Your Complete Guide to Saunas - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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Your Complete Guide to Saunas

The many health benefits, and a complete guide to what to look for when buying a sauna.

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When you enter, a feeling of calmness instantly surrounds you. Relax inside one for 30 or 40 minutes and when you’ll be left feeling healthy, rejuvenated and restored. Welcome to the magic of saunas.

In the following guide, we cover everything you need to know about saunas, including:

  1. Why are infrared saunas so good for us?
  2. What are different the kinds of saunas?
  3. Types of infrared
  4. Carbon heater or ceramic?
  5. What’s all this I hear about EMF and VOC’s?
  6. What to remember when buying a sauna
  7. Good saunas versus inferior saunas
  8. The best questions to ask
  9. How to customize your sauna
  10. Tips for using your sauna

Read on to learn more:

Your Complete Guide to Saunas

Why are saunas so good for us?

Saunas project something called Infrared Energy into your body. Infrared light is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum with the ability to penetrate human tissue to produce a host of health benefits. Infrared lamps are capable of causing dramatic changes in body chemistry in some instances, helping restore balance in some people who suffer from chronic problems related to pains, inflammation, low energy, and poor circulation.

One of the biggest benefits of infrared saunas is that they’re comfortable and simple to use, even for people who struggle with pain or who have sensitive skin and stomachs when it comes to heat, all with no need for medications or doctor visits.

Here are some of the many health benefits that come from regular use of a sauna:

Your Complete Guide to Saunas

Detox

Far infrared light waves are in the same vibration (aka. micron) range as the human body, so the waves penetrate the body deeply (4-5cm deep). These vibrating light waves cause the water in your body to vibrate, breaking down water and fat molecules, which releases stored toxins; those toxins are then eliminated through sweating. Many toxins need to be excreted through sweat, for example:

  • Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have been shown in studies to be excreted through the skin as well or better than they are excreted in urine.
  • Canadian study found that the concentration of phytates (chemicals in toys, fragrances, cosmetics, etc) was twice as high in sweat than in urine or blood.
  • Another study found BPA in 80% of the subjects’ sweat, while finding no detectable levels in their blood or urine. This seems to point to sweat being the best method for excreting the toxin.

The congested fatty/water tissues, which store the majority of collected toxins, acids, pathogens and carcinogens in your body, are broken down into smaller particles by the vibrational effect of tuned infrared energy at the cellular level. These smaller particles of toxins, fats, PCB’s, and heavy metals are expelled through the pores of your skin by vigorous sweating, detoxifying your body and giving relief to your liver and kidneys.

Get in shape

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, there are two parts to infrared therapy. Infrared also stimulates and benefits your lymphatic, immune and cardiovascular systems. Some say that being in a sauna can get you in shape just as well as working out. Infrared sauna therapy has been used successfully to treat cardiovascular diseases and has been studied in many leading medical journals. Because the infrared makes your heart stronger and increases blood oxygen intake, after only four weeks of therapy you can expect to see reduced blood pressure and an increased exercise tolerance.

  • Research performed by the University of Iowa studying the effects of heat stress on the body and the benefits which may arise from this stress showed that sauna use causes the body to have similar reactions as seen from exercise.

Avoid getting sick

Raising body temperature and creating an “artificial hyperthermia environment” that mimics a low-grade fever. When you have a fever, it is your body naturally raising the body temperature to help fight an infection. The temperature stimulates production of white blood cells—your body’s defence system—to fight harmful microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, parasites and mold). Hyperthermia therapy also helps kill abnormal cells such as tumors as they have poor tolerance for heat. Raising body temperature disables or kills cells that have been mutated by radiation or damaged by toxins.

Infrared waves will also boost your immune system considerably, so it’s the perfect treatment if you’re sick, or worried about getting sick. Saunas increase circulation, improve the lymphatic system, and increase white blood cell counts, making you an all around germ fighting machine!

