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Feeling Red: How Infrared Saunas Are Gaining Popularity

The old fashioned sauna may be going out of style. If recent developments in the past few years have anything to say about it, the time of steam flooded rooms is, well, evaporating.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

Like the name suggests, infrared saunas use infrared light to heat the body directly, rather than by warming the air surrounding you, like traditional saunas do. The concept is comparable to how microwaves cook food, when the energy heats the molecules inside, only without the nasty side effect of internal damage.

Unlike the its traditional predecessors, infrared saunas are more effective at making you sweat. That means less time committed, making it a popular stop for pre- or post-workout sweat session, in addition to increased relaxation.

Infrared saunas have been marketed since the early to mid-2000s, but they haven’t been scientifically vetted until the past few years, revealing potential health benefits. One study, published in 2017, found that that “infrared sauna benefits include significant reductions in fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, the infrared sauna therapy was found to significantly reduce anxiety and depression.”

Benefits of Sauna Bathing

Sauna bathing, in general, has presented many health benefits. In Finnish society, where sauna usage is common and popular, has shown long-term boosts. A study measuring Finnish men’s usage found that “the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all-cause mortality” decreased if participants spent 19 or more minutes in the sauna.

Does this mean we, as a society, should flock to infrared saunas? Maybe. There’s good evidence for such action; however, many studies argue for further research into added health benefits before full endorsement. But this hasn’t stopped gyms, spas, and private residences from installing saunas.

Like before adding any new physical activity, it’s always prudent to consult your primary care physician or specialist before starting a new routine. Learn more about different types of saunas and see if there’s one that’s a better fit for you.
Are saunas not your style? Check our blog for more health tips and trends.



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