I cannot remember for the life of me who first talked to me about infrared saunas, but I do know that I used to visit “Spruce Body Lab” where I would pay $20 to sit in a little one man sauna for half an hour, have a shower and proceed to walk back home. You can imagine that gets pretty costly depending on how often you decide to go and if you believe in the healing powers of infrared saunas. I have a regular sauna at home as well, but there are some creepy crawly neighbours around here that I would rather NOT share fungus with.
So, what is the point of these things? In short, to get your sweat on. Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal, stay healthy, and detox Sweat carries toxins out of the body and pushes it through the pores. Sweating helps the body release heat and keeps your internal core temperature as consistent as needed.The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands. Sweat glands are distributed over the majority of the human body. Skin is the largest organ in the body and it plays a significant part in the detox process.
Detox from an INFRARED sauna is said to be 7 to 10 times greater than conventional saunas because it operates more effectively at temperatures 60 to 80 degrees lower than conventional saunas. The average person sweats out 20% toxins and 80% water! In conventional saunas the average person sweats out 3% toxins and 97% water. Far-Infrared Technologies that Harness the Sun, Valerie Free.
“The most important breakthrough today for detox and health is to do daily far infrared saunas. Heat therapy is probably the most important avenue for detox for abundant health today.”
-David Steinman, Publisher of Healthy Living and author of “Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown” and “Diet for a Poisoned Planet – the 21 st Century Edition”
How do these saunas work exactly?
Infrared light, or far infrared as it can often be called, is a wavelength of light naturally emitted by the sun. But whereas some wavelengths of light are visible, infrared, or far infrared, is not. An example of the visible wavelengths from the sun is the light that you see when you see a rainbow. This is the visible wavelengths broken into their individual wavelengths for you to see. But you cannot see infrared.
Infrared is thermal radiation, meaning that it carries heat. The most common demonstration of this is one that everyone will recognize. You know how, when the sun comes out from behind the clouds there is an immediate sensation of heat on the skin? This is the warming effect of the infrared radiation from the suns light spectrum.
A radiator or electric heater emits infrared light and therefore thermal radiation and this is what causes the heating effect. Or you may even have an infrared heater in your bathroom right now.
Infra red radiation does not heat the air as some forms of heat do, and penetrates the body extremely well, producing heating effects in the body below the skin.
Use of infrared light as a therapy is not new. For many years the healthcare industry used heat lamps utilizing infra red technology, but these lamps were difficult to use and became hot to the touch, and were difficult to keep at a constant temperature. Now it is more common to use ceramic infrared heaters where far infrared heating is required. And ceramic heaters are used in modern infrared saunas.
Strangely, as infrared heaters do not rely on the air being hot to work it is quite possible for one to work outdoors or with the door open, except that the user may well feel cold on the skin.
So what is the difference between this and traditional saunas? Traditional saunas are usually known as Finnish saunas, or rock saunas. These use various types of heaters to produce heat to heat up rocks inside the sauna. Very traditional types can produce heat from the burning of wood.
Rocks are heat stable and so keep the heat inside the suana more stable too. The heat, sometimes up to or even over 200 degrees, causes the body to sweat. The humidity is usually increased by throwing water on the stones to “improve” the sweating effect, and this can be uncomfortable. In a very traditional sauna the skin is even flagellated with birch twigs to increase the effect.
So the bottom line is that an infrared sauna heats the body by direct application of far infrared light rays, whereas traditional Finnish saunas heat the body with hot air.
What is Detox?
Detox can be used as a tool to help relieve symptoms AND as a preventative tool to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. Detox is a widely used treatment and concept in alternative medicine. The leading detox principle is that illnesses can be caused by the build-up of toxic substances – or toxins – in the body.
Detox can be helpful for people suffering from diseases and conditions, including:
Low blood sugar
Detox therapy is also useful for those suffering from immune system problems that including chronic fatigue syndrome, environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivity, and fibromyalgia. The United States Centers for Disease Control estimate that over 80% of all illnesses have environmental and lifestyle causes.
Therefore, detox has also become a prominent treatment as people have become more aware of environmental pollution.
For example, it is estimated that one in every four Americans suffers from some level of heavy metal poisoning, including mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum. Toxins in the body also include chemical pollutants such as pesticides, DDT, PCB (poly-chlorinated biphenyls) and food additives. Drugs and alcohol also have toxic effects in the body.
Whether you’re set to detox on a cleanse in one of their many forms, a new or radical nutritional change or you’re just looking to relax your mind and take a mini-vacation on the fly – these saunas are something you should look into. As luck would have it, Yyoga “FLOW” on Burrard has a state-of-the-art unit that is free to use for members – and I am one, I get my sauna on 2-3 times per week, and it’s all it’s chalked up to be in my opinion.
**Update – I purchased my own sauna in 2015!
HAPPY DETOXIFICATION ALL!
Source: Sweat It All Out; How Stuff Works; Zane R. Gard, MD & Erma J. Brown, BSN, PhN TlfDP, October 1992