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Are saunas actually healthy, or just relaxing?




You may have recently hear or read about the many health benefits gained from Infrared (IR) Saunas. Pop culture magazines, talk shows, medical journals, and holistic professionals have been discussing the ways in which regular use of IR saunas can benefit your health and well-being. If you are consuming this information, and wondering if all of this content is accurate, or just hype, you're not alone. In fact, we need to have a curious, and sometimes investigative, mind when we hear about the next big deal in health and wellness.


If you have questions about IR saunas, this post has some answers. The good news, is there are many studies showing significant benefits to regular sauna use, including increased mood, decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduction in stress, inflammation, and chronic fatigue, lowered blood pressure, dermatologic health, and detoxing components. Again, this claim may seem to good to be true. Afterall, we've been conditioned to believe if something is good for us, it must be painful, taste gross, or at the very least be uncomfortable. These conditioned beliefs are more myth than fact. In reality, health and well-being do not have to torture, especially if we are maintaining appropriate balanced health.


Infrared Sauna


When you think of saunas, your first image may be a steamy room filled with nude bodies, or something similar. In these settings, steam is used to heat the environment to bring on high body temperature and sweat. Steam saunas have been used for ages, and have their benefit. They also have limitations concerning sanitary conditions, breathing issues, and claustrophobia. Infrared saunas heat your body directly, not the environment. There is no steam whatsoever. Many IR saunas, including the one at The Peaceful Place, are constructed of cedar, contain Himalayan salt, and chromotherapy (light therapy). Only one person at a time uses the sauna, and the suite is completely private, meaning no awkward nude encounters. The very nature of these saunas makes them more sanitary and clean.


Physiological Health


The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that being exposed to heat in this way (IR sauna) stimulates the release of beta endorphins in the body. The infrared also gets right to the joints to decrease inflammation. Our experience of these actions is pain relief, improved recovery time from exercise, and general improvement in mood. (1) Studies cited by the Mayo Clinic point to IR saunas increasing blood circulation and regulating blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and reducing volume of inner lining. (2) Additionally, studies have found improvements in patients with high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, Alzheimer's and dementia, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.


One key component to consider is inflammation. We know that inflammation is at the root of so many physical and mental/emotional conditions distressing humans. Heat and cold exposure therapies are showing to significantly decrease inflammation and improve our bodies ability to regulate it.


Mental & Emotional Health


Studies show that regular use of IR sauna can decrease symptoms of anxiety (both state and trait), depression, and stress. (3) Remember the beta endorphins? The release of these hormones brings a sense of "feeling good." Studies have also shown a correlation between inflammation and depression, as well as anxiety. (4)


Precautions


People who have experienced a recent cardiovascular failure, who are pregnant and/or breast feeding, who experience psychosis or have a diagnosed psychotic disorder, or who frequently experience seizures need to consult with their primary care physician and/or specialists prior to engaging in sauna therapy.


It's imperative to stay hydrated before and after your sauna session. Hydration is so important, in general, but heating the body directly causes us to sweat. When we are releasing toxins and pollutants from our body via sweat, we need to remember to replenish with clean, high quality water. Dehydration is not our friend.


Using a sauna of any kind, including IR saunas, during or immediately following the use of alcohol or psychoactive drugs may have an adverse effect. Do yourself a favor, and take in all the benefits of detoxing from the sauna. Give your body a chance to filter out the toxins without overriding with more toxins.


If you every feel woozy or like you're about to faint during a sauna session, stop the session immediately. If you do not return to homeostasis within the hour, contact your physician.


IR Sauna at The Peaceful Place!


To help you kickstart your health in 2024 and increase your core temperature during the winter months, we are inviting all existing clients to try our IR sauna for free. Discuss with your therapist or holistic provider at TPP if you'd like to schedule your first sauna session for free. For more information about our sauna, and to schedule appointments, click HERE.


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