Use of the Far Infrared Sauna at Synergy Acupuncture & Wellness
Our Sauna is a 2-3 person sauna. We offer single use sessions and multi-use packages for the sauna alone or in combination with the Salt Therapy because when used consistently, the research shows there can be more health benefits. We offer a private changing room and refreshing station where you can sponge bathe before heading out. We do not have a shower and we ask that customers wear either a bathing suit or tank top and shorts for women and shorts for men.
WHAT IS INFRARED RADIANT HEAT?
Sunlight is a combination of visible and invisible light. All the colors of the rainbow are present in sunlight as well as both infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths which are wavelengths not visible to the naked eye. Out of all the invisible rays that emanate from the sun, far infrared is well known to our bodies because we actually produce far infrared. As far infrared comes from the sun it penetrates deeply into the skin to help dissolve unwanted substances that have accumulated in the body. The infrared rays have the power to revitalize your cells and metabolism.
Far infrared waves penetrate into our body and activate the sweat glands. The sweat glands are one of the tools that the body has at hand to eliminate toxins. The skin is actually the largest organ of the human body and has been called many times; “the third kidney” because of its ability to discharge large amounts of waste material through the sweat glands. It is one of the best mechanisms the body has for elimination.
Full Spectrum Infrared
Full spectrum refers to the entire infrared spectrum: near infrared, mid infrared and far infrared.
-Near Infrared is the shortest wavelength, and will be absorbed just below the surface of the skin creating a sweat that promotes healing and revitalization.
-Mid infrared is a longer wavelength that can penetrate deeper into the body’s soft tissue increasing circulation, releasing oxygen to reach injured areas.
-Far infrared is the longest wavelength which penetrates the fat cells causing vasodilation, where the fat cells vibrate to expel toxins, resulting in the greatest levels of detoxification and stimulate your metabolism to aid in weight-loss.
The efficacy of infrared waves is very broad and the subject of recent study by NASA. Among the infrared waves, the far infrared rays, which have a wavelength of 6-12 microns, are especially good for the human body. These waves have the potential to penetrate 1.5 to 2 inches or more into the body allowing for deep heat and raise your core body temperature from deep inside. The deep heat of far infrared is why scholars believe that the Ondol (traditional warm floor of Korea) is good for health because the materials for the Ondol are stone and earth, both of which radiate far infrared waves when heated.
WHY INFRARED TECHNOLOGY?
By comparison, conventional saunas must rely only on indirect means of heat: first, on convection (air currents) and then, conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin) to produce its heating effect. Clearlight Infrared Sauna is best used at temperatures between 100° to 125°F versus 180° to 220°F for traditional hot-air saunas.
WHY IS INFRARED HEAT BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL SAUNA?
The temperature inside an infrared sauna is adjustable and averages a comfortable 100°F to 130 °F. These lower temperatures allow you to sweat faster and to tolerate a longer sauna session offering greater therapeutic benefit. Typical sessions last 20 to 45 minutes and can be repeated daily to maximize the benefits. Infrared saunas leave you feeling invigorated, not depleted like conventional saunas.
Infrared heaters warm the body in the same manner as natural sunlight. Infrared heat therapy uses the wavelength of the visible and non-visible light spectrum of sunlight that heats the body normally. Traditional saunas raise the temperature of the air to a very high level within the chamber to warm the body. Some people have difficulty breathing in this extremely warm air. Infrared saunas work differently. Instead of heating the air within the enclosure, infrared saunas heat the body directly. The result is deeper tissue penetration. In an infrared sauna, the body perspires and receives all of the healthy benefits but avoids the harmful and extremely hot air of a traditional steam sauna.
What is the physiological response to sauna therapy?
Sauna therapy and specifically with the use of Infrared sauna has been shown to increase heart rate. The blood flow in the peripheral tissue (tissue closest to our skin) increases to allow greater heat exchange through the skin. Our blood pressure (specifically the bottom number or diastolic) will drop and our metabolic rate (the number of calories we burn) increases. Studies have shown there is an increase in Human Growth Hormones as well as Beta Endorphins. There is also relaxation of the muscles.
At a physiological level, sauna has been speculated to decrease inflammation through an increased production in various proteins that are upregulated in response to the thermal effect on the body.
What are the health benefits of sauna therapy?
The research on sauna therapy is mostly on Infrared Sauna. In Japan and other countries in Asia, the use of Infrared sauna is called Waon Therapy (which means gentle heat therapy). The studies for FIR show benefit for the following conditions:
The only contraindications to the use of sauna are aortic stenosis, unstable angina, orthostatic hypotension, recent myocardial infarction and pregnancy is a relative contraindication. Overall the use of Far Infrared Sauna is very safe.
Detoxification through Sweating
Our skin is our largest organ in our body. It is also the closest organ to much of our fat tissue where most toxins and toxicants are stored. The research does show that we release heavy metals and other toxins that are stored in our body through sweat. It is for this reason you will see that sauna is often used as part of a detoxification protocol.
What if you do not perspire?
Sometimes people do not break into a sweat the first couple of times in the sauna. Often this improves with consistent use. Some people do not perspire even with exercise. The sauna can benefit even if you do not break into a sweat as you will still detoxify through urine and stool. Often skin brushing or even lymphatic massage may improve your ability to sweat in the sauna. A warm shower or bath prior to can also help increase likelihood of sweating.
What is the optimal frequency and time to spend in the sauna for the health benefits?
The research on how long we should spend in the sauna varies and as a rule of thumb, the recommendation is to start low and slow. Fifteen to Thirty minutes seems to be beneficial when done consistently over time for the cardiovascular benefits as well as for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression and autoimmunity. Some of the studies on the Waon therapy used a protocol of 15-20 minutes at a temperature of 140F / 60C followed by lying down for 30 minutes under a blanket. A few times a week is a good place to start for sauna use and some of the protocols in the research even suggest benefit with daily use.
Depending on the goal and intention of the Sauna treatment working up to longer sauna sessions may have additional benefit for detoxification. As always, it is important to listen to your body. If at any point during a sauna session you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded or sleepy, it is a sign you should discontinue that session immediately.