Far Infra-red Saunas
What is a Far Infra-Red Sauna? What's Far infra Red? Is there Near Infra-Red? How does such a sauna work? And most importantly, does such a thing provide actual health benefits? CURTIS ANTHONY shines a light on the issues which appear to be endless ...
“An infrared sauna is a sauna that heats a person or people using heaters that emit far infrared radiant heat. They are different to a normal sauna in that they do not use steam to heat the air. Rather, they use infrared radiation to directly heat the person. The infrared waves penetrate into the body, raising the body temperature. This causes sweating which in turns eliminates wastes from the body. The infrared heat penetrates deep into pores and cleans out dirt and debris, as well as clearing the organs of toxins, and strengthening the immune system."
Myths and Stories on the Road to Sauna Heaven
In cramped cities such as Sydney has become, where space is at a premium - and that premium is a financial premium - suburban dreams such as having a swimming pool, contemporised and compartmentalised, have often become compromised to the acquisition of health technologies such as the massage chair, the zen chi massager, or for those whose budget is a little more focussed on genuine health improvements, the "far infra-red sauna".
"Red fir what sauna?" I remember spluttering on the first occasion where a friend who I admittedly hadn't seen for six months, appeared trim and taut in my life again. He put it all down to daily sessions, about 20 minutes or up to half an hour, in his most extravagant recent purchase - an infrared sauna. "The wife swears by it," he said - I was still staring at a very transformed man, so lithe and seeming so full of energy. "Both of us are in it every day."
Some years later and sadly his perfect spiritual union had come to its end, but nowadays marriages that last ten years should, in my eyes, be declared a success. They created a son, and therefore passed on their DNA, that is not a "failed marriage" to me. But it meant that in the dissection of property and inevitably lowering of living standards that divorce usually brings, the far infrared sauna was a casualty and got sold off - it kept its value extremely well - neither party had the space for it in their somewhat shrunken single parent abodes.
And yet as every want and need is catered for in our late capitalistic era, there are now many shapes and sizes of these saunas, one for every size household, it would appear.
Researching the internet, funnily enough my first effort resulted in a little dyslexic typo where I spelled "suana". And what do you know, 754,359 results showed up. It appears there are search engine specialists out there who make their living from being able to conceive every possible mis-spelling. One American/European website had created a single page per spelling variation, so that you could find pages on:
1. "Do home suanas make sense for you? Home suanas, or suanas as they are more commonly known ..."
2. "What is a souna? Many people wonder whether a home souna, or home sauna as it is more popularly known ..."
3. What is a saunen? Saunen is the German word for sauna. The fact that saunen is used so often in Germany today shows ..." (such writing is pure farce)
4. Saunna Myths - The saunna, or sauna, as it is popularly known, is not always ..." (we get the idea by now)
I guess life's pretty good if you can sell a sauna to someone who spells it “souna”.
So when I did my search a second time, I decided to think more local, so typed in "Sydney Saunas". One thing's for sure, based on the next batch of results, if in the next five years I turn gay, I'll sure know where to go for free sex. Do they actually have saunas in those places? A cursory glance at such websites suggested that steam rooms were of slightly higher priority. Anyway, it turns out that the very last listing on that Google page appeared to be in alliance with my search.
This website for an Australian-owned company, called To Health By Choice, showcases a surprisingly advanced array of far infra-red saunas (guess I should mis-spell it "far infa-red" so that everyone out there in-typo-delectica might find this article also - heaven forbid that correct spelling should deprive them of my insights and accompanying verbosities).
A Sauna for Weight Loss?
So every plump winter-food-fattened urban or suburban Australian has already probably made a mental note: "ah, I might find out about whether sitting in this thing is gonna take ten kilos off me". Well the good news is that a far infra-red sauna will help you to lose weight. For a start, while you're in there, don't take in a sandwich or piece of cake. Then during that period, you won't be eating anything. Plus you'll be contemplating the health benefits while ideally downing plenty of purified water - if you're gonna do one thing right, you might as well do a second thing too.
Around the world health claims are made on various sauna websites such as: "Helps you lose weight. Among the many sauna health benefits you can enjoy from your sauna, one of the most exciting benefits is the weight loss and great cardiovascular exercise a sauna can give you. Best of all, this weight loss and exercise is achieved with no stress on the muscles or body."
Also weight loss will occur due to the sauna improving your metabolism and improvement of your circulatory system, according to various manufacturers' health claims.
More Facts about Infrared Light Waves & Saunas
Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic frequency of a wavelength longer than that of visible light (400-700 nm), but shorter than that of radio waves. In an infrared sauna, the electromagnetic frequency warms the occupants' skin without heating the surrounding air. A study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis showed a reduction in pain, stiffness and fatigue during infrared sauna therapy, "but these did not reach statistical significance". A Canadian Study in British Columbia on patients with type 2 diabetes showed a reduction in high blood pressure, weight and belly fat. A number of mainstream and alternative health doctors promote infrared sauna use for the purpose of detoxification, via an acceleration of the body's natural sweat mechanism as well as stimulating circulation.
