Different cultures around the world have been using saunas for various purposes. While some preferred to indulge in a sauna for warming and health benefits, others visited it for socializing and relaxing.
But could you ever guess that infrared saunas might help you shed a few unwanted pounds? So far, researchers have supported this claim. Besides that, IR treatment has multiple other health perks for your body.
All you need to do is sweat several times a week and pay attention to your food intake. Keep reading to understand how infrared sauna impacts weight and reach your maximum body potential.
What Is An Infrared Sauna?
Sauna types that use infrared light to generate heat go under the name of infrared saunas. These chambers are different from conventional saunas that require users to throw water over rocks and create steam. There’s no need for steam generators to create steam, too.
As opposed, infrared saunas operate thanks to the infrared part of the light spectrum. Hence, saunas don’t warm the surrounding air but your body directly. Eventually, it comes to deeper tissue penetration which avoids the harmful hot air of steam rooms.
As for the interior, infrared saunas are wooden chambers equipped with benches and IR heaters. Also, you’ll notice infrared heat lamps that serve to raise the body’s core temperature. The average temperature within the confined space ranges from 120˚F to 140˚F.
As a result, many people consider infrared saunas a healthier and more convenient option. The lower temperatures and pleasant heat allow users to stay longer in the sauna and enjoy the experience.
Why Are Infrared Saunas So Powerful?
Regular sauna bathing has undisputable benefits for your overall health. Many studies have demonstrated that IR saunas can increase your lifespan and treat or, at least, alleviate the symptoms of many diseases.
However, the truth is simple and lies in the exposure to infrared heat. Whether you go for a sauna blanket or room, your body will experience a beneficial kind of stress. Elevated heat levels force your system to adapt and achieve balance in a changing environment.
We can compare this process to swimming. If you hit the pool every day, your body will become stronger, healthier, and more resistant to stress each time you go swimming. The same is valid for regular infrared sauna exposure. When heated, the body struggles to adjust, and this boosts your health. Proven benefits of infrared sauna use include:
- Detoxification and younger-looking skin;
- Stress relief;
- Improved mood and sleep;
- Weight control;
- Relieved muscle and joint pain;
- Wound healing;
- Reduced symptoms of depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
How many calories do you burn in an infrared sauna?
Saunas are not magical boxes that can help you cut weight overnight. It takes perseverance and regular use to stimulate your body to lose pounds naturally.
In most cases, the weight you lose after a single session won’t be body fat. The reason is that you only lose water weight due to intense sweating. Such water weight can make up to five pounds per session and will get replenished once you hydrate.
Alternatively, a brief session will eliminate only a pound of water weight. If you want to cut more, consider several 20-minute sessions interrupted by breaks for water intake and cooling down. A deep sweat will most likely result in a more significant weight loss.
Besides shedding water weight, infrared saunas help your body by raising your metabolic rate. A boosted metabolism can burn from 200 to 600 calories during a 30-minute sauna exposure.
Overall, the ideal way to cut weight with an infrared blanket is to combine it with a balanced diet and workouts. Exercise regularly, eat healthy food, and then get sweating in the IR sauna for maximum results.
The Many Ways Infrared Saunas Help You Lose Weight
Though many doubt that IR sauna treatments help regulate weight, the facts we outline in this article are straightforward and scientific. Below, we’ll demonstrate how regular IR sessions can burn calories and fat by increasing your metabolic rate.
1. Facilitates Weight Loss
Although reducing body weight through sauna exposure alone is challenging, it isn’t impossible. If you take time to visit the IR unit often, you’ll notice that calorie-burning does happen over time. The explanation lies in the boosted metabolic rate (up to 20%) and heart rate (nearly 30%).
As a result, fat elimination comes naturally. Purging your body of unwanted chemicals further enhances the weight control process. Your lymphatic system flushed out toxins, and you have more energy for workouts. All these benefits combined let your body shed pounds continually without much pressure.
2. Increases Heart Rate And Speeds Up Metabolism
Unlike traditional steam saunas, infrared light penetrates the body and increases the core temperature from the inside out. In an attempt to cool itself, the organism speeds up your heart and metabolic rate without you noticing the process.
The body response to prolonged sauna use is similar to that of moderate-intensity exercise. Some physicians even suggest people unable to do physical activity to try out sauna sessions. Inability to exercise can come down to physical limitations or specific diseases, so a doctor’s advice is mandatory.
One published study shows that the cardiac response during sauna bathing resembles that exerted during submaximal dynamic exercise. Some claim you can even swap 40 minutes of jogging with half an hour of sweating in the sauna and achieve the same effect. Accelerating your metabolism through sauna exposure can stimulate your body to burn calories faster.
3. Curbs Appetite
Nobody can deny that your stress level and weight have much in common. The higher the stress level, the more cortisol your body produces, which makes you feel hungry. Stress further lowers motivation to do regular workouts. Increased food intake and not exercising is the ultimate recipe for fast weight gain.
