It’s All About Gentle Heat
Unlike traditional saunas that use steam and dry heat to warm a room, infrared saunas use infrared heat panels to gently increase body temperature. “Infrared heat is very gentle,” Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar, tells SL. “Instead of heating the air around you, infrared panels heat your body from the inside out, which allows you to sweat at a lower temperature and spend more time in the sauna – think 45 minutes as opposed to ten or 15. In an infrared sauna, around 20% of the heat goes to the air around you, while the remaining 80% heats your body and allows the heat to penetrate your muscles more deeply.” The heat emitted is similar to the feeling of lying in the sun on a warm day, Sasha adds, which is why infrared saunas are also less likely to interfere with breathing and are more tolerable to those sensitive to heat.
The Benefits Are Many
Because infrared heat penetrates the body as opposed to simply heating the surface of the skin, the benefits are many. Sweating activates and intensifies the elimination of toxins. As well as the incredible relaxation effect the heat produces, it’s also been shown to increase endorphin levels, boost the immune system and aid muscle recovery. “Raising your body temperature by a few degrees causes your immune system to kick into gear, which can help you fight off a cold,” adds Sasha. “An infrared sauna can also boost your mood, help you sleep better, relieve tension from achy muscles and help clear your skin. It also has the potential to promote healing and the production of collagen, which is linked to plumper, more glowing skin.”
They Can Reduce Stress Levels
An infrared sauna is proven to release endorphins, which in turn lowers cortisol levels in the brain and gives you that ‘runners’ high’ feeling, adds Sasha. “Anyone who experiences high levels of stress can benefit hugely from an infrared sauna, and if you exercise often or experience tired, aching muscles, they can help relieve tension,” she says.
Lauren Berlingeri, co-founder of HigherDose, says they’re also worth a try if you’re looking to support certain medical conditions. “Infrared saunas can be used by anyone for biohacking the body’s natural detoxification. According to research, people with diabetes, high cholesterol, and even former smokers, can benefit from infrared heat as it can improve the function of blood vessels. For this reason, they’re also great for highly active people as the improvement in circulation will soothe muscle soreness.”
Staying Hydrated Is Important
As JetFuel supplements founder Papillon Luck explains, an infrared sauna session is very similar to an intense workout, so giving some thought to what you do before and after will enhance the experience. “On the day of an infrared sauna, drink at least one to three pints of water before, during and after your sauna session. Avoiding drinking alcohol the day before an infrared sauna, and never immediately before. Also, avoid using skin lotions, make-up, perfumes or moisturisers, and when you’re in the sauna, it’s best to wear nothing for maximum skin-heat exposure.” Papillon also recommends sitting up in an infrared sauna, as opposed to lying down, so the heat panels can target as much of your skin as possible. And even though you’ll be sweaty afterwards, Sasha says it’s worth not showering immediately afterwards if possible. “It’s better to let your body cool down naturally – this process is called thermogenesis.”
Body Brushing Before Can Lead To More Benefits
If you’re looking to support the body’s detoxication process, dry brushing before an infrared sauna is a no-brainer. “This will slough off dead skin cells, helping to further soften the skin, will get your circulation going and promote lymphatic drainage, which will only enhance the detoxification you experience in the sauna,” says Lauren.
If You’re A Beginner, Start Slow
“Start with two sessions a week of 10-15 minutes, slowly working up to 30-40 minutes in total,” advises Papillon. “Build your usage up slowly, at a maximum of every other day for the first two weeks, but always stay in long enough to break a sweat.” And remember, while you will get hot, the body quickly builds up tolerance. “Simple hacks like constant hydration, taking little breaks by opening the sauna door and listening to a podcast or playlist can make the experience easier,” adds Sasha. Once you feel comfortable, aim for two 45-minute sessions per week for the best results, she adds. And while using an infrared sauna is safe, avoid them if you are pregnant. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, chat to your GP. “If you feel unwell, rebook your session for when you’re feeling better, just to be on the safe side,” Sasha finishes.
Want In? Book An Infrared Sauna At One Of These Destinations...
Glow Bar: GlowBarLDN.com
Yue Float: YueFloat.com
Cloud Twelve: CloudTwelve.co.uk
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.