Infrared sauna therapy and treatments are gaining more popularity as more and more people and health-care professionals rave about their therapeutic and health benefits. Almost everyone who has tried infrared saunas is convinced of the treatment’s great results. But far infrared (FIR) treatments are nothing new. Over the last 25 years, extensive research has been carried out worldwide on the medical benefits of far infrared particularly from countries like Japan and China. Japan even have their own “Infrared Society” consisting of a team of highly qualified medical professionals doctors and therapists who are dedicated to FIR research.
An Infrared Sauna can help Relieve Aches, Pains, Arthritis & More..
The infrared energy released by an infrared sauna can penetrate up to 1.5 inches deep into muscle tissue. 93% of this energy is absorbed through our skin. By heating these tissues, we experience a vasodilatation of peripheral blood vessels which can be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms, joint stiffness as well as general aches and pains due to conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is also evidence that when used 24 – 48 hours post injury, far infrared energy can reduce the time it takes for your body to heal sprains and strains.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, a sports medicine expert from the University of Southern California, “infrared wavelengths penetrate the body to create heat, which creates profound therapeutic benefits. They increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal.”
A recent Japanese study published in the journal, Internal Medicine, showed that patients with chronic pain problems experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. Researchers concluded that infrared heat therapy is effective for chronic pain treatment.
If you suffer with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, download the PDF in the following pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10067-008-0977-y
Fever therapy (hyperthermia) for Colds, Flu’s, Infections & Improved Immune System
Raising body temperature powerfully assists the body to kill bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Many people cannot get rid of chronic infections because they have a low body temperature. Common sites of infections are the sinuses, ears, eyes, bladder, throat and intestines.
By creating an “Artificial Fever”, FIR heat has a positive effect on the immune system. Often misunderstood, fever is a natural healing response of the body. The function of the immune system is increased naturally during a fever, while virus and bacterial growth is slowed, weakening its hold. This helps the body ward off invading organisms. A FIR heat treatment in the early stages of a cold or flu has been known to stop the disease before the symptoms occur. Further studies into the benefits of FIR heat therapy is creating a new avenue of hope for those suffering from life threatening diseases such as cancer, which explains why the majority of FIR Sauna heat clientele base is affiliated with the medical industry.
Tumours, radiation poisoning and mutated cells
Hyperthermia also helps kill other types of abnormal cells. Tumours, for example, tolerate heat poorly. Raising body temperature hastens their death. Though not a conventional method, hyperthermia is a well-researched therapy for cancer. Heat also disables or kills cells mutated by radiation or damaged by other toxins.
Detoxification, or the removal of toxins from the body, offers numerous health advantages including cleansing your body from the inside out. Ridding your body of accumulated toxins can reduce fatigue, improve your energy levels, provide muscle pain relief, beautify your skin and even promote weight loss.
Here is a quote taken from “The Science of Far Infrared Therapies” by Dr Toshiko Yamazaki, MD
“One of the reasons why FIR has beneficial results in a variety of illnesses is the ability of FIR waves to remove toxins which are often at the core of many health problems. Toxins in our body appear in water as clumps or globules. Blood circulation becomes blocked and cellular energy impaired where these toxins accumulate. However, when the energy from FIR is applied to water molecules containing toxins, the water begins to vibrate, releasing the encapsulated gases and other toxic materials back into the bloodstream where they are removed naturally by the body’s normal detoxification process.
One study done by American researchers showed that the sweat released by users of a FIR sauna (80-85% water) was different from the sweat released by users of a conventional sauna (75-95% water). The non-water portion of sweat released in a FIR sauna was cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulphuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid”.
The sweating process gently and safely helps eliminate all heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Medical studies demonstrate that most toxins can be eliminated through the skin, relieving the burden on the kidneys and liver. Sweating increases dramatically in most people after several months of daily sauna use.
Sweating during exercise is not nearly as effective for detoxification because exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous activity inhibits toxin elimination. Detoxification is accomplished through fat sweat, or the breaking down of fat cells, which releases toxins stored under the skin. Conventional saunas use steam and high heat to stress the body, producing water sweat. But the Far Infrared Sauna uses the latest technology to produce wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the body. The frequency of these wavelengths penetrates the skin up to three inches to break down fat cells and release toxins stored in the body without placing the body under stress.
