What is infrared sauna?
Infrared sauna creates physical reactions similar to those you feel after moderate exercise including vigorous sweating and an increased heart rate.
Unlike in conventional dry or wet saunas that raise our body temperature by heating the air in the room, infrared sauna emits infrared light that is then absorbed by your body and increases your internal body temperature directly. The effect is similar to sitting in the sun where you feel warm even if the breeze is cool, although unlike UV rays, infrared rays are well within the “safe” spectrum and there are no known negative side effects to being exposed to infrared light.
If you can’t tolerate the high heat and steam of conventional saunas, infrared sauna is for you. Because the infrared light heats your body directly rather than the air itself, the actual room itself does not need to get as hot to make you feel as warm. As such, you may find it easier to breathe comfortably for longer periods of time.
What are the therapeutic benefits of infrared sauna?
While research on the therapeutic benefits of infrared sauna is sparse and ongoing, there are several studies and good evidence that says infrared sauna can help:
- Reduce joint pain and help to relieve stiffness.
It has been shown that using infrared sauna decreased pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. While the effects were minor and the exact reason as to why this happened is unclear, subjects saw the improvements last even after they stopped going to the sauna so it’s likely the cause was more than just enjoying sitting in a hot room.
Some researchers believe the relief of joint pain and stiffness might also be due to inflammatory effects.
- Decrease oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is important for good health as it can help to regulate tissue growth and stimulate antioxidant production; for example, the stress of a rigorous workout helps you build muscle.
However, too much oxidative stress, which can be exacerbated by external substances in cigarette smoke, pesticides, poor diet, and pollution, may contribute to heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and more.
Infrared sauna can help to decrease this type of stress and in turn, help to regulate it within healthy levels. Studies have also shown that infrared sauna can also lower your blood pressure.
- Improve mood.
Studies have shown that infrared sauna can improve your mood, which may be connected to the decrease in oxidative stress but researchers aren’t completely sure yet if that’s the cause. What is significant, though, is that the positive mood and decreased anxiety persist after the sauna session and increase over time, which decreases the likelihood mood improvement was due to placebo.
And of course, many people use saunas because they find it relaxing so it could be a good opportunity to catch a moment to yourself before or after your treatment.
There is also weak or no evidence for the following benefits:
- There is weak but promising evidence that infrared saunas may improve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue and depression, lower blood pressure, support cardiovascular health, and improve performance and recovery.
- While some studies have made claims touting anti-aging and weight loss effects, they have had tiny sample sizes and should be taken with a grain of salt until further research is done.
- Finally, there is no concrete evidence that infrared sauna can help to detox your body, promote fat loss, prevent common colds, defeat cancer, or improve skin health.
Is infrared sauna safe?
While there is no known negative side effects of using infrared saunas, you may experience an increased heart rate and moderate to heavy sweating, similar to walking at a moderate pace or riding a bike.
The primary risk, as is the case with conventional saunas, is risk of overheating, which can lead to fainting and dehydration. That is why we only offer 20-40min sessions to limit the possibility of overdoing it.
People with the following conditions should be cautious before using an infrared sauna:
- Anyone taking antihistamines, barbiturates, beta-blockers, or diuretics as they can impair the ability to sweat and may also cause dehydration
- Anyone who has had alcohol right beforehand or is drunk as it increases the risk of low blood pressure, irregular heart beat, and sudden death.
- Anyone who has eczema as sweating may increase itching
- Any man concerned about his fertility as the heat may affect sperm motility
- Anyone with a recent joint injury (acute, within 48 hours) or chronically hot and swollen joints as the heat may increase pain
- Anyone with enclosed infections (dental, in-joints, or any other tissue)
- Anyone with hemophilia or who is predisposed to hemorrhage
- Anyone with a fever or has a condition that makes them sensitive to heat
- Anyone with a condition that may impair their ability to sweat
Anyone with the following conditions are strongly encouraged to speak with a doctor first:
- Adrenal suppression
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Central nervous tumors
- Systematic lupus erthematosus
- Parkinson’s disease
- Heart conditions including unstable angina, recent heart attack, or aortic stenosis (severe narrowing of the aortic valve)
- High/low blood pressure (or you get lightheaded easily)
- Silicone implants of any sort as silicone absorbs infrared heat
- Pregnancy or suspected pregnancy
- Metal pins, rods, artificial joints, pacemaker, defibrillator, or any other surgical implant as the heat could induce vasodilatation, which can increase the tendency to bleed
How do I book an infrared sauna treatment?
- Booking Your First Treatment
At Satori Health & Wellness, our infrared sauna is available for use before or after your treatment, or as its own treatment. We also ask that you book your infrared sauna session before coming in for your appointment as the unit requires time to warm up.
It comfortably fits one person or two snugly.
While you don’t need to have a formal consultation, we do ask that you complete a consent form before booking your infrared sauna appointment. To book your first treatment, please call the clinic at (416) 972-9355.
- Treatment Frequency
While there aren’t any firm guidelines on treatment frequency, most experts and research recommend sessions between 20-40min, no more than a few times a week (3 hours max).
Best Practices for Optimum Results
- Wear less clothing.
Because infrared sauna heats the body directly by safely penetrating the skin, anything that blocks skin exposure could decrease the effects, so we encourage you to wear as little clothing as you are comfortable.
- Avoid makeup or skin covering products.
Makeup, creams, lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, sunscreens, oils, and other substances that cover the skin can limit the effects. This also includes massage oil so if you are looking to use the infrared sauna after a massage, we encourage you to take a shower first to remove any lingering oil.
- Avoid showers beforehand or dry completely.
Moisture on the skin can block infrared light so the ideal is not to show before an infrared sauna. If you must shower, then make sure to dry completely before going. At Midtown, we do have a full shower that you can use before or after sauna. Towels are extra charge but you are welcome to bring your own.
- Drink lots of water.
Drink plenty of cool water before and after a sauna session. We encourage you to bring two stainless water bottles with you, either pre-filled or we can fill them for you.