Infrared Sauna Treatment: Are the Claims Backed Up?

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Infrared Sauna Treatment: Are the Claims Backed Up?

An infrared sauna is a small cabin with pre-installed infrared emitters inside. As a rule, an infrared sauna is made of natural wood; that's why it is a useful substance that kills harmful bacteria, germs, and fungi.

Usually, an infrared sauna, the benefits, and harms of which are carefully analyzed, are installed in beauty salons. However, it is often bought by owners of private country houses and even apartments, since the device does not take up much space. 

In addition, it does not need to be heated - it works from a conventional electrical network. The effect of an infrared sauna on a person is similar to the effect of a Finnish sauna; only the body heats up directly from the rays, and not through an "air intermediary." And the use of an infrared cabin is that it affects a person softer and more gentle than a Finnish sauna.

Infrared Sauna: How It Works

An infrared sauna is a small area made of natural wood, in which infrared emitters are installed. IR heaters made of carbon fiber, ceramic or metal, warm the body located in the room, emitting infrared waves.

The key difference between IR saunas and other types of saunas lies in the essence of the concept of infrared waves. IR waves are electromagnetic radiation, which has the property of heating objects. Infrared heaters operate in the safe long-wavelength range for humans, while the emitted waves penetrate the body by 4 centimeters, providing uniform heating, increased sweating, improved blood flow, and detoxification of the body.

Infrared saunas differ from other types of saunas in the temperature regime inside the cabin. In classic steam rooms, the air temperature can slightly exceed one hundred degrees Celsius, while in infrared saunas, the air does not heat above 60 degrees.

Thermal radiation from IR heaters is not absorbed and is not dissipated by air; all the radiated energy is used to heat people in the room. Therefore IR heaters are called direct heating. This feature of infrared saunas is reflected in the comfortable portability of the microclimate inside the cabin, as well as in the economical use of electricity. (Vatansever, F., & Hamblin, M. R. 2012).

What is the use of an infrared sauna?

An infrared sauna is useful for:

Cardiovascular disease 

Chinese scientists have noted the great success of infrared wave therapy in treating the effects of heart attacks. A regular visit to the infrared cabins is beneficial because it lowers blood cholesterol. In this case, the vessels expand, becoming more elastic and mobile (Beever R. 2009).

Diseases of the muscles and joints

Infrared waves affect joints and muscles positively, relieving cramps, arthritic and menstrual pains, radiculitis, rheumatism, etc. They have a good effect on the mobility of all members of the body. (Oosterveld, et al. 2009). 

Kidney disease

Due to profuse sweating, the body actively releases from toxins. As a result, the stress on the kidneys is reduced. If there are problems, for example, with swelling of the ankles (from poor kidney function), then an infrared sauna is very useful.

Colds

Staying in a cabin increases the body's resistance to the effects of infections (immunity). In addition, a runny nose and even pneumonia with bronchitis can be treated in the Infrared sauna.

Excess weight and cellulite 

High perspiration helps burn calories efficiently (about 900-2400 in one session). Also, the rays penetrate deep into cellulite, splitting it and removing through sweat. So the infrared sauna for weight loss is very, very effective!

Burns and injuries

The pain from injuries and burns is much more relaxed after visiting an infrared sauna. It is because metabolic metabolism accelerates, and wounds heal faster. Rehabilitation periods after operations are reduced.

In addition, infrared saunas are useful for disorders of blood circulation, diseases of the ear, nose, throat, digestive disorders, immunity disorders, and also have a cosmetic effect and help to relax with nervous tension.

Infrared sauna: contraindications

7In principle, there is no question of whether it is possible to visit an infrared sauna since scientists assure us that it is extremely useful. Nevertheless, it is known that even the best medicine can become poison if taken incorrectly.

The opinion about the harmful effects of infrared waves on the human body is erroneous. Heaters emit waves that are natural to humans, such as heat from direct sunlight (which is also IR radiation). Non-observance of the duration of the sauna procedure or violation of the direct prohibition of the doctor's contraindications can negatively affect health. To avoid any adverse effects, several rules should be followed:

Safety rules when visiting the infrared sauna :

  • With fresh joint injuries: Joints should not be heated for two days from the moment of injury.
  • Do not use the infrared sauna for pregnant women.
  • The presence of malignant tumors is also a contraindication!
  • Women with diseases such as mastopathy, uterine fibroids, severe kidney, fibroadenoma, and liver diseases should not visit the sauna.
  • If you have prostheses or implants, exposure to infrared rays can be useless. You should consult a surgeon here.
  • With heavy menstrual flow, it is not recommended to use the cabin; this can increase bleeding.
  • Angina pectoris and heart failure of the 2nd degree are a contraindication.
  • Despite the fact that the infrared cabin is useful for colds, if you have a high temperature, then you should not visit it.
  • Acute purulent processes in the body exclude visits to infrared cabins.
  • You can't visit a sauna for chronic alcoholics.
  • should not touch the heating elements, should be at a distance of 15 centimeters from the emitters;
  • it is important to observe the duration of the procedure, not exceed 30 minutes spent indoors;
  • drink liquid before or after taking a sauna to avoid dehydration;
  • should be seated during the procedure to ensure uniform warming up of the body;
  • for the therapeutic effect, it is better to take the procedure in the evening;
  • children should visit the infrared sauna only in the presence of an adult, while the child needs to wear a hat to avoid overheating;

It is the idea to talk to your doctor before taking such kind of therapies.

References

Vatansever, F., & Hamblin, M. R. (2012). Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications. Photonics & lasers in medicine, 4, 255–266. https://doi.org/10.1515/plm-2012-0034

Beever R. (2009). Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien55(7), 691–696.

Oosterveld, F. G., Rasker, J. J., Floors, M., Landkroon, R., van Rennes, B., Zwijnenberg, J., van de Laar, M. A., & Koel, G. J. (2009). Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. A pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects. Clinical rheumatology28(1), 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-008-0977-y

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