Using an infrared sauna at home to wind down after a busy day is not only convenient and relaxing, it’s healthy. Stepping foot into my sauna is like a little oasis, and I’ve experienced a number of health benefits from doing so. Let’s dive into some of these benefits, and why I love using my infrared sauna at home.
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Saunas have been around for thousands of years, and times have definitely changed since humans began first using them. Sauna bathing is a form of heat therapy, and using an infrared sauna at home is just a more modern heat therapy modality.
History Of The Sauna
The word “sauna” means bathhouse in Finnish, and originally they were separate buildings from where people lived. Water would get thrown onto rocks to steam up the saunas, and these buildings were usually located near a lake or body of water so that the bathers could alternate between heating up in a sauna, and then cooling down in water.
Today the term sauna is a contemporary term used to describe a heating system that creates profuse sweating, either through hot stones, embers, wood stoves, or electricity like the infrared sauna.
The first electrical sauna was developed by John Harvey Kellogg in the late nineteenth century. Mr Kellogg believed wholeheartedly in the health benefits of heat therapy and used the invention of electricity to create his ‘Incandescent Light Bath’.
In the 1960’s the discovery of near, mid, and far infrared wavelengths brought the infrared sauna closer to what we know today. And in 1979 the first broad spectrum infrared sauna became available to the public in the Unite States.
When it comes to saunas, Finland is probably best known for its sauna culture. However sauna bathing is prevalent in other countries as well, and has been globally growing widely in popularity since the 1950’s.
Today, people from all walks of life use saunas, and you can find them in hotels, spas, gym, and homes. And people use them for different reasons. Some use saunas to relax and unwind, while others use them for more therapeutic purposes like pain relief, muscle soreness, and injury healing.
Health Benefits Of An Infrared Sauna
According to The Cleveland Clinic, there are plenty of health benefits when using an infrared sauna.
- Pain – research is showing “repeated thermal therapy” could be a promising treatment for managing chronic pain.
- Muscles – using an infrared sauna dilates blood vessels, thereby increases blood circulation, which could help to speed up muscle recovery following a workout.
- Heart – an infrared sauna can help reduce blood pressure by widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow. Researchers liken the physical response of using an infrared sauna to walking at a moderate pace.
- Sleep – some research shows that using an infrared sauna can help us feel more relaxed, thereby improving our sleep.
- Depression – “whole-body hyperthermia” may help to manage depression, anxiety and stress
- Inflammation – regular sauna use can help reduce the risk of the common cold, as well as reduce oxidative stress, which contributes to conditions like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Why I Love Using My Infrared Sauna At Home
Purchasing a sauna, and using my infrared sauna at home, has been one of the best things I could have done for not just my physical health but my mental health as well.
Mental/Emotional – helps to settle the monkey-mind
After work and a busy day with care partnering duties, there is nothing like turning on that sauna, placing a few beautiful smelling essential oil drops into the aromatherapy container, and allowing meditative music to filter through the speakers. Then I just begin to breathe deeply and relax.
After a few minutes, I actually feel the stress in my body melt away. Whether it be anxiety for Doug and our future living with Parkinson’s disease, stress from world events, or whatever is bothering me, I can count on it dissipating once I step foot into my infrared sauna.
Physical – helps with physical ailments and recovery
I also love to use my infrared sauna at home after going to the gym, and for physical ailments and recovery.
After a hard strength training workout at the gym, I enjoy going into my sauna to stretch and recover. I will set the heat fairly high, bring in a bunch of towels and bands for stretching, and spend about 20-30 minutes in my sauna stretching and lengthening my muscles. I also make sure to hydrate well during this process, which also helps our bodies recover quicker from a workout.
A couple of years ago I injured my knee, and it was very difficult to walk much less workout. I really used my infrared sauna at home during that time to heal my knee.
For the longest time, even after my knee was technically healed, I had a limited range of motion. So for months, almost on a daily basis, I used my infrared sauna to heat up my body and knee, and to stretch and work on improving my knees range of motion.
