For thousands of years ancient cultures understood that the process of sweating offered an effective cleansing process for the body, many cultures have maintained a focus on sweat lodges and saunas as a primary method of encouraging sweating along with exercise (and hard physical labour!).
With modern lives all too often characterized by diets high in processed foods, sedentary lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, the arguments for enjoying a regular sweat have never been more compelling.
As the skin is the body’s largest organ and one designed to aid in cleansing and purifying, sweating plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy body.
While many people have used saunas primarily for relaxation and stress reduction, additional health benefits are increasing the popularity of Infrared saunas for use both in the home and at the gym.
High levels of stress put continuous strain in the autonomic nervous system and are considered to be one of the elusive causes of many chronic diseases. Heat therapy loosens the muscles and relieves muscular aches and pains. By facilitating the expansion of capillary vessels, thereby improving circulation, physical stress levels are reduced.
The infrared rays also clear away build up of lactic acid and carbon dioxide around the muscles, by removing the toxins muscle and joint stiffness disappears. Besides these physiological effects, a sauna session also contributes to stress reduction by stimulating the endorphins of the brain, and simply by providing a peaceful and relaxing environment away from it all.
The deep penetrating heat of infrared energy has allowed health professionals and Sports Medicine practitioners to treat muscle and joint problems for many years.
Relief from arthritic joints and lower back pain is a common benefit for many people. Research has also shown infrared therapy to effectively manage all manner of muscular and skeletal aches and pains, and even improve posture.
One of the main reasons for this is its ability to dilate the capillaries in areas associated with pains, allowing oxygen-rich blood to bathe the area and carry away accumulated metabolic waste which contributes to the pain, soreness and stiffness, this also brings relief and healing to muscle and soft tissue injuries resulting in improved recovery times.
Many people who have had trouble sleeping from pain and stress have found deep restful sleep through regular use.
When our body heats up, the heart pumps blood faster around the body and to the extremities of the body. The best defence the body has to overheating is sweating because sweat evaporates from the skin taking the heat with it.
Our body expends energy to produce sweat – 1g of sweat requires 0.586 calories. A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off up to 1Kg or more in a single sauna session – the equivalent in sweat to run 10 -15kms.
So, by sitting in a sauna your body will start to sweat, raise the heart rate and dilate the capillaries and other parts of the cardiovascular system, offering many of the cardiovascular benefits of physical exercise. It is a great means of exercise for those who cannot physically exert themselves.
NASA concluded after lengthy trails in the 1980’s that infrared therapy is the best way for astronauts to maintain cardiovascular fitness on long cramped space flights.
Infrared Heat penetrates deeply into the layers of skin. Perspiration removes the deep impurities, toxins and dead skin cells. Increased circulation draws your skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface. Together with Infrared heat’s cleansing effect, you will see a noticeable improvement in your skins texture, complexion, tone and elasticity.
Studies concluded that Infrared Heat has been beneficial in the healing of acne, eczema, rashes, psoriasis, burns, lesions and cuts – open wounds heal more quickly, reducing scarring.
European beauty specialists regularly incorporate sessions in programmes to reduce cellulite. Because the radiant infrared heat penetrates three times as deeply as conventional saunas, it is significantly more effective at breaking down hard to move cellulite and promoting a more youthful, beautiful complexion.
Combat the effects of daily stress and wake up your immune system. Deep radiant infrared heat results in a rising of your body’s temperature, identical to the body’s defence mechanism against bacteria, microbes, and infection. The beneficial side effect of this induced temperature increase is immune system improvement resulting from increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by your bone marrow and killer T-cells by your thymus. Combined with the elimination of toxins and wastes from your body, your overall health and resistance to disease is noticeably improved so you feel and look better.
There is the obvious weight loss that is associated with burning calories. As you relax in the gentle heat of the infrared sauna, your body is actually hard at work, producing sweat, pumping blood – and burning calories. In a single sauna session you may burn as many as 600 calories, similar to exercising for 30 minutes.
Detoxify and weight loss
Scientific studies have shown that a thirty minute session in an infrared sauna can result in the loss of toxins and stored fats at higher rates than with traditional saunas or exercise alone. Infrared heat penetrates deep enough into the tissues of the body to break down the chemical bonds binding these toxins and fats.
Saunas can add a positive dimension to your fitness regime.
Using the sauna before exercise can bring benefits, as it helps increase blood circulation and acts as a warm up before activity reducing the chance of strains.
Lactic acid, a by-product of muscle metabolism that causes soreness and stiffness after exercise, is significantly reduced following infrared sauna therapy. It can also help accelerate repair to damaged tissues.
Infrared sauna cabins can be used pretty much anywhere there is a level floor and access to regular mains power. Since they are totally self contained there is no need for special wiring, plumbing etc. and with a wide range of sizes and shapes available they can often be found in bedrooms, family rooms, garages or even bathrooms.
If you don’t think you have the space to fit a standard cabin, don’t despair – please call us to discuss a potential bespoke solution to suit what space you do have.
A dry level surface and access to a regular point are typically all that is required.
No. As an Infrared sauna is typically ready to use in around 10 minutes and each session lasts around 30 minutes the running costs are similar to that of using a hairdryer.
No. Routine maintenance consists of keeping surfaces clean.
