Winter has well and truly hit us in the Southern Hemisphere, and now is as good time as any other to detox, warm up and and embrace the mid-winter chills. A good sauna session is one of those traditional, no-fail forms of sweating out the weeks events. But how well do you know your sauna? We spoke to Nicola Johnson, colonic hydrotherapist and owner of progressive health clinic pH Clinic, to uncover the need-to-know details about infrared saunas, and why they’re set to be your new go-to cleanse.
Infrared Saunas look similar to a conventional sauna (the beautiful cedarwood cabin with a glass door), except the heating technology is very different. Conventional humid steam saunas force the body to perspire, eliminating 97% water and 3% toxicity. However, infrared saunas penetrates 3-4cm into the body’s tissue, eliminating 80% water and 20% toxicity. This allows for a more productive and comfortable sweat.
The benefits include: stimulation of the immune system, cardiovascular conditioning, reduced lactic acid, weight loss, calorie expenditure, pain relief, reduced inflammation, cellulite reduction, decrease in stress levels and excretion of heavy metals. Not bad for just sitting in a sauna!
As a health practitioner, I prefer the infrared as the experience is less intense to that of a steam sauna, and the therapeutic effects outweigh just getting hot and sweaty.
Infrared is very safe. Health professionals have been using far infrared technology for years. Have you ever gone to a Physiotherapist with a sprain and they’ve put a red heat lamp on it? Well, that’s infrared. Infrared treatment is also widely used in burn units to accelerate healing and hospital baby care incubators. Far Infrared heat is not ultraviolet radiation (sun effect on the skin = sunburn), but a narrow band of energy within the 5 to 15 micron level. This type of energy travels 40 – 45 mm deep into the body. Far Infrared heat provides the healthy benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of ultraviolet rays.
Although this technology is safe for all ages and health levels, there are still conditions where infrared is not prescribed. Infrared is contraindicated if you have; hemophilia, MS, are pregnant (or are a nursing mother), or if you are currently seeking medical attention and are on drugs for a specific condition. This contraindication also applies to those taking blood-pressure medication and those with pacemakers, as many infrared saunas contain magnets that may affect the way a pacemaker works.