Eighteen to 24 months ago I began my quest for finding the ideal home sauna. It wasn’t a quick process. There seemed to be conflicting ‘opinions’ out there, there was the space consideration, the cost consideration, and ultimately if I was going to do it I wanted the best set-up for my body possible. There are numerous very beautiful, what I would call fancy looking options out there, but none of that was as important to me as exactly what effect it was having on my body.
I had done my homework. I knew Sauna, capital S, was one of the most effective, widely efficacious, modalities to enhance just about every facet of my health. I knew I didn’t want to have to find a facility to drive to. I knew I wanted to partake of the ‘sauna bath’ as many times per week as possible. It was just down to…which one? And could I afford what I really wanted, which was the best one for my body. Wide spectrum? All wavelengths? Near infrared? Far infrared? Temperatures, etc.
Let’s back up just a bit. If you’ve heard of sauna, but never considered a personal purchase it may be because you aren’t aware of just what it delivers. I’m still blown away every time I re-open the research and more determined than ever to commit to regular exposure.
Sauna has been around FOREVER. Originating in Finland, the basic premise is to expose the body to extreme heat for a short time. It increases the body’s core temperature and the result is a widespread body response that, put very simply, positively changes every system in the body. The result in simple terms? You just flat out live longer. And better. Listen to this crazy research finding… frequent users of sauna ARE 40% LESS LIKELY TO DIE FROM ALL CAUSES. And these findings did not change even with considerations of age, lifestyle,exercise habits. Conditions studied specifically include, heart and vascular health (all conditions), cancer, cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, anxiety, depression, dementia, memory, Alzheimer’s disease (4-7 times per week resulted in a 65% decrease in presence of Alzheimer’s!!), insulin and glucose correction and stabilization, increased growth hormone, increased endurance in athletes, muscle mass maintenance after injury, massive detoxification of all heavy metals, plastics,industrial and agricultural chemicals, to name a few.
Now my intent is not to write a detailed medical paper here but to open your eyes to this little gem.
How on earth does it do ALL this?
Well, it turns out, exposure to these high temperatures and light waves, increases the body’s core temp…about 3 degrees.. and creates a hormetic effect. Hormesis is the stress response that sets off this cascade of protein manufacturing, and vast array of protective mechanisms that repair cell damage.
I know you’re dying to know. I chose a NIR (near infrared) sauna from SaunaSpace after a more than a year of research and comparing all the data and what different wavelengths did. FIR (far infrared is also effective but its wavelengths are absorbed by water and therefor their penetration into the body is not very deep. It works basically by creating a ‘hot box’ for you to sit in. NIR is the magic wavelength for inner penetrating radiant heating and the cellular repair mentioned above. The temperatures are lower in the NIR set up because of the penetrating effect. This means they are probably a little more comfortable. Now, I’m not going to lie to you…if you talk to someone else, they may disagree with this. You simply must do your own research and be convinced of which direction to take. I wouldn’t change a thing about my decision.
When I first got into mine for a session I was pretty cocky and thought 120ish degrees…pshhh no big deal! I can tell you it is an intense, fascinating and sacred experience to sit there as your body literally opens every pore and flushes a continual stream. Knowing what is happening biologically makes the process a labor of love. It allows for patience, and a enduring of the discomfort of being so warm you want to bolt from the enclosure.
I believe prices for different saunas range from maybe close to a thousand bucks up to 7 or 8 thousand. The model I saved for and purchased doesn’t take much room and is semi-portable (if dismantled), and was about $3,600.00. Considering the things we spend way more on that are mostly entertainment I think that is a very great investment. If you think you want to add sauna to your routine, do your research, listen to multiple ‘experts’, shop it. You’ll know what works for your budget, space, and needs.