Heat Heals: Far Infrared Sauna’s 101
If you are a sauna lover like me, you will love this insight into the benefits of the far infrared sauna and why they are the absolute best sauna for detoxification of the body. Therapeutic sweating is a key component to a successful detox protocol and saunas are one of the best ways to get your sweat on (while simultaneously taking some down time for yourself). Of course you can sweat while exercising and movement of the body is an important component of a good detox protocol. However, there is nothing more beneficial than keeping the body in a deep state of relaxation during a detox and with time spent in the sauna you get best of both worlds. Passive sweating? Big thumbs up.
So, Why Far Infrared?
The most important thing to understand about far infrared heat is that the warm feeling does not come from the air temperature around you like a regular sauna. Far Infrared is a heat wave that heats the actual structure’s molecules, not the surrounding air. Infrared heat comes from the sun of course but infrared technology has been in the works for the last 50 years and the results are truly amazing.
Let the Sunshine IN
Back to how they work…using the suns rays as an example, what we perceive as ‘hot sun’ is actually infrared heat waves coming from the sun. Keep in mind these waves travel 99 million miles from the sun to the earth through freezing cold space and still manages to warm the surface of the earth, and us! This is very different to the radiant heat we have been accustomed to in our cold climates houses administered through radiators and forced air central heating.
The color red has the longest visible wavelength of all the colors in the light spectrum. This is why we so often see red sunsets; red is the last color in the spectrum to reach us (cool fact). We cannot see infrared because it is the next wavelength after our perception ends, just before radio waves and microwaves.
We ourselves are perfect infrared heaters; we have absorbed the infrared wavelengths from the sun. Amazingly, the body only absorbs the amount of far infrared waves it can use, so there is no danger of getting too much of a good thing. Also amazing, the human body knows exactly how to regulate this powerful heat source, sending us signs like burning skin and the sweat reflex. This is why when we are sunbathing on a hot beach we are collecting and storing heat from the sun, and not catching on fire like a dry leaf under a magnifying glass. Isn’t it amazing when you can feel the heat of the sun on your skin hours after being out of the sun? Indeed.
Ayurveda, Heat and Detoxing
When infrared waves hit an object, they force the molecules in that object to vibrate; this vibration causes the object to heat up. Infrared heat helps the body detoxify by “shaking up” or vibrating the fat cells and encouraging them to release the toxicity stored within them.The Ayurvedic method of detoxification known as Pancha Karma utilised heat in what is know as Sveda, or heat therapies where heat is used to “shake loose” or “melt” toxins from their tight knit within the fibres of our bodies. The preparation phase of Pancha karma is fundamental to the process because it focuses on freeing up the toxins, getting them ready for the quick and intense elimination. processes. Oiling of the body know as Abhyanga is accompanied by heat, or Sudation, again, to assist in the melting of the toxins in the preparation for elimination.
The Benefits Add Up
Infrared heat also helps stimulate the lymphatic system, which subsequently boosts our body’s immune system. Our Lymphatic system, unlike our circulatory system does not have pumps pushing its fluids through the body so it relies on the bodies own motion to push the fluid through the body, again, benefiting from the organic vibration to the cells caused by the heat. Internal heat is also excellent for loosening muscles aiding in pain management and encouraging rejuvenate sleep. Getting a good sweat on is of course the most desired outcome as this is the actual release of the toxins that have been freed up from the heat.
What to do After the Sauna
One must follow up a sauna treatment with a cool shower to further encourage good blood circulation and to wash away the (toxic) sweat. And of course, replenish lost liquids with a big glass of water, or green juice with celery. Add a pinch of salt for the extra minerals.
Your body will love you.