Infrared technology is a growing component within the clinical field. From relaxation, skin rejuvenation to cancer treatment, infrared is undoubtedly a world-class innovation.
Although infrared saunas have been used worldwide for a range of healthy lifestyle benefits, it is essential to be aware of the risks involved with any treatment or therapy you decide to pursue.
What is Sauna Therapy?
Sauna therapy exudes a multitude of benefits created from the combination of heat and sweat. As one’s body temperature rises, it naturally produces sweat, which releases a great variety of toxins from your body.
In its basic form, a sauna utilizes an enclosed space to restrict heat to a given area. Usually set within a wooden interior, the area generally experiences temperatures between 110 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Traditional saunas use wood, electricity, or even gas heaters to provide warmth to their surrounded area. The human body then absorbs this heat through a process called convection.
So, as the room temperature increases, our body temperature increases. Alternatively, infrared technology, which is the focus of this article, uses
specific lamp technology to provide the unit’s respected heat levels.
Interestingly enough, infrared rays only travel in straight lines, so, therefore, with the strategic placement of lamps within the sauna unit, this heat directly penetrates the human body.
Generally speaking, you will find flush-mounted lamps installed in the front, back, and sides of the infrared sauna space. It is also possible to have an infrared light installed underfoot.
What is an Infrared Sauna?
Infrared saunas use state-of-the-art lamp technology or other high-end heaters efficiently and deeply to penetrate our skin to its cellular level, which mimics the energy emitted from our sun.
Infrared rays are not visible to the human eye, yet we radiantly absorb them as heat. Thus, we are given the benefits of solar energy without the risk of dangers associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays.
So, again, infrared saunas emit heat that directly penetrates one’s skin using various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation to target specific issues ranging from topical skin conditions to deeper and more concentrated medical problems.
Where far-infrared may best target some issues, others may benefit from near-infrared technology. What’s the difference? Well, the secret lies in the wavelength of the infrared rays.
The wavelengths of infrared rays lie between 700 and 100,000 nanometers- quite an expansive range. The earliest infrared saunas invented and still used by the Japanese use far-infrared, typically between 3000 and 100,000 nanometers. Although still beneficial, the penetrating factor is decreased to approximately 0.1 mm beneath the skin and is best suited for topical therapies.
Studies and research have developed through the years. For example, scientists have learned that near-infrared, ranging between 700 and 1,400 nanometers, delivers far-deeper penetrating benefits to the human body.
If you are specifically looking for skin-related benefits, research-backed studies indicate that the infrared region between 810 and 830 nanometers has the most direct effect on ATP production.
The effects of this specific range, affecting one’s ATP production, penetrate even deeper below the skin, which NASA studies found to promote wound healing and other regenerative properties.
And, because “all humans produce infrared, it’s safe, natural and easily absorbed by our tissues.” Thus, thanks to solar radiation, people worldwide have the opportunity to take advantage of the substantial health benefits associated with infrared simply by living and being.
Benefits of Infrared Saunas
Infrared technology should be a serious contender for a Nobel prize due to its innovative and complimentary benefits to medical science. For example, the Japanese have used Waon Therapy since the 1980s to provide a holistic treatment option for people who suffer from various mood, eating, and sleeping disorders.
In addition, this form of Asian medicine has also seen tremendous relief in patients that suffer from depression. Waon Therapy has also seen fascinating results in the cardiovascular field, bringing comfort and treatment to chronic heart disease patients.
It’s even more exciting to know that infrared technology can activate “rapid and selective killing of cancer cells” through targeted photoimmunotherapy.
A Japanese Doctor, Hisataka Kobayashi, who works for the U.S. National Institute’s for Health, has researched cancer treatments for over 30 years and applied his discovery to his first clinical trial in mid-2015.
Dr. Kobayashi designed a chemical compound that would react with infrared light producing the results he sought.
Conjugates have previously existed in cancer treatments; however, Dr. Kobayashi worked tirelessly to create a conjugate that would activate when infrared light is applied.
The list of benefits connected to infrared technology is wide-ranging, from mindfulness and relaxation to the selective destruction of immune-suppressing cancer cells, including some of the following:
- mindfulness and relaxation
- toxin release and sweat gland activation
- stress and anxiety relief
- pain and joint relief
- inflammation decrease
- weight loss
- metabolism rate increase
- skin quality optimization
- blood circulation improvement
- blood pressure regulation
Recovering patients also turn to infrared sauna use to help mediate their side effects. Other stories of inspiration have risen from asthma and acne patients who have reported incredible improvement to their breathing and skin conditions.
For this reason, there is tremendous opportunity in the franchising business if you find it important enough to bring infrared sauna technology into your local community.
An extra perk of the infrared sauna is that it is easy to use. Once the lamps have had time to heat up, set a timer, sit back and relax. Remember, you should always follow the recommended guidelines for the proper use of an infrared sauna, which I will list later in this article.
Dangers of Infrared Saunas
To say that the benefits of infrared saunas are impressive would be an understatement, but I feel like it is my responsibility to make you aware of the potential drawbacks involved with their use.
