Frequency, Duration, And Acclimatization Explained
Infrared sauna bathing, like other healthy lifestyle choices, is cumulative. Just as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are important elements to an integrative wellness lifestyle, regular sauna bathing is something you will want to do regularly.
Determining how often an individual should use an infrared sauna will depend on several significant factors, such as age, experience with thermal therapy, health conditions, and level of hydration.
As always, when introducing any new protocol into your regular daily routine, be sure to consult with a medical professional before beginning your infrared sauna therapy.
Here is a basic guide to how often you should use an infrared sauna and several factors to consider in determining your personal program.
Starting An Infrared Sauna Program
As is true with any exercise routine you will want to be sure that you take your time acclimatizing the body to infrared sauna use by beginning with shorter sessions with lower temperatures and plenty of time between use.
If you are someone with a background in heat therapy the process of building up to daily hour long sessions can be accelerated, however, if you are new to heat therapy you will want to slowly and steadily build toward daily sessions.
Here is a basic formula to use as a guide to infrared sauna use:
- Begin your first session with the temperature set no higher than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Remain in the sauna for no more than 15-20 minutes. Take a day off between sessions.
- Repeat this program for 1-2 weeks as the body acclimatizes to the lights and the heat.
- After two weeks of laying a foundation you can begin to increase the temperature slowly as you build a tolerance. You may also begin to increase the time you spend in the sauna to 20-30 minutes. While still taking a day off between sessions, you may want to add one more session a week. Do this for 1-2 weeks.
- By week 4, you may be ready to begin daily sauna sessions. Monitoring how you feel during and after the sessions. Keep the session time under 40 minutes. Remember that even if the temperature is not set very high, you will still be reaping the benefits from the light.
- After six weeks you may be ready to increase the temperature to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, if this feels too hot, reduce the temperature while maintaining session durations of 40 minutes daily. Keep in mind you will still want to take at least one day off a week to allow the body to remineralize from all of the sweating.
After six-eight weeks of laying a foundation begin to experiment with what feels comfortable for your body. Every day is different. Some days you may feel comfortable staying in the sauna for sixty minutes, while other days less time will be appropriate.
It is not recommended to spend more than sixty minutes in the sauna at any given time. If you would like to increase the time you spend in your sauna consider a morning and an evening session.
Micro Sauna Sessions: Two-Three Times Daily
- Injury Recovery
- Heart Conditions
- Pulmonary Tract/Lung Conditions
A great way to increase your body’s exposure to the healing rays of infrared light is to break your sessions up into shorter times throughout the day. This will allow you to stimulate mitochondrial activity and enrich the quality of your blood throughout the day. (1).
This particular approach is excellent for individuals looking to improve circulation and decrease pain in the joints. The frequent stimulation of the mitochondria will stoke positive circulation and will be particularly helpful and poignant for individuals living with arthritis or recovering from injuries to the joints. This will help to reduce chronic inflammation. If you are looking to reduce pain in the joints, consider using your infrared sauna multiple times a day, with lower temperatures, and lower duration of sauna sessions. (2)
For individuals living with mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, the endorphins that are released with exposure to infrared light will positively affect neurotransmitters and the uptake of serotonin. Particularly, for individuals living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) will want to come in and out of the sauna frequently throughout the day without needing to spend longer than 10-15 minutes for each session. Again, the temperature does not need to be set too high for this type of use. (3)
Expert Tip: Pulmonary Health
Using an infrared sauna several times a day for short intervals will help dramatically to reduce inflammation and infection within the lungs. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the dry warmth and light will improve mitochondrial function within all of the cells of the body and draw more blood to the lung region. Second, the Himalayan salt walls in the Saunas.org will help to liberate any buildup of mucus and infection in the lungs. Inhaling the healing salt will help ratify the body of lingering lung infection and create a healthy pulmonary tract system. (4)
Health Conditions That Require Special Care With Infrared Sauna Use
- Heart Conditions
- Cancer Patients
- High Blood Pressure
While it is true that infrared sauna use may provide excellent benefits for a variety of conditions, it is important to approach this form of therapy with utmost care if you are an individual living with psoriasis, a heart condition, cancer, or high blood pressure.
For individuals with specific health conditions it will be important to keep both the temperature of the sauna low, as well as the time set.
While psoriasis patients respond very well to infrared light therapy, elevated sauna temperatures can irritate the skin, so please, if you have psoriasis keep the temperature set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit and be sure to keep sauna session times low in duration.
Similarly, individuals living with heart conditions should also be mindful to keep the temperature low in the sauna. Remember, that the light frequency itself offers great health benefits without increasing the temperature to uncomfortable levels.
Frequency of sauna use can be increased when temperatures and time are set lower. The increased frequency will allow for more regular exposure to the infrared light without the stress of the heat on the body.
Hydration Must Increase As Infrared Sauna Sessions Increase In Frequency, temperature, and Duration
It will be crucial for anyone engaged in regular infrared sauna therapy sessions to be mindful to hydrate properly. This means drinking plenty of healthy mineral rich water before, during and after your sauna.
While infrared sauna therapy has the ability to powerfully detoxify the body through perspiration, the membrane of the skin does not discriminate between the shedding of toxins and also healthy minerals. For this reason be sure to drink plenty of nutrient rich fluids, such as coconut water.
If hydration is not increased as infrared sauna sessions increase, dehydration headaches may ensue. Be mindful to drink at least four quarts of water daily while using infrared saunas.
Children And Infrared Sauna Use
Children also benefit from infrared sauna use. The protocol used for a child is specific and must be followed with care. Three primary guidelines to use for children are as follows:
- Temperature Must Be Set Very Low (for example 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Children under 12 Should Keep Sauna Duration Less Than 15 Minutes
- Monitor Your Child By Joining Them In The Sauna
Older children can increase the temperature and duration of the sauna. Parents or guardians should be present to monitor the child’s time in the sauna. Children should never be left alone in the sauna, and always check with a medical practitioner before beginning an infrared sauna therapy program for your child.
Infrared Sauna Bathing: A Healthy Lifestyle Choice
Ultimately infrared sauna use is something that can be done daily or twice daily provided there is great care in building a foundation and maintaining positive hydration.
Individuals living with specific health conditions need to be mindful to keep temperatures low, duration short, and time between sessions longer. These same guidelines apply also to children.
For many adults, provided hydration is maintained, infrared saunas can be used daily, sometimes twice daily. Infrared sauna use will eventually become an integrated portion of your daily healthy lifestyle, so take your time building up a foundation.
**** Contraindication: Before beginning a regular infrared sauna program be sure to consult a medical practitioner.