“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen.”
– Shakti Gawain
Infrared Sauna in Oak Bay, BC
Far Infrared Rays (FIR) gently heal, soothe, stimulate and detox the physical body, as well as the mind. Far Infrared Rays are invisible waves of energy that have the ability to penetrate all layers of the human physical body, penetrating into the inner-most regions of the tissues, muscles and bone.
Far Infrared vs. Conventional Saunas
A far infrared sauna (FIR sauna), just like a traditional sauna, is a small room which is heated. The user, who sits inside the sauna room on a bench, enjoys the benefits of this heat which warms the body and produces a good sweat. The sauna at Pure Body Health is in its own private room, it easily sits three and is 6’ wide so it makes it comfortable for lying down and/or stretching. With two large windows and a large glass door, the room has an open, yet intimate feeling. The most important difference between how a far infrared sauna and a traditional sauna work is the heat source. Far infrared heat is a form of energy that directly heats objects. FIR heat reaches deeper into the tissues than the heat from a traditional sauna and causes more toxins to be released with the sweat.
Today’s busy lifestyles can prevent us from actively sweating on a daily basis but numerous medical studies show that deep sweating has multiple health benefits. While bathing in a far infrared sauna, the body core temperature slowly rises and blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow. As heat from the blood moves toward the skin’s surface, the body’s nervous system sends signals to the millions of sweat glands covering the body, stimulating perspiration. Far infrared saunas penetrate 1.5” into the body, inducing 2-3 times more perspiration than conventional saunas, expelling toxins and heavy metals, and relieving pain while the surrounding air stays at a comfortable temperature [typically between 115 & 140 degrees F]. The lower heat range is also safer for those concerned about cardiovascular risk factors that might be encountered in old-style hot-air saunas.
A conventional sauna must rely only on indirect means of heat: convection (air currents) and conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin) to produce its heating effects. In far infrared saunas, less than 20% of the infrared energy heats the air leaving over 80% available to be directly converted to heat within our bodies. This allows for a greater depth of heat penetration while the surrounding air remains at a relatively low temperature. This difference explains the unprecedented health benefits of far infrared saunas not attainable with conventional saunas.
Benefits of Infrared Saunas
In the Radiant Health Saunas™, the deep heat helps blood vessels dilate, bringing relief and healing to muscle and soft tissue injuries. Radiant heat is a form of energy that heats objects directly, without heating the air in between. This is also called “infrared heat”. Infrared heaters are used by hospitals to warm premature infants.
In Europe, radiant heat therapy is widely used to treat patients suffering from many forms of arthritis. In addition, far infrared therapy in Japan has been effective for relief of pain associated with backache, bursitis, fibromyalgia, headache, sprains, strains, and many other muscular-skeletal ailments. Much of the stiffness and soreness that comes with aging is reduced or eliminated in the infrared saunas.
Toxic Load & Detoxification
Not only does far infrared sauna health therapy provide pain relief for symptoms of fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and many other musculoskeletal ailments, it eliminates toxins directly through the skin. Infrared sauna treatment is effective in removing both lipophilic (fat-stored) toxins and toxins already in the bloodstream, reducing levels of heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury, and cadmium, as well as pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, and hydrocarbon residues—all toxins commonly picked up from our environment.
A cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals was detected in every individual tested in a cross Canada study of pollution in people conducted by Environment Defense. The groundbreaking report, Toxic Nation: A Report on Pollution in Canadians, reveals that toxic chemicals, such as DDT, PCB’S, pesticides, stain repellants, flame retardants, mercury, and lead are contaminating Canadians. Many of the chemicals discovered in the bodies of Canadians are associated with cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive disorders, respiratory illnesses, and harming the development of children.
In many cases when someone is dealing with a chronic health problem it is often a toxicity issue. A number of Doctors now believe that the “toxic load” of these patients is very high and their detoxification pathways are often compromised. When one is able to reduce the toxins in these patients, their symptoms often greatly improve. Sweating in the infrared sauna takes the detoxifying load off your liver and kidneys by the direct elimination of toxins through the skin. Infrared saunas are effective in removing both Lipophillic (fat-stored) toxins and toxins in the bloodstream.
A number of people are also suffering unknowingly from mercury poisoning or from other heavy metals, such as lead and aluminum. The infrared sauna has been invaluable in accelerating the removal of these toxic metals.
Weight Loss & Cardiovascular Fitness
As the body increases sweat production to cool itself, the heart works harder to pump blood at a greater rate to boost circulation, supplying the conditioning benefits of continuous exercise. Heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolic rate increase, while diastolic blood pressure drops, improving cardiovascular fitness.
