The infrared radiations are artificially generated in these âinfrared saunasâ which are similar to that generated by the sun. They emit infrared radiant heat which is highly beneficial to the body.
Infrared is a part of the âelectromagnetic wave spectrumâ which falls under the âinvisible lightâ spectrum zone. The rays of these infrared lights are scientifically termed as âinfrared raysâ. The infra band is not visible to human eye, but its presence can be felt as it is perceived by our body in the form of heat.
Here, the heat production is done with the assistance of infrared heaters. This category of Sauna baths have the same environment as that of conventional sauna with the added benefits of the infrared radiations.
Benefits of infrared sauna over conventional sauna
Infrared helps in cell activation, increasing the metabolism rates and works as an antioxidant nutrient. It is also useful in faster healing of wounds and regeneration process of cells.
As compared to the conventional saunas, in the infrared sauna, the heat penetration is higher, which is about 1.5 inches into the body. This property is very advantageous in the healing of tissue injuries and other disease like arthritis.
These radiations also kill acne producing bacteria and helps in dealing with some special skin related disorders.
In infrared type sauna, preheating is not necessary which saves on time and electricity and the operating costs. Apart from this, infrared sauna directly heats up the body which means that the air around is comparatively cooler and more comfortable and the sweat produced is of the same level. Hence this low heat type is more useful to the people suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
In traditional sauna, heat is produced by indirect means, wherein first convection takes place and then conduction. Whereas in infrared type, heat is directly converted this keeps the body warm by penetrating up to greater skin depth.
HOW TO BUILD A SAUNA
With the increasing popularity of Saunas, and looking at the great health benefits that it has to offer, many people have shown interest in constructing their own Saunas.
Considerations to be kept in mind while building a sauna are the availability of required budget, space and the requirement of luxury.
The following parameters should be kept in mind while constructing a sauna:
It is important to choose the material of sauna as per the availability, comfort and the finance available. Sauna can be directly purchased which is available in the form of prefabricated cabins made of plastic, wood or glass. They can also be made by using stones or wood with the help of special tools.
Size is an important design parameter which depends on the requirement of the user. It depends on the number of users, space requirement for changing room, shower areas and most important of all, the space required for the heat generation stove or other machine.
Saunas are directly available in prefabricated forms which can be directly installed as per the instructions from the manufacturers. These can be even erected in few hours. Also there are special provisions made available to the customers to modify certain designs befitting their personal requirements.
Heat source is a critical factor in deciding the type of sauna required. The heat source used may be electricity, gas, infrared waves, wood, etc.
Electric stoves are widely used where economy is a consideration. As compared to wood, they can be cheaper as there is no cost of cutting and hauling. An added advantage is that it can be used in both indoor and outdoor saunas. Electrical connections are easily available and so there are no hassles in this type of sauna.
Using wood is quite obsolete these days as it requires large quantities of wood to be cut and transported and thus it can be more laborious. But wood has its own charismatic essence and produces a traditional environment and a soothing odour. But before selecting this alternative, it is important to check with the local regulations for the permission of the usage of wood stove.
Gas is comparatively cheaper than electricity and wood. So if economy is an important consideration, then gas can be used. The only disadvantage with gas is that it is necessary to check the emissions and test whether the carbon monoxide produced is within the permissible limits
Place of installation
The selection of heat source governs the location of sauna. If wood is a source, then it is essential that it should be outdoors and essentially near a place where wood can be properly stacked before consumption. If electricity is an option then it is more preferable to have it indoor where electrical connection is easily available.
Water supply is also very important while deciding on the place of installation. Indoor saunas require good plumbing and draining facilities. On the other hand outdoor saunas will also need plumbing unless water is to obtained from a pond.
Most of these options selected are purely based on convenience or budget considerations.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAUNA
Performance of skin and heart in Sauna
The skin temperature rises to about 104Â° F and that is why sweat glands produce perspiration. All the extra blood flows to the skin, thereby increasing the blood circulation in the skin layers.
The reaction of heart to sauna heat is also very high. The pulse rates have observed to be increased by about 30% which is almost double as compared to the normal pumping rate per minute. The blood flow in the veins and the capillaries decreases and so does the blood pressure. To keep this blood pressure normal, the heart has to undergo extra efforts to increase the heartbeats.
Saunaâs working mechanism on sweat glands
Sauna produces perspiration because of the rise in the surface temperature of the body. The sweat thus produced by the sweat glands is useful in regulation the body temperature, rejuvenates the skin and has excellent effects on the metabolism rate of the body.
