What Are The Benefits Of An Infrared Sauna?

It’s time to get your sweat on.

Infrared saunas seem to be the latest wellness craze—while previously, my Instagram Feed was filled with influencers posting pics from their reformer Pilates class, it now seems that everyone is sharing sweat-drenched selfies from the sauna. But why? Are there actually any benefits to an infrared sauna?

To answer this question, I took up the arduous task of trialling an infrared sauna in the comfort of my own home. I hope you noted the sarcasm because the experience was exactly the opposite—owning an infrared sauna, even for a brief time, was about the bougiest thing I’ve ever experienced. 

Prior to this, I was a fan of the occasional infrared sauna session (I love La Porte Space, I Am Beauty and Nimbus in Sydney)—I loved a little 45-minute sweat session once a month or so, mostly for my mental health. To me, the heat of the sauna combined with the forced downtime was so effective at helping me relax. I’d go in feeling stressed and come out feeling warm, buttery and like my mind had been reset.

Then I had the wonderful opportunity to trial a Found—Space sauna and suddenly, this experience was in my living room. 

But firstly—what is an infrared sauna? “An infrared sauna heats the body gently and much more deeply than a steam sauna,” said Alex Tyson, who runs Found—Space, which has an offering of premium infrared saunas available to purchase—delivery and set up included. “Infrared saunas can run at lower, more comfortable temperatures, which you can sit in for longer to enjoy greater cardiovascular, skin and relaxation benefits.”

As part of the Found—Space experience, a member of the team called me prior to my delivery to talk me through my sauna. On delivery day, the infrared sauna was assembled in my lounge room by Found—Space’s team of experts. As they explained, infrared saunas use heater panels made up of carbon to generate heat—so it doesn’t have steam (none of those hot rocks like at your local gym). That meant I was able to have the sauna assembled in our lounge room—there would be no steam or moisture omitted and all of the heat is contained within the sauna itself. The Found Space sauna can be installed on any flat level surface and requires a standard 15amp powerpoint—one plug and you’re done! 

Here’s how it works: “The infrared heater panels are made from carbon. When the carbon heats, it emits infrared,” said Tyson. “Infrared rays heat the body very gently and slowly, deep within the skin tissue. Your body begins to sweat and circulation increases, creating a safe and gentle cardiovascular workout for the body.”

Therein lies the benefit of the infrared sauna—it’s essentially mimicking the experience of a workout. In the first sauna session in my very own home, I was committed to really paying attention to my body and I noticed that I started to sweat within five minutes of being in the sauna and my heart rate increased to a faster (but comfortable) pace. This cardiovascular workout is what produces the infrared sauna benefits, Tyson explains, which he lists as “improved sleep, weight loss, skin rejuvenation, muscle recovery and pain relief.”

“Sauna has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health, promote collagen production in the skin and improve general skin softness and hydration.” It can also detoxify the body: “Due to the nature of infrared heat penetrating deeply into the subcutaneous layer of the skin. As a protective mechanism, our body stores heavy metals and toxins in this layer, which are removed from the body through infrared when we sweat.” 

While the detoxification process is difficult to track, the sweat was not! If you have ever had the sauna experience, you will know exactly what I mean. By day seven I felt that my energy was increasing, my mood had improved and I was sleeping better—all signs that my body was indeed undergoing a good detox. It makes sense: the skin is our largest organ and sweating allows toxins to be released. Having the sauna in the comfort of my home meant I could dip in for 15-20 mins a day (I settled on 55 degrees as my sweet spot) and doing this consistently made all the difference.

After a month, the biggest thing I noticed was a decrease in anxiety and stress. “The relaxation felt from soothing infrared heat is unmatched, along with the added benefits of no screen time, a quiet place to meditate, breathe or just be with yourself, our saunas will improve your entire wellbeing; body, mind and spirit,” explained Tyson. “Infrared sauna also drops our body into the parasympathetic nervous system, where we ‘rest and digest’.”

