One of the most comprehensive, gentle and effective technologies currently available to detoxify the body is far infrared (FIR) sauna therapy. Now available in clinics around the world for this purpose, FIR can be safely used with children as young as two-years old when appropriate protocols are followed.
FIR saunas are used at temperatures between 100-130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than the temperatures utilized by traditional saunas. Traditional saunas raise the temperature of the air inside the chamber; in contrast, FIR saunas heat the body directly, allowing for deeper tissue penetration. In this way, the body receives the healthy benefits while avoiding the potentially harmful, extremely hot air of a conventional sauna.
FIR sauna therapy will cause a mild increase in core body temperature. Raising core body temperature is analogous to experiencing a slight fever, which is the body’s natural mechanism for destroying bacteria and viruses. FIR sauna therapy creates a process known as resonant absorption, which is said to occur when the frequency of the FIR matches the frequency of the water in the cells of the body. This causes sweating, one of the more effective and simplest ways for the body to excrete toxins.
Only some FIR saunas are specifically designed for therapeutic use. A true FIR sauna is designed to emit optimal FIR waves between 612 microns in wavelength. Look for this specification rather than just infrared (IR), which may emit waves outside the preferred FIR range.
Therapeutic-use FIR saunas must be made with nontoxic components and must have very low electromagnetic radiation (EMF)—ideally at or below 2 milligauss. Many traditional saunas are made of woods appearing on the list of toxic woods and emit much higher EMFs—some as high as 100+ milligauss. This is important since the last thing we want to do is add to toxic burden by using a sauna made with toxic materials and/or emitting potentially harmful EMFs.
A FIR sauna designed for therapeutic use will have emitters producing FIR waves of between 612 microns in length. These stimulate the various detoxification pathways in the body, including the liverdetoxification metabolic pathway, kidney filtration and elimination pathways, and lipidmobilization pathways leading to subcutaneous toxin release via sweat. FIR waves also have the ability to trigger the release of nitric oxide (NO) from the endothelial lining of the blood vessels; NO preserves blood vessel elasticity and enhances blood circulation. Optimal blood circulation is a key factor for healing virtually all health issues. Research indicates that regular FIR sauna use increases microcirculation, which enables blood to flow more easily throughout the body. Heat stimulates vasodilatation of peripheral blood vessels, bringing oxygen to joints and extremities, speeding the healing of sprains and strains, and relieving pain.
Since the heat generated by a FIR sauna will cause the body’s core temperature to rise, it also increases the heart rate. When the body has to work harder to lower its core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, more calories are burned, ultimately resulting in weight loss. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn as much as 600 calories.
While safe and effective, FIR therapy is not for everyone. Consult a medical professional before beginning a far infrared protocol if you have any of these contraindications: pacemaker; pins, rods or other implants; certain medications or conditions can be affected by the increased blood circulation/elevated body temperature; medicines applied by skin patches; pregnancy; or silicone implants.
Western Connecticut is home to at least six wellness centers offering far infrared sauna therapy services; some combine the FIR with complementary therapy to maximize healing effect.
Locations in Stamford and Norwalk
Offers FIR with color light therapy
Muktinath Holistic Center
Offers FIR and halotherapy (salt)
Salt of the Earth Sanctuary & Wellness Center
Offers a personal FIR unit which concentrates heat below the torso; offered in combination with color light therapy
Stamford Anti-Aging & Wellness Center
Offers FIR in a “body pod” with halotherapy (salt)
The Life Center
North Haven and West Hartford
Whole-Body Medicine LLC
Worden Wellness Center