What Is an Infrared Sauna?
Historically, heat treatments have been used to help heal the body for thousands of years. “Hot air baths” and sweat lodges were used for relieving stress, increasing relaxation and detoxification among Native Americans, Eastern Europeans and in Ancient Chinese Medicine. Many years ago, before the invention of focused light therapy, basic saunas were created by building a fire directly under an enclosed sitting area. The “sauna” was heated with hot rocks and other materials burning on a fire that carried heat and smoke up to the lodge.
About 100 years ago, advancements in sauna therapies were made when “light-near infrared lamp saunas” were first created by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Since this time, they have come a long way, and today they’re used by holistic practitioners and various healers around the world. Infrared saunas are a type of sauna that uses heat and light to help relax and detoxify the body. Also called far-infrared saunas or near-infrared saunas, these omit infrared light waves that create heat in the body, causing you to sweat and release stored “toxins.”
These small devices are proving to help many people suffering from pain feel better — and also very importantly, more relaxed! Anti-aging effects, increased detoxification, pain reduction, joint and muscle support, and cardiovascular healing are currently where infrared saunas are gaining the most attention. They’re believed to have a parasympathetic healing effect, which means they help the body handle stress better — an attribute that could mean one day they’re used for handling all types of diseases from insomnia and depression to hormonal imbalances and autoimmune disorders. The interesting thing about these types of saunas is that they differ from “regular saunas” because their light directly penetrates your skin but does not warm the air around you. The temperature in your body goes up quickly, yet the light has no effect on your surrounding environment — which is why you can use infrared saunas within your own home. The results of an infrared sauna are produced at lower temperatures than a conventional sauna and might be tolerated better by people who can’t withstand the very high heats of other dry saunas or even steam rooms.