Do You Need A Dopamine Detox?

We’re a society that’s become accustomed to instant gratification. And that’s not terrible. However, the problem with anything that’s instant is that we get accustomed to it and want it more, often to the point of detriment. At some point for our own good, we simply need to step away and take a break. It’s what has recently been termed a dopamine detox, or fast, which is a detox that helps reset the brain’s reward system. In recent years, this could mean taking a break from binge-watching television shows, video gaming, social media scrolling or other digital stimulation. So, the question is, do you need a dopamine detox? If so, infrared saunas can help.

Are you ready to learn how? Let’s not waste any time.

What Exactly is Dopamine?

In basic terms, dopamine is a neurotransmitter, sending signals to the brain. It’s instrumental in controlling our movement. It can reinforce behaviors that result in reward and aids in the flow of information to our brain that affects thought and emotion. Additionally, dopamine is related to adrenal function and the flight or fight response prompted by stressors. It even plays a role in dampening inflammation as it relates to digestion.

As one example, a sudden increase of dopamine can prompt a lab rat to press a button over and over to get a pellet of food or a human to grab a second or third slice of pizza. It probably makes sense, then, that dopamine is the “pleasure” creator. Drugs like cocaine trigger that response, and after time, the body will want more and more since it will begin to build a tolerance. It’s like that with digital stimulation as well, as we’re finding out.

Is Too Much Dopamine Bad?

You would think since dopamine triggers good feelings, induces pleasure, and reduces inflammation that it’s a positive thing. However, as with anything taken to excess, it can cause health concerns. Excessive dopamine can lead to an unhealthy dependence and negative alterations to the brain’s reward system. It can even result in neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Dopamine is essential for normal brain function. Too little dopamine causes negative effects as well, such as depression, low sex drive, high blood pressure, and in more extreme cases, something like Parkinson’s disease. Maintaining balance is key.

The good news is, there are ways to induce dopamine that don’t involve potentially addictive activities, like the digital ones mentioned above.

Keep reading to learn more.

Get Your Good Dopamine

You can have your dopamine and enjoy it, too! It’s a matter of finding that healthy balance of activities that engage you without going down a rabbit hole of incessant dopamine hits where you can’t ever seem to get enough.

First, check your diet. If you find yourself moody or unmotivated and reaching for the digital device to get that instant fix, maybe start with a healthy snack. Avocados, bananas, chicken, leafy greens and chocolate are all good sources. These are magnesium and tyrosine-rich foods, which support dopamine production.

Additionally, revisit those activities that may not have immediate rewards but offer a payoff over time or via different modes. This includes activities like reading, journaling, spending time in nature, playing with a pet, exercising, or pursuing hobbies that don’t rely on immediate rewards.

How Infrared Can Help

An infrared sauna is an ideal way to detox, and not just physically. You’ve probably read about the health benefits of a good sweat in the sauna that leads to a release of toxins from your system. That’s certainly a benefit. But beyond that, there’s a mental reward.

Infrared is designed to penetrate the muscles and organs, working beyond the skin’s surface. While the temperature reaches upwards of 120 degrees F and beyond, the heat will naturally relax you. Internally, your system will experience increased blood circulation. This will lead to greater oxygen being supplied to your brain and other organs.

Think of it like a nice jog around the block. You’ll work up a sweat, increase your heart rate, then when it’s over, your body will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. In turn, your mental health will improve as well. But with a sauna, there’s no need to go outside or exert yourself, you simply lay back and breathe.

If your infrared sauna happens to offer Chromotherapy, which many of our Health Mate saunas do, you can use specific settings to combat depression or anxiety, to replace the standard digital outlets we seek for similar relief. This is healthier than staring at a screen for hours on end. Plus, the combination of infrared results in benefits you won’t even realize right away.

As always, you’ll want to ask your medical advisor if you seem to have indicators of low or excessive levels of dopamine, or concerns that may affect your health.

For details on Health Mate infrared saunas, see our models, or be in touch with our sauna specialists to learn more.