- Improves collagen and elastin production with regular use
- Regenerates damaged cells
- Improves wrinkles and fine lines over time (see image in link below)
- Heart rate increases, improving cardiovascular health.
Things to consider:
- The sauna gets quite hot and you will be soaked with sweat (which is the idea)
- Your heart rate will increase in the sauna, if you have prior conditions ask your doctor before use
- Consider using the sauna in 10 minute increments, taking a quick break for some cold water in between
- You will need to sign a waiver because well, it’s a sauna and it gets super hot and makes your heart rate increase
When I first heard about infrared saunas, I was skeptical. That is also something you should know about me, I’m a pretty skeptical person. Okay, so I’m Scully from the X-files. If you can’t back it up with evidence, I don’t believe you. Now, there is logic behind why something like this COULD work; basically, there are many forms of light can destroy cells… I’m going to explain this so, if you can accept the above statement as general fact and don’t really care why, you can skip the next section. If you are a nerd, or just like to questions everything, like me, please read on.
Electromagnetic Waves, Light, and IR Saunas
There are different categories of electromagnetic waves in the world. WTF is that? Well, think about a rainbow. A rainbow basically represents the light, or electromagnetic waves, that we can see. Red light has longer wavelengths than the rest of the rainbow. As the rainbow goes from red to violet, the wavelengths get shorter, as illustrated below:
Now, there are forms of light (electromagnetic waves) that human eyes cannot see without the help of technology. On the Short-wave end of the spectrum, these include UV rays, which go below violet and have even shorter waves, x-rays which go below UV and have even shorter waves that UV, and Gama rays. These electromagnetic waves at shorter wavelengths tend to have greater negative affects on our bodies. Think of scientists and doctors telling you to avoid blue light from screens near bedtime because it can affect your sleep, also UV rays damage our cells as do X-rays and Gama-rays. However, there are benefits to these kinds of light as well. UV light helps our bodies produce vitamin D and can treat skin conditions like scleroderma.
On the long-wave side there are infrared waves, microwaves and radio waves. Studies have shown that these kinds of light have fewer negative effects on our bodies and, like UV light, can sometimes be beneficial. So, how does that work? Well, it’s actually not simple. It depends on many factors including the intensity and length of exposure. Many people have vitamin D deficiencies because we spend so much time indoors. Usually, 30 minutes of sun exposure in the morning can be beneficial. But think about it, you are not spending hours, or even a full hour in the sun and you are out in the morning when UV rays are far less intense. It is when you spend hours outside in the heat of the day that UV rays become dangerous. Keeping this in mind, and reading some studies that I will link at the bottom of this post, I decided to try out an Infrared sauna. But, seriously, check out this image from a study in the Yonsei Medical Journal (I cannot feature the image here due to copyright restrictions, so click the link!)
The IR Sauna Experience
I really was not sure what to expect except that I knew I would sweat…which is another crazy thing about me. I don’t sweat normally. Yes, I’m a mutant that does not wear deodorant on a daily basis because my arms don’t smell on a daily basis. Roxi and Sierra have smelled them and can attest to my superpowers. Anyway, I knew I would sweat in the sauna.
The sauna was actually a small box about 5’4 tall (my head touched the top), and large enough for me to sit in with my legs outstretched if I wanted to. The room was small because it needs to trap the heat, and the heat is what you want. We may not be able to see infrared waves, but we can feel them as heat. Inside the room, one wall was covered with infrared bulbs, and the entire thing was insulated with the kind of reflective fabric you might find on a car windshield sun shade. It was hot in there!
The spa technician recommended that I use the sauna in 10-minute increments because the heat could feel intense quickly. I took my first 10 minutes, got out for about a minute to get some water, and went right back in for another 10 minutes. The first round was very bearable, no problem! I didn’t feel overheated, though I did start sweating (remember, I’m the lady that doesn’t sweat). However, the second round, I was soaked.
I probably could have gone for another 10 minute round, but I figured I’d take it slowly my first time. I didn’t feel overheated or tired, though I was hot. It actually felt really good. One of the cool things that I want to add, because I think the strangest things are cool, was that I could see every vein in my legs and arms as I sat there in the sauna. I don’t know if it was the light or the fact that my heart was pumping blood faster, but it was pretty awesome I have to admit. I looked like a living cardio vascular diagram.
A few days later, I noticed that my skin did look better. The texture looked much smoother. Unfortunately, I caught an illness a few days after (unrelated to the sauna), so I didn’t get to enjoy the effects very long. However, I will look forward to next time. This is one of those things that does more for you the more you use it, so I will definitely go back.
Overall, I would say it is worth it if you plan to keep up visits a few times a month. I would also be interested in the possibility of purchasing couple home bulbs to use on my face between visits, but I would definitely want to research a bit more about bulb frequencies to ensure I’m getting the right product.
If you have an IR sauna experience, please let us know in the comments, it would be great to hear a range of stories, whether people loved it or not, and how many people felt that it did something for their skin.
Resources and Articles:
- Effects of Infrared Radiation on Skin Photo-Aging and Pigmentation, Article from the Yonsei Medical Journal via the National Institutes of Health
- Infrared does more good than bad for the skin, Article from the Atlas of Science
A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase, Article from the Journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgey
- Nurture Day Spa: http://nurturedayspaok.com/
Another BIG thank you to Nurture Day Spa for the opportunity to review their wonderful infrared sauna. Not all businesses are supportive of having their services reviewed on blogs, and they have been fantastic! ❤