Far Infrared Sauna Benefits – 4 Reasons why you should Detox in a pleasant way

Enjoying the benefits of an infrared sauna!

Me trying to strike a pose for a selfie while melting under heat

You probably have heard of a normal sauna but what about an infrared sauna? While the end result seems very similar (a lot of sweating) the composition of the sweat is different and contains a lot more heavy metals which are removed from your body this way (~15% of your sweat is heavy metals/other toxins), instead of 1%. You basically sweat from the inside –> outside due to the infrared light heating the surface of your skin which makes it more effective at removing toxins stored in your body and at levels of heat more manageable consciously. For a more detailed explanation on the working part, Wikipedia is always there.

Here are some of the benefits, optimal usage guidelines and dangers of infrared saunas:

What are the benefits of far infrared sauna that made me want to try it?

1) Heavy metal detox and a way to remove BPA from the body, while my diet is very clean when I stay in a country over a few weeks and can find local sources of organic vegetables and meats, I still accumulate toxins from restaurant food, the air I breathe and just from days I did not eat a perfect meal. One of the greatest benefits of infrared sauna is that, as I mentioned above, it detoxifies your body of a lot of heavy metals and other toxic stuff. Also if you read my post on finding a plastic free electric kettle, I am very concerned with the dangers of BPA and how to remove BPA from the body (while traveling I drink a lot of water from plastic bottles). Infrared saunas, it turns out, probably is a great way to remove BPA since a pubmed study shows how BPA is found in human sweat. Finally, being in a cabin 30 minutes a day is pleasant to get some reading done. Just make sure to bring a good old paper book, as my phone and kindle seemed like they could overheat and I did not want to risk it.

2) Enhanced endurance/muscular performance. While not entirely a far infrared sauna benefit, I did read on Tim Ferris’ blog a guest post from Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D about how Saunas probably have been underestimated for a long time in how they can benefit performance. One of the coolest benefits is how as she mentions in another study “One study demonstrated that a 30-minute sauna session two times a week for three weeks POST-workout increased the time that it took for study participants to run until exhaustion by 32% compared to baseline.

Post workout is key here, as I tried it PRE WORKOUT a few times and I had a terrible gym performance, the same as the week before or worse, which is unusual since I’ve been using Tim Ferris’ Occam protocol to add on weight each week to all my exercises.

3) Far infrared sauna does help with weight loss not only due to calories burned (perhaps up to 800 calories per 30 minutes) but also due to the toxins removed from your body and fat cells. However this comes with a possible short term danger that I mention below for overweight people.

4) Possibly fights off cancer as you can see a better explanation of in the video below. Personally, I think just the fact that it detoxifies your body of heavy metal probably makes it prevent many cancers in the first place.

How to optimize your “FIS” experience for the most benefits

1) do your infrared sauna session AFTER a workout, for more benefits AND a great detox tool.

2) As for time length and heat, I personally pushed the unit I could test in Bangkok at the maximum of 66 Celsius/150 Fahrenheit starting at my third session, Dr Clement from the Hippocrates institute recommends a “FIS” session of 70-80 Celsius/160-180 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15-30 minutes. I would love to go higher but I definitely feel its still quite an experience so far in the last 5 minutes to hang in there. I can definitely see how this is not only a great detox but a great stress on the system (that will make you stronger, like conventional exercise).

I’ve done it both while eating a meal before and fasting, I did not see a difference in my well being (I was thinking maybe I would be completely drained and exhausted when doing it on an intermittent fasting day which means I did not eat in the last 12 hours at that point). Just in case anyone was wondering.

Portable far infrared sauna can be used in your homeFar Infrared saunas are portable and can be built in your home

Nowadays infrared saunas are affordable to anyone (under $100 if you google a way to make it yourself at home), as long as you have the room in your home. Sadly a (rare I guess…) disadvantage of being in my 20s and traveling the world is I do not have a “permanent” home so I usually go to clinics and get it done there. When I’m in a city like Bangkok where I can walk there, its no problem and I get a few sessions a week done with a solid 30 minute reading experience. I bring books in paperback, as I feel like my kindle or phone might burst into flames, but more seriously I worry on the lifespan of the conductors inside.

Some people have “near”/portable infrared saunas by using blankets they wear on their body and such, but I wont comment as I never used it.

Finally, there are a few obvious and less obvious infrared sauna dangers that I will mention:

  • Overheating (heat exhaustion and heat stroke)
  • Dehydration
  • Don’t drink or use alcohol before/during
  • Depleting your electrolytes or minerals through sweating (read under this part about properly re-hydrating after “FIS”)

A big infrared sauna danger for people with a lot of toxins in their body (and/or overweight)

Having so many toxins released in such a small time frame is one hand a reason far infrared sauna weight loss sessions actually works beyond simply burning some extra calories but also is that a reason many people become fat in the first place is your body will create fat cells to store and “remove” toxic substances in your body. If you “melt” the fat and sweat it out, the toxins will be released back into your blood. And while your body can process it in the liver (or hopefully sweat most of it out right now) you might overwhelm it. So if you smell something bad after 5-10+ minutes, it might be your body. After all, feet or armpits smelling bad is often (like very often) due to toxins in your body being released through those 2 area (they are detox pathways for your body…). So you might want to slowly up the time in the infrared sauna, I went inside as a pretty healthy young male that did some other forms of detox in the past so I did low heat 45 Celsius/113fahrenheit for 30 minutes and moved my way to 60 Celsius/140fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

After infrared sauna use, replenish lost beneficial minerals/electrolytes!

