Detoxification, weight loss, anti-aging and more - all from a form of light. These are the benefits infrared saunas are boasting.
How they work
Infrared saunas differ from traditional forms in that they use mid, near and far infrared lighting that heats you from the inside out - rather than the air around you. Studies have shown this can result in a 20 to 30 per cent increase in the effectiveness of the treatment. Near infrared wavelengths occur mostly in light form and produce a very low temperature. This light penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin, which assists with wound healing, skin conditions such as acne and redness, metabolism, collagen production and can act as an antioxidant. Mid infrared goes a bit deeper, helping the soft tissues through improved circulation and general inflammation that can be found there. Far infrared rays penetrate into our deep tissues, muscles and cells. By doing this, far infrared rays are most effective at raising core body temperature and, as a result, offer weight loss and the boosting of detoxification at a cellular level in the body.
"Eat a good breakfast before you go to a sauna in the morning, and eat regularly during the day."
Before and after
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s important to hydrate before, during and after a session to replenish any lost liquids. The deeper penetration associated with infrared light draws all those unwanted toxins out of your system using the water that’s already in your body. Due to this dehydration process, taking more than one session a day isn’t recommended. It’s also always wise to eat a good breakfast before you go to a sauna in the morning, and eat regularly during the day.
Infrared saunas have a range of programs that people can use, which focus on benefits such as detoxification, cardiovascular, anti-aging, weight-loss, relaxation, stress reduction and sleeping, pain relief, skin health or even chronic conditions. How these treatments differ depends on whether all three forms of infrared are used and at what strength. Therefore, you might have a program which only uses a mixture of mid and near. Most saunas will have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ program for users who are looking to cover all bases. Session durations can also vary, ranging from 25-45 minutes. It’s good to remember that while you may or not get hot in an infrared sauna, the heat of the sauna doesn’t diminish the effects of your visit. Whenever the infrared light is on, you’ll be reaping the benefits.
Su Tuttle, a qualified nutritionist, and Neil O’Sullivan are co-founders of Nimbus & Co. Bondi.