What's the difference between a traditional & infrared sauna?

Things are about to get hot.

infrared sauna, benefits of sauna, steam room, detox, cleanse

Winter has well and truly hit us in the Southern Hemisphere, and now is as good time as any other to detox, warm up and and embrace the mid-winter chills. A good sauna session is one of those traditional, no-fail forms of sweating out the weeks events. But how well do you know your sauna? We spoke to Nicola Johnson, colonic hydrotherapist and owner of progressive health clinic pH Clinic, to uncover the need-to-know details about infrared saunas, and why they’re set to be your new go-to cleanse.

What you need to know about infrared saunas

What is an infrared sauna?

Infrared Saunas look similar to a conventional sauna (the beautiful cedarwood cabin with a glass door), except the heating technology is very different. Conventional humid steam saunas force the body to perspire, eliminating 97% water and 3% toxicity. However, infrared saunas penetrates 3-4cm into the body’s tissue, eliminating 80% water and 20% toxicity. This allows for a more productive and comfortable sweat.

What are the benefits as opposed to a normal sauna?

The benefits include: stimulation of the immune system, cardiovascular conditioning, reduced lactic acid, weight loss, calorie expenditure, pain relief, reduced inflammation, cellulite reduction, decrease in stress levels and excretion of heavy metals. Not bad for just sitting in a sauna!

Is infrared better than a traditional sauna or just a different alternative? If so, why would you choose one over the other?

As a health practitioner, I prefer the infrared as the experience is less intense to that of a steam sauna, and the therapeutic effects outweigh just getting hot and sweaty.

Are there any negative side effects?

Infrared is very safe. Health professionals have been using far infrared technology for years. Have you ever gone to a Physiotherapist with a sprain and they’ve put a red heat lamp on it? Well, that’s infrared. Infrared treatment is also widely used in burn units to accelerate healing and hospital baby care incubators. Far Infrared heat is not ultraviolet radiation (sun effect on the skin = sunburn), but a narrow band of energy within the 5 to 15 micron level. This type of energy travels 40 – 45 mm deep into the body. Far Infrared heat provides the healthy benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of ultraviolet rays.

Can anyone visit an infrared sauna?

Although this technology is safe for all ages and health levels, there are still conditions where infrared is not prescribed. Infrared is contraindicated if you have; hemophilia, MS, are pregnant (or are a nursing mother), or if you are currently seeking medical attention and are on drugs for a specific condition. This contraindication also applies to those taking blood-pressure medication and those with pacemakers, as many infrared saunas contain magnets that may affect the way a pacemaker works.

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