After a weekend of 30th birthday celebration (and just aging in general) and Thanksgiving/Christmas indulgences (no shame) I was feeling it. All of it. Worn down, sluggish & and just uncomfortable. I knew I needed to get my butt back in gear but nothing seemed to be working. I drank plenty of water, got all the sleep and rest I could get & even gave myself a mental break from work and BIYB. I still wasn’t feeling like myself, so I figured a good sweat session would do the trick. After 10 mins on the treadmill, sucking wind and zero motivation to continue with leg day (I literally LOVE leg day so this was major), I knew it was time for something drastic. A total reset. A fresh start from the inside out. But what? Obvi, I’m a bit of a nerd so the first step was researching all the “detox” options out there, from juice cleanses to organic diets to epsom salts. After scouring the internet I finally came across infrared sauna use as a way to “sweat it out” and promote detoxification from everything I had been putting my body through. As i said before, I’m alllll for sweating it out, so this option immediately had my attention. I did a little extra digging on the background and mechanisms for infrared sauna to make sure it was right for me. Turns out it was! And its for many people struggling with detoxification, weight loss, relaxation/stress relief, skin purification, injury rehabilitation, pain management, improved circulation, and more.
So what is it?!
Far Infrared Sauna is Infrared light (experienced as heat) with the ability to penetrate human tissue. This allows the infrared sauna to heat the core rather than just the air or surface of the skin. This is the biggest difference between infrared sauna and traditional sauna. Additionally, traditional saunas operate at more that 200 degrees whereas infrared sauna between 120-150 degrees. This helps prevent breathing difficulties and claustrophobia, often experienced with traditional sauna use.
Is it safe?!
You betcha. Its the same infrared heat that is used to heat newborns at the hospital :)
How does this "sweat session" work to rid me of toxins?!
In general, sweating is our bodies healthy natural way of aiding in toxin removal. However, typically, sweat is only composed of 3% toxins and 97% water. Again, because infrared sauna heats the core, it stimulates detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside, and produces a more favorable toxin removal of 20% toxins and 80% water! That's a BIG difference!
What are the other benefits?!
Relaxation is a huge one! After a busy season of changes and celebrations, I def needed to cleanse my body internally but I also needed to chill out! Infrared sauna can help with that too! 🙌🏽
Aside from giving me 30-45 minute to be alone, quiet, still and reflective (something we all need every day for mental and emotional health, just as much as physical!), studies show that infrared saunas promote healthy cortisol levels (a stress hormone) which has a direct impact on heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological factors affected by stress. If thats not enough for you, there are also studies showing that a 30 minute infrared sauna session can can burn 200-600 calories and aid in weight loss, just from the deep heat activation, and toxin and water loss! For me, the greatest additional benefit was major improvement in my flexibility, my skin and my hair! My body was just loving my time in the sauna!
(This pic is after my last session of week 4. The change is noticeable and soooooo worth it!)
Well, that was enough to get my searching for an infrared sauna here in Dallas. I was surprised by how many spas offer this but even more surprised to find that it’s been available at a studio I teach at regularly (😱)! With that, I was off to MoveStudio (www.movestudio.com) for my first session. The literature and recommendations vary on how long is needed in the sauna and how many sessions per week, but based on my research and the way my body was feeling, I decided on a twice weekly schedule (30 -40 mins each) for 4 weeks. Here’s what happened…
Week 1 : 40 mins; I was sweating immediately (I sweat a lot and easily thought). The sauna was small but comfortable so once I found the right position, I put in my head phones and prepared to zen out. When my timer went off at 40 mins, I quickly checked my skin and hair. They both felt soft and supple! As soon as I stood up I could tell that my body felt "looser" than before despite the fact that I'd been sitting still in one position for so long.
Week 2: 40 mins; A week later I was back in the sauna and found that I had been looking forward to it! The day before was leg day, and my lower body was tense and sore. I was worried about sitting still for so long but decided to focus on the "me time" I was about to enjoy. I put my headphones in again and zoned out. I definitely dozed off for a few minutes (which they advise against! So always set a timer just in case). As with the first session, my muscles felt soooo much more relaxed and my skin (which was suffering from all the food and celebrations) was feeling good even if it wasn't looking its best yet. More than anything, I loved walking out of the sauna and feeling so peaceful. Alone time will do that for you.
Week 3: It just got better and better. I was starting to crave the sauna post workout. It may have had something to do with the drastic dip in the Dallas weather, but mostly, I just loved the way my body felt, the improvement I was seeing in my skin and the fact that my natural hair was really digging all the moisture! Music was a definite part of the routine, and I found that the playlist I chose had a big impact on the overall session. I varied between chill music, instrumental, R&B, and Hip Hop. Regardless of the genre, I still left feeling better than when I walked in!
After 4 weeks of this, I'm hooked. This will forever be a part of my health and fitness routine. The benefits are just too good to ignore! You don't have to take my word for it though! Try it for yourself!
Book a infrared sauna session, plug in your favorite tunes and prepare to be totally "zenned out" 💆🏾