Infrared Saunas for Optimal Health and Healing
By Jennifer Manly
As someone who has lived with food allergies, aluminum and mercury toxicity, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain and inflammation, I am constantly looking for healthy ways to improve my body. Healing your body with a more natural approach is not always easy, but when I find something that helps, I instantly become obsessed. I tend to fall in love with whatever is allowing my body to be at ease and most importantly, pain-free. This leads me to my newest addiction, life-saver and obsession- Infrared Saunas.
I’m sure most of you have heard of regular saunas, the ones that you use at gyms or when you’re getting pampered, but infrared saunas are different. Infrared saunas release a radiant heat that penetrates the skin and cells more deeply than traditional saunas, which rely simply on heating the air around you; it’s like heating the body from the inside out. This process not only feels amazing and relaxing on your body but it also provides significant health benefits, especially for those suffering from chronic pain and inflammation or for those who need to detox their body.
Benefits of an Infrared Sauna
Pain Relief – The first and most important in my mind is the fact that infrared saunas help tremendously with pain relief. Those who suffer from intense muscle and joint pain and excessive swelling, will find that these saunas relieve the inflammation on and around those problem areas. It does this by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.
Improved Circulation – Infrared saunas help improve circulation, which is vital for the body to function properly. I have horrible circulation, especially in my legs. Some days I wake up just fine and the second I start to walk, *BOOM*, swelling and inflammation begins. When this happens, it makes my whole body feel off the entire day. Not fun! But these saunas help with that. The heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, making your circulation increase along with it. The sauna stimulate blood flow, improves muscle recovery and decreases pain and inflammation.
Anxiety & Stress Relief – This one is a game-changer! If you anything like me, you can sometimes be in fight-or-flight mode with your body. Between chronic pain, fatigue, work/life balance and healing, my mind and body can sometimes be full anxiety and overthinking. Living life like this is actually the worst thing you can do for yourself, so anything that can help with that is definitely encouraged. This is where infrared saunas come into play. They are fantastic for relaxation and clearing the mind. The process can happen within minutes of the heat being absorbed into your body. This also provides better sleep patterns and decrease symptoms of depression.
Detoxification – Infrared saunas also aid in the detoxification process. Our skin is our biggest organ, so sweating helps to eliminate toxins naturally. Detoxing the body, especially for those of us with any kind of illness or heavy metals in our bodies, is super important for our overall health and wellness. For people who can’t exercise properly due to pain or physical injuries or limitations, infrared saunas are able to provide a lot of the same benefits as someone who spent an hour at the gym. We need this type of detoxification to be as healthy as we can. This process is also great for those who may struggle with weight loss, as well as those who have problems with skin imperfections and impurities. See our other blog post about detoxification and losing weight here.
The Infrared Sauna Experience
I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first if infrared saunas were all they were cracked up to be. How could sitting in something that was at least 120 degrees going to be relaxing and provide such amazing health benefits? Did I mention the temperate is at least 120 degrees? It is. I’ve lived in Arizona for about 20 years and the heat kills my body. Sometimes I have a hard time moving and it sucks the energy right out of me. So, I didn’t think it would be any different in the infrared sauna. I was wrong.
Each infrared sauna is different, but most consist of a 1 or 2-person wooden box, with a bench and heating panels all around, along with temperature and music control panels. The sauna starts at about 90 degrees to warm up and then heats up to what you set it to. I set mine for 125 degrees for about 30 minutes, but some people choose higher heat for a shorter span or vice versa. Within about five minutes you start to feel the heat and instant relief occurs. I completely get lost in the experience. I put on a podcast, I zone out and allow my body to actually breathe. Sometimes I even like to mediate since the space is very open and calming. Yes, you sweat and get hot, but it isn’t a humid heat or an intense uncomfortable heat and it doesn’t hurt. In fact, I could literally feel my body loosening up enough to relax my mind and hear my thoughts clearly and move about freely. For the rest of the day, I felt light, almost free-feeling and definitely less tensed and stressed. It’s a therapy session at its finest, if you ask me.
Trying is Believing
If you haven’t tried an infrared sauna, I highly recommend it! Overall you can feel amazing, from the first session and the more you do it the better you will feel. Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. For those of you who have low salt in your body like I do, be sure to add even more into your water or diet that day, as you lose a ton from the process. I can’t wait to continue my journey of learning new ways to better myself and body and I’m already looking forward to my next infrared sauna session. In fact, I’m booking one as soon as I’m done writing this!
When Jennifer isn’t enjoying an infrared sauna, she is busy as a Business Development Director for a gluten-free marketing company and a freelance Social Media Guru. You can follow Jennifer on Instagram @jennifera.manly.