life.
Let’s look at some of the key benefits they have to offer.
What Are The Benefits Of Infrared Sauna?
So what sauna benefits do you stand to gain?
Infrared saunas can benefit you both from a physical as well as a physiological standpoint.
Flushing Out Toxins
The first key benefit that an infrared sauna has to offer is helping you flush toxins out of you body.
The detoxification benefits are one of the biggest reasons you’ll find people using saunas on a regular basis.
As your body heats up and you begin sweating heavily, you’ll slowly start releasing the toxins in your system, excreting them as you sweat.
Then you then rehydrate after the session is over, you’ll be flushing out the toxins further, helping enhance your health and well-being.
If you use an infrared sauna, your sweating rate will tend to be deeper and more profuse, meaning you’ll sweat out a higher overall level of toxins compared to that of a traditional sauna.
This is another big reason why many people who are looking for health benefits more than anything else choose to use an infrared sauna over a regular one.
Consider creating your own sauna detox program where you spend 30 minutes in the infrared sauna each day, ensure that you are drinking 12-15 glasses of clear water (preferably ionized water), and feasting on non-processed foods, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
This is one of the best and most effective ways to detox your body.
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Muscular Relaxation Benefits
Chances are, you know how relaxing a deep tissue massage is. When the massage therapist is working on your muscles, he or she is increasing blood flow to the tight areas, ensuring that the tension and any knots present are released.
When you go into a sauna, you’ll also be enhancing blood circulation to the muscles as the toxins are being removed and the entire body moves into a state of deep relaxation.
Many people who come out of a sauna note that the experience for them was comparable in terms of overall muscular relaxation to that of a relaxation focused massage.
As the blood circulation is increased, you’ll also be delivering more nutrients and oxygen to the muscle tissues, helping them heal and rejuvenate themselves.
If you are someone who is engaging in a regular intense workout program, this can be a great part of your overall recovery strategy.
Joint Pain Relief
In addition to helping assist with relieving muscular pain, saunas can also do a great job at helping to relieve joint pain as well.
Many of those who are suffering from arthritis find great relief by utilizing a sauna. The infrared heat from the session will help to reduce the overall level of stiffness in the joints while also lowering the inflammation that is present.
Nipping A Cold In The Bud
Suffering from a sore throat? One of the best ways to cut that cold short is to hop into an infrared sauna.
When your body heats up to such high degrees by using this sauna, you’ll immediately begin strengthening your immune system as it begins increasing the total number of white blood cells present to fight off that invading bacteria or virus.
Not only does this help stop the spread of these germs, but it can also help them die off as well. Few bacteria and viruses can live in such high temperatures, thus you may put that cold behind you faster.
Improved Skin Health
Want to look younger? Rather than spending a small fortune on all the creams, lotions, and potions you find in the local drugstore, consider going for a sauna.
The increased circulation you experience while in the sauna will help to hydrate the skin, adding moisture while also helping to enhance collagen production.
Collagen is key to helping the skin maintain its elasticity and radiant appearance.
A good sauna is a great way to help revive tired looking skin and may even help ward off wrinkle formation.
Now, the benefit most of you have been waiting for – weight loss. Using an infrared sauna on a regular basis can assist with the weight loss process.
Now, initially you might be leery of this benefit. I mean, sure, you’ll sweat out a bunch of water and that will create weight loss – that only makes sense.
But as soon as you rehydrate again, won’t you gain it all back?
In a sense, yes. The initial weight you lose from sweating will be gained back after you hydrate after coming out of the infrared sauna, however don’t discount the actual calorie burn you get from doing that session.
Infrared energy waves can penetrate the skin at deeper level and this can cause the metabolic rate to increase, by as much as 200-600 calories for a half hour session sitting in the sauna.
So in essence, that 30 minutes you spend in the sauna could be quite comparable to the 20-60 minutes you spend doing your cardio workout session. For those who simply don’t want to be involved in hours of cardio per week, the infrared sauna experience could suffice to help you reach your weight loss goals without all that exercise.
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Some people may also find that the heat from the sauna can also help lower their overall appetite level, so this too could offer great benefits. If you take in a sauna session at the point in the day when you tend to be hungriest, this could help you offset eating something you shouldn’t, potentially saving you hundreds of calories in the process.
And finally, also keep the indirect benefits of the infrared sauna in mind. If you are using it regularly and recovering from your workouts regularly, not to mention enhancing muscle tissue repair, this could all lend to better workouts overall when you do hit the gym.
If you can exercise with higher intensity while in the gym, this will mean faster progress and an overall better rate of fat loss taking place.
Increased Sleep Quality
Finally, the last key benefit that you’ll want to note about using infrared saunas is the increased sleep quality you’ll get.
You may have heard recommendations before that one of the best ways to ease yourself into a deeper sleep is taking a hot bath before bed. Raising your internal body temperature and then allowing it to drop (provided you have turned down the temperature in your room) can help you fall into a deeper slumber.
The sauna works in much the same way. It’ll increase your body temperature while relaxing your muscles and mind (and easing the stress that can keep you up at night).
Then when you come out of the sauna and go to your cool bed, you’ll find you fall asleep nearly instantly after hitting the pillow.
Because of the fact it can impact you like this, that makes a case for using your infrared sauna closer to bedtime if you are looking for the sleep benefits that come from it.
Just do keep in mind, if doing this, you may want to limit your total time spent in the sauna to 10 minutes or so to prevent the dehydrating effects from occurring.
If you sweat too much, you’ll need to replace that lost water by drinking a high volume of fluid, which can then keep you up at night as you use the washroom.
A shorter sauna session prior to bed will do the trick to elevate your body temperature, provide some benefits, and still allow you to sleep better and more deeply.
So there you have some of the big benefits that you stand to gain from utilizing an infrared sauna. If you are not yet taking advantage of saunas, now is the time to consider it.
You can invest in your own infrared sauna to keep in your own home so that it’s ready whenever you want to use it, or if it’s your first time experiencing this, book a few sessions at a spa or treatment facility.
After just a few sessions, chances are you’ll soon realize just how beneficial saunas can be and will be hooked on them into the future.
Have you had experience with saunas before? Share the biggest benefit you’ve seen from using saunas with us below. Or, if you have never used one before, is there anything in particular holding you back from trying them out?