I was also enjoying the sauna—I loved the privacy of having the sauna in my own home and used the time to read a few pages of The New Yorker, or to lay on my back with my legs up for lymphatic drainage, or sometimes to just sit. The model I tried was the Found—Space Full Spectrum Sauna and it has bluetooth capabilities, so you can tether your iPhone, laptop, or even your smart TV and listen to a podcast or watch Killing Eve (the latter is not so great for relaxation, FYI..). 

I’d also gone off saunas a little bit since the pandemic started—it felt a bit icky to sit in someone else’s sweat. As Tyson put it: “A home sauna is also private. You don’t need to think about who was in it before you, and you can personalise the settings to what your body needs.” 

As I came to the end of my 3-month trial, I had tried a few different routines, including a longer sauna 3-4 times per week. The only downside of this was with a busy work schedule, I found I either had time for a sauna or to exercise and not both, whereas the shorter bursts fit into my routine easily. But that was all part of the benefit of having the sauna in my own home—I could pick and choose what suited my schedule. 

The other big thing I noticed was that my skin was glowing. When I asked Tyson about this, he explained that infrared saunas have been shown to promote collagen production in the skin. “In addition, every time you experience infrared you open your skin pores and sweat deeply, pulling hydration through several layers of skin which removes unwanted contaminants from the skin’s complexion. This creates a ‘sauna glow’, noticed after one session and builds with regular use.”

Between the ‘sauna glow’, my mood and sleep improving and the fact that it was simply chic to have an infrared sauna in my home, I was really impressed. For those who can afford to invest in one (they start at around $6000) and who have the space, I would highly recommend it. I was also doing the math—my 45 minute session at a studio costs $60—so for regular users, that’s something to consider. Most importantly, it came down to my mental state—I felt that the sauna helped to fill my cup back up on those incredibly busy days we all experience.

“A 30 minute sauna session is 30 minutes of stillness, quiet and relaxation, something we don’t get a lot of in our busy lives today, especially now that many of us work from home. Devices, family responsibilities and work are always at arm’s length,” said Tyson. “Creating a wellness space in our home that we need to physically step into and away from other tasks, allows us to prioritise this time for relaxation.”

May 27, 2022

What Are The Benefits Of An Infrared Sauna?

Image credit: Instagram.com/nikki.cruz

It’s time to get your sweat on.

Infrared saunas seem to be the latest wellness craze—while previously, my Instagram Feed was filled with influencers posting pics from their reformer Pilates class, it now seems that everyone is sharing sweat-drenched selfies from the sauna. But why? Are there actually any benefits to an infrared sauna?

To answer this question, I took up the arduous task of trialling an infrared sauna in the comfort of my own home. I hope you noted the sarcasm because the experience was exactly the opposite—owning an infrared sauna, even for a brief time, was about the bougiest thing I’ve ever experienced. 

Prior to this, I was a fan of the occasional infrared sauna session (I love La Porte Space, I Am Beauty and Nimbus in Sydney)—I loved a little 45-minute sweat session once a month or so, mostly for my mental health. To me, the heat of the sauna combined with the forced downtime was so effective at helping me relax. I’d go in feeling stressed and come out feeling warm, buttery and like my mind had been reset.

Then I had the wonderful opportunity to trial a Found—Space sauna and suddenly, this experience was in my living room. 

But firstly—what is an infrared sauna? “An infrared sauna heats the body gently and much more deeply than a steam sauna,” said Alex Tyson, who runs Found—Space, which has an offering of premium infrared saunas available to purchase—delivery and set up included. “Infrared saunas can run at lower, more comfortable temperatures, which you can sit in for longer to enjoy greater cardiovascular, skin and relaxation benefits.”

As part of the Found—Space experience, a member of the team called me prior to my delivery to talk me through my sauna. On delivery day, the infrared sauna was assembled in my lounge room by Found—Space’s team of experts. As they explained, infrared saunas use heater panels made up of carbon to generate heat—so it doesn’t have steam (none of those hot rocks like at your local gym). That meant I was able to have the sauna assembled in our lounge room—there would be no steam or moisture omitted and all of the heat is contained within the sauna itself. The Found Space sauna can be installed on any flat level surface and requires a standard 15amp powerpoint—one plug and you’re done! 

