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Last Updated on 14th March 2023
What Is An Infrared Sauna?
An infrared sauna is slightly different from your traditional sauna in that it uses infrared heaters to radiate the heat onto the surface of your skin. They have become very popular in the alternative medicine world and have additional health benefits than that of other more widely used saunas.
Sometimes known as infrared therapy the use of these saunas has been studied to help understand how our body heals and none more so than in the health benefits for women. Using traditional saunas has always been seen as good for breathing, weight loss, metabolism and fatigue amongst other widely held health benefits but the introduction of infrared saunas to us has opened up another world of well being and health positivity.
As the technology around infrared saunas increases and improves, so does our knowledge of their health benefits and overall well being.
Infrared saunas have tons of different health benefits. These benefits include:
- Pain reduction – even with chronic pain
- Improving mood and countering depression risk
- Potentially increasing recovery after workouts
- Enhance sleep quality
- Increase heart and blood vessel health
- Lower overall disease risk, such as for respiratory conditions, diabetes, and neurological diseases
- Improved detoxification through the skin
And much more. And, sure, both sexes enjoy increase well being from these health benefits. The problem, however, is that most of the research on infrared saunas is not explicitly aimed at women. Worse, some of the most important studies in sauna research have exclusively included men.
Women and men respond differently to saunas whether infrared or traditional saunas. Men don’t have a monthly cycle, so how they respond to exercise or saunas differs from that of women. So let’s explore that concept in more detail:
Cycle Syncing Your Infrared Sauna Sessions
By syncing your activities around the 28-day menstrual cycle, women can get much more benefit out of their health activities. For instance, during the last few years, it has become prevalent among women to match their diet and exercise with their menstrual cycle.
If you’re a woman, you’ll generally want to do more intense exercise and dieting during the first half of your menstrual cycle – the follicular phase.
The same is true for sauna sessions: if you’re on a detox program or trying to improve your overall health with saunas, it’s best to plan the most intense sessions during the follicular phase. Then, you can allow your body to slow down during the second luteal phase.
Let’s consider a few examples:
If you’re alternating a hot Finnish sauna for many minutes while taking cold baths in between, it’s probably best to do that during the follicular phase. Then, during the luteal phase, you might use that Finnish sauna at a comfortable temperature while doing meditation or yoga. Skip the cold baths in the luteal phase, and gently rinse your body with lukewarm water.
And there’s more:
Studies show that temperature regulation is different for women during the different phases of their menstrual cycle (1, 2, 3). Your body temperature will be higher during the luteal phase, both when measured at the skin level and the core body temperature.
During that already higher temperature you have during the luteal phase, it’s easier to reach an excessively high body temperature. That’s why the scientific literature warns of increased heat stress risk (such as a heat stroke) during the luteal phase and a decrease during the follicular phase.
Also, it’s important to consider other differences between men and women. Generally, women will sweat less than men because they’re smaller and have different sweating patterns. Depending on your goals, you can use this fact to your advantage.
If your goal is gentle detox, then the luteal phase would be an excellent period to emphasise that health benefit. Suppose your goal is maximum fat loss instead. In that case, it’s best to emphasise that goal during the follicular phase because your body temperature will be lower, and you’ll be able to sustain a higher heart rate for a longer period of time.
Next up, let’s consider these lessons from a slightly other perspective:
Conclusion: Love Your Cycle For The Most Health Benefits
Women are finally honouring that they’re different from men. As a result, cycle-based living has become really popular in the female biohacking scene. These cycle-based principles can also be applied to using infrared saunas: go easy on yourself in the luteal phase and push your body harder during the follicular phase. Of course, your body, mind and intuition have often told you that conclusion is true already, but fortunately, modern science also gives it more credence.
Regular infrared sauna treatments are an added health benefit to any women especially those on their menstrual cycle. Partnered with weight loss regimes and exercise, the use of these infrared saunas combines natural health and overall well-being.
If you’re interested in learning more, then check out home infrared sauna for informed advice by the experts.
1) Kaciuba-Uscilko H, Grucza R. Gender differences in thermoregulation. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2001 Nov;4(6):533-6. doi: 10.1097/00075197-200111000-00012. PMID: 11706289.
2) Baker FC, Siboza F, Fuller A. Temperature regulation in women: Effects of the menstrual cycle. Temperature (Austin). 2020 Mar 22;7(3):226-262. doi: 10.1080/23328940.2020.1735927. PMID: 33123618; PMCID: PMC7575238.
3) Marsh SA, Jenkins DG. Physiological responses to the menstrual cycle: implications for the development of heat illness in female athletes. Sports Med. 2002;32(10):601-14. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200232100-00001. PMID: 12141881.