Don’t forget that an infrared sauna will obviously make you sweat a lot of water (and toxins) so you want to get back electrolytes, such as Potassium and minerals like Magnesium. I usually take a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt (which contains a lot of trace minerals) and a slightly higher daily dose of magnesium/potassium at night before bed to prevent magnesium deficiency symptoms, which are very obvious in my body (muscle cramps/spasms).

18 thoughts on “Far Infrared Sauna Benefits – 4 Reasons why you should Detox in a pleasant way

  1. Never heard of infrared sauna before but it seems way better than a regular one. I often feel that I’ve gathered a lot of toxins throughout the day and would love a way to get rid of some of those. And that study about the 30-minute sauna is just awesome! A 32% increase is huge! I will surely look for an infrared sauna and see how it feels!

  2. 800 calories in 30 minutes of just sitting there is pretty great! You have to endure the heat, but you are just sitting down and losing weight which is something I want to do. I’ve gathered an extra 10 pounds that I want to get rid of and this sounds like a good way to do it.

  3. These are pretty cool. My sis in law uses this type of sauna weeks before major events in order to lose weight. Apparently, you can burn a lot of calories by sitting in one for a while. I haven’t tried one out myself though.

    • I am more into it for toxin removal (which actually will also might help you lose fat due to your body not needing as many fat cells to isolate the toxic stuff ) but ya I would think it could be useful for losing weight instead of normal cardio.

  4. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this before, but with all of the benefits highlighted, I think it’s safe to say that I want to try it for myself! I have gone on detoxes in the past (herbs/juicing), which were good for getting rid of the toxic waste in my body, but it can be a bit painful/bad (I was overweight, so I had a lot of toxic shit in between my rolls of fat). Hopefully, this will prove to be a more pleasant alternative, because it has to be done sooner or later!

    • Good luck! I was lucky to never eat too much bad stuff but I can tell you that for me its actually a pleasant experience, no bad smell and no problems. Just feels good knowing that there is some science packing up this sort of detox unlike a lot of other “natural” alternatives.

  5. Alex – Good Article. I agree, using the sauna pre-workout can often hamper the gym performance. Using a sauna post-workout (as long as the workout has not exhausted the person or deleted all the electrolytes, etc) can significantly relax the muscles and prevent muscle soreness or cramps. Infrared saunas are a tremendous benefit to overall health with results that can often border on the incredible.

    Studies have shown the toxin levels in sweat from an infrared sauna are 7x that from a traditional steam sauna. And the lower temperatures make breathing much easier and safer.

    Thanks for a good article on this, and glad to hear you have benefited from them. Cheers, Greg.

    • Thanks for the info on using it post workout, I was thinking of trying that in the future. Gym workout–> eat a meal/drink electrolytes–> far infrared sauna. I also enjoy a lot how I can sweat a lot like you say but it is a lot easier to breathe, I never really enjoyed traditional saunas, besides as a somewhat manly challenge to “just do it and push myself”.

  6. I use a FAR Infrared Sauna blanket several times a week and LOVE the detox benefits for sure! My body wasn’t detoxing at a healthy rate, so I researched ways to help the detox along and FAR Infrared sauna sessions came up….there were none in my area to try out and I don’t have the room in my house, so I found the next best thing…the blanket. There was a spa close to my house that offered it in 20 minute sessions (sessions are $20-$50 each), so I tried it out. After three sessions I felt SO much better and started looking the blanket up on Amazon (I didn’t want to pay so much money every week)…the blankets range from $100-$300…mine was $300 and worth every penny! It paid for itself in the first three weeks! Some people have complained about it going out, but I have had mine for a year now with regular use and haven’t had any problems (I set it at 65 Celsius for 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times per week)….

    • A blanket sounds good for me because I am travelling every few months and I don’t want to install a far infrared sauna at my condo… Is the blanked easy to fold like a normal blanked and bring with me every now and then ? I might buy one in Canada when I go back and bring it with me back to Thailand (where I spend most of the year).

    • I went to Dr. Kamal’s BioMagnetic Holistic centre

      I can’t remember the price but I think it was around 1,000 baht for a 30 min session in the far infrared sauna. I think it also included another 30 min with a foot detox machine. I’m not sure if the foot detox did anything, hard to measure, but since I wanted to go for the 30min infrared sauna session I gave it a try.

  7. I have an infrared sauna blanket and I love it. It helps detox the lymph system and lose weight. After using 3 times a week for a couple of weeks I have lost 8lbs. Great way to lose that extra weight when lying down and listening to relaxing music. The one I have is not really portable because the box with all the settings would be to heavy to carry with you. I have a 3 Zone. I have seen some 2 zone blankets that you could possibly take with you but they would take their own suitcase. They are quite heavy and bulky.

  8. Hi there,

    Could you give me your source for “composition of the sweat is different and contains a lot more heavy metals which are removed from your body this way (~15% of your sweat is heavy metals/other toxins), instead of 1%.”

    The wiki article you link to says that is bogus… I’m just wondering which is it.

    Thanks

    • Hi Dan, actually you’re right over time I realized a lot of the Far Infrared Sauna “bonus benefits” over traditional sauna are not as well researched as I first thought. That quote was from the wikipedia page as I initially was sure I had seen a citation there that was more official after reading similar ideas elsewhere but I think the sweating benefits of far infrared might be exagerated. I definitely still think Sauna’s in general are an important thing to add to a daily/weekly routine for health but far infrared sauna might not be that much better then a normal hot air sauna.

      There might be SOME benefits from far infrared though as it relates to sun light, which also emits far infrared rays. But I think currently there is not enough credible evidence or research into the benefits of different sauna types. I’m still doing saunas a few times a week, but I don’t really care about the type of sauna anymore.

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