Since an infrared sauna pod benefits helps generate two to three times the sweat produced in a conventional sauna, the implications for increased caloric consumption are quite impressive. NASA concluded infrared “passive exercise” is the ideal way to keep astronauts fit during space flight.
Athletes are using the infrared sauna to warm their muscles before and after working out, to prevent injuries and also to promote relaxation. Following a work out or sporting activity, the infrared sauna helps reduce muscle tension as well as eliminate lactic acid and other metabolic waste products. Increased blood circulation delivers oxygen rich blood to oxygen depleted muscles so they can recover faster. Many athletes find stretching in the sauna effective for increasing their range of motion.
Boosts Immune Response
By raising the core temperature and creating a “hyperthermia” effect, the infrared sauna also improves a number of parameters in the immune system, and stimulates the body’s own natural healing processes.
The profuse sweating achieved by infrared sauna treatment carries off deeply imbedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing and immaculately clean. Skin tone and elasticity are improved. Infrared sauna therapy has also been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, and also reduces the appearance of scarring. It can also help reduce cellulite, the gel like lumps of fat, water, and debris trapped in pockets beneath the skin, by increasing blood flow and removing stored toxins.
People are using Radiant Health Saunas for existing health problems or to prevent a toxic build up in their bodies. It is crucial to the company, to make sure that our saunas are completely non toxic. The heaters and all the materials used inside their saunas have been independently tested showing they are completely non toxic. (measuring zero VOC’S – volatile organic compounds).
What to expect
What is involved with having a sauna FIR treatment?
Before your session, you will be given towels and instructions on the use of the sauna. Our 6ft long sauna is in its own private room where you will undress and enter the sauna. At that time you will sit down inside the sauna, get yourself situated and begin the heating up process. You can have the light on or off, use the colour therapy lights. You listen to the stereo, stretch or even read a book. Some people simply choose to be quiet and meditate while they’re having a treatment.
There are several things that the client is required to do for their sauna treatment:
- Drink plenty of water well before, during and after their session.
- Be prepared to get hot, sweat and detox during the session.
- Sit back, relax and enjoy every deep heating, deep tissue-detox moment.
What should I expect after the sauna session?
It feels wonderful. You should expect to feel relaxed, renewed, rejuvenated and very calm. We provide towels for you to wipe down your body after you finish your session.
Will I sweat at all during the first session?
Some people who are used to detox, saunas and/or sweating a lot, will actually sweat from beginning to end of their sauna. Others who are not used to it or dehydrated, may take 10-20 minutes in the heat of the sauna before they begin to sweat. But eventually, everyone sweats and sweats a lot. “We invite you to bring a water bottle and towel during Covid to minimize our contact in the clinic. However, we have towels for rent if you forget yours.
- *We also have different forms or electrolyte replenishers
How long is a session?
Each session is 20 to 40 minutes. It depends on the temperature you can tolerate and your experience level. Of course, water, music and towels are supplied.
Do I wear clothes while having a sauna session?
Not usually. You will be sweating so much, as a result from the dry high heat, that you will probably not feel comfortable wearing clothes at all. If so you choose, you may wear a pair of shorts and tee shirt, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Conditions the Infared Sauna can Help
- Muscle pain
- Soft tissue injuries
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Injury prevention
- Pre-workout warmup
- Post-workout recovery
- Sluggish immune response
While there are few dangers of the infrared sauna – or of any sauna for that matter – it’s important to know what they are! None of the dangers of the infrared sauna are related to the IR rays themselves. Far infrared rays do not carry the dangers that we associate with ultraviolet rays or x-rays.
A healthy person that uses common sense is unlikely to run into trouble in an infrared sauna. Millions of adults around the world use saunas uneventfully on a regular basis, after all. As for age, it’s really more a matter of how healthy you are than how old you are. An exception would be that children and pregnant women should avoid the use of saunas.
Possible dangers of the FIR Sauna
- Overheating (heat exhaustion and heat stroke)
- Using the sauna while drinking or after drinking alcohol
- Depleting your electrolytes or minerals through sweating
- The effects of mobilized toxins
It is, as well, not recommended to use the sauna during an acute illness or injury where it may interfere with the natural healing process. For example, it is recommended to avoid sauna use during the first 48 hours of an acute sprain-type injury.
Affecting only some people:
- Adverse effects on certain medical conditions
- Interference with the absorption and/or effects of certain medications
- Adverse effects on some implants
In summary, the few dangers of the infrared sauna to the healthy, un-medicated person come from: overheating effects, dehydration, depleting your body' supply of minerals or electrolytes through profuse sweating (without the right kind of fluid replacement), and the effects of mobilizing stored toxins out of the body.
