Safety Tips/Infrared Heat – Yoga Strong

The sun acts as the earth’s primary source for infrared heat, where energy is transferred from the sun to any material it contacts. Heating methods can vary depending on how heat is transferred to a material and the way it distributes throughout the material. Infrared heating is transferred through thermal energy and uses conduction as its distribution channel.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_6529090_definition-infrared-heating.html#ixzz2uIrkTnAt

There is extensive research about the benefits of infrared heat from reputable sources (that can be found in any search of medical journals/basic internet search)_but we want to make sure our students are also aware of any dangers associated with it (listed below). Mainly the student needs to be aware of their hydration level before taking any hot yoga class, not just one that uses far infrared technology.

Any dangers of the infrared sauna are not related to the IR rays themselves. Far infrared rays do not carry the dangers that we associate with ultraviolet rays or x-rays.

• Overheating (heat exhaustion and heat stroke) • Dehydration • Using the sauna while drinking or after drinking alcohol • Depleting your electrolytes or minerals through sweating • The effects of mobilized toxins

Some Benefits of Infrared:

Increased and Improved CirculationWhen you heat your body, your heart rate increases.  This slightly increased heart rate induced by the heating of your tissues increases blood flow throughout the body improving your overall circulation.  Improved circulation leads to a myriad of benefits for your body that may include fewer aches and pains, fewer muscle cramps, better assimilation of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the foods you eat, and an overall feeling of well being.
Improved Skin Tone, Texture and Appearance
Increased circulation and regular removal of toxins gives your skin a richer, creamier, softer, and smoother tone and texture.  Increased heating and perspiration through better circulation pulls the toxins from the body through the skin.  Heat enlarges the skin pores allowing for easily removal of dirt and sweat.  Body cells heal faster and function better.  Washing away the resultant perspiration leaves the skin clean and rejuvenated (Black, 2007).

Acne Control
After the benefits of toxin removal, increased circulation, and better skin tone, acne will improve or even be eliminated for good.  The gentle heating of your skin with an infrared sauna opens your pores and helps your skin release dirt and grime.

Speed Healing of Cuts and Bruises
Cuts and bruises heal quicker after dead skin cells are sloughed off and toxins removed from your body.  Increased circulation helps remove the trapped blood left behind in bruised areas.

Helps Healing of Infection Sites for Diabetes 

Insulin dependent diabetics puncture themselves many times throughout the course of a day.  The sites often become bulged or hardened from the accumulation of white blood cells going to the site to heal.  It is almost as if each small injection site becomes a scarred area of the skin.  When the skin is heated and circulation improves to these areas, they heal quicker and the skin retains its smooth appearance and feel.  Improved circulation also helps the body assimilate and process insulin more effectively helping diabetics have more regular blood sugar levels.

Augment Weight Loss
Removing harmful substances through perspiration, increasing your heart rate, which results in greater circulation, all help your body strive to reach its highest potential.  You can enhance your weight loss efforts through healthy living, exercise, and removal of toxins.  Research demonstrates that the resultant perspiration from an infrared sauna session contains 90% toxins, and not just water loss.  Some studies liken 30 minutes of sauna usage to 30 minutes of average aerobic exercise.  Sauna usage does not replace exercise efforts; however, it does greatly augment your existing routines.

Ease Aching Muscles

The warmth of the sauna eases tense aching muscles and the pain of arthritis, bursitis, Fibromyalgia, or injury.  This enhanced relaxation and well being lasts well past the sauna use and helps you have a deeper, more restful sleep.

Enhance Heart Function
Infrared saunas are becoming one of the most efficient ways to help heart patients improve their heart function after a serious heart attack.  The gentle heating and consequent heart rate increase allows these patients to begin healing quicker.  The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported in their August 1981 issue:  “Regular use of a sauna may impart a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories as regular exercise” (quoted in Flickstein, 2000).  While Flickstein (2000) goes on to describe the benefits of far-infrared sauna use on cardiovascular conditioning during the 1980s (NASA) and early 1990s, it is important to remember that while cardiovascular strengthening does occur from infrared sauna usage, it does not replace physical muscular exercise.  It is helpful in maintaining conditioning in short periods following an injury or illness, or as reported by Flickstein (2000), for astronauts in space that cannot exercise.  Far-infrared sauna therapy is an excellent compliment to a well-established physical exercise programme.

Reduce Stress

Taking a short time away from the cares of the world in an infrared sauna can help reduce your daily stress.  This time allows your body to begin to function properly and your mind to relax from the stress and strains of your daily life.  It provides a quiet, reflective time for you, or a relaxing social environment for you and one or two others (depending upon the size of your sauna).

References

Biro, S., Masuda, A., Kihara, T., Tei, C.  (2003).  Clinical Implications of Thermal Therapy in Lifestyle-Related Diseases.  Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, pp. 1245-1249. Exp. Biol. Med. 2003;228:1245-1249.

Francis, R., Cotton, K.  (2002).  Never be sick again.  Health Communication, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA.

Hannuksela, M.L., Ellahham, S.  2001.  Benefits and Risks of Sauna Bathing.  American Journal of Medicine, 2001, Feb 1:110(2):118-26.

Leppaeluoto, J.  (1988).  Human Thermoregulation in Sauna.  Annals of Clinical Research.  Vol. 20 (4), pp. 240-3