As people age, it’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help avoid health complications. Exercise, diet, and good sleeping habits are crucial to staying healthy. Another activity that is gaining popularity for its potential health benefits is the use of infrared saunas.
But are infrared saunas safe for seniors? – While infrared saunas can provide many benefits for seniors, such as reducing joint pain, improving circulation, and promoting relaxation, there are some precautions that should be taken. Older adults should consult their doctor before using an infrared sauna, and limit their sessions to 15-20 minutes at a time.
Infrared saunas (aka far infrared sauna) use infrared radiation to create heat, which is believed to have several health benefits. But are they safe for older adults?
This article will explore the safety of infrared saunas and any risks they present for older adults and their benefits.
What Are Infrared Saunas?
Infrared saunas use light to produce heat, which warms the body directly rather than warming the surrounding air like traditional saunas. The heat penetrates the body, raising its core temperature and stimulating sweating.
The infrared spectrum used in these saunas is the same one the sun emits but without the harmful UV radiation.
Infrared saunas are known to have numerous health benefits, some of which include:
- Detoxification: Infrared saunas can help eliminate toxins from the body by increasing sweating and boosting blood flow. This can help remove heavy metals, chemicals, and other harmful substances from the body.
- Improved cardiovascular health: Infrared saunas (specifically the far infrared), helps to increase your core body temperature which then allows your blood vessels to expand. This helps to improve your circulation and lower blood pressure, leading to better cardiovascular health.
- Pain relief: Infrared heat can help reduce pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints. This makes it a popular choice for people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.
- Stress relief: Using an infrared sauna can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. This is thought to be due to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals.
- Skin rejuvenation: Infrared saunas can help improve skin tone and texture by increasing blood flow and promoting the production of collagen.
- Improved immune function: Regular use of infrared saunas may help boost the immune system and increase the body’s resistance to infections.
- Weight loss: Infrared saunas may help with weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate and burning calories. However, more research is needed to confirm this benefit.
There’s evidence that regular sauna use can help you avoid the common cold, says Dr. Young. Saunas also reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative diseases like dementia.health.clevelandclinic.org
Safety of Infrared Saunas for Older Adults
The safety of infrared saunas for older adults depends on several factors, including their current health status, medications they are taking, and any underlying health conditions they may have. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with a doctor before using an infrared sauna.
In general, infrared saunas are considered safe for most people. Unlike traditional saunas which use high temperatures, infrared saunas use lower temperatures, less likely to cause burns or skin damage.
However, people with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or low blood pressure, should avoid using an infrared sauna without first consulting their doctor.
When using an infrared sauna, it’s essential to stay hydrated. Drinking water before and after using the sauna can help prevent dehydration, which can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or even fainting.
Additionally, limiting the time spent in the sauna is essential to avoid overheating. Starting with shorter sessions and gradually increasing the time spent in the sauna can help the body adjust to the heat.
Safety Tips For Infrared Sauna Use
Regular sauna use has many potential health benefits, from improved circulation and better skin tone to relaxation. Regular sauna sessions may also help reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote overall well-being.
However, it is important to ensure that you are using the sauna safely and correctly in order to maximize these benefits.
When using an infrared sauna, it is important to follow some safety tips to ensure that you can enjoy its benefits without any adverse effects.
Here are some safety tips for using an infrared sauna:
- Start off slow: For your first time (and maybe a few times after that) only stay in the sauna no more than 15 minutes. If you begin to feel ill or dizzy, get up slowly and exit the sauna.
- Bring a buddy: It’s always a good idea, especially for older adults, to bring someone with you to a sauna session. Just in case you get ill or need help getting out.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after using an infrared sauna to avoid dehydration.
- Limit the duration of use: Start with shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increase the duration to a maximum of 30 to 40 minutes per session.
- Check with your healthcare provider: If you have a medical condition or are taking any medications, consult with your healthcare provider before using an infrared sauna.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: Do not use an infrared sauna while under the influence of alcohol or drugs as this can increase the risk of dehydration and other adverse effects.
- Monitor your body temperature: Use a thermometer to monitor your body temperature and stop using the sauna if you experience symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea.
- Don’t overheat: Avoid staying in the sauna for too long, as overheating can lead to heat stroke or other serious health problems.
- Use caution when exiting the sauna: Be careful when exiting the sauna, as you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Sit down for a few minutes and drink water before standing up.
- Use a sauna thermometer: It is important to use a thermometer to ensure that the sauna is not too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature for an infrared sauna is between 120°F and 150°F (49°C to 66°C).
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the benefits of infrared sauna therapy without any adverse effects.
Benefits of Infrared Saunas for Older Adults
Emerging evidence suggests that beyond its use for pleasure, sauna bathing may be linked to several health benefits, which include reduction in the risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases; nonvascular conditions such as pulmonary diseases; mortality; as well as amelioration of conditions such as arthritis, headache, and flu.mayoclinicproceedings.org
In addition to being safe, infrared saunas offer several health benefits for older adults. Here are a few:
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
Infrared saunas can improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. This can particularly benefit older adults at increased risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
2. Reduced Pain and Stiffness
Infrared saunas can help reduce pain and stiffness in joints and muscles, which can be especially beneficial for older adults experiencing age-related aches and pains.
Infrared saunas can help to detoxify the body by promoting sweating and eliminating toxins. This can be particularly important for older adults, who may have difficulty eliminating toxins from their bodies.
4. Improved Skin Health
Infrared saunas can help to improve skin health by promoting blood flow and increasing collagen production. This can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and can leave skin looking and feeling healthier.
5. Stress Relief
Infrared saunas can help promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can be particularly important for older adults dealing with various stressors, such as health issues or social isolation.
6. Improved Immune Function
Infrared saunas can help to boost immune function by increasing the production of white blood cells and improving lymphatic function. Because of natural decline with age, this may be especially crucial for the elderly.
7. Improved Sleep
Infrared saunas can help to promote better sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Those seniors who are having trouble sleeping as a result of age-related changes may benefit significantly from this.
Infrared saunas are generally considered safe for older adults, but it’s essential to consult a doctor before using one. They offer several health benefits, including pain relief, improved cardiovascular health, and detoxification.
If you’re interested in using an infrared sauna, start with shorter sessions and follow the tips outlined above to use it safely.
If you’re looking for more ways to stay healthy, consider checking out Hotworx, which offers a variety of workouts to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Their workouts are designed to be performed in an infrared sauna, which can provide additional health benefits. Visit their website at https://www.hotworx.net/workouts to learn more.