How to Choose the Right Sauna for Detoxification
I’m noticing a lot more interest in far infrared saunas these days. Hooray! This is a big step in my opinion because sweating plays a significant role for staying well in the face of all that we are exposed to. Saunas can be used for detoxification but also for general wellness. When my kids get sick or start to show the slightest sign of cold symptoms, I put them in the sauna. When I can’t sleep, I sit in my sauna for 30 minutes, even if it’s 4:00 am, and then I can peacefully drift back to sleep. When you don’t know what to do for your stress, you get into the sauna, and it forces you into the parasympathetic state where it is hard to have a care in the world. And especially if you have a chronic disease or condition, the sauna can be an important tool to staying well.
There are many brands of saunas and materials used in saunas on the market and thus, many decisions to face when doing your research. Here is the breakdown:
Types of Saunas
- Near Infrared Saunas – The near infrared wavelength is most beneficial in cellular health, cellular immunity, wound healing, skin purification, and pain relief. As a typical rule, near infrared will not penetrate deep enough into your skin to be majorly beneficial past the surface.
- Mid Infrared Saunas – The mid infrared wavelength is most commonly associated with pain relief, improved circulation, and weight loss.
- Far Infrared Saunas – Far infrared penetrates deep into the skin, muscle tissue, and even the organs, giving your body a full-range of health, healing, and wellness benefits. Because of this, you get better blood-flow, as it is not limited to the outer layer of skin. Instead, your blood flow is increased throughout your body and organs to give the best overall health advantages.
- Full Spectrum Saunas – This has become quite the buzz around the industry. A full spectrum sauna has the wavelengths of near, mid, and far all in one sauna. Far infrared will do the same thing near and mid frequencies will do just at a slower rate. If you were to sit in a far infrared sauna for at least 30 minutes, the benefits from the other two spectrums would be achieved. In reality, a far infrared sauna will produce near, mid, and far. No “full spectrum” is needed.
There are many brands of saunas and materials used in saunas on the market, which means making lots of decisions when doing your research.
- Poplar – My guidelines are generally to find one that is made of poplar wood, if possible. No off-gassing of volatile oils, which can be found in hemlock and cedar saunas. Poplar is a very hard wood and warps less and cracks less than other wood construction saunas.
- Hemlock – Hemlock is the inferior wood for sauna construction, and researchers received many complaints of durability, warping, and cracking. Floorboards seem to be the largest issue, either bending or cracking upon standing.
- Cedar – Cedar is non-toxic and repels fungi and bacteria, but certain health conditions can be irritated by the scent of cedar paneling. There are a couple manufacturers that minimize these effects.
- Spruce – This wood is generally non-toxic, safe, and durable. Spruce, in particular, has been reported to cause skin irritation and asthma-like respiratory effects in 17% of users. Knots can cause warping within a heated environment.
In a recent survey of 10,000 sauna owners, 23% said they experienced floor bending and cracking with standard use. 38% of hemlock or comparable low end wood is stained and sold as cedar, and 46% said they experienced warping, cracking, or bending within the first three years of ownership. (Source: http://www.infraredsaunafoundation.org/research.html)
When purchasing a sauna there are likely three options for the heating element in the sauna:
- Benefits: Low EMF, produces far infrared, and safe to operate.
- Concerns: Safety is a concern as the coils coupled with poor engineering can cause arching and resistance build up.
Dual Wave Technology
- Benefits: Low EMF, 360 full circle heat, and safe to operate
- Concerns: Testing reveals that this is the only type of heater in a far infrared sauna recognized by the standard in electrical safety; thus there is little risk of fire and no safety concerns.
- Benefits: Low EMF, 360 full spectrum surround heat, and safe to operate
- Concerns: Fire danger is manufacturer dependent.
Maintenance and repair
Find one that has simple mechanisms so that if something goes wrong the manufacturer can send parts, and a local handyman can repair it for you.
When you bring your sauna home, have a qualified electrician assess whether you need to be concerned about any electrical issues with your sauna or electrical outlets in your home. Make sure you have an electrician evaluate the electrical connections, especially if you purchase a used sauna. Some companies recommend unplugging your sauna when not in use. House fires caused by infrared saunas do happen; so, proceed with caution.
Find one that fits the size of your home and your family. If you live alone, you will likely not need larger than a one-person sauna. If you have two or more people at home, look for a two-person sauna, although, truthfully, you will likely never all be in there at the same time.
According to the previously mentioned survey, they found that purchasers were unhappy with their purchase if it was $1,500 or less. Life expectancy of a sauna in this price range was 1-2 good years or in some instances, 1-2 months before it caught on fire. Researchers have received hundreds of pictures of burnt saunas, and guess what price range they were all in?
According to the survey, 67% of people who purchased their sauna online were unhappy with their purchase. 62% of sauna purchasers felt they should have spent more money for a higher quality infrared sauna and 43% wish they would have purchased from a company that specializes in saunas.
There are many things to take into consideration before buying a sauna, but most importantly, you must find the one that is right for you and your home. For more information about infrared saunas, you can find unbiased and helpful guidelines before you purchase through the Infrared Sauna Foundation.
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