Sauna therapy is one of my favorite healing tools! Given our pro-sedentary American culture, we often forget the importance of sweating and how it is a critical aspect of maintaining optimal health. Sauna therapy is part of a multicultural sweat-bathing practice and these practices have been around for nearly 10,000 years! I think it's time we all adopt sauna therapy as part of a healthy lifestyle, and reap all the health benefits from infrared heat.
Sauna therapy may help support or treat the following conditions:
High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure
Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness
Fibromyalgia or Muscle Pain Syndromes
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Upper & Lower Respiratory Congestion
There are many other great benefits to sauna therapy, but the list is already quite impressive!
Where to Sauna:
If you're looking for where you can experience the benefits of sauna therapy, try searching for local bathhouses or hydrotherapy spas to inquire about their sauna options. Cold-plunge therapy is usually offered in those settings to maximize the sauna experience.
Fitness centers and private gyms are other options that may have traditional saunas or far-infrared saunas, and you can finish in a cold shower in the locker room before you head home.
Nowadays, there is a growing trend of buying home saunas so you can enjoy the benefits any time.
Basic How-To for Sauna Use:
Make sure you drink plenty of water before your sauna session.
Take a shower before you enter the sauna to maximize sweating.
Start with the highest heat setting you can comfortably tolerate (45 - 50 C/113 - 122 F). Gradually work your way up in temperature over time with a max at 70 C/ 158 F.
Spend at least 15- 20 minutes in the sauna at first, and gradually work your way up to 30 - 60 minutes.
Finish with a cold shower or cold plunge.
Be sure to rehydrate with electrolyte-filled water and rest after your session.
**Avoid staying in the sauna longer than what your body can handle or you may experience dizziness and lightheadedness or feel fatigued. Heat stroke CAN happen if you are not careful and mind your limits! Sauna therapy is not advised while pregnant.
Please feel free to explore these additional resources to learn more about sauna therapy today:
Dr. Ray's Approved Sauna List:
These companies were vetted and chosen for their lowest EMF levels, non-toxic materials, effectiveness, and affordability.
Of course, there are many other sauna companies and models available on the market. Now that you know examples of high-quality sauna options for home sauna use, it should be easier to compare to other brands if you're interested in purchasing another option.
Thank you for reading and happy sweating!
Vatansever F, Hamblin MR. Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications. Photonics Lasers Med. 2012 Nov 1;4:255-266. doi: 10.1515/plm-2012-0034. PMID: 23833705; PMCID: PMC3699878.
Beever R. Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Jul;55(7):691-6. PMID: 19602651; PMCID: PMC2718593.
Matsushita K, Masuda A, Tei C. Efficacy of Waon therapy for fibromyalgia. Intern Med. 2008;47(16):1473-6. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.47.1054. Epub 2008 Aug 15. PMID: 18703857.
Soejima Y, Munemoto T, Masuda A, Uwatoko Y, Miyata M, Tei C. Effects of Waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study. Intern Med. 2015;54(3):333-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042. PMID: 25748743.