Traditional saunas have been popular in various cultures around the world for centuries, but most of all in Scandinavia.
Modern infra-red saunas haven’t been around for so long, but the heat they produce penetrates much deeper into the body and results in a greater healing and detoxification effect.
One must be careful in choosing a far infra-red (FIR) sauna as the EMFs emitted from the heating elements can be quite high and may be harmful after regular exposure over time. Some models, however, do have low EMFs and are safe to use.
Near infra-red (NIR) saunas, which use heat lamps, don’t have the problem of high EMFs and they have the added benefits of more healing light frequencies and are cheaper. In fact, it is relatively easy to make one at home.
One disadvantage is that the heat is strongly directional, so one must rotate every couple of minutes so as not to burn the skin on one side and for the light and heat to penetrate all around the body. Another important thing to remember is to always keep your eyes closed and averted away from the lamps (up or down) when facing them. My personal preference is for the NIR saunas. For a wonderfully-crafted, portable NIR sauna, the best available is the Incandescent Pocket Sauna by SaunaSpace. I have written an in-depth review on the Pocket Sauna here.
I find the sauna a delightful place to meditate, like sitting facing the warm sun or a campfire.
When using sauna therapy it is extremely important to drink lots of pure water and to take electrolytes to replace the salts sweated out of the body. It is good to drink 2-4 glasses of water beforehand and 2 or more glasses afterwards. You can also take water in with you and drink during the sauna.
Don’t stay in for longer than twenty minutes to start with and definitely stop if you feel faint, dizzy or breathless. As you get used to it you can gradually build up, but for me 45 minutes is the absolute maximum that I can stay in my NIR sauna.
(More to come!….)