Here’s how it works: “The infrared heater panels are made from carbon. When the carbon heats, it emits infrared,” said Tyson. “Infrared rays heat the body very gently and slowly, deep within the skin tissue. Your body begins to sweat and circulation increases, creating a safe and gentle cardiovascular workout for the body.”

Therein lies the benefit of the infrared sauna—it’s essentially mimicking the experience of a workout. In the first sauna session in my very own home, I was committed to really paying attention to my body and I noticed that I started to sweat within five minutes of being in the sauna and my heart rate increased to a faster (but comfortable) pace. This cardiovascular workout is what produces the infrared sauna benefits, Tyson explains, which he lists as “improved sleep, weight loss, skin rejuvenation, muscle recovery and pain relief.”

“Sauna has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health, promote collagen production in the skin and improve general skin softness and hydration.” It can also detoxify the body: “Due to the nature of infrared heat penetrating deeply into the subcutaneous layer of the skin. As a protective mechanism, our body stores heavy metals and toxins in this layer, which are removed from the body through infrared when we sweat.” 

While the detoxification process is difficult to track, the sweat was not! If you have ever had the sauna experience, you will know exactly what I mean. By day seven I felt that my energy was increasing, my mood had improved and I was sleeping better—all signs that my body was indeed undergoing a good detox. It makes sense: the skin is our largest organ and sweating allows toxins to be released. Having the sauna in the comfort of my home meant I could dip in for 15-20 mins a day (I settled on 55 degrees as my sweet spot) and doing this consistently made all the difference.

After a month, the biggest thing I noticed was a decrease in anxiety and stress. “The relaxation felt from soothing infrared heat is unmatched, along with the added benefits of no screen time, a quiet place to meditate, breathe or just be with yourself, our saunas will improve your entire wellbeing; body, mind and spirit,” explained Tyson. “Infrared sauna also drops our body into the parasympathetic nervous system, where we ‘rest and digest’.”

I was also enjoying the sauna—I loved the privacy of having the sauna in my own home and used the time to read a few pages of The New Yorker, or to lay on my back with my legs up for lymphatic drainage, or sometimes to just sit. The model I tried was the Found—Space Full Spectrum Sauna and it has bluetooth capabilities, so you can tether your iPhone, laptop, or even your smart TV and listen to a podcast or watch Killing Eve (the latter is not so great for relaxation, FYI..). 

I’d also gone off saunas a little bit since the pandemic started—it felt a bit icky to sit in someone else’s sweat. As Tyson put it: “A home sauna is also private. You don’t need to think about who was in it before you, and you can personalise the settings to what your body needs.” 

As I came to the end of my 3-month trial, I had tried a few different routines, including a longer sauna 3-4 times per week. The only downside of this was with a busy work schedule, I found I either had time for a sauna or to exercise and not both, whereas the shorter bursts fit into my routine easily. But that was all part of the benefit of having the sauna in my own home—I could pick and choose what suited my schedule. 

The other big thing I noticed was that my skin was glowing. When I asked Tyson about this, he explained that infrared saunas have been shown to promote collagen production in the skin. “In addition, every time you experience infrared you open your skin pores and sweat deeply, pulling hydration through several layers of skin which removes unwanted contaminants from the skin’s complexion. This creates a ‘sauna glow’, noticed after one session and builds with regular use.”

Between the ‘sauna glow’, my mood and sleep improving and the fact that it was simply chic to have an infrared sauna in my home, I was really impressed. For those who can afford to invest in one (they start at around $6000) and who have the space, I would highly recommend it. I was also doing the math—my 45 minute session at a studio costs $60—so for regular users, that’s something to consider. Most importantly, it came down to my mental state—I felt that the sauna helped to fill my cup back up on those incredibly busy days we all experience.

“A 30 minute sauna session is 30 minutes of stillness, quiet and relaxation, something we don’t get a lot of in our busy lives today, especially now that many of us work from home. Devices, family responsibilities and work are always at arm’s length,” said Tyson. “Creating a wellness space in our home that we need to physically step into and away from other tasks, allows us to prioritise this time for relaxation.”

Image credit: courtesy of Found—Space

Comments

Katie

Have tried infrared in studios but would love one in my home!!!

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