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  • Why It’s a Good Idea to Stretch in Your Sauna

    Portrait of sexy woman stretching at sauna

    There are many health benefits one can experience from regular sauna use and some would say there are even more health benefits to be had from regular infrared sauna use. Either way, reaping the benefits from regular sauna use can be enhanced with certain activities, and we’ve got one in mind that anyone can do!

    One word: STRETCH. Stretching is one of the best things that you can do for your body, and it can be even better for you when done during a sauna session. Your stretching doesn’t have to be too extreme, even light stretching to loosen and extend your muscles is beneficial. When you combine the heat from your sauna with the effects of stretching your muscles, you’re increasing the health benefits for your body.

    Heat from your sauna helps to flush out lactic acid in your body, which helps release tension from your muscles. By stretching and sweating from the heat of the sauna, you are loosening up your muscles, increasing your flexibility, as well as flushing out this lactic acid. Whether you’re stretching in a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, you are bound to reap similar benefits.

    Stretching can be a relaxing form of exercise that works to improve your body as you burn calories. Although it is not an aggressive form of exercise, when you are in the presence of the heat from the sauna, your body has to work harder when stretching, increasing how much you are sweating and the toxins that are released from your body. Although this may seem like it has a relatively low-impact on your body, you’re likely to increase weight loss just by increasing the amount of time you take to stretch during your sauna sessions.

    With weight loss and the release of toxins, you are bound to improve the health of the systems within your body. Stretching is meant to be a relaxing form of exercise and it is often accompanied with meditation. As you stretch and feel better physically, you are more likely to let loose mentally and emotionally too, and give your mind a chance to relax along with your body!

    You’re less likely to put extra wear or tear on your muscles when you stretch in your sauna because your muscles are warmed up by the heat. This helps you avoid pulling muscles by over-extending them before they are warm enough. Your heart is also pumping well, as your blood vessels are dilated from the heat, bringing more oxygen to the muscles and in turn, helping them stretch better.

    From your insides to your outsides, stretching daily through your sauna session can lead to a lot of health improvements and benefits for your body. Your body is your instrument and it is extremely important to take care of it. Carefully try stretching in your sauna to see the difference it can make!

    If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of owning your own home infrared sauna, check out our selection, here! We even ship free to most major Canadian metropolitan areas!

     

  • Sauna Sound Therapy

    Sauna Sound Therapy Image by melintelinas via DeviantArt

    Many of our sauna models come with built-in speakers and mp3 inputs. While it's definitely nice to listen to your favorite songs while detoxing, did you know you can use these audio features to benefit your health? It's called sound therapy, and it pairs really well with sauna use.

    Check out our sauna models with built-in mp3 input.

    What is Sound Therapy?

    Sound therapy is the use of any kind of sound to achieve a number of different health benefits. These sounds can be songs--often classical or instrumental music is used, but mellow vocals are also suitable. Sound therapy can often use natural sounds such as rain, trickling water, bird song and so on. Lastly, sound therapy sometimes uses white noise or repetitive sounds such as beeping , chanting, or ringing noises. Regardless of the type of sounds used, it should suit the desired effect.

    What are the Benefits of Sound Therapy?

    The benefits of sound therapy are extensive, ranging from alleviating anxiety to losing weight to developing social skills. Here are just a few of the many ways to use sound therapy:

    • Reducing anxiety
    • Relieving pain -- Songs with personal meaning especially can help reduce pain. Perhaps this is one reason why we listen to music after a break up?
    • Losing weight -- Listening to music while eating slows the rate at which you eat, which causes you to feel fuller while eating less. It can also make your food seem to taste better.
    • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increasing blood pressure and heart rate
    • Increasing endorphin levels
    • Relieving muscle tension
    • Improving motor skills
    • Rebuilding physical patterning skills
    • Improving immune function
    • Sharpening mental acuity
    • Assisting in relaxation
    • Enhancing memory and learning
    • Increasing concentration

