Infrared saunas are thought to have originated from research done by NASA in the sixties or eighties – depending on which web site you read.
I’ve looked at the NASA products spin-off database from their developments for space flight and I can’t see any references to producing the far infrared sauna.
However, digging a bit further I found an article by Dr. Aaron M. Flickstein titled “Research on Far Infrared Rays”. In it Dr. Flickstein notes that,
“Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical, received a patent in 1965 for a zirconia ceramic infrared heater used in the first healing infrared thermal systems.”
He then goes on to say that only Japanese medical practitioners used infrared systems for 14 years. Until 1979 when they were released for public use.
Infrared therapy was further refined and started selling in the USA around 1981.
So it is conceivable that NASA began using it for astronauts in the mid 1980’s as some sauna web sites claim.
If you want the full detoxification benefits of an infrared sauna it is important that you use it the right way.
An infrared sauna heats tissues to a greater depth compared to a conventional sauna. So you do need to decide whether to get checked out first before your infrared sauna session.
People Who Should Check Before Using An Infrared Sauna
If you’re on prescription medication you should check with your doctor and pharmacist whether the drug’s effectiveness is reduced by heating with far infrared.
If you have a specific ailment you must talk through with your doctor exactly how you intend to use an infrared sauna. There may be no problem, however your doctor may be aware of certain diseases that should not be heated higher than your “normal” core body temperature.
If you have silicone or metal implants or heart monitors or pacemakers it makes sense to check with your doctor whether heating with infrared heat will affect it, and you! Of course in the unlikely event that you feel any pain stop using the sauna.
Using an infrared sauna shouldn’t cause pain. If it does you need to stop the session and either see the doctor or assess where the pain is coming from. Only resume the sauna sessions when you’re completely satisfied that the cause of the pain has been removed.
People Who Should Not Use An Infrared Sauna
If you’ve an internal infection, such as a tooth cavity, a joint injury or other infection you should wait until they have healed before using the infrared sauna.
Pregnant women are wise to stop taking saunas until after birth as the infrared sauna does heat down to a deep level of tissue. It’s not worth the risk to the unborn child.
If you’re prone to excessive bleeding you should avoid infrared saunas. This is because heating causes vasodilation which in the majority of people is beneficial in haemophiliacs and others with a higher risk it can increase the likelihood of bleeding.
Who Benefits From An Infrared Sauna?
Atheletes, footballers, golfers, in fact anyone who has an active life style. What’s more the infrared sauna can promote faster healing of sprains and other injuries (leave 48 hours before using the sauna to allow swelling and heat to reduce from the injury first).
Infrared heat will help recovery, with or without injury because:
1) Infrared heat increases the extensibility of collagen tissues
2) Infrared heat reduces stiff joints
3) Infrared heat reduces muscle spasms
4) Infrared heat helps with pain relief
5) Infrared heat increases blood flow to promote healing.
So it’s also useful for people with arthritic conditions and also with leg or body ulcers because of the deeper penetrating heat and the ability to get the blood flowing faster.
Skin conditions such as eczema, acne, nettle rash Psoriasis and even blocked pores are all helped by infrared sauna therapy.
There is quite a list of medical conditions that are all alleviated or improved with infrared sauna therapy.
It’s certainly helpful when it comes to reducing feelings of stress as you’re gently warmed by the infrared sauna. Maybe you should give it a try?