Improved Blood Circulation & Oxidation of the Tissues
Having a sauna treatment increases heart rate and blood circulation, both crucial to maintaining one’s health. The heart rate increases as more blood flow is diverted from the inner organs towards the extremities of the skin without heightening blood pressure. Subsequently, this also helps bring more oxygen to tired, strained and painful joints and muscles. For injuries, heat stimulates vasodilatation of peripheral blood vessels, bringing oxygen to joints and extremities, speeding the healing of sprains and strains, thus relieving pain. This is clearly evident in the fact that we all feel instantly better when we undergo an infrared sauna treatment. The increased blood helps aching and injured muscles recover faster because the stronger the flow of blood, the quicker metabolic and toxic waste products are purged from the body, through the skin during perspiration. The skin is often known as the third kidney, because it is believed to be responsible for eliminating up to 30% of body waste.
FIR Sauna heat therapy can aid in weight loss by speeding up the metabolic process of vital organs and endocrine glands resulting in substantial caloric loss in a sauna heat session.
Because you are sweating, fat deposits are burned. Instead of undergoing extreme physical activities, you just have to sit down and get the same great results. Infrared units also help reduce the formation and appearance of cellulite. You can burn up to 600 calories in 1 hour in the infrared sauna, provided you sweat profusely. This is energy required for high-capacity sweat production and is separate from any water weight you lose from the sweat itself (which you must replace so you don’t dehydrate yourself anyway). Producing sweat requires a lot of energy (i.e. uses up a lot of calories).
- Producing 1 g of sweat requires nearly 0.6 calories.
- A profuse sweat can produce 1 litre of sweat in an hour.
- Since sweat weighs 1 g/ml, to produce1 litre (1000 ml) of sweat requires 600 calories (0.6 cal x 1000 ml = 600 cal)!
In a two-week study of twenty-five obese adults, body weight and body fat were reduced after daily infrared sauna treatments of 15 minutes. Interestingly, the researchers who conducted the study reported on one obese patient who couldn’t exercise due to arthritis in the knee yet lost 17.5 kg, and decreased body fat from 46 to 35 percent after 10 weeks of sauna therapy. (Biro, S. Masuda, A. Kihara, T. Tei, C. 2003. Clinical implications of thermal therapy in lifestyle-related diseases. Exp Biol Med. 228(10): 1245-1249. Review)
Unlike traditional saunas which operate at extremely harsh temperatures, infrared is a gentle, soothing and therapeutic heat that promotes relaxation and improved sleep. Infrared sauna therapy helps you relax while receiving an invigorating deep tissue sweat, leaving you fully refreshed after each session rather than feeling drained, as in a conventional sauna.
Sauna use slowly restores elimination through the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and a major eliminative channel. However, in most people, it is inactive, congested and toxic. Sun exposure, use of synthetic clothing, bathing in chlorinated water and exposure to hundreds of chemicals damage the skin. Excessive sympathetic nervous system activity and emotions such as fear, anger and guilt cause blood to be withdrawn from the skin, contributing to inactivity of the skin. For that sought after healthy glow, FIR Sauna therapy allows increased blood circulation to carry great amounts of nutrients to the skin, thus promoting healthy tone and texture. A FIR Sauna heat also provides a mild cleansing of the skin.
Decongesting the internal organs
Heating the body powerfully shunts blood toward the skin to dissipate heat. This decongests the internal organs and greatly stimulates circulation. Sinuses, joints and many other tissues benefit greatly.
Blood pressure reduction
Research has shown that sauna therapy reduces systolic blood pressure because the heat dilates blood vessels and reduces the volume of the inner lining of the vessels, thus promoting healthy blood pressure.
A Japanese study published in the October 2008 issue of The Journal of Cardiology examined the clinical effectiveness and safety of infrared blood pressure therapy, as compared to standard therapies for patients with chronic heart failure. The report concluded that far-infrared sauna therapy is both safe and effective at improving clinical symptoms and cardiac function as well as decreasing cardiac size in chronic heart failure patients. Repeated infrared sauna treatments improved impaired blood vessel functions in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This suggests a preventive role for infrared sauna use for arteriosclerosis.
Tissue Elasticity Improves flexibility
The warmth of your infrared sauna will relax your muscles, increase flexibility and range of motion. Studies show, tissues heated to 130 degrees and then stretched have exhibited an elastic elongation that persists long after the stretch is removed. This was not the case when the same tissues were stretched at normal tissue temperatures. Therapeutic benefits were also seen in working with ligaments, tendons, fascia, joint capsules and symposiums that have become scarred, thickened or contracted.
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