Fight pain and fatigue

For many years, patients suffering from chronic pains have used thermal heating treatments to find relief. Studies have found that regular and repeated thermal therapies are promising methods for lowering chronic pain and fatigue that can interfere with quality of life without the need for medications.

Avoid Alzheimers

A new study out of Finland, where it’s not unusual for homes to have personal saunas, found that men who used their sauna 4-7 times a week for at least 15 minutes had a 66% reduction in dementia and a 65% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease when compared with those who only used their saunas once a week. WOAH! So if you want to stay mentally sharp, get into your sauna regularly!

Live longer

And finally, a landmark new study showed a significant decrease in mortality (which is to say, an increase in longevity) associated with regular sauna use. A significant decrease in cardiovascular disease and fatal heart attacks were among the many benefits observed. Regular sauna use FTW!

…and lots more benefits

Watch this video to learn more:

 

Not yet convinced? Here are a few more interesting benefits:

  • NASA uses far infrared to assist in cardiac conditioning because a 30 minute far infrared sauna session can be as good to the cardiovascular system as a six mile run.
  • The heat expands capillaries to improve circulation and metabolism, which helps activate enzyme production.
  • Far infrared can help liquefy fat and speeds up its elimination.  For many, a 30 minute session can burn 300 calories.
  • Far infrared stimulates our hypothalamus, the part of our body that controls neurochemicals.  This can mean better sleep, pain relief, lower body acidity and improved moods with less stress.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time traveling around Europe, with pied-a-terre's in Zurich, London, Milan and Lyon, France. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 16 Comments

  1. Hailey Ashton

    Something new to me, but Interesting- a Home Sauna. I normally, hit the nearby Spa for it. Its my guilty pleasure, a weekly detox. I didn’t know that It has variants to it. I love Sauna, & sweating my body toxins effortlessly. Good to know, that It can be done at home too with some tools. Great article!?

  2. I’ve been searching for ages and have never found a better guide about Saunas ? Most guides seem biased or are written to sell saunas. I love that yours is legit neutral, and I trust Hilary — I’ve been reading your health advice for years and it works! You have a great way of distilling complex info into something easy to understand. I had no idea that sweating & detoxifying effortlessly is like going to the gym. I’m going to buy one ASAP! Which do you recommend? I can’t wait for my therapeutic & calming sauna time after a stressful work week!

  3. Natalie Ambers

    I didn’t know that there are other types of saunas. I go to sauna at the spa and it helps me with my diet & detox, to stay in shape. I’m pretty aware that it has health benefits. But, this was the first time I read it thru a list of facts. I’m more convinced to do this more often. I love sweating ?

  4. Nicole

    This is the first time I have discovered, that It also helps with Alzheimers. Made me wanna take my folks for a little detox. I love my parents, & pampering them is as equally pampering myself. I can think of like good family bonding activity. Thanks for the facts 🙂

  5. Joyce Scott

    Saunas help you lose weight. Because you sweat your water weight. You don’t burn fats, it’s just water. so pro fighters choose this to lose weight fast before weigh-ins.

  6. Saunas really help my muscles relax. Whenever I go for a spa treatment, I always hit up the sauna to relieve back tension. I definitely learned a lot about buying a home sauna. Now that I think about it, it really makes so much sense to buy one for your home. I hate sharing a shower at the gym… 🙂

  7. I’m buying one of these ASAP. Very convincing article, Hilary!! 🙂 x

  8. I’m going to write about this for my blog also. What a great tool to improve your health!

  9. Holy Cow! I can’t believe you can get a sauna like this. Can you really just plug and play? How luxurious! Sounds really helpful too. Lord knows we NYC’ers need to detoxify, given all the toxins floating around this city. I love that it has a stereo in it too. I just might have to splurge on this one : )

  10. Francis Woods

    OMG OMG I must order one of these — immediately. It would make all my Upper East Side friends SOOOO JEALOUS!!! LOL

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