Sauna sessions have deep roots in Finnish traditions and have recently sparked a global wellness trend. This surge in popularity is largely due to the array of health benefits associated with deliberate heat exposure, particularly its significant effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health. But what makes heat exposure so beneficial for our well-being? And how can we harness these benefits effectively and safely?
Mention the word ‘sauna,’ and it often conjures images of a traditional steam-filled room, a staple in gyms and health clubs. This type of sauna, known as a dry sauna, has been a popular method for those seeking the rejuvenating effects of intense heat in a controlled environment.
What Sets Infrared Saunas Apart?
Infrared saunas differ from traditional dry saunas in their heating method. While dry saunas heat the air around you, infrared saunas use colored lamps to emit electromagnetic radiation, directly warming your body without significantly increasing the air temperature. This direct application of heat allows for deeper tissue penetration, offering a more intense and beneficial experience. Unlike traditional saunas, the milder air temperature in infrared saunas allows for longer sessions, maximizing the benefits of heat therapy.
Saunas offer a long list of benefits that extend far beyond helping you relax. Here are a few of the top health perks that are backed by science.
Metabolic Boost: Infrared saunas can increase your metabolic rate, potentially aiding in weight management.
Cardiovascular Health: Regular use of infrared saunas can support heart health by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and improving arterial health.
Longevity: Studies suggest that frequent sauna use may reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular events and potentially extend lifespan, thanks to a biological process known as hormesis.
Enhanced Recovery and Performance: Post-exercise infrared sauna sessions can reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery, enhancing overall athletic performance.
Immune Function: Regular sauna sessions can strengthen the immune system, offering protection against various illnesses like asthma, pneumonia, and the common cold..
Brain Health: There is promising research indicating that sauna use may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases (via the formation of new neurons in the brain) and support overall brain health.
Psychological Well-being: Sauna sessions can reduce stress levels and improve overall mental well-being.
A Science-Backed Sauna Protocol
To fully benefit from infrared sauna therapy, it’s important to follow certain guidelines:
- Frequency and Duration: Aim for 2-4 sessions per week, lasting 15-20 minutes each.
- Hydration: Ensure adequate hydration before and after sessions to prevent heat-related issues.
- Safety: If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, exit the sauna immediately.
Maximizing Wellness With Hot-Cold Therapy At Expand Health
Hot-cold therapy can ramp up the possible health benefits of your next sauna session. Hot-cold therapy involves following up your sauna session with a cryotherapy session, which can drive up adrenaline levels and relieve pain. Cold exposure can also decrease levels of specific hormones, including cortisol (the body’s stress hormone), while activating brown fat, a type of fat that helps regulate your body temperature and metabolism. The most important thing is to end with cold rather than hot to allow your body to warm itself up through the metabolically beneficial process of thermogenesis.
Elevate Your Wellness Journey With HoT-Cold Therapy At Expand Health
Infrared saunas represent a significant advancement in heat therapy, offering a range of health benefits that extend beyond relaxation. Whether you’re seeking to improve your cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, or simply unwind, incorporating infrared sauna sessions into your wellness routine can be a game-changer.