Today my knee is stronger than ever, and its range is 100%.
Purchasing an infrared sauna for your home
When I decided to purchase my own infrared sauna to have in my home, I did a deep dive into the research. After much investigating, and talking to people in the health field, I decide to purchase my infrared sauna from Health Mate.
Health Mate has been around for well over 40 years, and they are considered a pioneer in the business. They were the first to produce a home infrared sauna in the United States in 1979, and they continue to lead the way making quality infrared saunas based on experience and innovation.
The quality of Health Mate saunas are above and beyond, as they use superior materials and manufacturing processes. Health Mate says their saunas are built to last longer than most cars!
Health Mate saunas use a full spectrum infrared (that is near, mid, and far-infrared) for a more effective sweat, and it uses a ‘patented heating technology combined with state-of-the-art diode panels to ensure an optimal infrared session.’ Health Mate states ‘no other manufacturer or brand comes close to matching the infrared range of Health Mate’s full spectrum saunas.’
Finally, Health Mate’s heating technology provides the lowest levels of electromagnetic frequency, which is what ultimately helped me decide to purchase a Health Mate sauna.
If you are interested in seeing which Health Mate model I own, you can view it HERE.
Prep & Recovery After An Infrared Sauna
There are things you can do, before and after, to get the best benefit out of using your infrared sauna.
If you know you are going to be taking an infrared sauna that day, pay attention to hydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after sauna-ing. You will be sweating quite a bit, and you will lose lots of water, so it is important to replenish what you lost and more.
After being in your sauna, and then stepping out, you will continue to sweat. That is okay. Allow your body to cool down naturally. This will take only about 5-10 minutes, so don’t feel like you have to rush and jump into the shower to cool down. Take full advantage of the sweat, and let your body adjust in its own time.
Infrared Sauna Q&A
Here are some questions and answers on using an infrared sauna at home.
1. How long should I stay in my infrared sauna?
If you are new to using an infrared sauna, then start low and go slow. For beginners, it is recommended to sauna for 10-15 minutes at a time. Later, once your body gets use to the heat, you can extend this time.
Some physicians will recommended longer periods for certain medical conditions but generally speaking it is not recommended to stay in an infrared sauna longer than 20-30 minutes at a time.
2. What is the best temperature to use in my infrared sauna?
If you are new to using an infrared sauna, as with length of stay in an infrared sauna, the same goes for temperature. Start low and go slow.
It is recommended to begin with a temperature between 100° F – 120° F. Once your body grows accustomed to this level of heat, then you can work your way up toward the recommended temperature for adults of 120° F – 140° F.
3. What time of day should I use my infrared sauna?
You can use your infrared sauna anytime during the day, whatever works best for you.
I like to use mine toward the evening to relax and wind down, as it helps me to get a good night sleep. But I know people who use their sauna in the morning, to help start their day, as well as during the day, like after a workout etc.
4. What do I wear in my infrared sauna?
My first suggestion is to wear nothing! That is if you are comfortable. You are going to sweat – like a lot – which is the whole point. So best to bring in a few towels to sit or lie down on, and let your body perspire away.
If however, you do not feel comfortable unclothed, then wear something light, airy, and preferably 100% cotton so that it will absorb the perspiration.
5. Is it best to drink water in my infrared sauna?
Yes, yes, and YES! It is best to drink water before, during, and after you have sauna’d to replenish all of the water you lost.
Stay away from caffeinated and sweetened drinks as your means of hydration. Water, perhaps with a squeeze of lemon or lime, will replenish you the best and will be the most refreshing.
FYI – this is not medical advice
FYI – this post is not meant to be medical advice. If you have any kind of health condition, it is always best to talk to your doctor first before using any sauna. This post is about my own personal experience, and is meant for informational purposes only.
You can see a list HERE of safeguards and contraindications for using an infrared sauna.
VIDEO: Why I Love Using My Infrared Sauna At Home
check out these other posts for more ideas on how to take care of your health as a busy care partner
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