    And if that's not enough, here's an even bigger list of benefits: http://www.soundtherapyperth.com/benefits/

     

  • Alleviating Restless Leg Syndrome with Infrared Sauna Therapy

    320px-Gray827

    What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Restless Leg Syndrome, or Ekbom's Syndrome, is a neurological condition characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs. Sufferers describe these sensations in a variety of ways: like insects crawling inside their legs, as burning or tugging sensation, or like someone is tugging on their leg muscles. The severity can range from merely uncomfortable to extremely painful. There is usually an uncontrollable urge to move the legs in order to experience some relief. Individuals with RLS can experience injuries due to the need to move their legs, can have their ability to walk disturbed during an episode, and often have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

    Women, overweight individuals, and older individuals seem to have higher rates of RLS, and it appears to be genetic, as well.

    What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Doctors believe RLS may be caused by dopamine imbalances in the brain, and it is thought that sodium levels in the body may also play a large part. Some individuals report increased episodes of RLS after ingesting large amounts of salty foods, and decreased episodes when they abstain from or decrease salt in their diets. There are other factors as well, including hormone levels. It is an issue that likely has multiple factors.

    How is Restless Leg Syndrome Treated?

    Current treatments usually include prescription medication, such as Dopaminergic Agents (which regulate muscle action), Benzodiazepines (which suppress muscle action), and Opiates (which cause relaxation). Sufferers are also advised to increase the iron in their diets, as iron is essential in the creation of dopamine.

    Many people with RLS also increase their intake of other nutrients and vitamins, such as magnesium, and take estrogen to balance their hormone levels.

    Many also use hot tubs, heat pads, and saunas to help alleviate symptoms.

    How Do Infrared Saunas Help Alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Many RLS sufferers report that their symptoms decrease when they undergo detoxification, either through diet, sauna use, or a combination of the two. There are a few reasons why saunas are helping:

    • Sweating cleanses the body of toxins and salt. High sodium levels seem to worsen RLS, so sweating them out appears to decrease episodes.
    • The high temperatures of a sauna create heat stress in the body, which causes it to release dopamine. This may alleviate dopamine imbalances in the brain and, thusly, alleviate RLS symptoms.
    • Saunas relax the body and mind, and when used an hour or two before bed they help create a deep, restful sleep. The relaxation of the muscles alleviates much of the muscle soreness RLS sufferers experience, and the deep sleep is something most RLS sufferers don't get often enough.

    Check out our line of infrared saunas here and get relief from your RLS symptoms!

    Do you suffer from RLS? Have you found saunas to be useful in alleviating symptoms? Tell us in the comments below!

  • The Runner's High Explained

    This article is Part Four of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

    --------

    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Runner's High (10:11)

    It's a common report among runners: they push themselves through a long and tough run, and then afterwards find that they feel really really good. Like maybe too good, as if chemically altered. This "high"--or euphoria--is sometimes mistakenly thought to be caused by endorphins, but it's not. Well, not really.

    What happens is this: during a run, your body releases dynorphin, which is the opposite of endorphin. While endorphins make you feel good all over, dynorphins actually create a feeling of dysphoria. These dynorphins essentially "reboot" your system, making you more sensitive to endorphins.

    You can get this "high" effect from activities a release of dynorphins, such as exercise, eating really spicy food, and--you guessed it--heat stress, such as you experience from a sauna session.

    So if you'd like to experience this euphoria without having to run a marathon, have a seat in a nice hot sauna!

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part Three of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

    --------

    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Brain Function (8:05)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning through regular sauna use:

    1. Neurogenesis is increased. Neurogenesis is the creation of new brain cells.
    2. There is improvement in learning and memory. The brain's ability to learn new things and retain memories increases.
    3. Focus is improved. The ability to sustain concentration during a mental task is increased.

