Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are conscious of our health and seek ways to improve our wellbeing.
Lots of people turn to vitamins and supplements to boost their immune system while others focus on their nutrition in order to stay healthy.
Both methods are certainly beneficial, but there are other ways to protect yourself against harmful illnesses.
One of these methods is the incredible infrared sauna.
An infrared sauna is a type of dry heat sauna that boosts your immunity, cardiovascular health, respiratory system, and more. It is simple to use and gives you the added benefit of relaxation every session. In fact, infrared saunas are even more comfortable and convenient than traditional saunas.
In this blog, we will explain what infrared saunas are, how they work, and which health issues they can address.
How do infrared saunas work?
Infrared radiation is divided into three classifications: near, mid, and far-infrared. Far infrared radiation (FIR) is the only type that can emit energy exclusively in the form of heat. Humans can feel, absorb, and even emit this heat.
Traditional saunas like Finnish and steam saunas deliver heat to the body by heating the air inside the cabin. The heated air is then absorbed by the skin until it is slowly distributed throughout the entire body. Traditional saunas can reach temperatures as high as 80-100°C with sessions lasting anywhere from 5-20 minutes.
The goal of infrared saunas is the same – to increase the body’s core temperature – but they use infrared panels to heat the body directly without significantly warming the air. As a result, you can achieve the same benefits of a traditional sauna at much lower temperatures, making infrared saunas more comfortable for many people. Infrared saunas release heat at heat up to between 48 and 70 degrees Celsius. It can penetrate up to 4cm into the skin.
The body’s core temperature might rise by two or three degrees in the duration of an infrared sauna session. Each session may last for as long as 60 minutes, though first timers should limit their use to 30 minutes to work out what time and temperature is best suited to them
How infrared saunas can improve your immune system
We’ve found that infrared saunas can help boost your body’s immune system in a range of way.
Boosted production of white blood cells
Sauna bathing is known to increase the production of white blood cells, namely lymphocytes, neutrophils, and basophils.
Lymphocytes play a particularly important role in the management of our immune system. There are two types of lymphocytes, known as B cells and T cells.
B cells build antibodies that attack foreign invaders, including viruses and bacteria, whereas T cells are responsible for getting rid of contaminated cells from the body to prevent the spread of disease.
A higher amount of white blood cells in your body makes sure that you are ready for any microbial attack.
Increased blood circulation
Infrared saunas help you improve your blood circulation in a relaxing way. When you exercise, your heart beats faster and causes you to pump blood more efficiently throughout your body.
The same thing happens in a sauna, except that you’re not physically working to produce heat but simply absorbing it.
Increased circulation means that your blood can deliver oxygen to your organs and muscles more effectively, improving their performance. More blood flow to your skin also helps you to heal wounds faster and gives you a natural, healthy glow.
Lower blood pressure
The sympathetic state of our nervous system activates our “fight or flight” mode in times of stress, producing adrenaline and increasing blood pressure.
When inside a sauna, our parasympathetic state of nervous system is turned on, which then directs our body to relax and rest.6 This restful activity helps to regulate elevated blood pressure and, with continued use, keeps it within the normal range.
To keep your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation in check, you should schedule several sauna sessions weekly.
Decrease in joint pain
Studies have shown that infrared saunas can help reduce pain and stiffness in patients with joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. These are chronic conditions that are typically managed with medication and physical therapy. An infrared sauna may act as a passive therapeutic approach to the treatment of conditions affecting the joints.
The positive effects of saunas on pain and stiffness are only short-term, so you need to continue your sauna sessions alongside other therapies to keep symptoms in check.
Fights against muscle soreness
When you exercise, your muscles alternate between contracting and dilating. Stepping into a sauna treatment after a rigorous workout allows you to relax your muscles and concentrate on healing.
Some researchers found that infrared saunas can help reduce the occurrence of muscle soreness after strength training in men. Infrared heat penetrates as much as 4 centimetres deep into muscle and fat layers, it is able to transfer healing warmth into the muscle and alleviate any discomfort or stiffness.
Heat treatment may also speed up recovery from small tears and wounds, allowing you to get back on your feet much more quickly.
Are infrared saunas good for colds?
Yes, you can use an infrared sauna to help with your colds. Our body’s natural response to infection is to produce fevers, which allow immune cells to work more efficiently. Since saunas also reinforce your immune system by boosting the production of white blood cells, you can fight off toxins, pathogens and infections more successfully if you use a sauna while feeling sick.
Common cold symptoms like nasal congestion and fatigue can be relieved by the heat generated from saunas. Research also shows that frequent sauna users are less likely to suffer from the common cold.
While it’s generally safe to use a sauna while you’re experiencing cold & flu symptoms, make sure to hydrate yourself before and after your session to prevent too much electrolyte loss. Don’t forget to cool down and stand up slowly when your sauna is done, too.
Other health benefits of the infrared sauna
Other benefits of the infrared sauna you may experience include:
- Weight loss
- Decreased fatigue
- Improved sleep
- Enhanced well-being and reduced stress
- Clearer and firmer skin
Get in touch with our friendly team at Cryospa Clinics today and we can talk to you in much more detail about the health benefits you may experience in one of our infrared saunas.