Far Infrared Saunas
A Little Bit of History…
Saunas, as they are known today, have long been used by humans across the world for their wellness qualities.
Native American Indians used sweat lodges for cleansing and purifying, recognising the health benefits of ‘a good sweat’. Similar sweat lodges were also used in Roman times for the same reasons.
Dr Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical, received a patent in 1965 for a ceramic infrared heater used in the first healing infrared thermal systems.
In 1979 these were finally released for public use and, as infrared heat is so gentle, it is now used to keep newborns warm in hospital nurseries.
The Popularisation of Saunas
For centuries the people of Finland have been using some version of a sweat bath – what later became known as a sauna.
But they didn’t look at or use their sweat baths as they’re used today.
Long before modern indoor plumbing and running water, it was one of the simplest and most efficient ways for them to bathe and keep clean.
So what’s been known as a traditional Finnish sauna is actually an ancient form of a bath.
Within the Finnish culture, with plenty of water on hand, the sauna was one of their cleanest, warmest bathing areas.
But the sauna was far more than just a place of social gathering; farmers used it to relax their muscles and joints after a hard day’s work and any special holiday or feast day usually meant a trip to the sauna the night before.
This is one of the most important benefits of a sauna that hasn’t changed much over time – how it can help relax your mind and body, how it can provide an exhilarating feeling of well-being.
It is doubtful though that the Finns, and others who regularly enjoyed the use of saunas centuries ago, had much of an idea about what it was that made them feel so good – what was actually happening to their bodies during a sweat bath…
Deep-Sweating and Your Body
Even with today’s more active lifestyles, many people don’t sweat on a regular basis… some avoid it at all costs, perceiving it as offensive, and maybe even unhealthy.
But research shows how deep-sweating can provide a multitude of vitality benefits.
Regular sessions in a sauna can help you benefit from a deep sweat because in the heat of a sauna…
- Your core body temperature begins to rise…
- Your sweat glands are stimulated to produce sweat, beginning the process of cleansing your skin.
This deep-sweating is all part of the sauna lifestyle that can help you look and feel better.
Ancient Finns many not have had much if an idea about the science behind sweating but they certainly felt the relaxing benefits from time spent in their sweat baths… and still do today.
However this doesn’t totally explain the potential benefits from sweating in a sauna – only what happens to your body while you’re in there.
Let’s cut right to the chase and take a deep dive into…
The benefits of owning a sauna
Although more and more people are learning firsthand about the fabulous benefits of owning a far infrared sauna or heat therapy room, many others are still in the dark.
The following information has been compiled to help spread the good news with the hope of placing more people on the path to greater health, relaxation and happiness.
- Using a far infrared sauna can help strengthen the body’s immune system by stimulating increased production of white blood cells by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus.
- Far infrared rays can help improve blood circulation, stimulate endorphins, lower lactic acid, kill certain bacteria and parasites, and burn calories. Proponents of hyperthermia, also known as fever therapy, maintain that using far infrared energy to therapeutically induce higher body temperatures helps fight infections and even cancer. Their argument is supported by the human body itself, which radiates infrared energy for the benefits of warmth and tissue repair.
- A good example of far infrared heat is the light produced by the sun. This is the heat you feel penetrate your skin when you stand in the sun (and miss when you’re in the shade). It has nothing to do with ultraviolet light, which can damage your skin. When people do not receive adequate amounts of far infrared heat, they can often become ill or depressed.
- Studies indicate that benefits of far infrared sauna use include: muscle relaxation; stress, tension and headache relief; reduction and removal of body toxins; increased cardiovascular strength; increased blood circulation; strengthened immune system; improved lung function, and refreshed, moisturized skin.
- Far infrared saunas are recognized by health practitioners worldwide as perhaps the most effective method of removing both chemical and heavy metal toxins from the body. Far infrared saunas are thought to be 7 times more effective at detoxifying heavy metals such as mercury, aluminium, and other environmental toxins than conventional heat or steam saunas. For many chronically ill patients (as well as people who are well and wish to stay that way by reducing their toxic burden) the far infrared sauna is the detox method of choice.
- Sessions in a far infrared sauna in the early stages of a cold or flu has been known to stop the disease before symptoms occur.
- Far infrared heat can penetrate into the skin about an inch and a half to two inches deep and can have therapeutic benefits, such as helping to dissolve fat deposits under the skin. Since toxins may be stored in the fat, the deep penetrating heat of a far infrared sauna can help eliminate them, especially toxins such as heavy metals and acidic compounds.
- The radiant heat of a far infrared sauna is efficient because it warms the sauna user directly. The body absorbs as much as 93 percent of the heat, causing perspiration and producing a vast array of health benefits.
- Far infrared saunas can help clear cellulite, the gel-like lumps of fat, water and debris trapped in pockets beneath the skin. European beauty specialists routinely incorporate daily far infrared sauna sessionss in programs to reduce cellulite.
- Generally speaking, far infrared saunas are less expensive, easier to install, and require less maintenance than traditional saunas. They come in many sizes and are often quite portable, making them a great choice when limited space is available.
- Far infrared radiant heat provides all the healthy benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of solar radiation.
- Far infrared saunas are more cleansing than conventional saunas because they are designed to generate more than two to three times the amount of perspiration. A higher volume of sweat means a more thorough flushing of toxins from the body.
