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I am the first to admit that I have tried wacky things in the name of well-being. Once, I ate raw garlic cloves every morning for two weeks as a natural alternative to antibiotics. (Not advisable, if only for the breath of garlic.) I brush my hair with a comb carved in a clear quartz crystal to purify my crown chakra. (Totally advised, if only for the aesthetic.)
More recently, I deposited $ 400 on an Amazon infrared sauna blanket so I could "detoxify" myself daily from the comfort of my own home – but this one is not as good. " exterior "may it seem. In fact, experts agree that infrared sauna therapy can improve digestion, reduce pain and inflammation, improve cardiovascular health and even eliminate acne.
The benefits of infrared sauna therapy
Almost a year ago, I experienced the benefits of infrared sauna therapy. It was two months before my wedding, and I did not care in my dress. Desperate to lose some weight before the big day, I added appointments at the sauna every two weeks to my nutrition and fitness program.
But what I noticed the most after a few months of regular sweat sessions was not weight loss (although it helped in this department – my wedding dress was like a glove). That was how energetic I was afterwards. My skin was completely bright. Cooking for an hour at 170 degrees Fahrenheit motivated me to make better choices for the rest of the day. I come felt healthier and happier, and wanted that feeling to last as long as possible.
According to Dr. Josh Ax, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C. – the founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, and the author of the upcoming book "Keto Diet" – all this is true.
"Infrared saunas (sometimes called far infrared saunas or near infrared saunas) are a type of sauna that uses heat and light, in the form of infrared light waves, to help" detoxify "the body through sweating. and to promote relaxation "he told Business Insider. "Infrared saunas enthusiasts often turn to this type of holistic treatment in the hope that the sessions can provide muscle and joint support, speed up metabolism, promote weight loss, help rejuvenate the skin, improve health circulation, promote cardiovascular healing and contribute to the quality of sleep. "
Dr. Ax said scientific studies in this area were limited but promising. But if you believe in anecdotal evidence, trust me on word: the perspiration of the infrared sauna is better than that of a purifying juice.
At first, I used regular infrared treatments at Shape House, an "urban sweat lodge" located in Los Angeles and New York. While typical sweat lodges feature steam saunas, Shape House uses far infrared technology. You are basically wrapped as a burrito in a plastic liner, which is then heated to a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes using infrared light to generate heat in the body.
"Infrared saunas are different from ordinary heated saunas because they emit light that penetrates directly into your skin," said Ax. There is no steam, no humidity and no hot air; that makes it a lot easier to breathe and withstand high temperatures for a long time. But at about $ 50 per appointment, my usual Shape House was not the one I could follow without this wedding budget.
For a few months, I did not do regular sessions of sweat, which only confirms the powerful impact that affected me: my digestion was slow, my stomach was swollen, my acne was back, and I was often not very energetic and anxious.
Naturally, I examined the infrared sauna covers at home to get me back on track with a reasonable budget.
My search for an affordable home infrared sauna m & # 39; brought to Amazon
"Infrared sauna covers look like heavy sleeping bags, you lock yourself in one of them because they omit infrared rays and increase body heat," Ax said. "The use of an infrared blanket has certain advantages: its affordability, its compact, lightweight and portable nature, the convenience of being able to use it at home, its versatility – it can be used in bed, on the floor or in the home. a chair."
These can cost between $ 100 and $ 1,000. After extensive research, I discovered "The One": the Far Infrared Far Infrared Sauna Gizmo Supply Zone 3, priced at $ 400 on Amazon – the cost of a month of Shape House. treatments – with over 70 five-star reviews. Two days later, it was on my doorstep. (Thanks, Amazon Prime.)
Fortunately, the Gizmo Supply cover is very easy to assemble. It comes with a control box and a sleeping bag cover, which must be connected via a series of three clearly labeled leads. Each wire feeds one section of the blanket and the three sections can be heated separately between 35 ° Celsius and 85 ° Celsius (about 95 ° F for about 1 hour). You simply select the temperature and time of your choice, enter, sweat profusely and half uncomfortably, and wait for the ringing tone to sound at the end of the session … a little like an oven.
"Frequent and short infrared sauna sessions seem to be effective in providing the health benefits mentioned above," says Dr. Ax.
A recent study associates "treatments of 20 minutes three times a week over a period of two to three months" with an increase in heart strength, making it a good starting point. Personally, I am the Shape House method and I sweat every day for 50 minutes at 80 ° C. I am certainly obsessed.
Once I started my daily treatments at home, I noticed an almost immediate improvement in my bloating, my skin, my energy and my mood. In the end, a good sweat will do it.
Sweating is the body's natural detox method, and far-infrared heat would induce seven times more sweating than a standard steam sauna. This eliminates toxins from the body via a process called "lymphatic drainage," which boosts metabolism and boosts your energy level.
In addition to this internal hot flash, sweating is a kind of "skin detox" in itself. When your pores open and your perspiration transpires, its antibacterial properties kill the bacteria responsible for acne and remove dirt and debris from the skin's surface.
"In addition to your liver, your skin is one of your best tools to detoxify your body," says Katie Dunlop, founder of Love Sweat Fitness. "The fact that we are our largest organ is in a way our first line of defense – and sweating allows us to get rid of toxins through the skin, leaving it fresh and rejuvenated."
"Sweating also means increasing blood circulation throughout the body," she says. "As your heart rate increases, blood rushes to the skin, bringing with it many essential nutrients and fresh oxygen.The advantage is that it happens from the inside out. Inside out, your skin not only gets oxygen and the extraordinary nutrients it has to promote collagen growth, but you can also detoxify and expel the toxins simultaneously. "
I swear that my skin will never be rosier and brighter than after a sauna session.
The infrared power is however more than physical. With regular use, I find that my anxiety symptoms are lessened. I think this is due in part to the fact that staying in the blanket for almost an hour gives me a chance to meditate and think – it's one of the few moments of my day that my computer or phone does not consume.
In addition, "infrared saunas are thought to promote mental health by activating the parasympathetic nervous system," says Dr. Ax. "The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system helps to calm you down, allows the body to handle stress and neutralizes the effects of the" fight or flight reaction of the sympathetic nervous system "."
Some disadvantages and potential health issues to consider before using
As amazing as I feel inside and out after sweating, I must be honest: the sauna itself is not necessarily a pleasant experience. It's hot – to say what's obvious – and really, really sweaty; and it takes the will to spend 30 to 50 minutes in the cover. "The most commonly reported side effects are mild to moderate heat discomfort and intolerance, low blood pressure, dizziness and claustrophobia," said Dr. Ax. He notes that it is safe for the majority of people, "even for those who can not normally tolerate other treatments involving heat".
"Anyone with sensitive skin, a history of heart problems or daily medications must get approval from their doctor before starting infrared sauna treatments," he adds. It is also recommended to wear cotton from head to toe while you are in the blanket to safely absorb the excess sweat and to hydrate you as before, after.
I realize that spending almost an hour of my day, every day, like a sweaty burrito seems strange to me. Gwyneth Paltrow Goop strange level. But honestly, my infrared sauna blanket is the most practical wellness purchase I've ever made.
It has become the panacea of my life. Do you feel bloated and disgusting? Time for a sweat sesh. Dull and dry skin? Suer sesh. Hangover? Inflated eyes? Stress? I sweat, sweat, sweat.
Whoever said not to sweat the little things clearly just need to get hold of an infrared sauna blanket.
Purchase the Gizmo Supply 3 Zone Digital Infrared Heat Sauna Blanket from Amazon for $ 399.99