One of the great things about working in the natural skin care industry is the great people I meet along the way. A couple of weeks ago I made a new friend, Andrew, who works with far-infrared saunas.
Andrew is very passionate about what he does (which I now understand why after trying one of these things). But when he first told me he worked with saunas my first impressions were still “yeah whatever”, because I could vaguely remember sitting in a steam sauna with my girlfriends over ten years ago now and not liking it at all because it felt way too humid to be comfortable.
But then Andrew told me that the saunas he works with are far-infrared (FIR), there’s no steam involved AND they’re amazingly good at detoxifying the skin. So now I was interested. And of course even more interested when Andrew invited me around for a session to try it out for myself.
My far-infrared sauna experience
I was a little wary before my first FIR sauna experience because of my previous steam sessions that I didn’t particularly like. I’m a summer girl so I love the heat but steam saunas can get uncomfortably hot and very humid which is not that fun. So on the way to my FIR session I was a little more apprehensive than excited because I assumed this sauna experience would be the same as the others.
Wow was I wrong. I was lucky enough to enjoy a cabin FIR sauna for a whole 45 minutes. Sure the last ten minutes were feeling a little too hot and uncomfortable and I should’ve either opened the door or finished earlier, but the first 35 minutes were absolute bliss. Sitting in the cabin felt so beautiful, cosy and warm. Andrew gave me a few CDs to play in there (yes some cabins have CD and DVD players) and I took in a book to read figuring I’d get bored sitting in there for 45 minutes. But it was so cosy and so warm that all I wanted to do was close my eyes, relax and do nothing.
Infrared saunas are different to traditional steam saunas in a lot of ways. But most noticeably by the lack of steam. In fact the heat feels like a dry heat (I can tell because my hair didn’t go frizzy at all) even though you sweat a lot. And wow did I sweat. For the first 20 minutes or so I had a nice little sexy glisten of sweat. By the end of the 45 minutes my body was literally dripping with sweat, which …was no longer sexy at all! Was it uncomfortable? No, because I was in there to sweat out some toxins so was happy that it was actually working.
But the best part was how amazingly good I felt after the session. You know that feeling after you’ve had a long hot bubble bath or a good massage? It was exactly the same feeling as that. I felt happy and relaxed, and to be honest I think it calmed my mind down a little so it must be good at reducing the vata too.
The night after my sauna session I went out with a friend of mine. One of the first things she said to me was “wow, you’re glowing” which of course every girl wants to be told, but it’s especially desirable in the industry I work in. I’m not entirely sure why I was glowing that night but I can’t help thinking the sauna session had something to do with it. And my skin did feel clearer and healthier for a few days afterwords.
Cabin vs capsule
I also got to borrow a smaller “capsule” sauna for the weekend (by the way, did I tell you how much I love my job?) which was great because I got to have a few more sessions to really test it out and I got to compare the different sizes. It’s actually called a “solo system” but I prefer capsule because that’s just what it looks like. Don’t you think?
I have to say that even though I enjoyed the capsule and it did give me a good detox, I liked the cabins a lot better. In the capsules your head sticks out the top which frustrated me a little because I felt like it wasn’t detoxing the skin on my face enough which is the area I’m most concerned with.
For this reason, if I was to purchase a FIR sauna I’d definitely invest in a cabin. And there are lots of sizes to choose from so I wouldn’t need to be ridiculous with the size. I tried a couple while I was in the show room and even the smallest cabins are comfortable.
How it works
To be honest I was initially surprised when Andrew told me how great they are for the skin and how acne sufferers have seen improvements from regular sessions. But really it makes sense. We all know that acne is caused by toxins and dead skin cells that have built up under the skin, so of course you’re going to see improvements if you sweat these toxins out before they turn into a spot.
If you want a detailed scientific description on how and why far-infrared saunas work at detoxing the body and the skin then you’ve come to the wrong blog. I’m just not that scientifically minded (hey, I read the material so I tried!). But if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the Sunlight Saunas website which is where I had my trial session.
There’s also a passage here from The Science of Far Infrared Therapies by Dr. Toshiko Yamazaki, MD which explains it all better than I could -
When a 10 micron FIR wave is applied to thee large water molecules containing toxins, the water becomes active. It begins to vibrate. This vibration reduces the ion bonds of the atoms which are holding together the molecules of water. As the breakdown of the water molecules occurs, encapsulated gases and other toxic materials are released.
Whatever that means, but it sounds impressive.
Apparently FIR saunas help with blood circulation and deep cleansing of impurities. Research has also shown improvements in acne (which is what we wanted to know about right?), rashes, burns and skin lesions.
Tonight I had to give my solo sauna back which was a bit sad but I know I’ll have another session again soon. If you want to try a far-infrared sauna too, then check out your local spas because they’re the ones that are most likely to own them.
Info for Aussies …
If you’re in Australia, then check out the Sunlight Saunas website. They have a list of spas that they can refer you on to.
Sunlight Saunas are also available for rent which works out to be a bit cheaper or a good way to trial before you buy. To arrange this, you can call them on 1800 SUNLIGHT (1800 756 544), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website and leave your details.