    What Happens in the Brain During Sauna Use (8:14)

    Regular sauna use causes a 3-fold increase in norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is the hormone and neurotransmitter most responsible for focus and attention and other cognitive functions. The increase in norepinephrine levels means a greater ability to focus and pay attention, as well as an increased capacity for storing information for later use (memory).

    Norepinephrine is often given in drug form to treat ADHD, so it is suggested that increasing the levels more naturally through regular sauna use can relieve symptoms of ADHD and similar disorders.

    Levels of the hormone prolactin are also increased, by a whopping 10-fold. Prolactin encourages myelin growth. Myelination is the formation of myelin around nerve cells. This process enables faster transmission of information and allows for more complex brain functions. More prolactin = more myelin growth = faster, more complex "executive" thought processes that exhibit as improved planning, decision-making, and reasoning skills, as well as improved impulse control and self-discipline.

    Read This Part--It is Extra Amazing (9:14)

    The stress of the heat during sauna use increases the amount of brain-derived neurotophic factors (BDNF) released (when combined with exercise). BDNF is amazing stuff. Increased BDNF levels do the following:

    1. increase the growth of brain cells
    2. increase the survival rate of existing brain cells (they live longer)
    3. improve learning and retention
    4. reduce depression and anxiety related to early life events
    5. improve the ability of muscles to repair themselves throughout the body

    That's pretty amazing stuff.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part Two of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

    --------

    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Muscle Building (4:40)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning through regular sauna use:

    1. The production of heat shock proteins is induced. Heat shock proteins repair muscle damage, convert amino acids into muscle tissue, and increase muscle density.
    2. Growth hormone levels are boosted. Growth hormone is responsible for cell growth and regeneration, and increasing muscle and bone density.
    3. Insulin sensitivity is improved. Insulin is a protein critical to muscle building.

    Muscle Mass Gains Through Sauna Use (6:30)

    It was found that two back-to-back sauna sessions at 80 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes boosts growth hormone levels two-fold.

    Two sauna sessions for one hour per day for a week cause a 16-fold increase in growth hormone levels. That's huge!

    And You'll Live Longer, Too (7:38)

    And if that's not enough, it was also found that heat stress, such as through sauna use, boosts lifespan by as much as 15%.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use

    This article is Part One of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

    This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.

    --------

    Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

    Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

    1. increasing endurance capacity
    2. increasing muscle mass
    3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
    4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

    Refer to 1:08 in the video.

    The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Endurance (1:49)

    The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. blood flow to muscles is increased, delivering nutrients and reducing dependence on glycogen stores during periods of activity, such as running
    2. blood flow to the heart is increased, reducing strain and heart rate, which allows activity to be maintained over a longer period of time
    3. blood flow to the skin increases, which aids in heat dissipation and helps keep the body's core temperature lower

    Endurance Gains Through Sauna Use (3:22)

    It was discovered that twelve 30-minute sauna sessions twice a week after an intense run led to a 32% increase in the distance run before exhaustion was reached, as well as a 7% increase in plasma volume and a 3.5% increase in red blood cell count, which aids in oxygenating muscles during exercise.

    Heat acclimation through regular sauna sessions can help athletes improve overall endurance, particularly for cardio-related activities.

    Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

    1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
    2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
    3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
    4. The Runner's High Explained
  • Cold Plunges and Saunas

    cold plunges and saunas photo by Math at hu.wikipedia

    Cold and cool water plunges have long been a popular part of using a sauna. Users often  cool off in a shower or pool throughout their sauna session and afterwards. In warm weather, sessions may begin with a cold rinse. Cold plunges are not to be confused with polar plunges--cold plunges are usually kept around 50 to 55 degrees, and polar plunges are usually at freezing temperatures.

    Cold Plunges Have Been Around a Long Time

    The history of cold plunges go all the way back to the fifth century B.C.  Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks all used cold baths for health reasons. For more than 1000 years, Scandinavians have taken post-sauna plunges and plunge pools have been used as part of treatment in Chinese medicine.

