Introducing the ultimate infrared sauna how-to guide. Follow the ten tips below to get the absolute most out of your infrared sauna session and maximise the many health benefits (1) infrared therapy is proven to bring.
1. Show us what you’re made of
Firstly, it’s always a good idea to check what materials your sauna is made from. A sauna should be a sanctuary of wellbeing, so avoiding anything toxic, such as chemical glues, paints, varnishes, plastic or cheap plywood (which can contain formaldehyde) is essential. We love SaunaSpace and Clearlight infrared saunas for their natural, non-toxic components; including eco-certified solid Canadian Cedarwood, Nordic Spruce, cotton canvas, bamboo and stainless steel.
2. Early bird or night owl?
Schedule your saunas according to your needs. First thing in the morning often helps people to focus on the day ahead, whereas an evening session can encourage a blissful night’s sleep.
3. Get the blood pumping
Anything you can do to dilate your blood vessels pre-sauna; perhaps a little yoga, or a gentle gym session, will prep your body for what’s to come, relax your muscles and work to enhance the benefits of your infrared sauna.
4. Start with a clean slate
Before you dive straight in, it’s important to ensure your skin is totally clean by rinsing off in a shower. Wash your face and fully remove any makeup, lotions, dirt or sweat so you enter the sauna fresh and with unpolluted, chemical-free pores.
5. How long to stay in?
Only stay in the sauna as long as you feel comfortable, but always try to sit it out at least until you break a proper sweat - as this is when the real health benefits kick-in. For most people, this will be around 15-20 minutes. Longer sessions of 30-45 minutes also work well, and will leave you feeling fully recharged and restored. Build up your time gradually as your tolerance increases. Some people swear by a daily infrared sauna, whilst others enjoy a few sessions a week.
6. Soak it up
The aim of the game is to absorb as much healing infrared light and heat as you can, so depending on the type of infrared sauna you’re using, position yourself so that the heaters are reaching as much of your body as possible. This might mean sitting up straight with the heat hitting the front and back of your torso, or rotating a ¼ turn every few minutes if you’re sat on a central stool with infrared bulbs only on one side of the sauna.
7. Let your worries drift away
How often do we get to sit calmly, in total peace, doing something that benefits our body? Use your precious sauna session to take time out of your busy day and allow yourself to relax. Enjoy the freedom from distractions and technology. To fully embrace the digital detox, you could try meditating, practising mindfulness, or simply breathing deeply and closing your eyes.
8. ALWAYS take a cold shower afterwards
So, you’ve successfully opened your pores, cleansed your system, got your blood pumping and sweated so profusely you’re glistening from head to toe. Now that you’re out, you need to close those pores and rinse away that sweat to avoid re-absorption of the toxins you’ve just worked so hard to release, meaning a post-sauna cold shower is absolutely essential.
If it isn’t washed away, excess salt, sebum and bacteria left on your skin can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Taking a cold shower will not only close your pores, but it will also boost your circulation; drawing the blood back to your vital organs and leaving you feeling reinvigorated and refreshed.
Why not try using an exfoliating body scrub or natural loofah as you shower for a little extra pampering and to remove any stubborn dead skin cells.
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
We can’t overstate the importance of staying hydrated - before, during and after your infrared sauna session. You’re going to sweat. A lot. So, making sure you keep your thirst quenched and your fluids up is crucial.
Drink water (preferably filtered or spring) before you enter the sauna, throughout your time inside, and when you leave too.
In order to replenish any electrolytes lost in sweating, you might also like to incorporate some rehydration salts to your routine - or make your own using a little raw honey and a pinch of salt (either himalayan or pure sea salt) dissolved in warm water. Rehydrating mineral drops can similarly be added to water to help rebalance your mineral reserves (such as potassium, sodium or zinc - which can all be excreted in sweat) as you drink.
10. Take a moment to readjust
Once you’ve rinsed off and cooled down (we recommend taking the same time you spent inside the sauna to get back to your core temperature), take a moment or two to readjust to your surroundings, ease yourself back into reality and acknowledge how you’re feeling. Maybe you feel a greater sense of clarity and focus, or perhaps you’re less anxious than when you arrived. Hopefully you’re feeling thoroughly cleansed, revived, relaxed - and, now that you know how, ready to do it all again!