Trying to stay in shape is anything but fun. Granted, the results are quite rewarding, and it always feels nice to look good in your favorite outfit. But working out can be taxing and mentally as well as physically exhausting. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, which aren’t always options. Still, there are some cool shortcuts that you can try to get your body going without necessarily pumping iron, like the sauna. Technology has even gone a step further and gave us infrared saunas, but what exactly are those? And are they good or bad for you?
The regular sauna you find at most gyms uses a heat source that warms the air, and in turn your body. Infrared saunas work a bit differently; they warm your body directly without the need to heat the air. An infrared sauna used light to generate this heat, unlike traditional ones that use electricity, gas, or even fire in some cases.
So, why exactly should you go for an infrared sauna, and why are they becoming popular with each passing day? People like saunas because they give your body an effort that is similar to that of exercise without actually exercising. You get an increased heart rate and you sweat like you’ve just run a marathon.
The problem with traditional saunas, and why many people dislike them, is you have to suffer extreme heat for that to happen, which a lot of people can’t tolerate. An infrared sauna, however, gives you the same results at a lower temperature, and this is why they are much more convenient and accessible for many people who dislike a traditional one.
Potential Benefits of Infrared Saunas
The benefits of infrared saunas are pretty much the same as a traditional one, with the significant benefit of doing it at lower temperatures as we mentioned earlier. There is a reason why saunas have been popular for a very long time, which you’ll understand if you read more about the history of saunas and how they had been used for centuries earlier. They can help you sleep better at night because your body relaxes in the silence and the heat significantly improves your sleep patterns as studies show. This happens because your body becomes heated after going into a sauna, and it works to adjust its temperature during the night, prompting better sleep.
The most obvious benefit of a sauna is weight loss, since the excessive sweating drives water out of your body and helps you lose weight. One of the more promising effects of infrared saunas is how they relieve the pain associated with sore muscles as well as joint pain conditions like arthritis.
Studies have been done on infrared saunas, specifically, and they have gone to show that they could help in the treatment of some chronic conditions like diabetes, heart problems, cognitive degeneration conditions, and several other diseases. Research is still young in that department, and we still need to prove whether infrared saunas can be effective in treating chronic conditions.
Are There Any Side Effects?
A review in 2018 showed that infrared saunas might have some potential side effects, though more evidence is needed before reaching that ultimate conclusion. Some people experienced low blood pressure and lightheadedness after consistent infrared sauna sessions. Others expressed airway irritation or transient leg pain in some cases.
An older study showed that continuous exposure to infrared saunas led to lower sperm count and motility in some of the test subjects. It is still a bit early, though, to judge whether or not infrared saunas are bad for you, but there are some cases in which you should avoid them.
When to Avoid Infrared Saunas
Infrared saunas are considered safe to use for almost everyone, but there are some situations in which you should avoid using one. If you are drinking alcohol, don’t step into one. If you feel sick or your body temperature is high, it also might not be a good idea to try an infrared sauna. The same goes for people who suffer from low blood pressure and kidney diseases –– the same applies if you are on medications to help you lower your blood pressure. Like traditional saunas, avoid using one if you are pregnant or suffer from a weak immune system.
More studies are being and will be done on infrared saunas, but for now, they are probably worth a try. Unless you have some of the above conditions, you should be safe to try infrared saunas. They can certainly help with many chronic conditions and help you sleep better as well as lose weight. Just clear it with your doctor first.