Fortunately, infrared saunas can help you in curbing your appetite. Mild infrared heat will reduce your stress level by helping you relax and meditate. If you wonder how a sauna can fight off cortisol, it’s through the release of endorphins that make you feel happy.
Hence, a sauna blanket can help you achieve a hat trick. Besides controlling your stress levels, you will feel less hungry and get motivated to exercise.
4. Enables Longer Workouts
Basking in an infrared sauna has impressive effects on the respiratory system, too. Of course, the larger the breathing capacity, the more effective your workouts will be.
In short, the increased respiratory function will naturally raise the amount of nitric oxide in the body. The most vital role of nitric oxide is to relax the inner muscles of the blood vessels, widen them, and increase circulation.
As a result, your blood flow increases, and you can work out for more extended periods. More intense exercise will, in turn, lead to significant weight loss in the long run.
5. Converts Fatty Tissue To Musculature
Muscle-strengthening after infrared sauna treatment also stimulates the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This hormone is in charge of cell reproduction and cellular regeneration. More so, it can increase lean muscle mass and remove fatty tissues from the body.
As your body heat rises from the inside, the thermal stimulation activates HGH. Infrared saunas boost your core temperature more efficiently and thus convert fatty tissue to muscle much faster. Hence, the fat to muscle ratio will soon change and give you a leaner appearance.
Finally, IR saunas can speed the recovery of sore muscles and reduce the time needed to recover. As a result, you will have the full benefits of weight and fitness sauna use.
6. Addresses Underlying Health Issues
More often than not, people suffer from health conditions that impact excess weight in ways you never imagined. The most prominent example involves problems with glands in the endocrine system.
In such cases, you can do vigorous exercise and follow a strict diet, but you’ll still be having those unwanted pounds. Not getting any visible results in months might get explained by endocrine system dysfunction.
The endocrine system consists of glands responsible for various body functions, including metabolism regulation. High-stress levels can harm the endocrine system and prevent it from controlling your body weight and metabolic rate.
One indicator of a mild endocrine system failure is excess fatty tissue around the low back and belly. Exposure to infrared waves will boost the production of ATP. This organic compound transports macromolecules, such as proteins and lipids, to and out of the cells.
The ultimate benefit you’ll get is more energy and an accelerated metabolism rate. In short, infrared sauna sessions will heal the endocrine system in two ways. Frist, IR exposure will reduce the stress response, and second, it will stimulate ATP production within body cells.
Moreover, toxins tire your organism, cause muscle pain and lead to skin reactions like acne or rashes. Indeed, there’s a direct link between weight gain and toxins like obesogens and chemical BPA. As a result, once the fat cell becomes toxic, it cannot lose the fat even when you exercise. Try a sauna!
The Dangers Of Overusing Saunas
As with any sports activity, you run the risk of overexposing your body to intense heat. Hence, always approach sauna treatments with caution. Experts agree that the most significant side effect of sauna use is dehydration.
It’s of the utmost importance to hydrate well before and after each session. The golden rule is to drink at least two glasses of water before and two after each treatment to replenish lost fluids through sweat. The ideal drink for optimal hydration is herbal tea at room temperature.
If you feel like overheating, leave the chamber immediately and take a shower. The cold water will cause your body temperature to drop. It’s best to consult your physician whether sauna use is advisable for your overall medical condition.
Again, severe dehydration is not something you should neglect. Always check for these signs to ensure you’re not on the verge of fainting:
- Mouth dryness;
- Dizziness or lightheadedness;
- Extreme thirst;
- Disrupted urination cycles.
Be more careful if you suffer from a chronic condition like diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and heart failure. Also, pregnant women or those trying to conceive run a higher risk of dehydration. Other than that, sauna use has practically no side effects.
How Often Should You Use An Infrared Sauna To Lose Weight?
A standard sauna session should last from 10 to 20 minutes. The exact length of time will depend on previous exposure and your overall health. Hence, it’s best to start with 5-minute sessions and increase your timing gradually as you adjust to the IR heat.
The ideal weight-loss protocol would be to visit the sauna three times per week over two to three months. If you’re in good health, you may consider sweating daily for maximum results.
A high-quality sauna blanket can prove a superb solution to cutting weight the easy way. Still, we suggest you combine regular sessions with a moderate workout. Last, pay attention to your calorie intake to notice a positive change in your body shape.
Sauna use can help you cut weight, but probably not in the way you anticipated. Losing pounds can never come down to relaxing and sweating in a hot room. Besides hitting the sauna unit, you must exercise hard and have a balanced diet to keep fit.
Hence, how much weight one can lose in the sauna has no generic response. Complementing your workouts with a soothing sauna afterward will undoubtedly bring you many health benefits.
What is your experience with sauna blankets and rooms? Please, share your insight in the comments below and keep coming back to us for more friendly advice.
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