Typically, reports of adverse effects from using an infrared sauna are short-term by nature. They include hypotension, irritated airway, heat discomfort, light-headedness, dehydration, and low blood pressure.
With responsible sauna use practices, usually, these effects are easily avoided. Therefore, whether or not these effects are short-term is irrelevant; be careful not to ignore or minimize them because every individual may respond differently, so the clinical field can never be completely exacting.
I ask that you take a minute to read through the following considerations to understand if you belong to an at-risk group:
- Weakened Immune System: If you suffer from an immunodeficiency disorder, please ask your specialist for a list of recommended facilities. It is of utmost importance that you should request the facility’s protocols and in-place procedures for cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance to mitigate health risks to your health.
- Open and Unhealed Wounds: Should you have recently undergone surgery or have another open wound, I suggest holding off on your sauna experience until you have fully healed and recovered. Again, please receive permission from your medical provider before moving forward with sauna therapy.
- Heart Conditions: Although the Japanese have seen promising results in cardiovascular patients, your first step is to gain clearance from your specialist if you suffer from a chronic heart condition.
- Pregnant or Nursing: You should contact your OBYGN for the green light to go to the sauna if you are pregnant or nursing.
- Age: Infrared saunas do not pose specific risks to any particular age group; however, adults should accompany children under the age of eight and limit their sessions to a shorter period. Likewise, the elderly should also understand that they may be more prone to dehydration and dizziness due to the high heat.
- Mobility Issues: If you have trouble getting around and are using a specific mobility instrument or device, don’t hesitate to contact your specialist for a list of facilities that offer accessible options to suit your needs and condition.
- Neurological Deficit: If you suffer from a neurological disorder, you must attain medical clearance before entering an infrared sauna. Although infrared saunas operate on a lower heat than steam saunas, you should have your session closely monitored. Heat generating environments may pose potential overheating or burn risks for those with trouble sensing and responding to heat.
Your health and wellness are absolute priorities, and you need to take them seriously. So, before you seriously consider frequenting your local spa or wellness clinic, please make sure to consult with your specialist or family doctor and gain medical clearance to visit the sauna, even if you consider yourself a healthy individual.
On a lasting note, if for any consolation, the clinical field generally considers infrared saunas a safe option even for people with mobility issues or other health concerns.
Infrared Sauna Guidelines
You must be sure to follow all posted safety tips and adhere to the specific guidelines of your local spa or wellness clinic regarding their sauna use.
If you belong to one of the at-risk groups discussed earlier and have been cleared, pay attention to any specific tips your specialist recommended.
Here is a list of recommended guidelines to follow for a complication-free sauna experience:
- avoid alcohol consumption before visiting the sauna
- limit sessions to 15-20 minutes in duration
- an adult should always accompany young children
- stay hydrated throughout your visit to the sauna
- remove all jewelry and dress appropriately
- women should remove any makeup or cosmetics before use
- rest afterward so your body can efficiently regulate itself
- take a cool shower to remove sweat and other foreign materials
Please remember not to exceed recommended time limits and always side on the lines with safety. Do not take your health for granted, even if you are an otherwise healthy individual.
Santa, All I Want for Christmas Is…
If you are like me, then the benefits of the infrared sauna are entirely fascinating. However, if you have weighed the benefits and risks of exposure to infrared technology, you may be happy to learn that you can bring this spa-like feature into the convenience of your home.
Infrared technology is exceptionally energy-efficient and relatively easy to install. In addition, since it can generate sweat at a much lower temperature than traditional steam saunas, you will incur a lower operating cost.
Pre-fabricated home set-ups are available for purchase if you do not feel comfortable taking on a DIY project.
If you are ready to begin searching the industry for an option that suits your specific circumstances, I recommend that you start your research with Radiant Health Saunas.
Whether you decide on this particularly trusted sauna manufacturer or not, you should expect to pay between $2,300 to $8,500 for a full-spectrum infrared sauna installed.
If you are a fan of infrared saunas but prefer to take baby steps in acquiring the therapy for your personal use, please consider an infrared sauna blanket as your first step.
An infrared sauna blanket is similar to a sleeping bag. It wraps around your body, offering its warmth to you in a confined space. Keep this in mind if you have claustrophobia.
Safety-wise, you need to search for a model with low-EMF. Like traditional infrared sauna use, remember to properly hydrate before, during, and after using a sauna blanket to replenish your body’s water needs after a good sweat session.
Although medical research supports infrared light therapy, no specific study has tested sauna blankets. If you decide to go ahead with purchasing a sauna blanket, here are the top option available on the market, including the price:
- Ray Sauna Blanket, Less than $600
The compact and easy-to-use blanket option can provide the calming and therapeutic qualities you seek from infrared technology. In addition, if you use a sauna blanket in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, you may likely notice improved immune system health and even weight loss.
Infrared saunas can provide you with a comforting and relaxing environment while simultaneously exposing your body to various physiological benefits.
Infrared saunas may have a slighter advantage over traditional steam saunas because of their science-backed research within the clinical field.
If you clear for infrared sauna use, you are well on your way to experiencing a combination of warmth and bliss.
Please share your experiences with infrared sauna use in the comment section below.