For people on medications and/or with medical conditions, a medical go-ahead or medical supervision is advisable.
Overheating: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Anyone – even the healthiest of people - can overdo a sauna and overheat their bodies, causing heat-related illness. But this doesn’t happen without warning. It is important to get out of the sauna to cool down if you suspect you’re overheating. For those in sauna detoxification programs where up to an hour or more a day may be spent in the sauna, some experts advocate keeping a thermometer handy to monitor your temperature.
Dehydration and improper fluid replacement
Avoid sauna use completely in the case of:
- Stroke (type caused by bleeding into the brain)
- Severe aortic stenosis
- Recent myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Unstable angina pectoris
- Lupus erythematosus, if you are on steroids (interferes with blood circulation)
- Brain tumors
Avoid sauna use completely unless under the care of a doctor with expertise in sauna detoxification in the case of:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Silicone implants
Check with your doctor in the case of:
- Your specific medical condition
- Pacemakers (check with doctor and manufacturer)
- Pins, rods and other implants, such as cochlear implants (but for sure don’t use the sauna if it causes you pain or other discomfort at the site of your implant)
- Diabetes (for sure start slowly and monitor your blood sugar)
While the above are some of the conditions which may pose dangers through sauna use, definitely check with your doctor (or, better yet, a doctor experienced in sauna therapy) about your specific medication condition.
Are there dangers of the far infrared sauna for the heart?
Other than in the case of severe aortic stenosis, recent MIs and unstable angina, there are no dangers for the heart.
Studies reported in mainstream medical journals have taught us that heart attacks (MI’s) are not associated with sauna use amongst healthy sauna users and that blood pressure doesn’t rise.
Medications that can pose a danger in the infrared sauna
Since certain medications can be affected by the increased blood circulation and increased sweating of body heating, it’s best to check with your doctor (preferably a doctor knowledgeable in sauna detoxification) if your medication levels might be affected. Here are some examples of the types of medications that can be affected:
- Medicines applied by skin patches (transdermal medication). The absorption rate of a transdermal medication can change. With sweating, the adhesive may also unglue from your skin.
- Insulin! If you’re a diabetic and your doctor gives you the go-ahead to use the sauna, he’ll also be telling you to check your levels at least at first to see how body heating affects you.
Past psychedelic drug use and the F.I.R sauna
If you used LSD or other psychedelic drugs in the past, you may experience a “trip” as residues of the drug are released from storage in the tissue into your bloodstream again. Or you may have a flashback to an earlier experience. You’ll need to have a responsible attendant with you if you’re planning to use the sauna with this type of history. It would be extremely dangerous to have a trip while unsupervised in a sauna.
Longer term dangers of the infrared sauna
There are a couple of things to watch out for when using an infrared sauna regularly:
You can deplete body reserves of one or more minerals and electrolytes. You can run toxins out of your system that cause you symptoms or trouble on the way out.
These are things that would only pose a problem to someone using the sauna heavily and regularly – mostly those people using the sauna for detoxification.
If your nutrition is complete and you hydrate yourself properly in the sauna, you’re not likely to create a mineral or electrolyte deficiency through recreational sauna use a few times a week. But the minute you enter into a systematic sauna detox program, you need to commit to learning about and implementing an electrolyte and mineral replacement plan.
Drugs stored in your fat can be pulled into your bloodstream in the sauna
Some chemicals we take into our bodies during daily living are overwhelming or difficult (or impossible) for our bodies to deal with and — because they are fat soluble — end up getting stored in our fat.
Any drug stored in your fat from past exposures, including, for example, anesthetics you might have been exposed to, can have effects on you as you mobilize them and sweat them out. (If you’re like most people and you think back to all the drugs you’ve taken, and any operations you might have had, you’ll recognize that you’ve been exposed to a lot of drugs over the course of time!)
Depending on the drug, this can be one of the dangers of the infrared sauna, as well as traditional saunas. This is why we believe that no-one should attempt to do a systematic sauna detoxification program on their own without really studying up on the topic and following an expert’s protocol exactly.
Chemically sensitive people are more at risk
If you are (or suspect you are) chemically sensitive, the dangers of the infrared sauna related to toxins released from the tissues by heat will be far greater for you. You’d be best to detoxify under expert supervision.
William Rea, MD, one of the most knowledgeable doctors in the world in environmental toxicity and sauna detoxification warns: “Uncontrolled, too-rapid mobilization can have devastating effects on chemically sensitive patients.” On the other hand, chemically sensitive people can and do get rid of their toxic burdens through carefully supervised sauna programs.