If you know me well enough, you know I have NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease). You also know even though I’m a borderline wellness freak, I still drink wine and the occasional Jenna-friendly tequila drink (okay okay sometimes shot). Life is all about balance. Part of the balance for me is getting a good sweat in to detox my body. Here’s where is gets tricky. I live in SF and it — at least to me — is always freezing…making it really hard for me to get any sort of sweat going unless I’m doing a high intensity workout class. Here’s where the balance thing comes into play again. I can’t do more than one high intensity workout class a week or else my body freaks the fuck out. By that I mean my energy levels get thrown out of whack, my digestion tanks, and my inflammation goes way up.
So what’s a chronically chilly girl with chronic disease to do? INFRARED SAUNA SWEAT IT OUT DUH.
Now you might be wondering, what is an infrared sauna and how does it differ from a normal sauna?
Answer: Infrared saunas aka far infrared saunas use infrared waves on the light spectrum vs a traditional sauna which uses heat to warm the arm around you. The infrared sauna heats the body directly instead of just warming the air to warm you — are you with me? I hope so. The end result = a not as hot sauna, so you can stay in longer and reap more benefits. There have been some studies done about infrared saunas on chronic disease, but no real deal reporting // facts can be found online — insert eye roll — the good news is that no adverse effects have been found either. My thought? If you’re drawn to it and you think it will help your body. It probably will. That said, THERE ARE studies that prove sweating helps your body detox, and you will most def get your sweat on in an infrared sauna. Read on for more about my personal experience!
Let’s start this by reminding you, or letting you know if you’re not a long time reader. I’m SF based. SF has very temperate weather and it never gets HOT except for freak heatwaves a handful of days a year. With that in mind, for a very cold city we are seriously lacking in places to sweat. Good, clean spas in general are few and far between…and infrared sauna is even further. Luckily reboot has two locations in SF proper — one in my neighborhood (the mission!) and one in the marina and each have one infrared sauna. Because they each only have one infrared unit, I highly recommend that you book in advance. Don’t worry you know I have a code for you when you do. At check out simply enter NWLSWEATS or tell them when you’re in the store and you will save $5 off your sauna (and more on their more expensive services and packages).
From some digging online, I rounded up some top benefits one can expect to gain from regular infrared sessions —
Better detox. Infrared sauna-ing or any sauna sweat in general aids the body in detox but an infrared sauna sweat helps you rid approx. 7x more toxins than a typical sauna sweat*
More balanced hormones. The sweat can help bring cortisol to homeostasis as heat relieves tension in the body*
Less inflammation. Can reduce inflammation in body, reducing muscle aches and joint pain*
Improved circulation. The heat increases your core body temp thus increasing circulation in the body — especially great for chronically cold vatas like moi*
Clearer skin!* This comes with a caveat, be sure to go in with clean skin and tone afterwards other words, the sweat will induce opposite effects.
*courtesy of this MBG article
Soooo I set out on a little experiment. I partnered (for sauna trade in case you were wondering this is very not sponsored) with REBOOT to see what twice weekly infrared sauna sessions would do for MY own body. I already know I need all the help I can get in the sweat and detox department but the question was, how would it make me feel? SPOILER ALERT: it' made me feel great and I’m 100% hooked. It also majorly improved my skin. I’ve had minimal breakouts since starting this experient. Granted, I started this right after I got my mirconeedling done, so that begs the question, which came first? The chicken or the egg or was it just the perfect combination of it all? I guess the world might never know and the moral of my skin story is maybe just get microneedled every so often and continue to sauna 2x a week. In addition to a clearer complexion, I also noticed decreased anxiety (the light therapy in the sauna box I’m sure helped with this), as well as less digestive problems. I know that my body — especially my tummy — does better in a warmer climate. Everything just runs smoother. I have a hunch it’s from my body being more relaxed and breath flowing more easily. My trips with my ex boyfriend to Miami used to be my tune up but now I can just go sauna! The liver area is a little harder to see progress on as there is nothing visible to see unless I get an ultrasound, which I should go to as a check up actually — HOWEVER, my clearer skin, especially in the liver region (the area between your nose and cheek) has been totally clear which leads me to believe that the sauna sweat is doing something for me internally as well. We all know by now that anything going on internally will manifest itself on your skin — positive and negative.
So there you have it! Have you infrared sauna-ed before? Is it a must as part of your self-care? I know especially in the cooler months it is for me.
Sending healing vibes as always.