After months of hearing about how infrared saunas are a great way to detox your body, I finally gave it a go this month. My first experience was at Clean Market in NYC.
I could write a whole blog post about this cute shop / smoothie bar / coffee bar / sauna / IV bar / cryotherapy place that has everything I want in life (they're "on a mission to feel better, live better, compete better, and look better – with the ultimate goal of living life to the fullest"!), and I may one day.
But this post is for those who want to learn more about infrared saunas and the benefits.
What is an infrared sauna, and how is it different from a regular sauna?
To start, infrared heat is the invisible part of the sun's spectrum. It works by warming your body by directly penetrating it without having to drastically heat the air around you, which is what a regular sauna does. It penetrates deeply into your body to help detox your body, relax sore muscles, alleviate pain, and so much more.
There are different infrared levels -- near, middle and far. Depending on the sauna, it may offer one or all of these levels.
These different levels are different sizes of infrared wavelengths, all which have their own purposes:
- near: shorter frequency range and penetrate the epidermis layer of the skin, or just below the surface, which creates a sweat that promotes wound healing, skin rejuvenation, and increased immune function. a
- mid: longer wave length that can penetrate deeper into the body's soft tissue to increase circulation and release oxygen to reach injured areas. Ideal for increasing circulation and promoting muscle relaxation.
- far: produce a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside. Penetrate the fat cells to expel toxins, helping with detoxification and weight loss.
5 Main Benefits of Infrared Saunas
- Detoxification: Every day we're exposed to thousands of chemicals, from our food, beverages, air, clothes, skin products, and more. Sweating is one of the body's most natural ways to eliminate toxins. Because the infrared is allowing you to heat your body from the inside out, it's causing a mini fever that is helping you cleanse yourself by killing viruses, pushing out bacteria, and removing the toxins from your body. It's especially good at helping to remove phthalates (used in plastic toys, cooking utensils, fragrances, nail polish, cosmetics and paints), BPA (used to make clear plastics but is also used in cash register receipts, water pipes, electronics, and eyeglass lenses), heavy metals from your body, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
- Weight Loss: In addition to potential weight loss benefits related to detoxification, the heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can lead to an increased heart rate, mirroring a passive cardiovascular workout.
- Improved circulation: As your core temperature increases, so will your blood flow and circulation. The increased circulation reduces inflammation, decreases pain and speeds up muscle recovery. One way to make the most of your increased blood circulation is to perform stretches in the sauna -- it can help give you better flexibility in the hips, hamstrings, and lower back.
- Skin Purification: Infrared saunas are shown to increase collagen production and elastin, which helps enhance skin texture and improve overall skin tone. Sweating can help pull out toxins that are clogging your pores. Make sure to wash your face after your session!
- Relaxation: A 30 minute sauna sesh is the perfect time to close your eyes and focus on your breath. The heat naturally helps to relax your muscles and relieve tension throughout the body.
You've convinced me.. now where can I find an infrared sauna?
An easy way is to just Yelp "infrared sauna" in your city. Places often have Groupon deals for them so you can try it out for pretty cheap.
NYC: Clean Market. 240 East 54th Street. $45 per 30 min session, $59 for 60 min - only 1 person usually allowed, they sometimes have specials when you can bring a friend (super small sauna, so you wouldn't be comfortable with 2 people unless you're both extremely small).
J+CO tip: Sign up for newsletter to get 20% off first booking. They also have a first-time 3-pack for $79 ($26/sesh).
that post sauna sweat glow :)