It was September, 2017. I swear it was sauna month. It started with my daughter, who wanted a sauna membership for the health benefits. Next it was my mentor, who did at least four podcasts on how great it was. Finally, it was my day spa, who gave me a free session for by birthday. Fast forward to January 2018, and I am hooked.
To me, the sauna was a hot, steamy place at the gym filled with smelly bodies in various states of undress, and that just seemed like a hotbox of bacteria to me. I could not understand why my child wanted to start doing this. According to her I had it all wrong, and there are multiple health benefits to the new saunas. Who listens to their children, though, right? But when my bio-hacking mentor started talking about it, I started to pay attention.
Still skeptical, I wasn’t on board yet, but I gave in to the daughter and got her a membership at the local day spa where I go for monthly massages. Then my birthday rolled around and I was given a free session. Why not, I said.
On the day of, I was presented with a towel wrap and a small, dark box. “Hop in,” the clerk said cheerfully. She showed me how to work the light and radio, and said, “okay, now you just sit and sweat!”
Feeling a little odd, I donned my wrap and climbed in. It was a two-person, infrared sauna. It wasn’t steamy, no smelly bodies aside from mine, and my choice of music and heat level. It’s a dry heat, so I was able to tolerate 130 degrees with no problem. (Yes, dry heat really does make a difference.) The zen-like music of the spa and the aromatherapy scents filtered in the through the dark glass. In the solitude of the darkened box, I completely relaxed. And sweat I did! I emerged thirty minutes later feeling like a new person. The ever-present plantar fasciitis pain in my foot was decreased, my allergy symptoms had lessened, and my entire body felt rejuvenated.
Still thinking this might be all in my head, I headed home to do some more research on this. I found that infrared sauna is used to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, enhance metabolism, and reduce anxiety and depression. This is basically what I had just experienced.
To explain a little further, infrared sauna ignites your cells at a metabolic level, promoting cleansing and rejuvenation at the cellular level. When your cells are detoxified and functioning better, it makes sense that you will feel better and perform better. Your circulation improves, heart function improves, inflammation reduces, which decreases chronic pain, and your mood improves. (For a more scientific explanation of the benefits of infrared sauna, please visit https://draxe.com/infrared-sauna/.)
Saunas are now being used to aid and/or treat skin issues, metabolic conditions, diabetes, anxiety and depression, arthritis, digestion problems, chronic pain, aid in weight loss, and many other issues. There is also some rumination about infrared saunas being anti-aging, although this is still being tested. (I volunteer to test it! Guinea pig here!)
The benefits of infrared sauna can be seen in as little as 15-20 minutes, but I prefer 30 minute sessions, as I now use my sauna time to meditate to increase relaxation and cognitive effects. I have also noticed improved skin, a decrease in chronic pain and an overall decrease in allergy symptoms.
In a few short months I have grown to look forward to my sauna time and miss it when I am not able to make it. I don;t know how I lived without this, or why I waited so long to try it, but I am now a believer.
If you are already in, you can find personal infrared saunas on Amazon here. Otherwise, check with your local spa or gym to see if they have an infrared sauna, and if they do, hop in and give it a try. Many day spas now offer monthly memberships as well.
You will not regret it if you try this. Let me know what you think after you do!