INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY?
Infrared saunas are increasingly popular in the health and wellness community for a number of reasons including the numerous health benefits and they just make you feel good!
The sun produces a combination of visible and invisible light, and one of those invisible spectrums is infrared rays. Invisible infrared wavelengths are what makes the sun feel warm (and ultraviolet wavelengths are what makes it bright). Scientists have established that infrared waves are beneficial to the human body because they are easily absorbed, stimulating the lymphatic, immune and cardiovascular systems and also help remove toxins. Infrared does all of this without any of the harmful rays of sunlight.
Far infrared is the closest of the wavelengths to the heat given off by our own body. Far infrared is readily captured by the water molecules in the body and releasing its energy. Our bodies actually give off far infrared wavelengths at about 9.4 microns. Since far infrared wavelengths feel very natural and normal to us, our energy is enhanced and strengthened.
If a good portion of the far infrared from a high quality sauna heater at this 9.4 micron range, a subtle “resonant frequency” or vibration is set up within the cells of the body that increases the expulsion of toxins. The toxins are then eliminated either through the three main organs of elimination (urine, feces and exhalation) or directly through the skin, the largest organ of the body.
Far infrared activates sweat glands eliminating these chemicals directly through the skin. Expelling toxins through the skin is advantageous because it relieves the liver of having to process quantities of these fat soluble compounds. Sweating alone through infrared sauna usage can be quite efficient at removing unwanted chemicals.
The History Behind
Infrared Sauna Therapy
Sauna History & Evolution
From smoke rooms & fire pits, to clean, modern far infrared sauna panels, today’s far infrared sauna is a modern, contemporary, and effective expression of an ancient health practice that has been recognized throughout history – the application of heat for both general health, and to treat specific ailments. The positive health effects of heat treatments were known at least as long ago as the ancient Greeks, whose physicians would induce slight fevers to fight a number of different illnesses.
The Finnish people, in particular, came to rely upon and value the comfort and health impacts of the sauna because of Finland’s often harsh climate, and the difficult living conditions – the Finnish growing season is only 4 months long. After a hard day in the fields or tending to the animals, the “steam of life,” was anything but a luxury.
Historical records indicate that the Finns were building the primitive wood-burning ancestors of our modern far infrared saunas more than 2000 years ago. These “smoke saunas,” or savus were often little more than holes dug into the ground or soil mounded into small hills, where a fire pit could be constructed and a fire lit. Rocks would be thrown into the fire to absorb heat, and then slowly radiate it back into a small, smoke-filled room. After the room came to the desired temperature, the smoke would be allowed to clear and patrons to enter. The scent of the wood smoke remained and was an important part of the healing ritual.
As they evolved over time, such so-called “modern,” conveniences as metal woodstoves (or kiuas) were incorporated into their design. In addition, steam (loyly, or lou-lu) was added to the ritual by splashing water onto the heated rocks.
The Modern Sauna
After World War II, the increasing industrialization of Finland and Europe brought new building techniques and heating technologies to the age-old tradition. The electric sauna stove was introduced around 1950, and in 1965, the first far infrared sauna was invented in Japan. Like their wood-burning ancestors, far infrared saunas provide a wide variety of health and therapeutic benefits. Because they raise the body temperature directly, rather than heating an entire room, these modern miracles allow us to partake of these benefits more cleanly, conveniently, and cost-effectively than ever before.
Healing The Body and The Spirit
As the sauna itself evolved, so did the culture surrounding it. Saunas came to be seen as places to clear the mind, refresh the spirit, and rejuvenate the body. The deceased were prepared for burial, and women gave birth here, as the sauna came to encompass the cycle of life.
The love of sauna is a world-wide phenomenon, with many cultures having some form of similar culture or tradition, including such well-known versions as Turkish steam baths, and ancient Roman Thermae. In Canada and the US, many Native American cultures possess various types of spiritual sweat lodges, while in Eastern Europe we find the Jewish shvitz.
Today, science has confirmed that raising body temperature stimulates the immune system to fight destructive pathogens. Hyperthermia, or so-called “artificial fevers,” are being incorporated into holistic treatments for such infections as acute bronchitis and pneumonia, arthritic conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Lupus. The use of heat therapy against more serious diseases such as some types of cancer and even HIV has begun to gain traction as well, making the sauna one of modern medicine’s most effective tools for healing and prevention.