New saunas will have you see­ing (in­fra) red

Sul­tans of sweat em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Pe­dro Ar­rais

SAUNAS that need no more power than a hair dryer and can be plugged into a reg­u­lar house­hold out­let are chang­ing the in­dus­try.

The ben­e­fits of in­duc­ing a heavy sweat in a sauna to detox­ify the body is well-known to cul­tures around the world. Most sauna afi­ciona­dos swear (and sweat) by tra­di­tional heated-rock saunas. But for peo­ple who can’t take the high heat en­vi­ron­ment (tem­per­a­tures range from 80 to 90 de­grees), saunas that are heated by in­frared waves now give peo­ple an al­ter­na­tive.

In­frared refers to a seg­ment of the light spec­trum — be­low red — in­vis­i­ble to the hu­man eye. This form of light/en­ergy nat­u­rally oc­curs in the form of the sun’s rays. Most of the heat from the sun is from in­frared waves. Th­ese rays heat ob­jects rather than the sur­round­ing air. The body nat­u­rally ab­sorbs the rays and is warmed by them.

In­frared saunas use in­frared heaters to cre­ate in­frared ra­di­ant heat to warm oc­cu­pants, un­like con­ven­tional saunas that heat the air, re­sult­ing in a milder en­vi­ron­ment. Both cause the hu­man body to heat up and per­spire.

Daily use of a sauna can help detox­ify the body and is ben­e­fi­cial for skin. Peo­ple most likely to ben­e­fit would be those with chem­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­si­tiv­ity. The heat is great for re­lax­ing mus­cles and re­duc­ing stress. As the heat in­duces a high rate of per­spi­ra­tion, proper hy­dra­tion is crit­i­cal so drink lots of wa­ter.

Neo­phytes should start off slowly as the heat can be stress­ful for some peo­ple in the beginning. As tem­per­a­tures rise, the heart rate can in­crease, so peo­ple with some med­i­cal con­di­tions should con­sult with a health-care pro­fes­sional be­fore use.

Be­cause they don’t re­quire an elec­tri­cian to hard-wire the units in place, the in­frared saunas on the mar­ket to­day are por­ta­ble. Easy-to-find sizes ac­com­mo­date one to four peo­ple. The smaller units use only 1,600 watts of power and can be plugged into a house­hold plug with a 15 amp cir­cuit (the most com­mon found in a house). Larger units may need an up­grade to a 20-amp cir­cuit.

Al­though they can be custom-made with in­su­la­tion and used out­doors, most in­frared saunas are meant to be in­stalled in­doors. Some are sold in pack­ages with pre­fab­ri­cated pan­els that the cus­tomer has to as­sem­ble.

While in­frared saunas have been in ex­is­tence for over 30 years, the mar­ket re­ally took off when the al­ter­na­tive health and well­ness prac­ti­tion­ers rec­og­nized the health ben­e­fits of the units about 10 years ago. In­ter­est in the saunas in­creased as prices dipped.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

The ben­e­fits of in­duc­ing a heavy sweat in a sauna to detox­ify the body is well-known to cul­tures around the world.

The iCom­fort in­frared home sauna.

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