… Sauna (More Information)
Conventional vs. Infrared Saunas
Radiant heat is a form of energy that heats objects directly, without heating the air in between. Infrared heaters are used in hospitals to warm premature infants ie: they are safe.
A conventional sauna relies on indirect means of heat: convection (air currents), and conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin), to produce its heating effect.
In a “far infrared sauna”, less than 20% of the infrared energy heats the air, leaving over 80% available to be directly converted to heat within our bodies. Thus an infrared sauna can warm its user to a greater depth and more efficiently than a conventional sauna. This crucial difference explains many of the unprecedented health benefits reported to be attainable through a “far infrared sauna”.
The infrared energy may induce 2 to 3 times the sweat volume of a conventional sauna. The surrounding air temperature is typically between 115 and 140 F vs. 180 to 235 F in a conventional sauna. The lower heat range is more comfortable and is also safer for those concerned about cardiovascular risk factors, a potential issue in hot-air/conventional saunas.
Infrared waves are part of the invisible Electromagnetic Spectrum (EM). The far-infrared segment of the electromagnetic spectrum occurs just below, or “infra”, to red light as the next lowest energy band. This band of light is not visible to human eyes but we feel this type of light as heat.
Dr. Toshiko Yamazaki, MD, at her Infrared Therapy Clinic in Japan has done extensive research on the use of Infrared Therapy or Infrared Light Therapy for detoxification. In her book, "The Science of Far Infrared Therapies," she explains that one of the reasons Infrared Therapy has beneficial results in a variety of illnesses is the ability of far infrared waves to remove toxins which often result in many health problems. Since humans are bio-accumulators, numerous toxins that disturb natural body healing are stored in our bodies and cannot detox immediately after entry,
Toxins do the damage, and saunas help with damage control. Saunas help to accomplish detox in the following manner. A layer of fat and oil exists just below the surface of the skin. Heat from the sauna increases skin temperature, causing those fats and oils to "melt" and ooze out of the skin's oil glands. As sweat and oil are excreted, the toxins dissolved in them are excreted as well, resulting in detox. By excreting these toxins and then washing them off your body, you cleanse internally and externally, and cellular health improves.
A case study reported in Sweden involved a 70 year-old man who had rheumatoid arthritis secondary to acute rheumatic fever. He had reached his toxic limit of gold injections and his erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was still 125. After using a far infrared sauna for less than five months, his ESR was down to 11.
A clinical study in Japan reported a successful solution for seven out of seven cases of rheumatoid arthritis treated with whole body infrared sauna therapy.
Raymond Francis, M.Sc. in "Never Be Sick Again" says, “Infrared heat assists in resolution of inflammatory infiltrates, edema and exudates. The increased peripheral circulation provides the transport needed to help evacuate the edema that can help reduce inflammation, decrease pain and help speed healing.”
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Some doctors now believe that the "toxic load" of patients with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome is very high and their detoxification pathways are often compromised.
When one is able to reduce the toxins and heavy metals in those with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, their symptoms often greatly improve.
A number of people are also suffering unknowingly from mercury poisoning or from other metal accumulation such as lead and aluminum. The infrared sauna has been invaluable in accelerating the removal of these toxic metals.
New clinical research on pain offers evidence that there is a class of “heat responsive pain” (HRP), which encompasses several common pain conditions that can be treated with the use of heat therapy. Researchers studying HRP have observed remarkable therapeutic benefits by using continuous low level heat therapy for treating lower back, upper body and menstrual pain, all conditions that fall under the new HRP classification.
“For centuries healthcare providers have used topical heat to relieve minor aches and pains, but today we are just beginning to understand the full range of therapeutic benefits that heat offers,” said pain expert Peter Vicente, Ph.D., past president of the American Pain Society. “Through new clinical research, we have found that heat activates complex neurological, vascular and metabolic mechanisms to mediate the transmission of pain signals and effectively provide relief for a variety of pain conditions.”
Deep heat helps blood vessels dilate, bringing relief and healing to muscle and soft tissue injuries. Increased blood circulation carries off metabolic waste products and delivers oxygen rich blood to oxygen depleted muscles, so they recover faster. In Europe, radiant heat therapy is widely used to treat patients suffering from many forms of arthritis.
The stiffness and soreness that come with aging can be reduced or eliminated via infrared sauna use.
Studies have shown a 30 minute infrared sauna session can burn 200-600 calories. As the body works to cool itself while using an infrared sauna, there is a substantial increase in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate. Blood flow during whole body hyperthermia is reported to rise from a normal 5-7 quarts per minute to as much as 13 quarts per minute. Journal of the American Medical Association, August 1981.
“Saunas are an important aid to weight loss and thyroid repair because as you lose weight, fat tissue releases stored toxins such as PCBs and pesticides.” Dr. Mark Hyman, author of NY Times best selling book “Ultrametabolism”.
One can receive the "training effect" while reading and relaxing in infrared saunas. NASA concluded infrared "passive exercise" was the ideal way to keep astronauts fit during space flight.
Infrared Saunas help clear the gel-like lumps of fat, water and debris trapped in pockets beneath the skin.
Muscles relax most readily when tissues are warm, for greater flexibility and range of motion. Top athletes are using the infrared sauna to warm their muscles before and after working out to prevent injuries and promote relaxation.
The profuse sweating achieved carries off imbedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and deeply clean, firming skin tone, improving elasticity and reducing wrinkles. Infrared therapy has been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, and improve rough skin. Wounds and burns heal faster with reduced scarring.
Boosts Immune Response
By raising the core temperature and creating a 'hyperthermia' effect, the infrared sauna can also help to improve the immune system.
This radiant therapy may shorten your recovery time from colds and flu by stimulating the body's natural healing processes.
Eliminate Harmful Toxins
Skin is the largest organ in the body and it plays a significant role in the detox process. Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal, stay healthy, and cleanse.
Sweat carries toxins out of the body and pushes them through the pores on a cellular level taking the detoxifying load off your liver and kidneys by the direct elimination of toxins through the skin. Two to three times more sweat is produced in the infrared sauna than is possible in conventional hot air saunas. Greater detoxification is achieved, including: lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, pesticides, alcohol, nicotine and fat-soluble toxins.
Sweating also helps the body to release heat and to keep your internal core temperature consistent.