How to Use an Infrared Sauna Properly

Using an infrared sauna properly can be very beneficial to your health.  Taking a infrared sauna bath on a regular basis has been known to detox your body through sweating, relax muscles, relieve stress and even clear out your sinuses.

However, before you start using an infrared sauna, there are a few things to keep in mind.  An infrared sauna is an extreme temperature environment and should be respected. Yet, it is completely safe as long as you use the infrared therapy carefully and properly.

Properly Prepare for Your Sauna Session:

Before you enter the sauna there are a few things you should do in preparation.

1.   Heat up the sauna:  Choose a temperature of your choice and set the sauna thermostat.  While the ideal temperature for an infra red sauna is between 100 and 145 degrees, a traditional sauna is usually set at 160 – 200 degrees. (Please note, if you are a beginner, start with a lower temperature level for at least 5 sauna sessions.  This allows your body to adapt to heat exposure).  If you are warming up a sauna from room temperature, it can take 20-30 minutes to reach ideal heat.  But, that’s ok because there is plenty to do before you get in.

2.   Get Water:  While in an infrared sauna the human body will lose water due to sweating. It is important to drink at least 8 – 10 ounces of water before a sauna session. This will help your body re-hydrate.  It is equally important to take water into the sauna with you so you can hydrate through the whole process.

3.   Towels:  Since you are going to do a lot of sweating, it is a good idea to bring a couple of towels with you.  We recommend at least two towels. One towel is used for sitting on, which is vitally important when using a public sauna.  And the other towel is for covering up and drying off excessive sweat.

4.   Clothing: In an infrared therapy, clothing is optional! If you choose to wear clothing, it is highly recommended that you make sure the garments are breathable.  Anything cotton is an excellent choice because it contains natural fibers and it does not lock in heat.  Do not wear anything heavy or non-breathable because this type of clothing could cause overheating.

Properly Begin Your Sauna Session:

1.      Set the timer:  If you are using a personal sauna, you have the option of setting a timer for the sauna to shut off.  This is probably one of the most important steps because it insures that you will not be overexposed to the heat.  If you are using a public sauna we would recommend that you invest in a cheap timer watch that you can wear into the sauna and track your time.  The average sauna session should last between 20 – 30 minutes but if you are new to using a sauna, set your time for 15 minutes and work your way up.

2.      Enter the sauna:  When you first enter the sauna you will pick a place to sit. Please remember that heat rises, so when you make your choice, keep in mind that an upper level seat will be hotter.  Once you have chosen where to sit for your session, place one towel on the bench for you to sit on.  This protects both you and the next user.  After all, when using a public sauna, you never know who was sitting there before you. If you are using a home infra red sauna, it is still a good idea to sit on a towel to help catch all the sweat.

3.      Remember to drink plenty of water while in the sauna.

4.      Dealing with sweat:  When you begin to sweat you will be thankful you brought that second towel with you.  Use it to wipe away the sweat and the toxins that are leaving your body.  Every person’s body is different and it may take a while for a new user to begin to sweat.  If this is you, don’t worry, it will come. If you don’t sweat right away, or very good at all, it is probably a good indication that your body is not hydrated enough. Drink more water.

5.      Listen to your body: If at any time during your sauna session you feel drowsy, woosy, nauseated, or even the subtle feeling that something is just not right.  Exit the sauna immediately!  This is especially important while using a public sauna where temperature is not within your control.  The most important thing is to listen to your body.  This is not a toughman competition.  If you feel wrong, get out.

6.      Relax: A sauna session is supposed to be relaxing. Take this time to read a book, look at a magazine, socialize, watch a video (some saunas come equipped with a dvd player). If you are a parent you may want to do absolutely nothing for the first time in the day!  No matter how you do it, use this time to rest, relax and recuperate!

Properly End Your Sauna Session:

1.      End Gracefully:  When your time is up, exit the sauna slowly.  The temperature difference can be quite a shock to the system. The dramatic change can cause your blood pressure to spike.  While the shock is good for your body, it can feel odd if you are not used to it.  If you are using a personal home sauna, one of the best practices is to shut off the sauna, open the door and let the air temperatures regulate before you exit.  This is not as controllable when you are using a public sauna.  Just remember to move slowly and carefully as you exit.

2.      Take a shower: But not right away!  One of the worst things you can do is take a shower immediately after an sauna session.  When a sauna session is over, all of the pores of your skin are wide open.  If you live in an area with bad water or hard water, all of those toxins will go right back into your skin.  This is not good for your skin and it’s not good for you.

3.      One last thing: I bet you can’t guess what it is. Drink more water! Now that you have successfully completed your sauna session. Your body needs to re-hydrate in a big way.  It is recommended that you drink another 8 – 10 ounces of water.

This is what happens when you don’t drink enough water and use an infrared sauna. The human body has a cycle of purification as well, and using the sauna on a daily basis is forcing this cycle to work.  Your body absorbs water, retains water, then uses the moisture to sweat out impurities.  When you don’t drink enough water, you are doing the same thing as stopping the rain on the earth.  If you don’t put enough water into the system, the system stops. So, drink more water!  If you would like to know more about infrared therapy safety concerns, please CLICK HERE.