Arguably the biggest health benefit that people look for in infrared saunas is weight loss. I will admit that I was very skeptical in that there are so many websites and cheap sauna companies that advertise “30 minutes in an infrared sauna burns 600 calories,” claims which are based off of nothing. It took me using an infrared sauna for a few months to really notice that I was losing weight.
The weight loss you’ll experience is subtle and you still have to make healthy dietary choices for the effects to occur, but weight loss will happen over time.
The process of heating your body in an infrared sauna has so many great health benefits, but what it does for your heart is fantastic. Because our combination carbon and ceramic heaters are finely tuned to penetrate your body at the right wavelength and heat your body with the optimal surface temperature, your body will experience a hypothermic rise in core temperature. When this happens your body has no choice but to cool itself through sweat and get a fantastic and therapeutic passive aerobic exercise.
In order for you to sweat, your heart is forced to pump at a faster rate. When your heart’s beats per minute rise, your blood vessels begin to vasodilate (expand). This allows for more blood to be pumped through them and at a faster rate. As more oxygenated blood is pumped through your arteries and blood vessels, your body will begin to burn more stored energy faster. This is your metabolism at work and it is absolutely boosted by using an infrared sauna.
Your metabolic rate is directly tied to cardiovascular exercise. Moreover, the rise in metabolic rate is sustained over long periods of time after any workout, including taking an infrared sauna.
Losing weight does require a lifestyle change; however, it doesn’t mean there is a magic number in terms of weight we must aim for to be healthy. The Obesity Action Coalition says that a weight loss of 6-10 percent of body fat greatly benefits overall health. This is a very achievable goal for most people and can alleviate hypertension, improve cholesterol levels, aid in combatting sleep apnea, prevent diabetes, reduce inflammation in the body, and reduce stress levels.
Stress is a major contributor to losing weight. High stress levels increase the hormone cortisol in the blood which contributes to the fat we hold in our bodies–especially the mid-section, thighs and hips (which makes us feel slow and weighs us down, literally).Because stress contributes to weight loss, it can’t be reduced through diet and exercise. It makes sense right? By using an infrared sauna as part of an overall weight loss plan, you will greatly help to reduce stress as your body moves from the sympathetic nervous system (the ‘fight’ in the fight or flight nervous system mode) into the parasympathetic nervous system. Your body naturally relaxes and you can finally just breathe after you take an infrared sauna.
If you take an infrared sauna session over the span of a few months you will begin to lose weight. In fact, we did a study to see if this was the case. The results were rather telling.
A study performed at Binghampton University, by Dr. Kenneth Mcleod, a professor in the bioengineering department, conclusively showed that using our True Wave™ II combination carbon and ceramic heaters in a Clearlight Infrared Sauna three times a week eliminated an average of four percent body fat over a four month period.
The hypothesis of the study was by increasing core body temperature it will cause an increase in human growth hormone production. This will help to maintain healthy blood glucose levels which determines whether we burn or store fat. Additionally, when human growth hormone is increased it helps to increases bone mass, improve body composition, boost muscle mass and decrease fat stores.
For a 200 pound man, that means the loss of eight pounds. Over the 16 month period of the study, the control group showed no loss of weight. It’s important to note a few things: the participants in the study did not change their exercise patterns or diet and the participants who came in more to use the sauna lost more weight. Also, the participants that used the sauna later in the day lowered their body fat percentage more than those who used the sauna in the morning.
While using an infrared sauna is great to help in weight loss, there are things that you can do to expedite it. Drinking fresh, clean water before, during and after your sauna session will help to speed up your metabolism.
Once you use an infrared sauna consistently, you will find that you have no choice but to do this. If you are used to reaching for soda, coffee or even alcohol, your body will now crave liters of pure water.
You can also eat healthier. The key to weight loss on a fundamental level is to burn more calories than you put in–common knowledge right? It is easier said than done. Eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and getting the right amount of fiber will really help to maintain blood sugar levels and stimulate your metabolism. Over time you will lose weight, your heart will be healthier and your blood pressure will normalize.