Yes. It is possible to choose from and enjoy a number of other therapies simultaneously in an Infrared sauna cabin including but not limited to; aromatherapy, ioniser, chromatherapy.
To be used outdoors the cabin should be provided with at least a canopy or roof to protect it from the elements. The external panels should also be treated to provide suitable protection from the weather. Ideally a building purposely designed for use outdoors should be considered as an Infrared sauna can be fitted into this – please call us to discuss details.
‘Infrared’ = below red. Infrared is the name given to a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths slightly longer than visible light. Infrared light is invisible to the human eye. The Infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum covers a very broad range of wavelengths from 0.7 to 1000 microns.
If this all sounds a bit technical it’s what causes the warm glow you feel on a sunny day, which comes directly from the sun’s rays. That is why you can feel a sharp drop when a cloud blocks these rays – even though the air temperature hasn’t changed.
The Infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum is sub-divided into three main sections:-
a) Near Infrared (NIR) – wavelengths of 0.7~2 microns
b) Medium Infrared (MIR) – wavelengths of 2~4 microns
c) Far Infrared (FIR) – wavelengths of 4~1000 microns
Far-infrared radiant heat is a completely safe form of energy that heats objects by a process called direct light called infrared heat or infrared energy.
The sun is the primary source of radiant energy, but not all of this energy is beneficial. Although life needs energy from the sun, too much sunlight damages the skin. FIR heat provides many of the health benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of solar radiation.
Infrared light has the ability to easily penetrate human tissue. This creates a natural resonance, which has many beneficial properties. The radiant heat of infrared gives off the same essential heat as the sun without any of the harmful effects of Ultra Violet (UV) rays. The Infrared heat penetrates the skin, providing you with that wonderful natural warmth. One of the most fascinating aspects of the infrared heat is that you can be exposed to infrared heat for hours and it will never cause your skin to burn. Infrared heat is completely safe and healthy for most individuals.
Absolutely. Infrared light energy is beneficial and not damaging to the body. Infrared has been researched and used in medical practices for many years with Far Infrared heating used in hospitals to warm newborn infants. Sports medicine has long accepted and used infrared to promote healing of sprains and strains. NASA has also concluded after lengthy trails in the 1980’s that infrared therapy is the best way for astronauts to maintain cardiovascular fitness on long cramped space flights.
Far infrared energy emitted as waves is used to heat the body directly, rather than warming the air first. In an infrared sauna, a heater produces this radiant energy, which is similar to the heat experienced from sunlight. Unlike sunlight, pure infrared energy is safe as it does not contain Ultraviolet or other harmful radiation.
When the infrared waves penetrates the body this is realised as heat energy, which proponents say can penetrate more than an inch and a half into the body to heal and stimulate tissues, making it an effective therapy for arthritis and tissue injuries.
The resulting heat causes body temperature to rise and you begin to sweat, thus achieving health benefits similar to those from a conventional steam sauna. In fact, some say that the more penetrating and intense heat of a far infrared sauna makes you sweat 2-3 times more, resulting in more comprehensive cleansing.
In a traditional sauna the air in the cabin is heated to more than 70° or even 80°. Upon entering the cabin the body temperature rises due to contact with the very hot air and begins to perspire. In order to moderate the humidity levels, water is sprinkled over the heat source to vaporise as steam. Duration of exposure is typically limited to 5~10 minutes to prevent the core body temperature reaching dangerous levels. Having left the cabin and cooled to normal levels again the experience can be repeated, typically two or three times taking up to two hours.
With an infrared sauna the body is heated directly rather than via the air. This encourages the body to perspire profusely but at much lower ambient temperatures usually around 40°~45°. The heating effect is due to the Infrared waves being absorbed by the body producing a deeper heat sensation. As the process is more comfortable for the user the duration of a session may last from 30 minutes to an hour for seasoned users.
The amount of energy required to heat the air for a traditional sauna is quite significant (see comparison table) compared to the more efficient Far Infrared method and takes considerably longer to achieve. The power requirements may necessitate a separate electrical circuit to be installed specifically for this purpose. Traditional saunas will also require to be installed upon tiled or other moisture resistant flooring and should contain a vapour barrier membrane within the structure.
As a consequence of the lower operating temperatures and no need to introduce water/steam into the cabin along with low power requirements it means that Infrared cabins can be located almost anywhere.
All three main types of infrared heating element have distinguishing characteristics:-
Rod types heat up the quickest but have the shortest wavelengths and highest operating temperature.
Carbon panels are relatively new technologies. They boast the thinnest structure, have the largest area and the lowest operating temperature. As the Infrared rays travel in straight lines this large surface area means that much of the Infrared output is ‘lost’ into the cabin.
Cast ceramic heaters represent an industry proven solution being robust, operate in the Far Infrared region, have long life expectancy and operate with 96% efficiency making them our heater technology of choice.
There is no simple answer to this question. Some suggests that 9.4 microns is the optimum wavelength because this is the resonant frequency of water. Such an argument has some merit as the human body is composed of more than two thirds water however; a) around one third of the body is not made of water , b) none of the heater types produces only one tuned frequency or wavelength.
In summary, there cannot be a ‘best frequency’. There can however be an optimum range which is generally accepted as being 8~13 microns.