Our bodies are incredibly intuitive. We are constantly breaking down and healing. Although sweating may not be ideal in certain situations, regularly sweating is imperative. Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating internal temperature, boosting endorphins, and detoxifying (to name a few). The popular fitness brand “Lululemon” coined the phrase sweat once a day, and in my opinion, they couldn’t be more right. That’s where infrared saunas come in. All it takes is 15-20 minutes in an infrared sauna to work up a healthy sweat. The benefits of this magic machine are lengthy, and that’s why I swear by my infrared sauna every morning!
Let’s set the record straight. There are a few different types of saunas out there. There are dry saunas, wet saunas, steam rooms and infrared saunas. If you’re like me, and can’t handle hot air for more than 5 minutes then I would like to introduce you to the infrared sauna! Infrared heat is different than other saunas. Rather than heating the surrounding air, it reaches deep into the body’s tissue and causes the body to sweat. After spending so much time at sweat lodges getting my infrared sweat on, I decided to purchase an infrared sauna for my home. Don’t worry, this isn’t a ploy to get you to purchase a sauna! (Currently, they cost between $1,000-$2,500, depending on their size.) I was fortunate to find a great deal on mine, but finding a gym or sweat lodge in your neighborhood will do you just fine!
Top 4 Reasons Why I Sauna Every Day
1. Instant Daily Detox
Post sauna skin is the best! My skin always feels silky and soft, especially if I follow up my sauna session with an exfoliating scrub in the shower (check out my recipe for homemade scrubs!). Being a gal of research, I decided to do a little digging on why my skin feels this way after the sauna. Sweat is mostly made up of sodium, chloride, and potassium. Recently, researchers have discovered the presence of the antimicrobial protein Dermcidin in sweat. Dermcidin is secreted through the sweat glands and acts like a little fighter against bacteria on the skin. So while I sit and relax in the sauna, the sweat is working away to clean the skin’s surface of potentially harmful bacteria, leaving me with clean, smooth skin!
Had one too many glasses of wine? Hop in the infrared sauna! The influx of sweat helps clear out excess sodium and calcium in the kidneys, which can help the kidneys function better after a night of working overtime to filter the alcohol. Trust me, this is a life saver! Just be sure to stay well hydrated.
2. Healing My Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise in North America. I, too, am dealing with an autoimmune disease and will always seek healthy, natural alternatives to heal my body. Thankfully, infrared saunas are one method that helps me heal. After consistently using the sauna, I noticed something amazing. The rate at which I got sick, which was all the time, significantly decreased. A low immune system is an unfortunate byproduct of having an autoimmune disease. Frequent sweating in my sauna sessions helps strengthen my immune system by boosting the number of t-cells, which are capable of destroying infected cells. If I feel I’m on the verge of a cold, I sit in the sauna. After I’ve flown anywhere, I will find a sauna the day I land to sweat out the nasty germs we’re exposed to when flying!
3. Weight Loss
Any physical activity that results in heavy perspiration will aid in losing weight. Although weight loss from sauna sessions is primarily water weight, it is a step in the right direction when you are wanting to slim down. I look at it this way: if I work out 5-6 days a week, whether it’s high-intensity training or yoga, I’m toning my body. If I can supplement my workouts with additional sweat sessions, I absolutely will! Using my infrared sauna perfectly compliments my exercise schedule. I gain the sweat benefits of a hard workout simply by sitting! Since my body is already warmed up, I can also stretch my muscles out for 10-15 minutes, often providing a deeper stretch thanks to the infrared heat waves. Movement + heat = LOTS of sweat!
For those of you who’ve read my previous article on meditation, you know how much I love it! My mornings in the infrared sauna have now become my sanctuary. I often meditate inside the sauna for part of my session. The warmth, the silence, and the healing aspect for my body is the perfect combination for sitting back and meditating. Having this routine in the morning gives me a balanced, peaceful outlook for the day ahead–not to mention a boost of patience and happiness, which I assure you my husband thoroughly enjoys!
Promoting health and well-being has always been a passion of mine. I am always up for trying something new, and seeing what works for me and what doesn’t. Infrared saunas may not be for everyone, but I encourage those who are seeking wellness to give one a try! If you feel slightly uncomfortable or nervous in heat, start slowly. You can either adjust the heat by lowering the temperature, or sit for just a few minutes per session, then gradually increase the time as you feel more at ease.
If you’re an infrared sauna lover, feel free to comment below and share why you love to sweat it out in a sauna!
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Photo: hotel-linde via Flickr, Maxpixel, VIK Hotels Group via Flickr