Up until very recently, the word Infrared was reserved for protect- yourself- from-the-sun articles and CSI TV shows, but it’s definitely one of the “IT” words today. Infrared saunas, acne treatments, light therapy and similar services gained popularity overnight, and turned what used to be a black swan into the most beautiful king swan you’ve ever seen. So, what’s the hype all about? Is it just one of the passing trends because Kim or Kylie swore on the benefits, or can it be an amazing tool to help us combat today’s toxic effects on our bodies?
Let’s find out!
Let’s start with a simple explanation of what “infrared” actually stands for . Infrared refers to the light waves beyond the visible spectrum of light, which are as referred to as thermal infrared since these wavelengths are used to review the long wave thermal energy radiating from earth.
Infrared light was discovered in 1800 by a British astronomer, William Herschel, when he measured the difference in temperature between the colors in the visible spectrum and found an increase from blue (cold colors) to red (warm colors). Going even further, he noticed an even warmer temperatures beyond the red end of the spectrum – infrared light. Since then, infrared light has been used in a variety of technological projects and products, such as heating lamps, remote controllers, and heat sensitive thermal imaging cameras (the ones from James Bond, CSI and such :)).
Ok, now that we got that out of the picture, how do saunas fit in the story?
Infrared light causes heat which penetrates our bodies from the inside, causing us to sweat and, therefore, detoxify, in a deep, healthy & natural way. The topic of “detoxification” has been very trendy lately, and although some claim that there’s no real need for extra detoxing because our bodies are designed to do so on their own, with so many toxins in today’s world (water, air, construction work, soil, traffic, pesticides, herbicides…), I believe it’s impossible to get rid of them and handle it all without some help. The toxic build-up leads to inflammation and chronic autoimmune diseases as we cannot keep on overloading our liver and kidneys and expecting them to cleanse everything out efficiently.
“Detoxification is important because it strengthens the immune system and helps the biochemical processes function well. This helps us digest the nutrients. Detoxification has also been seen to be helpful with immune issues, chronic fatigue, colitis, autism, and ADHD.” – Dr. Rachel West
The difference between infrared saunas & regular saunas:
Research has shown that infrared saunas are 7 times more effective than regular ones. Why is that? Well, infrared light penetrates so deep into our bodies, it actually reaches the cellular level, causing the detoxing to start from the “core”, rather than warming up our outside body (with hot air) and only reaching the first couple layers of our skin. In addition, the body feels the same elevated circulation, warmth, and energy that is usually felt only from exercise. When staying in a regular sauna, the sweat we produce consists of 95% water and salts, while after an infrared treatment, our sweat is made of 80-85% water, with the rest being ammonia, cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, sulfuric acid, sodium, and uric acid.
Infrared saunas are one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and stress, taking our bodies from fight-or-flight mode to rest-and-digest. It’s efficient for boosting the metabolism & aiding weight loss, helps with muscle pain & faster recovery, improves heart health & gives our immune system a boost, eases joint pain & stiffness, improves skin elasticity & reduces water retention….
These are just some of the health benefits from using an infrared sauna, but the main reason why they became so widely known in the last couple of years are the incredible results they showed with acne treatments, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, autism, ADD, ADHD, psoriasis, dermatitis, fatigue, PMS, PCOS, menopause, and various thyroid conditions.
After doing my research, I was definitely convinced to give it a try, and I absolutely loved it! I am not much of a “sweating person”, but the feeling I got after my first session was done was incredible! I had a sudden burst of energy and it was like a weight was lifted of my back, but the best part of it all – I was able to breathe completely normal in the sauna itself – because like I mentioned, the whole point is to heat the body from the inside out, not the other way around, the temperature ranges from 120-160F (unlike 185-200 in a regular sauna). The next day, I also noticed my muscle pain & fatigue really decreased, and consequently, I was able to do a better workout 🙂 All in all, this gets a 10/10 in my book!
Now, off to schedule my next appointment 🙂
XOX, Karla Tafra
Yoga Nutrition Fitness