Saunas have long been recognized both by traditional and holistic medicine as a way of improving the health of the body. The heat from a sauna encourages the body to sweat, which increases metabolism, and aids the circulation of blood throughout the body. In attempting to stabilize its internal temperature, your body will begin to sweat when it becomes hot; this moisture on your skin acts as a natural cooling mechanism. New technology has led to the development of far infrared saunas, which use light waves as a heat source to increase the temperature of the body without the use of steam. Lets take a look at some of the advantages a sauna which utilizes infrared light has over those which use steam.
Lower maintenance. If youve ever owned, or been in, a steam sauna, then you know that they operate using the principle of evaporation and retained heat. Traditional saunas rely on steam to heat the air in an enclosed space. In order to keep the air warm, water needs to be continually supplied to the sauna heating system. Additionally, some heat retaining device needs to be used to sustain the temperature in the sauna at evaporation levels. The material used ranges from rocks to metal alloys, but all types need to be checked constantly for wear, and repaired or replaced on a regular basis. Infrared saunas do not require the use of water, and greatly cut down on the cost of replacement parts as they do not rely on air temperature to produce the sweat effect, but instead heat the body directly.
Health benefits. Steam saunas often become too hot for the average person to bear. The traditional way to deal with the overheating of the body that inevitably comes about in a steam sauna is to cool off by jumping in a pool (or rolling in the snow for the truly adventurous!). This can be a shock to the cardiovascular system; elderly sauna users and those with heart problems are discouraged from using steam saunas due to stress of the very high ambient temperature and the jolt to the system that coming out of the hot environment entails. Infrared saunas do not reach the same temperatures internally that steam saunas do; again, this is due to the fact that it is not the air that is heated but the body itself. People can stay in an infrared sauna for much longer without discomfort and when they leave, the temperature difference between inside the sauna and out is not as extreme.
Scientific theory also points out that infrared saunas allow the heat to penetrate much deeper under a persons skin due to the focus of the heat on the body itself. The sweat therefore comes from a deeper source than the top layer of the skin, which means that toxins that are trapped underneath the skin can be released through the deeper sweat created by the infrared heat source.
The main advantage of infrared saunas is the fact that they heat the body rather than the air. This is a more direct process than that used by steam saunas, and the result is a much more efficient cleansing system.