Sometimes I get asked what infrared saunas do for your health? Most people are unaware of the abundance of health benefits that they overlook what saunas do for the body. It’s a disadvantageous reality that most people are unable to distinguish saunas from hot tubs and spas. However, saunas were originally created to provide people a public place to bathe—thus the steam. The people of Finland, Norway and Sweden were the original innovators of saunas, most likely due to the extreme cold. This actually began before the reign of the Roman Empire and continues to this day; however, saunas now exist all over the world.
The Finnish sauna (using hot rocks or a small fire to heat a room’s air temperature) maintained popularity all the way until World War II. As excess time became nonexistent during the war, soldiers used saunas to cleanse, relax, meditate and boost morale. It was during this era that the Finn’s and Northern Europeans hired physicians and architects in order to research how saunas could be improved to maximize function. This was accomplished and offered the new personal sauna, more compact and efficient, to residences worldwide.
The Birth of the Home Sauna
Originally placed in a separate building to allow for a more communal experience, these new saunas could be incorporated inside the home. With the introduction of indoor plumbing and running water these saunas became useful in terms of cleansing and bathing without leaving the house. To this day the Finnish steam sauna is the most renowned sweat bath in the world. However, innovation interfered and a newer more effective sauna was re-instituted; the far infrared sauna.
Download our whitepaper ‘A Comparison of Infrared Saunas versus Traditional Steam Saunas’
The healing benefits using far infrared light began with Socrates. He cured depression by using light. It’s my opinion this happened far before Socrates—he was just the first one to document the benefits. For the past eighty years German physicians have used whole body infrared therapy to cure disease (including cancer treatments) and in 1965 the Japanese also used infrared in medicine until its public release in 1979. Introduced in the United States in 1981, infrared saunas have replaced the more traditional saunas of the ancient Nordics and is the most popular form of personal saunas used in the home ever since.
Infrared saunas provide many health benefits that traditional saunas do not
Far infrared saunas are similar to traditional Nordic saunas; however, instead of heating the air to heat your body, infrared saunas heat your body using far infrared light. Infrared therapy, or far infrared (FIR) is part of the natural spectrum of light energy coming from the sun.
Infrared light can also be generated by sending an electric current through an object which then heats up and produces its own infrared energy (also called thermal radiation). Our bodies actually put out far infrared in the same way as our skin is 90 degrees F!
As the body puts out far infrared, it can also accept and absorb infrared as heat (any object that gets hot puts out infrared and any object has the ability to absorb infrared light).
The way I try to describe this is that your eye sees light but feels heat. As the light is absorbed as heat, it provides deep penetration as the radiant heat loosens muscles, repairs sore joints and aids in healing tissues. This is due to increasing the flow of oxygenated blood and increasing healthy circulation throughout the body.
Other health benefits include:
• Weight Loss
• Pain Relief
• Lowers Blood Pressure
• Improves Skin Function
• Boosts Immune System
The normal operating temperature of traditional saunas is 185 degrees F whereas the temperature of an infrared sauna is much lower (around 110 to 125 degrees). When far infrared comes into contact with the body it penetrates well below the skin, raising core body temperature and enabling your body to sweat while sitting in a comfortable air temperature. Because you’re still sweating as deeply as you can, an infrared sauna is going to feel much hotter than it actually is. This allows for you to sit inside the sauna for a much longer period of time (as you are far more comfortable—read my blog post on my traditional sauna session here). Because of this, you are likely to come back to the sauna night after night, reaping the many rewards of your infrared sauna. It is a much more practical use of your time than taking a traditional sauna.
If you have any questions please give me a call at (800) 370-0820 or download my book on infrared saunas below!