    What are the Health Benefits of Cold Plunges?

    Cold plunges are used by sauna users and athletes alike for their rejuvenating benefits. It is believed that cold plunges have the following health benefits:

    • The cold shock causes the body to release norepinephrine--a stress hormone and neurotransmitter--and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), which causes a sense of invigoration.
    • Going from hot to cold elevates the pulse rate and increases circulation.
    • Following a sauna session with a cold shower has been shown to reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain and improve circulation, which reduces vasoconstriction and hypertension.
    • Cold immersion improves the body's antioxidant capabilities and increases white blood cells.
    • The body's resistance to respiratory infections improves .
    • Recovery time from exercise aches and pains is reduced.
    • Immersion in cold water causes the release of cytokines and other chemicals that can boost the immune system.
    • The cold water activates nerves in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary muscles like the heart. Repeated use of cold plunges can stabilize blood pressure.

    Cold Plunges are not for Everyone

    Rapid temperature changes can shock the system, which makes cold plunges potentially dangerous for some individuals. People with cardiac problems and blood-pressure issues, as well as pregnant women, should avoid cold plunges.

     

  • Sauna Suits: Do They Work?

    sauna suits do they work copyright Kullez via Flickr

    Do you wish you could wear your sauna? Or maybe you don't have a sauna yet and you'd like to access some of the benefits of one in a way that lets you run errands at the same time. Is a sauna suit the answer? And do they really work, or do they just look space-tastic?

    Britney Spears was recently spotted sporting  a sauna suit while running around town, so there's been some renewed interest in these workout clothes. Let us lay down some knowledge on you about them:

    What is a Sauna Suit?

    A sauna suit looks like a spacey sweat suit. It's made of waterproof fabric such as PVC or coated nylon cloth. Typically, there's a pullover jacket and drawstring pants, and the waist, neck, wrists, and ankles are all elasticated to keep in heat and moisture.

    Why Do People Wear Sauna Suits?

    Sauna suits are often worn by professional or competitive athletes who have weigh-ins, such as boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers. These athletes often need to fall into specific weight classes, so they need to keep a strict control over their exact weight. Wearing the suits can help them shed a lot of weight very quickly.

    However, these suits are becoming increasingly popular outside professional athletics. Many people use them in their workout routines to lose weight fast.

    How Do Sauna Suits Work?

    Sauna suits prevent sweat from evaporating. This causes your body temperature to elevate and stay elevated, which leads to additional sweating. All that lost water leads to immediate weight loss. However, it is important to note that the lost weight is water, not fat, and it will be regained soon after you rehydrate.

    Are Sauna Suits Safe?

    While sauna suits certainly lead to weight loss, people who use them run some serious health risks. Because the body sheds so much water, it becomes dehydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, and kidney damage--in extreme cases, it can even cause organ failure. Not allowing the body to cool naturally can also lead to heat stroke. In certain conditions, using sauna suits could even lead to death.

    Sauna suits should never be used while doing extreme exercise, in hot conditions, or in a sauna. Individuals with certain medical conditions should also refrain from using them.

    So Should I Use a Sauna Suit or Not?

    The short answer: no. You shouldn't run the health risks of a sauna suit for the short-term weight loss it provides.

    Losing weight and being healthy is not really about the numbers on your scale. A person who weighs 200 pounds but is healthy and has good muscle tone is going to look leaner and stronger than someone who weighs 200 pounds but is eating poorly and has excess body fat. Same weight, different appearance entirely. Losing water weight rapidly is not going to make you look better, feel stronger, or be healthier. It's simply going to dehydrate you, and you will gain it all back quickly.

    A much better option is to focus on a healthy diet and an exercise routine that includes cardio and building muscle. Supplement such a lifestyle with weekly or bi-weekly sauna use in an actual sauna to flush toxins out of your system. Drink plenty of water. The results can be very quick with a regular routine, you won't gain it all back, and you'll be healthier.