- Unlike in traditional saunas where temperatures range from 140 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 105 degrees Celsius), the temperatures of far infrared saunas typically range from 100 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 60 degrees Celsius).
- The temperature inside a far infrared sauna is adjustable and comfortable. This allows a person to perspire faster and to tolerate a longer period of time inside the sauna. Typical sessions in a far infrared sauna last 20 to 30 minutes and can be repeated to maximize the benefits.
- The lower heat range of far infrared saunas is safer for people with cardiovascular risk factors or fragile health – because lower temperatures don’t dramatically elevate heart rate and blood pressure.
- Far infrared saunas have been used to treat sprains, bursitis, rheumatism, muscle spasms, neuralgia and haemorrhoids. They have also been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis and burns.
- The effects of toxin, chemical and pesticide poisoning can be greatly reduced by the far infrared sauna’s detoxification action. People who work with chemicals, as well as home gardeners who frequently use fertilizers and pesticides, are advised to use far infrared saunas on a regular basis.
- Far infrared radiant heat is a form of naturally occurring energy that heats objects by direct light conversion. Direct light conversion warms only the object and does not raise the temperature of the surrounding free air.
- A far infrared sauna will deliver hyperthermic benefits in a much shorter time period (i.e. 10 to 15 minutes) than a conventional sauna (30 to 45 minutes).
- Far infrared sauna use can help promote rebuilding of injured tissue by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts, the connective tissue cells necessary for the repair of injury. It also can help increase growth of cells, DNA syntheses, and protein synthesis, all of which is necessary during tissue repair and regeneration.
- In the electromagnetic spectrum, far infrared wavelengths measure between 5.6 and 1,000 microns. One micron equals one micrometer or one millionth of a meter. Wavelengths of between 6 and 14 microns are believed to be the most beneficial to humans and other living things on Earth. The human palm emits far infrared wavelengths of between 8 and 12 microns. The energy output from far infrared saunas so closely match the human body’s radiant energy that nearly 93 percent of the sauna’s far infrared waves reach the skin.
- Far infrared sauna therapy has helped people with cardiovascular conditions such as congestive heart failure and angina. It enhances endothelial nitric oxide, lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular function.
- The radiant heat of far infrared saunas has been shown to be especially beneficial to people with sports injuries, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions.
- In a study performed by U.S. researchers, the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was found to be 95 to 97 percent water, while the sweat of those using a far infrared sauna was 80 to 85 percent water with the non-water portion principally cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulphuric acid, sodium, ammonia, and uric acid.
- There are some definite advantages to using far infrared sauna thermal heaters, such as no high heat claustrophobic reaction and better air circulation. Far infrared heaters heat the body, not the air, so a bather is more comfortable and cooler. Far infrared saunas require 90 percent less electrical energy than conventional saunas, and no plumbing is required for a far infrared sauna.
- A far infrared sauna use can be of significant benefit to people trying to lose weight. A 20 to 30-minute session in a far infrared sauna has been touted to burn as many calories as a six-mile run.
- Far infrared saunas are now used in health facilities for a range of health problems such as menopause, ulcers, insomnia, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections and allergies.
- Far infrared saunas offer the same benefits as traditional dry saunas, if not more. Plus, far infrared saunas don’t rely on any type of water. You don’t have to worry about setting the sauna up on a waterproof floor or near plumbing, and you don’t have to worry about mildew.
- Unlike a traditional sauna, which requires a closed atmosphere to maintain heat levels required for therapeutic results, a far infrared sauna can be used with its door or window completely open if far infrared penetration is the only objective.
- Far infrared saunas benefit all your organs of elimination, from your lungs to your liver to your kidneys to your skin.
- Infrared light lies between the visible and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared light has a range of wavelengths, just like visible light has wavelengths that range from red light to violet. Near infrared light is closest in wavelength to visible light, and far infrared light is closer to the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Far infrared waves are thermal, meaning they are felt as heat.
- A far infrared sauna is usually warm within 10 or 15 minutes, whereas a conventional sauna can take more than an hour to reach optimal temperatures.
- Most far infrared saunas use ceramic elements to generate gentle heat. Another option, although quite costly, is to use far infrared bulbs, which can provide warming and stimulating colour therapy.
- Wood choices for far infrared sauna construction include basswood, birch, oak, poplar, spruce and western red cedar. When a wood type is stated to be hypoallergenic, it means that the wood contains minimal allergens and is therefore less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Typical wood allergies, however, are caused by sawdust.
- When far infrared heat penetrates a user’s body, he or she can experience a refreshed mind, relaxed mood, reduction of aches and pains, improved metabolism, and systemic regularity leading to an overall feeling of wellness.
- Cedar and Hemlock are softwoods ideally suited for use in far infrared saunas. Cedar is a very strong wood that is quite able to withstand the heat of a far infrared sauna.
- Far infrared radiation is believed to be the only antidote to excessive ultraviolet radiation.
- Certain alternative healing practices such as palm healing, a practice with some 3,000 years of tradition behind it in China, rely on the human body’s ability to emit far infrared radiant energy.
- NASA has utilized far infrared therapy to help maintain fitness levels of astronauts in weightless environments.
You can find out more information on the conditions our saunas can help with here or to learn how the far infrared actually works click here. If you have any questions we are here to help, so please get in touch.