Sauna: the infrared sauna

When we talk about the sauna, we always think of Finnish or Scandinavian dry sauna. But did you know that there are many other forms of sauna?

Caldarium, tepidarium, laconium ... Also, we hear more and more about the infrared sauna. What is it ? What is the difference between different forms of sauna and how to practice them? Zoom on the sauna in all its forms.

The infrared sauna

Infrared rays transmit heat to the skin without contact. Natural sources of IR rays are fire and ... the sun! Indeed, the sun's rays are composed of UV rays and infrared (IR) rays.

While UVs are well known for the potential danger they pose to our skin, IR rays have the advantage of carrying mostly heat, thus providing various benefits to our body.

Important : the infrared sauna does not use UV rays, so it is not dangerous for your health!

In the infrared sauna, IR rays are used to warm the body (also known as thermal radiation). Unlike a wood-fired or electric sauna, the infrared sauna does not heat the room temperature of the cabin, but directly the human body, the rays can penetrate up to 3-4 cm in the body.

Also, the infrared sauna has many benefits to offer, but it is also contraindicated in some specific cases. Here is an overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of the infrared sauna:

The advantages of the infrared sauna

  • Many benefits are attributed to the infrared sauna, most similar to those of the traditional sauna: elimination of toxins, good blood circulation, reduced muscular tension, etc.
  • The infrared heat would cause a stronger sweating (3 to 6 times more!) Than a traditional sauna, thus increasing the benefits.
  • The infrared sauna could also lose weight .
  • IR rays can help treat or mitigate certain diseases, such as: skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis ...) or painful conditions, inflammatory diseases. It could even reduce cardiovascular risk factors (such as cholesterol and blood pressure) etc. However, these effects are insufficiently proven and discussed by scientists.
  • The temperature, between 30 and 45 ° C, solicits the heart less than the traditional sauna. Thus, the infrared sauna is a good alternative for people with poor heat.
  • The room temperature is closer to the body than in a traditional sauna, the infrared sauna allows longer sessions than the traditional sauna.
  • Practical side: the infrared sauna heats up faster than the traditional sauna and consumes less energy. Also, it is easier to install, cheaper and requires less maintenance. It is for this reason that the infrared cabin is the sauna model that is most often found in homes.

The disadvantages and contraindications

The infrared sauna is gaining ground, but it has long struggled to make room for the traditional sauna. The reason ?

For starters, some enthusiasts of the traditional sauna challenge the medical benefits of IR.

Then there is the fear that raises the word "radiation": the fear that the IR rays could finally be as harmful as the UV rays and to damage the skin (some impute to the infrared sauna of the harmful effects like the dryness of the scalp, the 'skin irritation).

If these adverse effects have not been scientifically proven, it is nevertheless important to recall some contraindications.

The infra-red sauna is contraindicated:

  • in case of pregnancy
  • in case of hemophilia
  • in people wearing a pacemaker
  • in case of joint injury (as long as symptoms of heating or swelling are present).
  • in case of infections (dental or other)

Other forms of sauna

From the Finnish sauna to the Greek sauna, to the caldarium, here are other forms of sauna for even more well-being and, of course, a health of hell!

Sauna formDescription
Finnish sauna
The Finnish sauna is THE classic sauna, with dry air and very hot: temperatures are between 80 and 100 ° C, while the humidity is very low, about 10%. Also, a passage should not last more than 5 to 8 minutes (10 to 15 minutes maximum for regulars familiar with their limits). As a general rule, 2-3 passes are enough, the important thing being to cool off and rest between the different passages. To provide a health benefit, we recommend 1 to 2 sessions per week.
Laconium / the "Greek" saunaLaconium is the little sister of the Finnish sauna: with a temperature of 55 to 65 ° C and a humidity of 10%, it is a kind of "light" version of the classic sauna. The passages should not last more than 5 to 20 minutes. 2 to 3 weekly sessions are recommended.
Tepidarium / the "lukewarm" bath of the Romans
In the tepidarium (from the Latin word "tepidus" = warm), the temperature is rather moderate and is between 30 and 40 ° C, with a moisture content of about 10%. Thus, a tepidarium passage can last 30 minutes or more. 2 to 3 sessions a week are recommended. Unlike the Finnish sauna, the tepidarium does not constitute an excessive cardiovascular load.
Steam sauna
In the steam sauna, temperatures are around 50 ° C, with 100% humidity. The various passages should not last more than 10 to 15 minutes and be interrupted by rest phases where the body can cool slowly, to stimulate the circulation. We advise 2 to 3 sessions per week.
caldariumThe caldarium is a kind of "moderate" steam sauna, and therefore softer for the cardiovascular system: the temperature is around 45 ° C, the humidity remains high. A passage can last up to 20 minutes. 2 to 3 weekly sessions are recommended.

Do you want to share, share your experiences or ask a question? Visit our FORUMS Body Care, Facial Care, Relaxation and Massage and our other beauty forums!

Read also :
> Oily skin
> I have dry skin: why and what to do?
> How to burn the calories absorbed?

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