     

  • Sauna Meditation

    Sauna Meditation Stillness and clear mind, by Alice Popkorn
    "Meditation" and "mindfulness" are terms we hear a lot nowadays. Once the purview of more exotic Eastern cultures, they are now firmly entrenched in Western societies and are considered important elements of a healthy lifestyle. Combine meditation with sauna use and you have a recipe for achieving harmony in your mental and physical health.

    What Can Sauna Meditation Do For Me?

    Meditation has physical benefits as well as mental health benefits. Here is a list of 100 things meditation does for you. A few of my favorites are:
    • It increases exercise tolerance.
    • It reduces anxiety.
    • It boosts the immune system.
    • It lowers cholesterol levels.
    • It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved moods.
    • It increases concentration and focus.
    • It reduces instances of insomnia.

    How Do I Meditate in the Sauna?

    It is very easy to slip into a meditative state in a sauna: the increased temperature causes physical relaxation, which promotes introspection and a sense of calmness. This leads to an altered state of consciousness. You become hyper-aware of your body and of every drop of sweat on your skin, of sensations you might typically ignore. This hyper-awareness is the doorway to the meditative state.
    If you're new to meditation, here's how to start:
    1. Sit upright, but not stiffly, with your back against the sauna wall. Place your hands softly in your lap.
    2. As your body adjusts to the temperature, allow your eyes to fall closed. Breathe through your mouth. Pay attention to the sensation of breath moving in and out of your body.
    3. Relax your body. Think about stress leaving your body with every drop of sweat. If you feel any part of your body becoming tense, focus on softening the muscles in that area, letting them relax.
    4. Relax your mind. Let thoughts and worries leave your body with the sweat. If you feel thoughts surfacing, let them fall away. Try to make your brain feel "soft". If you have trouble with this, try to focus your thoughts on the way the air feels around you, or on your breathing.

    Eventually you want to get to a state of perfect relaxation, with your body breathing softly and your brain unthinking. Let sensations and thoughts pass through you. Allow none of them to stop and settle in your muscles or your mind.

    Meditation Aids

    Some people find it helpful or pleasurable to use meditation aids to facilitate a state of relaxation. Aids include:

    Music--Soft classical or instrumental music can relax without distracting. There are many CD compilations and mp3 playlists specifically for meditating. Buddhist chanting is also popular. Many saunas have built-in CD players or mp3 outlets, which are preferable to wearing headphones or earbuds: sauna temperatures could ruin electronics not designed for sauna use and having the devices on your person could distract from meditation.

    Aromas--Certain aromas can contribute to relaxation and aid in meditation. Other aromas can be quite stimulating, so choose aromas with care. Popular choices includes herbs such as sage and cedar. Korean saunas like to incorporate mugwort. You can sprinkle herbs onto the sauna rocks, warm them in a metal pan set on the heater, or hang them from the ceiling. Take care they don't burn, as the smoke will be unpleasant and could damage the sauna. Another option is essential oils, which can be mixed with the sauna water and poured over the rocks. Lavender and chamomile are popular essential oils and are conducive to relaxation. Oils can also burn, so use them carefully. Mix the oil into the water outside of the sauna, as bottles should never be taken into the sauna.

    Color--Though your eyes will be closed, the color of your surroundings will have a subtle effect on your ability to relax and meditate. Certain colors are known to stimulate or subdue. Many sauna models come with color therapy lighting options. Choose blues or purples for the most relaxing effect. Never take lights or light gels into the sauna that are not designed for sauna use.

    Protips

    • Meditation take practice. If you find you are having trouble relaxing and emptying your mind, keep trying. Practice daily for a few minutes at a time and build up to longer periods of meditation.
    • Do not meditate alone or, if you do not have a meditation partner, set an alarm for yourself. You do not want to inadvertently fall asleep in the sauna, as that can be very dangerous.

     

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