Infrared vs Traditional Sauna
The main difference between infrared and traditional saunas is the heat source:
- A traditional dry sauna uses a stove to heat the air. As the temperature of the air increases around you, the temperature of your body increases. This causes your body to start the cooling process by transporting blood closer to the surface of the skin and opening pores through sweating.
- Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit a specific wavelength of infrared light. Your skin absorbs this wavelength, causing your body's temperature to rise. This elicits the same effects as a traditional sauna with less overall heat needed making it more comfortable, allowing you to stay in much longer.
With infrared sauna technology, you can lose weight, relax, relieve unwanted pain, and increase your circulation.
Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.
Pain Relief & improved circulation
If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles. As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions, can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation after intense exercise.
The heat generated by an infrared sauna will raise your core body temperature, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article, titled Effect of Sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick PhD, "Hyperthermic Conditioning" or calculated heat exposure, can help increase growth hormone (GH) levels and substantially improve endurance. Hyperthermic conditioning optimizes blood flow to the heart, skeletal muscles, skin, and other tissues because it increases plasma volume. This leads to endurance enhancements in your next workout or race, when your core body temperature is once again elevated.
- "One study has demonstrated that a 30-minute sauna session twice a week for 3 weeks post-workout increased the time it took for study participants to run until exhaustion by 32% compared to baseline. The 32% increase in running endurance found in this particular study was accompanied by a 7.1% increase in plasma volume and 3.5% increase in red blood cell count."
- "Two 20-minute sauna sessions at 176 degrees separated by a 30-minute cooling period elevated growth hormone levels two-fold over baseline. The growth hormone effects generally persist for a couple of hours post-sauna."