How Often to Use an Infrared Sauna
Using an infrared sauna once or twice a week is already enough to get most of the benefits. Each session is usually 30 or 45 minutes, which is more than enough to make us fully sweat, help us relax and improve our blood circulation.
But why use an infrared sauna instead of the traditional one? Some people might have found it uncomfortable or even intolerable to stay inside a traditional sauna because of the extremely warm air (which can make it hard to breathe and relax).
Comparing infrared and traditional saunas
First, let’s compare infrared sauna with a traditional one:
- Traditional sauna, 65 to 82 ℃
- Infrared sauna, 49 to 60 ℃
Traditional saunas heat the air around us and only some of that heat warms our bodies in turn (which is why high temperatures are required). In contrast, an infrared sauna heats our bodies directly through a wide range of wavelengths which results in deeper tissue penetration.
More and more people now are starting to try infrared saunas because these have lower and more tolerable temperatures. This helps them better relax and perhaps still let them think through things even if the temperature inside is a bit uncomfortable.
Even in those lower temperatures of 49 to 60 ℃ (there are also infrared saunas with 38 to 58 ℃), we can still sweat intensely as long as it’s higher than our normal room temperatures (higher than 22 degrees Celsius).
Also, note that the “uncomfortable” temperature range might vary from person to person. For example, this might depend on where we’re used to staying (e.g. Are we used to humid climates? Do we always stay in a cool room or office?). For many of us, temperatures higher than 25 or 30 degrees Celsius can start to make us sweat.
Saunas and their benefits
First, what happens when we enter a sauna? This is usually how it goes:
- Skin temperature rises
- Heart pumps more blood
- Pulse rate increases
- Blood vessels become dilated
- Hypothalamus signals our sweat glands to start working
- We sweat
We sweat because it’s our body’s attempt to cool down. After all, sweat’s main function is to help control body temperature. This happens because when sweat evaporates, the heat comes with the water which leaves the surface of our skin cooler (evaporative cooling effect).
In other words, when we enter a sauna, we stimulate and facilitate that sweating because our bodies will continue to fight back the heat. Sweating may help us feel and perceive that toxins are coming out and leaving our bodies. After all, sweating is often associated with detoxification (although there are no widespread clinical studies to support this).
Still, entering a sauna provides key benefits such as:
- Relaxation and meditation
- Improved blood circulation
- Pain relief
With lower and more tolerable temperatures inside an infrared sauna, we can better relax and focus on the sensations of our bodies. It’s also a practical way to temporarily step back from pressures and our responsibilities and somehow gain clarity in our life, career or business.