I’m so happy to finally share my love for the Near Infrared (NIR) Sauna! It’s about time that those of you who follow me on here can learn about the power and healing properties of NIR and experience it for yourselves. I have fallen in love with Sauna Space’s NIR Sauna and am now offering it as a service to you, my clients!
Something I love about the NIR sauna is that it’s basis is rooted in ancestral wisdom and tradition. Did you know that every human culture has a sauna tradition? Sauna therapy has been used a safe and powerful way to relax, detox and heal ranging from Native Americans and their sweat lodges, the Finnish and their wood-fired saunas to the Mayans and their Temazcal. Like many other health customs, this wise and beneficial tool has been lost over the years in a time where we need it the very most. In today’s world, no one is immune to the exposure of the myriad of harmful toxins constantly bombarding us and sauna therapy can be an incredible defense against toxin-related illness and dysfunction while also putting our bodies in a position to rest, digest and heal.
Passive Sweating: A Shift to Parasympathetic Dominance
I can go on and on about the benefits of a NIR sauna but let me start with these two words: Passive sweating.
When we’re working out at the gym or going for a run outside, this is called “active sweating”. Our nervous system is in the fight-or-flight mode (otherwise known as the sympathetic state). All of our energy is going towards movement. All of our blood is going towards our heart, lungs and muscles to keep us going. Movement also inhibits healing, digestion and detoxification. Now, I’m not saying to not move your body but it’s important to know that you’re not getting the same detoxification benefits while running compared to relaxing in a sauna.
When we sweat passively, our nervous system is relaxed (or in a parasympathetic state). Did you know that toxins are incredibly more concentrated in passive sweat than in active sweat? If you’re wanting to detox (which unfortunately is needed nowadays), passive sweating is so incredibly important. When we sweat in the sauna, we get those toxins out in the least stressful, most effective way.
In a time where we are in temperature-controlled homes, offices and cars all day long, we’re not using our skin the way it was designed. It’s the ultimate detoxification organ and with our liver so overburdened by stress, it’s all the more reason to lighten the load. Passive sweating releases toxins through the skin which means there are less toxins for your liver to filter out.
Can we talk about light really quick?
Not only do we not get enough of the good light (the sun), we get way too much of the bad light (blue light). Blue light causes free-radical formation and promotes sympathetic dominance (in other words, stress). Blue light is emitted everywhere — from our phone screens, computer screens, tv screens, office lights… it’s the standard LED lighting in all of our light fixtures nowadays that sure, saves energy, but at what cost?
The sun gives off both UV, blue light (the damaging light) but also gives off near infrared light (which is regenerating). Everywhere we go, we’re getting plenty of the damaging blue light but are barely getting the regenerating red light.
Other Benefits of the NIR Sauna
There are thousands of studies on light therapy and how light activates human biological systems and processes. There are also thousands of studies on heat therapy showing increased longevity, improved cognitive functioning, etc. Here are just some ways the NIR sauna does it’s magic:
If we raise our body temperature by 3 degrees for several minutes, cellular heat therapy effects are activated. These include:
Heat Shock Proteins are activated. Heat Shock Proteins repair damaged proteins and also help make cellular detoxification more efficient
Increased Cellular Metabolism
This sets off our whole body’s detoxification response. It’s the full-body heat therapy that results in dramatic healing effects for the entire organism:
Increased Blood Flow to Tissues
Increased Tissue Oxygenation
Blood Pressure Decreases, even as Blood Circulation Increases
Increased Production of the Human Growth Hormone
Increased Insulin Sensitivity/Reduced Insulin Resistance
Activation of Detoxification via Passive Sweating
Far Infrared (FIR) Sauna vs. Near Infrared (NIR) Sauna
Lastly, let’s talk a little about the difference between FIR and NIR saunas:
Far Infrared Saunas: These emit light in the far infrared range and penetrate the body up to 1.5 inches. These saunas emit EMF’s (electromagnetic fields) which let’s be honest, we don’t need anymore exposure to. Far infrared saunas are the big, box-like saunas that you see at gyms or spas (and even some apartment complexes). The air is usually much hotter and can be uncomfortable for many people, especially if they’re dealing with chronic illness.
Near Infrared Saunas: These combine heat therapy and light therapy. These emit light in the near infrared range which can penetrate the body up to 9 inches. Sauna Space (that’s mine!) emits zero EMF’s. Because of the spectrum of light, this allows the air to be cooler while still heating the body to do its thing. My husband says it feels like laying on the beach with the warm sun beating down on you. I can get on board with that!