Benefits of Sauna
The pores of the skin open under the extensive steam heat and get cleansed thereby improving upon the complexion and the texture of the skin. The blood vessels on the surface i.e. near the skin dilate and thus the blood circulation increases magnanimously. Along with the sweat, all unwanted materials and toxins are removed from the body which is another indirect advantage of sauna treatment. The dead cells are removed it and also helps in scar treatment by softening the keloids.
Sweating process increases the removal of harmful toxins from the body along with the sweats and so the impurities are flushed out from the body.
As a part of natural healing mechanism, fever is produced by artificial heat. This fever highly stimulates the production of WBC, antibodies and anti viral proteins which increases the efficiency of the immune system.
Fights against cellulite
It loosens the fatty acids and combats against the cellulites which are gel like lumps of fats and undesirable elements lying under the layers of skin.
Relief from arthritis
This technology has been effective in providing pain relief with those suffering from bursitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, headache, sprains, strains, and many other muscular-skeletal ailments.
Blood vessels expand and this process aids in bringing relief and healing to muscles. Metabolic waste products are carried off and increased blood circulation and delivers oxygen rich blood to oxygen depleted muscles, so they feel more energetic. Muscles relaxation is enhanced when tissues are warm and render greater flexibility to the tissues and cells. This in turn reduces the physical and mental stress thereby revitalizing the entire body. It calms the nervous system and reduces the overall psychological stress. It is also believed that it improves concentration due to the exposure to alternate heat and cold cycles.
It is a kind of passive exercise that is undergone by the body. It can burn upto 600 calories in half an hour. Although there is a considerable amount of weight loss initially due to the loss of water, the body regains its original water content and so this loss may be temporary. But due to cardiac and respiratory exercises and also due to sweat generation a considerable amount of weight loss can be observed in a longer run.
Benefits to liver and kidney
Apart from skin, it has soothing effect on other vital organs like liver and kidney. It helps in detoxification of some heavy metal which are present in the body like lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and fat-soluble toxins which reduces the load on the kidney and thus improves its performance.
Other benefits of sauna treatment are:
Helpful in fighting against some carcinogenic substances
Increase supply of oxygen to the tissues
Helps recover from cold, flu and improves disease resistance
Improves mental sharpness and concentration
Precautions to be taken
The result of sauna varies from person to person on the basis of temperature, the period and the frequency of its utilization.
Although Sauna has a tiring list of benefits, care should be taken if the bather is a pregnant, or has high or low blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, unstable angina, and advanced heart failure or heart valve disease or other special conditions.
It is desirable that such patients should consult a physician before starting the use of sauna. Saunas are also hazardous to individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Also it is advised that one should not stay in more than 20 min at a stretch. After each sauna, consumption of 2 to 4 glasses of water is recommended so as to cool down and to compensate the water lost in the form of sweat.
Sauna has a European connection having its roots from Finland. Finland is popular throughout the world for its lakes, reindeers and Saunas. Sauna is a Finnish word pronounced as âsow-nahâ meaning âbath houseâ.
Initially it was used as a steam bath house only in colder regions, but now with the changing times it has gained popularity worldwide due to the extra benefits that it offers to both - the body and mind.
As the history goes, Finns originally led a nomadic life. And for the purpose of hygiene, they used to construct such large baths.
The Finns did not merely use sauna as a means of their luxury, but they used it for physical and mental relaxation. They used it to rejuvenate their mind which would render them with more energy after a tiring dayâs work. It held high social value in the Finnish culture and was a place that contained sterilized and germ free environment created by the use of tannic acid in the smoke.
Sauna culture is more than 1000 years old. It has withstood the test of times and now it is well established method of body and mind relaxation. Apart from Finns, the ancient Romans are also linked with these misty bath houses. Sauna gained attention when some travelers were impressed by the Sauna baths and they penned down their sauna experience in their books. Thus, with the cultural exchanges going throughout the world in the medieval eras, helped Sauna gain its current popularity.
Sauna was also the only means of entertainment during the World War II. It formed an essential part of the military camps, where the war soldiers would find solace.
In olden days, the sauna was very different as compared to what it is today. Earlier, Sauna was constructed by digging the grounds and layering the surface with wooden logs. These were heated with steam by burning wood. The place was covered and had just a small vent to let out some steam. Thus the place was allowed to heat up and be filled up with smoke.
Today, with the advent of modern technologies, we have specially built Sauna chambers with better quality materials which render a luxurious feeling along with the healing effect. In spite of the revival in the construction of modern saunas, the philosophy of using steam remains the same.