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When you hear the word sauna, what goes through your mind? Perhaps a small, scorching room lined with wooden benches centered around a pile of very hot rocks. Or maybe you think of steam blasting all around you in a similarly close-quartered space filled with strangers in towels.
Sauna is actually a healing tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years. Immersing oneself in a high-temperature sauna environment causes the body to sweat, which even in primitive times was recognized as an effective way to cleanse the body and eliminate waste via the skin. The routine use of a sauna is one of the most effective means by which to detoxify the body, rejuvenate its cellular system, and promote a vibrant, disease-free life.
Near, Mid, and Far: The 3 Types of Infrared Sauna
The use of heat therapy really isn’t new in the realm of the healing arts, but technological advances that capitalize on infrared energy have made it possible to generate heat in just the right spots with pinpointed precision, hence the advent of the infrared sauna.
There are three distinct types of infrared wavelengths that generate energy: near infrared, mid infrared, and far infrared. Because they penetrate the skin and cells at varying depths, each type of infrared provides different therapeutic benefits depending on its use.
Near infrared (also referred to as low level light therapy) uses special LEDs to permeate the outer surface of the skin and promote cell health and skin rejuvenation. LEDs are effective because they can trigger a natural photo-biochemical reaction (similar to how plants use chlorophyll to convert sunlight into plant tissue).
Mid infrared has been shown to help aid in pain relief and weight loss.
Far infrared, which is by far the most common type used in commercial infrared saunas, helps pull toxins from the body and lower blood pressure.
Each type of infrared sauna comes with its own unique set of health benefits, and one isn’t necessarily better or worse than another. However, exposing yourself to all three types will clearly offer the most comprehensive health benefits, hence why many healing practitioners now encourage their patients to use or invest in a 3-in-1 full-spectrum infrared sauna.
Infrared Saunas vs. Traditional Saunas: What’s the Difference?
The most noteworthy differences between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna have to do with temperature and heating method. A traditional sauna uses convection heat, much like the stove in your kitchen, to warm the body from the outside. It typically does so at higher temperatures around 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celcius). Many people find traditional saunas to be too hot and drying, making them intolerable to sit in for longer than just a few minutes.
An infrared sauna, on the other hand, can provide health benefits at much lower temperatures ranging between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celcius). This is due to the fact that radiating heat is more evenly distributed and penetrates more deeply into the skin, gently warming the body, rather than “charring” it with blasts of higher-temperature heat.
This is an important distinction because infrared heat is much more effective at drawing out toxins from the deep tissue areas where they’re hiding, allowing them to be more effectively and efficiently expelled from the body.
Despite the lower temperature thresholds, infrared heat also causes the body to sweat much more profusely than it otherwise would with convection heat.
The Science Behind Infrared Sauna Benefits
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that infrared saunas are helping people detoxify their bodies, increase their energy levels, and even overcome chronic disease. But what does the science say? In a 2009 scientific review, a Canadian researcher found that:
At least four separate studies support the use of far infrared saunas in treating patients with cardiovascular disease.
At least five studies support the use of far infrared saunas in the treatment of coronary risk factors.
At least one study supports the use of far infrared saunas in treating chronic pain.
Another researcher from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona, put out a paper several years ago highlighting the benefits of infrared sauna use as a way to trim body fat and eliminate toxic xenobiotics (foreign chemicals) from the body.
A 1981 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that regular use of an infrared sauna exerts a weight-loss effect on the body. This is due to the fact that infrared radiation raises core body temperature, mimicking the cardiovascular exertion brought about by aerobic exercises such as running.
There is also copious emerging research demonstrating infrared sauna benefits in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems, rheumatoid arthritis, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, edema, soft tissue injury, sciatica, eczema, pelvic infection, pediatric pneumonia, and even cancer.
The Effect of Infrared Sauna on Cancer Cells
For cancer specifically, infrared sauna treatments are exceptionally promising because of the selective toxicity they have on cells. In a nutshell, the hyperthermic effects of infrared radiation are only harmful to malignant cells, as was explained to me by Dr. Irvin Sahni in a Truth About Cancer docu-series interview. Dr. Sahni told me that normal healthy cells are essentially immune to infrared radiation, while cancer cells are hyper-thermically challenged:
“…by exposing your body to that heat, you’re selectively killing or eradicating those less viable cells, those cancer cells, without hurting your normal cells. And so a far infrared sauna is useful because it can help you sweat, excrete toxins, and in theory eliminate cancer cells which can’t survive the heat as well as the normal cells.”
Another study published in the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy found that after just 30 days of infrared treatment, tumor-infected mice saw reductions in their cancerous masses of up to 86% − even with low-temperature infrared exposures of as little as 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celcius).
And if that isn’t enough, another study out of Japan found that infrared-induced, whole-body hyperthermia helped strongly inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice, without causing any harmful side effects.
Between this internal heating mechanism and the sweat it produces, infrared saunas offer a one-two punch for powerful detoxification and cellular maintenance and regeneration. As long as you’re continually replenishing your body with both clean hydration and electrolytes, the sky’s the limit: the more you heat your core and sweat, the better off you’ll be health-wise.
A sauna is a great tool for health for detoxification, relaxation, pain relief, weight loss, cardiovascular, and even anti-aging benefits.
As far as I’m aware, there’s no other brand on the market that offers a three-in-one system capable of delivering an optimal balance of all three infrared wavelengths. Sunlighten saunas also have high emissivity − upwards of 99% − which simply means that they’re extremely efficient in infrared heat output.
Source Credit: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/infrared-sauna-benefits/
A sauna may do more than just make you sweat. A new study suggests men who engaged in frequent sauna use had reduced risks of fatal cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Although some studies have found sauna bathing to be associated with better cardiovascular and circulatory function, the association between regular sauna bathing and risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and fatal cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is not known.
Jari A. Laukkanen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, and coauthors investigated the association between sauna bathing and the risk of SCD, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal CVD and all-cause mortality in a group of 2,315 middle-aged men (42 to 60 years old) from eastern Finland.
Results show that during a median (midpoint) follow-up of nearly 21 years, there were 190 SCDs, 281 fatal CHDs, 407 fatal CVDs and 929 deaths from all causes. Compared with men who reported one sauna bathing session per week, the risk of SCD was 22 percent lower for 2 to 3 sauna bathing sessions per week and 63 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week. The risk of fatal CHD events was 23 percent lower for 2 to 3 bathing sessions per week and 48 percent lower for 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week compared to once a week. CVD death also was 27 percent lower for men who took saunas 2 to 3 times a week and 50 percent lower for men who were in the sauna 4 to 7 times a week compared with men who indulged just once per week. For all-cause mortality, sauna bathing 2 to 3 times per week was associated with a 24 percent lower risk and 4 to 7 times per week with a 40 percent reduction in risk compared to only one sauna session per week.
The amount of time spent in the sauna seemed to matter too. Compared with men who spent less than 11 minutes in the sauna, the risk of SCD was 7 percent lower for sauna sessions of 11 to 19 minutes and 52 percent less for sessions lasting more than 19 minutes. Similar associations were seen for fatal CHDs and fatal CVDs but not for all-cause mortality events.