Personal infrared saunas are becoming more and more commonplace. What used to be considered a luxury item or something you experience in a spa is more accessible than ever. But would you consider them a recreational splurge or a health tool? In fact, infrared saunas are gaining more traction as a preventive health resource. Ben Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He knew a thing or two. In fact, taking charge of your health before any concerns develop is not only easier and wiser, it’s cost-effective. That said, there are 3 ways infrared can help lower health risks that we’ll highlight.
We’ll start with the one which causes the most issues, and that is cardiovascular disease.
Take It To Heart
Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. It’s also the chart-topper when it comes to chronic diseases, with heart disease being the #1 health concern in the U.S. Heart issues encompass a variety of conditions, including coronary artery disease (CAD). This is also referred to as plaque or clogged arteries, a result of fatty deposits that reduce our blood flow. Good circulation is key.
Fortunately, you can take good care of it with some basic health habits. This includes improving your diet by eating leaner, less fatty foods, getting regular exercise, and eliminating smoking. These are all things you already know—but what you might not know is that infrared sauna sessions can also help deter heart disease.
What’s unique about infrared heat, particularly far infrared, is that it works wonders for your health even as you sit still. The intense temperature causes your circulation to quicken. This is a good thing. Your heart pumps faster at higher temps, equivalent to an aerobic workout or jog. In turn, your blood vessels dilate. This benefits your entire body because it means your organs are getting more oxygen as the blood transports it more efficiently. Having proper circulation is the goal of keeping your heart healthy while reducing high blood pressure.
Supporting these findings, a long-term study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland tracked the effects of sauna use on 2,315 men over 20 years. The men who participated were between the ages of 42-60, initially. The study found that “regular sauna bathing resulted in a decreased risk of sudden cardiac death, decreased fatal coronary heart disease, and decreased fatal cardiovascular disease.”
Other factors contribute to heart problems outside of poor circulation. This includes high cholesterol, directly related to obesity, another chart-topping chronic health issue.
As it turns out, infrared can help manage that as well.
There have been plenty of studies and talk about cholesterol over the past decades. We see ads for low-fat, unsaturated fat, and fat-free foods all the time, developed to help lower cholesterol. The first concern about cholesterol and its link to heart problems was published in the early 1900s. It was around the 1950s that people started getting tested for cholesterol levels. But what role does cholesterol play in our bodies?
Cholesterol is made up of lipids which are key to building the body’s cell structure. You need a certain level of it in your blood, as all animals do, but too much of this fat-like substance causes blockage. One way to reduce or help remove it from our system is to eat foods that are full of fiber. This acts like a sponge to absorb cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Another way to sustain healthy cholesterol levels is to maintain proper blood pressure levels. As mentioned above, sauna sessions can enhance circulation which directly relates to blood pressure. Brief, continual periods of sauna bathing will increase your heart rate and induce sweating similar to moderate exercise. That in turn can help moderate your cholesterol level, as this study in recent years reported.
While some might claim that the sweat produced in a sauna contains cholesterols, what we have learned for sure is that sweating will raise levels of good cholesterol or HDL. A simple blood test will indicate whether you should be concerned about your cholesterol levels.
But let’s say you don’t have heart problems and your cholesterol levels are good. Another highly prevalent disease on the rise is dementia. You may wonder, what can infrared do to help?
Matters Of The Mind
Staying sharp is something we can all work on long before any kind of mental decline occurs. With the continued rise of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases, millions of dollars have been invested in drugs or methods that prevent brain degeneration. How do we keep cognitive decline at bay?
Just when scientists think they discover a genetic marker or link to dementia, new studies turn up additional conclusions. They do know that the brain is similar to any muscle, and to keep it working we must stimulate it and keep it ‘elastic.’ Additionally, our cognitive function is linked to cellular regeneration and proper circulation. If brain cells become unhealthy or damaged, dementia can result.
Scientists have performed multiple studies and trials related to infrared and its effect on memory, brain health, and Alzheimer’s. While medication is still being improved for delaying or reversing degenerative symptoms, infrared has shown promising results in helping with the regeneration of essential brain proteins. A study being conducted over two years seeks to show that near-infrared, or LED red light treatment, could also help. This study is still ongoing.
Ultimately, infrared therapy along with a good diet and exercise is a valid option to delay dementia along with other chronic health issues. Over time, sauna use can provide lasting, positive results.
Health Mate saunas offer the full spectrum of infrared treatment and are designed for ultimate wellness. For near-infrared treatment, the Chromotherapy option offers the red light desired for enhancing our cell function and regeneration. Learn more about our models and the range of benefits infrared offers.