7 Benefits Of Infrared Saunas (And Where I Go In London)
I’m partial to a good sauna and sweat. Opens up the pores, sweats those toxins out, what’s not to love? I always feel holier than thou post sauna, so when I had the opportunity to try an infrared sauna recently (I’ve since had two more!) at Glow Bar on Mortimer Street in London, I jumped at the chance.
Sitting there for 45 minutes - the full session - was challenging, I won’t lie! The first 30 minutes was totally doable for me as someone who loves a scolding hot, burn your skin off kinda shower, but those last 15 minutes, phew! Hot. Hot. Hot. My heart was beating hard. Given that a sauna session is essentially equivalent to a workout, it’s unsurprising really.
But beyond a good sweat, what are their benefits? Let’s dive into it a little and by the end, you’ll be booking in too!
First things first, why is an infrared sauna different to just a regular sauna?
“Unlike a normal sauna that heats up quite quickly, relaxes the body and opens up the pores for a serious sweat session, an infrared sauna safely penetrates deep into joints and muscles with the same rays that come from the sun — minus the UV radiation.”
Also because of this, you get a deeper sweat from a lower temperature which is power efficient too!
But beyond that, what are the benefits?
1. It’s detoxifying
Sweating is natures way of releasing toxins, so in an infrared, you know you’re releasing a heck of a lot of the nasties! This is also why it’s important to wash and cleanse your face and body properly post-sauna. You don’t want those toxins hanging out on your skin all day. I step out of the sauna, let my body temperature regulate itself for about 10 minutes and then jump into the shower!
2. It’s great for your skin!
According to Glow Bar, “infrared therapy stimulates collagen production while healing your skin from the surface to deeper levels leading to long term skin benefits. The action of profusely sweating at a lower temperature means that your skin literally glows from the moment you leave us.”
I must say, I do glow all day following a sauna and my skin has been better than normal lately, so perhaps I have the weekly sauna session to thank for that!
3. You’ll sleep better
“45 minute long infrared sauna sessions help your mind and muscles to relax in a substantial way helping you to have a better nights sleep and reset bad sleeping patterns.” Glow Bar shares.
I don’t have trouble sleeping generally, so can’t shed tooooo much light on this, but I definitely feel a state of relaxation post-sweat, like I’ve really worked hard when I haven’t moved haha.
4. It’s a mood booster
Did you know that infrared saunas have been proven to release endorphins in your brain helping to lower cortisol levels. (Yes please). “This leaves you feeling a “runners high” when you’re done giving you the same benefit as a workout without the hard work.” A runners high without the run? You know I’m all about that!
I definitely notice that I’m ‘happier’ on days that I get my saunas. Who knows - maybe it’s just because on Wednesdays I’m usually out and about and not sat at my desk in my yoga pants haha. But there’s something to be said for proven science!
5. It’s amazing for pain relief
If you suffer from any kind of joint pain, muscle aches, pains or injuries, that sauna-sweat is going to be a life saver. The sauna helps along the inflammation by aiding with circulation and relaxing your muscles. It makes sense really! We use heat packs and topical treatments like Deep Heat for muscle issues and injuries, so an infrared sauna is really taking this to the next level.
6. It helps you lose weight
Whilst I’m not for any kind of quick fix when it comes to bringing your body to it’s best state, to me, that comes through treating it right and loving it with good food, movement, nutrients and self care, but in saying that - adding an infrared sauna session into your routine is a great way to essentially ‘add a workout’ and use the time in your pod to read a book, listen to a podcast, write in your journal, anything goes!
It makes sense, no? When your body is working harder to lower your core temperature you burn more calories, same goes for is your body is keeping up with an elevated heart rate, which leads to weight loss. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories. Wowsers!!
7. It’ll increase your immunity and circulation
“Increased circulation, detoxification and immune system boosting are all wonderful effects from infrared therapy. Research has shown that profuse sweating can reduce mercury levels in the body in addition to fighting infections, making our saunas the perfect lifestyle choice for those with a seafood heavy diet or if you’re fighting a cold.” says Glow Bar.
In addition to my dry body brushing, infrared saunas are a wonderful way to improve circulation which contributes (when poor!) to cellulite which my thighs are covered in. I’m okay with that! I’m a woman after all, but who doesn’t want to improve their skin? I know that for me, cellulite is partly genetics, partly lack of squats + dynamic movement lately and the old habit - the old Diet Coke addiction. I used to drink upwards of two cans per day!! So sweating it out in the sauna is an easy addition to my life to help budge my cellulite a little!
So - have you tried infrared sauna? Will you?
I can’t wait to have an infrared sauna at home! Clearlight seem to be the brand that I keep seeing and I’ll definitely be looking more into this when we buy a home (and I create my self-care zen den haha)
* whilst I mention Glow Bar in this article, all sessions were paid for by myself and are in no way in collaboration with Glow Bar. So I guess this is also kind of an honest Glow Bar review! I just love it there and regularly go to work and sweat - and love to share with my readers.