INFRARED SAUNA AS A THERAPY
The saunas more commonly seen until quite recently are steam saunas which heat up the air in the sauna.
This then heats up the skin of participants - causing sweating. By comparison Infrared Saunas utilise radiant heat that acts directly on the body rather than the surrounding air with the result that the heat penetrates more deeply into the body (up to 3 inches). The radiant heat also causes water molecules and fat cells to vibrate – which in turn causes them to dump their toxic content into the surrounding interstitial fluid (the fluid outside of, and in-between, the bodies' individual cells). This interstitial waste would normally be gradually processed through the liver, renal, and lymphatic waste disposal systems; however, because the skin is sweating profusely it can be excreted directly through the pores of the skin with the sweat.
Far Infrared (FIR) has a frequency range that is beneficial in the repair and growth of the body at a cellular level. Not only that but it stimulates the production of endorphins and enzymes that are required by white blood cells to destroy pathogens. Near Infrared (NIR) has been shown to have similar health benefits. The Solocarbon heaters used in the Sunlighten Select Sauna I utilise for therapy emit 79% of their radiant heat in the far infrared frequency – and the remaining 21% in the near and mid infrared range. The advantage of these heaters is that, because of their large surface area, they work at a lower surface temperature and are thus better able to sustain the deeply penetrating radiant heat throughout the period of the sauna. Research by NASA into NIR radiant heat showed that it has a very specific effect on the body at a cellular level: Within the mitochondria of every cell are receptors that respond to the NIR frequency – triggering an increase in cell metabolism, protein synthesis, and anti oxidant activity. It decreased inflammation (the resulting pain) and facilitated cellular growth and regeneration.
Some of the Health Benefits of Infrared Sauna therapy:
- It facilitates muscular relaxation.
- Sweating creates weight loss – although to some extent this will be offset by subsequent fluid intake. However because the body's metabolism is raised by this type of sauna it has a similar effect to exercise - so you can burn energy whilst relaxing to your favourite music (the sauna has a built in sound system!). It is also thought to assist in cellulite breakdown.
- FIR promotes the healing of injured tissue by its positive effect on fibroblasts (connective tissue cells utilised in the repair of injured tissue). It increases cellular growth, DNA synthesis, and protein synthesis – all of which are required for tissue repair and regeneration. It is therefore an excellent therapy for the healing of burns, scar tissue, muscular injuries, and skin problems.
The cardiovascular system is 'toned up' through an increased heart rate and cardiac output – whilst at the same time the diastolic blood pressure is reduced. NASA research concluded that FIR therapy was the ideal way to sustain cardiovascular conditioning during extended space flights. Not a bad recommendation!
- FIR therapy strengthens the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells in bone marrow, and T cells from the Thymus gland; both of which are required to 'mop-up' invading bacteria & viruses within the body. There is also evidence to suggest that FIR radiant heat will directly kill pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria, viruses, fungal organism, and parasitic organisms.
- As mentioned above FIR therapy is an excellent means of detoxifying the body – promoting the elimination of the chemicals and heavy metals associated with industry and food processing, as well as free fatty acids, the excess sodium associated with hypertension, and uric acid (which can lead to Gout). Through activation of the sebaceous glands the accumulated residue of cosmetic products in the skin is also eliminated.
The Health Issues mentioned below have all been reported in Japan and China as being alleviated, reduced, or completely eliminated through the use of FIR therapy:
Some cancers – including Leukaemia and prostatic cancer.
Respiratory problems. EG. Asthma, bronchitis, and sinus issues.
The prohibitive effect on cancer produced by FIR therapy is based on the understanding that cancerous cells have to stop moving in order to proliferate. If the circulation is optimised so that blood flows freely through the smaller capillaries the opportunities for cancerous cells to settle and position themselves are greatly diminished. FIR sauna therapy achieves this. In addition the immune system is enhanced so that circulating cancerous cells are more readily destroyed by the circulating white blood cells and T cells. It is also known that cancerous cells die if exposed to an environmental temperature of 42° or above – and FIR saunas raise body temperature to 42°.