Furthermore, a great many more health claims are made on the Natural Therapy Pages website as follows: " Infrared saunas can remove the accumulation of potentially carcinogenic heavy metals as well as alcohol, nicotine, sodium, and cholesterol. Wherever toxins accumulate, the blood circulation is blocked, due to the acidic nature of the toxins. The saunas expand the clogged capillary vessels and dissolve the toxins into the bloodstream where they then leave the body through sweat, urine, etc. As well as this amazing detoxification, infrared saunas can also be used to help with weight loss, cardiac problems, skin problems, acne, and many other health issues. They are also fantastic for relieving stress."
My personal Favourite Description
Most of the far infrared energy waves are at the same frequency at which a water molecule resonates or vibrates. This vibration at the cellular level causes the release of of cellular toxins which are excreted through the oil and sweat expelled from the skin. Analysis of sweat after a sauna session shows the sweat produced to be composed of 80% water and 20% toxins compared to traditional heat and steam saunas that produce sweat composed of 97% water and 3% toxins. This is the scientific basis to the song "Gotta Keep those Lovin' Good Vibrations a Happening with You!" Simply, there are good vibes in this world and there are bad vibes - Far Infrared heat wave vibration makes for good vibes.
The electromagnetic spectrum of sunlight is divided into 3 segments which are measured by wave length in microns. They are: near, middle, and far infrared. The near infrared waves are measured from 0.75 to 1.5 microns. The middle measures 1.5 to 5.6 and the far infrared measures from 5.6 to 1000. Approximately, 80% of the sun's rays fall into the infrared range. This is not to be confused with ultraviolet rays which are harmful to the skin. The invisible band of light warms objects without warming the air between the source and the object. The best example of this is to recall going outside on a very cold day and you experienced your face feeling warm in the sunshine. This was far infrared heat penetrating your body 1.5 to 3.5 inches.
All humans send and receive far infrared heat waves. The range of far-infrared waves generated by the human body is 6 - 20 microns. The optimal micron output range is between 7 - 14 microns which is very close to the resonant frequency of a water molecule. This similarity makes sense since our bodies are almost 70% water.
When toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide or toxic substance such as lead, mercury, or chlorine meet larger water molecules, water clusters encapsulate them. Where these toxins accumulate, blood circulation is blocked and cellular energy is impaired.The vibration from far infrared heat waves reduces the ion bonds of the atoms that are holding together the molecules of water. As the vibration continues, breakdown of the water molecules occurs and encapsulated gases and other toxic materials are released. Scientists in Japan report that in the Far Infrared Therapy wave treatment of clogged capillary vessels, a similar process occurs: heat expands the capillaries from Far Infrared Therapy and then initiates the process to dissolve hidden toxins.
Far infrared is a form of energy which heats the air through a process called conversion. This radiant heat penetrates deeper than steam or heat saunas and causes the water within the body to vibrate. This vibration has a profound effect on the tissues increasing metabolism, releasing toxins and improving circulation. Far Infrared not only detoxifies but produces enzymes and balances hormones for a healthier you. Studies show reduction in acne breakouts, arthritis pain, and chronic muscle pain. Far Infrared helps in weight loss as it causes the body to liquefy fat and expedites its elimination. For every 30 minutes of a Far Infrared sauna session, 300 calories are burned.
Best website for more info on Far Infra Red Saunas is ...
Curtis Anthony is a Melbourne-based writer specialising
in natural health, email him via: firstname.lastname@example.org
“... I stumbled across a Cedar Wood website which had articles entirely set up to SEO-optimise such spelling versions as “saunen”, “souna”, “saunna”, “suana”. Each article had its own page, and was surprisingly ok written – the objects of such pages is entirely to get the mis-spelling searcher to land on their page. Life's pretty good if you can sell a sauna to someone who spells it “souna”."
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Media Mentions to Far Infra-Red Saunas:
From the Sydney Morning Herald, 12th January 2010
Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary
WHERE Koh Samui, Thailand.
WHO FOR Those looking for a holistic approach to health.
WHY Set up by a former yogi, John Stewart, and his healer wife, Karina, Kamalaya attracts the well-heeled celebrity set searching for inner peace. The nine wellness programs include healthy lifestyle, emotional balance, wellness a la carte, longevity and Asian alchemy .The retreat is set around a Buddhist monk's cave, which is open for personal meditation. Lush gardens overlook a boulder-dotted ocean and a white sandy beach. There's also a series of landscaped swimming and plunge pools, a herbal steam cavern, two dining areas and a tea lounge and a wellness spa sanctuary. Tai chi, yoga and Pilates are offered daily.
DON'T MISS The far-infrared sauna that burns 600 calories in 30 minutes.
HOW MUCH A seven-day detox and rejuvenation program starts from 58,100 baht ($1940), including meals, transfers, consultations, herbal remedies, daily activities, five Chi Nei Tsang massages, five infrared sauna treatments and a colonic therapy. Accommodation starts from 6500 baht a night. See kamalaya.com