When it comes to extending our lifespan, researchers and scientists have explored hundreds if not thousands of influences, from diet and exercise to innovative medical advancements. Whether it’s drinking kombucha tea, practicing H.I.T. fitness, or genetic rewiring, new findings and recommendations are reported annually. Recently, there has been a focus on the relationship between infrared (IR) radiation and longevity. Although not entirely mainstream, infrared is a radiant approach to longevity, with promising potential.
Let’s start with the basics.
Infrared radiation uses electromagnetic wavelengths longer than visible light. While not visible to the human eye, it can be felt as heat. Similarly, the sun emits infrared radiation as part of its spectrum. The technology of capturing and emitting radiation safely for health treatment is constantly evolving. Infrared saunas with full-spectrum technology, like most of Health Mate’s models, offer all three wavelengths.
Infrared falls into three main categories:
- Near-infrared (NIR): This type has shorter wavelengths and is commonly used for improving skin or for targeted medical therapies.
- Mid-infrared (MIR): With slightly longer wavelengths, MIR finds applications in medical diagnostics and for general wellness and relaxation.
- Far-infrared (FIR): FIR radiation has the longest wavelengths among the three and is often associated with health-promoting properties and treating chronic pain and beyond.
Linking Infrared and Longevity
Research in recent years suggests that exposure to certain types of infrared radiation, particularly far-infrared radiation, may enhance your health and longevity. Dr. Rhonda Patrick earned a PhD in biomedical science after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and has extensively researched and compared studies linking longevity to sauna use. She recently recounted at one of her talks, “Using the sauna 4-7 times per week (20 minutes each session) is associated with a 40% lower mortality.” That’s a significant decrease.
Below are ways in which infrared saunas can enhance longevity:
- Cellular Health: Far-infrared radiation has been proposed to enhance cellular health through the stimulation of mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells. By increasing mitochondrial activity, infrared radiation promotes cellular energy production and reduces oxidative stress, a key contributor to aging and age-related diseases.
- Detoxification: Sweating is one way our bodies naturally eliminate toxins. FIR saunas have gained popularity because they induce deep sweating over a relatively short session, aiding in detoxification. By promoting the elimination of heavy metals and other harmful substances, FIR saunas can contribute to overall health and longevity.
- Stress Relief: Chronic stress is known to accelerate the aging process. Regular sauna sessions have been linked to reduced stress levels and improved mood. Lower stress generally improves well-being and longevity.
- Vascular Health: Some studies found that FIR radiation may have positive effects on blood circulation and vascular function. Improved blood flow helps with delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues, supporting overall health.
- Inflammation Reduction: Chronic inflammation is a common factor in many age-related diseases. Infrared therapies can help modulate inflammatory markers, which in turn helps delay or prevent the onset of such diseases.
Longevity or Vitality?
We’ve discussed the link between infrared and a longer lifespan, yet is the goal a longer life or a healthier one? Dr. Mark Hyman in his podcast mentions the term ‘healthspan’ as a way of defining a well-lived life. As a respected functional medical practitioner, author, and physician, he has emphasized diet and exercise as essential for living not just longer but better. He recently shared, “When it comes to longevity, the goal isn’t just to live as long as possible. The true objective is to live as vibrantly as possible for as long as possible.” He has also endorsed infrared as a treatment for reducing chronic inflammation, which leads to a host of diseases. Building resiliency and strength play into the goal towards a better life as well.
Conclusively, infrared sauna sessions can play a significant role in your healthspan journey and be a radiant approach to longevity. If you’re on the fence about which personal home Health Mate to buy, take our sauna quiz.