Dear Infrared Sauna Industry:
I’m a traditionalist myself, but I will admit, I’ve been inside an infrared sauna or two in my day and it was an enjoyable experience. I can see the advantages of an infrared sauna. The low prices, easy assembly, quick heat up and localized heating all make it an option for many people who may not otherwise be able to enjoy a sauna. I get it.
Just please tell me, why do you insist on discrediting the sauna industry with lies? It damages all our credibility.
My point is illustrated by this quote from a business offering infrared sauna sessions that aired on a Fox affiliate a few days ago.
“If you sweat profusely, clinical studies show that you can burn up to 600 calories in a hour of being in there,” says [redacted].
The infrared sauna makes the same rays that come from the sun, but filters out UV radiation.
“The traditional saunas of the past go a half inch into the tissues,” [she] says. “This goes an inch and a half, so three times deeper. Even the sweat produced for this is different.”
That’s because the heat is different. The infrared sauna reaches temps up to 140 degrees and breaks up the water molecules that hold toxins in your skin. So when you sweat in here, you sweat toxins out.
Four paragraphs, lots of false claims. Let’s look at them:
“Burn up to 600 calories in an hour.” This is false. In a sauna, you don’t burn many more calories than you would otherwise sitting on a couch. You’re definitely not going to burn the same number of calories that you would during a strenuous workout on a stair climbing machine.
The truth is saunas do help with weight loss. Researchers don’t completely understand it, but regular sauna sessions help your brain better regulate your appetite to get your body back to a healthy weight. If you are overweight, the sauna will help you lose weight. If you are underweight, the sauna will help you gain it back.
“The infrared sauna makes the same rays that come from the sun…” This is partially true. All hot things give off infrared rays. Light bulbs, the sun, even your body now is emitting infrared rays to heat something in the room cooler than you. Infrared saunas use specialized heater panels to create their infrared rays, while a traditional sauna uses heating elements and rocks to create infrared rays.
“Infrared sauna radiation goes deeper into your skin than a traditional sauna.” Unfortunately, that is not true. Traditional saunas have, if anything, more sources of infrared radiation than a “pure” infrared sauna.
“The sweat produced is different.” True, but unfortunately not the way they would like you to think. Because the heat in the infrared sauna is lower and the heat is localized to the parts of your body closest to the heating panels, the sweat is less intense than in a traditional sauna.
“The heat is different” This is partially true. Infrared saunas use infrared heat only from special radiant panels. A traditional sauna heats with infrared heat from the stove, the walls and even the water vapor in the air surrounding you. In addition, the heat of the air directly transfers heat to you.
“The infrared sauna breaks up the water molecules that hold toxins in your skin” False! The heat of a sauna does not break up the water in your skin. It also doesn’t break up the fat in your skin. What all hot baths do is send blood from your internal organs to your skin to help keep your body cool. This changes your circulation and can help move toxins in your blood stream past specialized organs in your skin that will eject toxins as part of your sweat. These toxins are mainly metabolic wastes, but can include some other environmental toxins.
So, infrared sauna industry, you’ve made a big point of making claims which are nonsense, yet on closer inspection, turn out to be not that far from the truth after all. It would do us all a lot better if you came clean and purged your marketing material of this junk.
We’re all in this together. The more people who are aware of saunas and their legitimate benefits, will give you more potential customers. Sure some of them will choose to get a traditional sauna, but for those who don’t, you’ve got a pretty decent product for them.