The Power Of Sweat - The Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy
I love a good sweat. Most of the time, it comes in the form of running, hiking or flowing in a yoga class. In combination with the endorphin kick from exercising, I enjoy the feeling of detoxification. I know I'm doing something good for my body and I see the proof in my mental clarity and physical fluidness after I sweat.
Now that we've transitioned to Fall, it's becoming more difficult to sweat. The days are10-15 degrees cooler and even a light breeze ensures that my body temp never reaches the level needed to start perspiring. I occasionally spend time in a dry sauna after swimming, but was introduced to a new type of sauna a few weeks ago- an infrared sauna.
Jared loves a good sweat too, so I decided we should both try it out and surprised him with a hot date. When I say hot, I mean literally hot. I booked a 45 minute infrared session at City Sweat's, a holistic spa in Seattle. I had the chance to speak with Dee, the spa owner earlier in the day before I made our appointments. Dee has a palpable passion for health and wellness and one of her major objectives is to educate on the benefits of infrared therapy. In addition to her own positive experiences, she's gathered a slew of testimonials from clients who use infrared to treat injuries, mood disorders, high blood pressure and disease. Turns out, there are A LOT of benefits to a infrared sweat routine and Dee is on a mission to spread the good word. Below are just a few benefits of infrared and there is a great deal of research and studies out there to support it.
Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy
- Improve circulation- Regular infrared sauna use has been shown to significantly stimulate blood flow, even after the sauna session is done! The elevation in temperature creates a workout for your body as it labors to cool itself down. The result? An increase in blood flow that mirrors the benefits of a passive cardiovascular workout.
- Weight Loss- So even though you're not actively 'working out' per se, your body is still working pretty hard. A 45 minute session can burn up to 900 calories! The core temperature increase leads to an increased heart rate and cardiac output, which leads to more burned calories and aids in reducing the waistline.
- Relaxation- Long term stress leads to sickness and disease. I think everyone could use a little less stress in their lives don't you? The heat in an infrared sauna promotes a calm mind and balances the body's level of cortisol, the stress hormone that raises heart rate and blood pressure. The heat also relaxes muscles and relieves tension throughout the body.
- Skin Rejuvenation- Sweating removes imbedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin feeling clean and glowing. Infrared sauna uses have seen improvements on skin tone, elasticity, and clarity.
The City Sweat Experience
Upon checking in and signing a waver, we removed our shoes (it's a no shoe zone) and added them to a basket with our other belongings. We each took a small shot glass of the "spicy detox tonic" which is a blend of cayenne, aloe and filtered water. This was to help circulation and help induce sweating before our treatment. We were given a tour of the spa which is a quiet and perfectly curated oasis. You would never know you're on one of the busiest streets in Seattle. Each sauna cabin comes with towels, alkaline water, and a curtain for privacy.
Once inside the sauna, there was a small screen where you could listen to music or pick out something from Netflix to watch. While I wish I could say we chose to spend the time in silence and meditation, we spent 45 minutes chatting back and forth with Dr. Strange playing in the background. Our bodies gently warmed up in our cabin that was heated somewhere between 110-130°F.
One of the major differences of a traditional sauna and infrared sauna is the temperature.
While traditional saunas can get up to 200°F., infrared heat has the benefit of being effective at a more comfortable temperature of 100°-150°F. Traditional saunas heat the air around you versus heating the body directly. Have you ever been in a sauna and felt like your skin was on fire or you can't take a full inhale? There's your reason why! Infrared heat penetrates human tissue (instead of just heating the surface of your skin) which is why they are seven times more effective than traditional saunas at detoxifying the body.
Our 45 minutes went by in a flash and we showered off before making our way to the "White Sand Lounge." Waiting for us was tea, fresh orange slices and alkaline water. It was the perfect way to end our 'hot date' as we relaxed and dug our feet into the soft sand. We left City Sweats feeling energized yet calm, nourished and glowing.
Learn more about infrared therapy and City Sweat's services on their website.