I Tried an Infrared Sauna

It took me long enough, but last week I finally went back to Flo2s for an infrared sauna session. I had previously gone for float therapy, which you can read about here. I know a few people that swear by infrared saunas, including my best friend, so I booked my appointment to start off my long weekend.

Infrared saunas are different from traditional saunas in that they use infrared light to warm up your body and core temperature directly. There is no steam and the temperatures tend to be lower than those of a traditional sauna. Some of the benefits include detoxification, pain relief, weight loss, stress reduction, and skin rejuvenation. In terms of detoxification, according to the Flo2s website, infrared saunas create a different kind of sweat than we would get from exercise:

The sweat produced during infrared therapy is different from the sweat produced during an intense workout. When you sweat during exercise, your nervous system is in the sympathetic mode. During this “water sweat” you only lose electrolytes and water – not toxins. But regular infrared therapy moves the nervous system into a parasympathetic mode, stimulating a “fat-sweat” that helps eliminate the chemicals and toxins stored in the body. Infrared therapy is one of the few ways to detoxify the body of heavy metals…

At Flo2s, you can decide your main focus for your session – cardiovascular, detoxification, relaxation, etc. I went for a full spectrum session, which was the same as the cardiovascular, for 45 minutes. The various types change the infrared wavelength. The cardio option was a blend of near, mid, and far infrared starting at a higher intensity to increase your heart rate and cardiac output. Then the intensity lowered to sustain your heart rate.

But before getting to my time in the sauna, I want to tell you about the whole experience. I chose to book my appointment at this time because my skin was having a moment. I tried a new brand of tea tree oil and my skin did not agree with it. It wasn’t a full blown allergic reaction, but I had some nasty spots pop up on my T-zone and décolletage. My skincare was doing some heavy lifting and I thought this could give it the extra little push it needed. I also struggle on and off with mild pain to the outside of my R knee, near the hamstring attachment. That morning in my classes I had noticed it was particularly tight.

When I arrived, I signed in and was brought to my own private room. There were plenty of towels available, spa skirts/dresses, and they even left me a pitcher of water. I was shown how to operate the machine and then left to it. I changed into the towel dress and hopped into the Sunlighten machine. There was already a towel laid down for me to sit on, and another rolled up for me to use as the sweat started pouring.

All I had to do was hit the start button and on it went. The initial temperature was 122 degrees and it slowly climbed to 126, 127 degrees. At the 20 minute mark, it went up to 129, and in the last 12 minutes it fluctuated between 129 and 131 degrees.

I spent the first few minutes scrolling on my phone, taking a few photos, and then I decided to put it away. I tried meditating and focusing on my breath. My body was gradually warming up so I didn’t notice I was sweating until 20 minutes in. But from then on, the sweat was real. I felt it most on my face, my neck, and my torso, though my entire body had an overall dewiness. Once I realized I was sweating, I could also tell my heart rate had increased. Is it really possible to get the benefits of cardio without having to do cardio??

I spent the rest of the time jotting down notes and trying to relax. I’m normally not a fan of saunas or intense heat, but this was totally bearable. It wasn’t an oppressive heat. That said, I did end up using the second towel to wipe off my face a couple of times. Time went by quickly though and I felt great when I got out. I dried off, enjoyed a cup of water, and then changed back into my yoga clothes. It was a pretty hot day so I drove home in my crop top with the windows down. Once I walked in the door, I jumped in the shower and went about the rest of my day feeling refreshed.

As far as results, I’ve still been dealing with some skin issues, but it definitely improved after my session. My right knee also felt a lot better. It’s still tighter than my left, as it always will be, so I wasn’t expecting a quick fix. Overall, it was a rejuvenating experience and I would 100% do it again. In fact, I’m already thinking about when to book another session. I can see why people are such huge fans! When I go back, I plan to be more prepared and bring some reading material to prevent boredom. 45 minutes goes by quickly, but imagine how much reading I could get done too 😉

Have you tried an infrared sauna? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

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