How to Use Infrared Sauna
How to Use Infrared Sauna: Before, During and After.
I'm frequently contacted by people looking over my website (please feel free to do this yourself, by the way). Some of the most common questions they ask relate in one way or another to how they should use their infrared saunas. Some people ask how many sessions they should have in a week. Other people ask me how long any one session should be. Still others ask what they should wear, what should the temperature be, and so on. You get the picture. One would think that the infrared sauna vendors would explain these details to their customers, but apparently not all of them do. Because I get so many questions regarding how to use infrared sauna, here are a few of my suggestions:
What to Do (and Not Do) Before Your Infrared Sauna Sessions Begin
- Don't eat anything substantial within two hours of when your sauna session will start. In other words, if you have a heavy meal, wait for at least two hours before entering your sauna cabin.
- Likewise, before your session you should stay away from any intoxicating substances such as hard alcohol, wine or beer. There's no sense in tempting some sort of accident to happen.
- Drink at least one glass of water before "firing up" your infrared sauna. Hydration is important, even though your infrared sauna cabin's temperature will be lower than the cabin of a traditional steam sauna.
- If you wear any metal jewelry, remove it before stepping inside. Once again, although an infrared sauna does not reach the high temperatures that characterize a traditional sauna, metal jewelry could become hot and cause a burn.
- Get several clean towels and place them inside the sauna before you turn it on. You'll need them during your sessions.
- While your infrared sauna is warming up, you could warm up too. Some stretches or other low-impact exercises will feel good, and working your muscles a bit will help your body adapt to the temperature inside your sauna. Stick with a gentle warm up, though -there's no need for an intense workout. The sweat will start rolling off you quickly enough once your infrared sauna session begins.
What to Do (and Not Do) During Your Infrared Sauna Sessions
- When learning how to use infrared sauna, it's good to think about the heaters. Some infrared saunas feature heaters that shut themselves off when the sauna reaches the desired temperature. If your sauna does this, you might consider leaving the cabin door slightly ajar so that the heaters stay on. That way you'll receive the benefits of the infrared rays throughout your entire session. And speaking of cabin temperatures, I get a lot of questions about how to use infrared sauna and people asking about the proper operating temperature for an infrared sauna. Most infrared sauna users sweat quite profusely when their sauna's temperature reaches 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're one of these people, why push your body by bumping the temperature up any higher? After all, the sweat is already rolling off you, so what would you accomplish with a higher temperature?
- Remember those clean towels I suggested you place inside the cabin before turning on your infrared sauna? Use one to wipe off the sweat from your body. Place another one on the bench to sit on, and lay a third one on the floor to prevent you from slipping on any sweat that drips there. The last towel will also prevent the wood floor from absorbing your sweat and potentially warping.
- The appropriate length for your infrared sauna sessions primarily depends on your physical condition (but see points 4 and 5 below). Pay attention to what your body tells you during your sessions. Monitor your body temperature. It should not go up by more than four degrees Fahrenheit. Track your heart rate as well, because it should never go higher than an additional 50% of your resting heart rate.
- If you're a newcomer to infrared saunas and are wondering about how to use infrared sauna, consider limiting your sessions to 15 minutes apiece even if you're in great physical condition. You don't need to be concerned about not receiving the benefits of infrared when you have such a short session, because you will, at least to some degree. And, starting out with short sessions is a much smarter idea than pushing your body past its limits. If your heart starts racing or if you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint, end your session right away. Your body will send these signals to tell you it's time to end your session, so pay attention.
- Even if you're in great shape and you never experience any of these signals, don't let your sessions go longer than 60 minutes. Limiting your sessions to 30 minutes each and having 3 sessions per week is much better than a single hour-long session.
- Consider meditating or using some simple breathing techniques during your infrared sauna sessions. They'll clear your mind and help you relax.
What to Do (and Not Do) After Your Infrared Sauna Sessions
Information on how to use infrared sauna wouldn't be complete without these post-session thoughts.
- Once your session is finished, take a warm or cool shower. Do NOT use hot or cold water during this shower. Avoid using any soap, too, because a thin soap layer could remain on your skin and clog your pores.
- Using a loofa or skin brush, brush your entire body while your shower is running, including your face and hair. This might be a bit painful at first, but it will soon feel wonderful and it enhances the cleansing effect of your infrared sauna session. Stay away from all skin creams, lotions and oils.
- Have another glass of water (or two) to rehydrate your body after all the sweating.
- Now, set aside ten or fifteen minutes. Sit or lie down and just allow your body to cool down naturally. Meditate or use your breathing techniques to stay relaxed and calm while your body is cooling off. DON'T try to cool down suddenly - your goal is a gradual transition back to your normal body temperature.
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