People have been using saunas for health and wellness for many years, but full-spectrum infrared saunas have only been available to the public for around 50 years. As a result, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding their use and benefits, and debates are ongoing about specific aspects of infrared sauna use, including whether they are helpful for weight loss. This article will offer some clear answers.
What Are Infrared Saunas?
Before discussing the health benefits of infrared saunas, let’s take a moment to make sure everyone is on the same page. Infrared saunas are not traditional saunas that use heat or steam to raise the air temperature. Instead, they raise users’ body temperature directly through the application of targeted light wavelengths.
Some people avoid infrared saunas because they believe that all light exposure has harmful effects on the skin. It’s only certain wavelengths of UV light that cause skin damage. Sauna users that purchase home products tested and approved for safety and effectiveness don’t have to worry about UV light exposure.
How Infrared Saunas Work
The way that infrared saunas work is by raising a user’s core temperature, which causes the body to engage in several autonomic cooling mechanisms. These mechanisms include sweating and elevated heart rate, both of which are associated with vigorous exercise. Research now shows that experiencing these mechanisms in the context of sauna use can provide benefits to exercise. Some studies even show increases in longevity associated with frequent sauna use.
Sauna Use and Weight Loss
The fact that saunas confer health benefits by mimicking the effects of exercise has led scientists to investigate their use for weight loss. The research is ongoing, but so far, it looks promising. Multiple studies have shown that regular sauna use may promote greater weight loss in overweight individuals.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about sauna use that complicates the debate surrounding its appropriateness as a weight loss tool. Some proponents claim that saunas burn 600 calories per session, for example. The problem is that, while research has shown that sauna use boosts the rate at which people burn calories, each person is different, so rates of weight loss will be as well.
Additional Health Benefits
Weight loss can also occur as a secondary benefit of sauna use. People who use saunas regularly experience improvements in mood, cardiovascular function, and lung health. Those with chronic pain conditions and certain types of headaches also report symptom relief. Alleviating pain, improving cardiovascular function, and elevating mood can all make it easier to stick with diet and exercise plans that are conducive to weight loss.
Start Incorporating Sauna Use into Weight Loss Plans
While sauna use alone is unlikely to burn enough calories to put people in the deficit required to lose weight by itself, infrared saunas can play a valuable role in broader weight loss plans while simultaneously supporting overall health and wellness. Because they have small footprints and are relatively affordable, infrared saunas are perfect for home use, so invest in one today to start taking advantage of this valuable weight-loss tool.