Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Let's talk about infrared saunas.

  • If you haven't heard about them, you soon will.

  • Much like the Kardashians, the craze started in LA, and now they're all over the place.

  • I'm Zoe Foulkes, and this is According To Science.

  • From "Harper's Bazaar" to "Sports Illustrated" and even "National Geographic", infrared saunas are one of the hottest health trends,

  • and have attracted celebrity fans like Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Chelsea Handler.

  • Infrared enthusiasts make a lot of health claims about the practice, from detoxification to anti-aging and weight loss.

  • So, what are infrared saunas?

  • Do they really work?

  • First, the idea of sweating as an act of purification or well-being has been around for thousands of years.

  • From ancient Greece and Rome to the temazcal, also known as "house of heat" in Mesoamerica, to the culture of saunas in Finland, which is where the word sauna comes from.

  • With traditional saunas, wood or electricity is used to warm the air in a small room to around 160 to 190 degrees.

  • The intense heat makes you sweat and increases your heart rate, which is thought to have many health benefits, similar to moderate exercise.

  • A study of middle-aged Finnish men showed that being in a sauna two to three times a week lowered heart disease risk by 23 percent.

  • So, you might be wondering, how are infrared saunas different?

  • Well, they use infrared light to heat the body from within rather than heating the external air.

  • The appeal is that infrared saunas can produce effects similar to traditional saunas but at a lower and much more tolerable temperature of 110 to 120 degrees.

  • The claim is that because the light penetrates the skin more deeply than a traditional sauna, more sweat is produced and, among other health benefits, more toxins are released.

  • Experts point out that there is no evidence that infrared saunas actually detoxify your body.

  • After all, your body is detoxified by your kidneys and liver, not through sweating.

  • However, some studies have suggested other benefits, including the treatment of heart arrhythmias, chronic pain, and diabetes.

  • So, should you spend your hard-earned money sweating in one?

  • Experts say there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with some sauna time, as long as you don't overdo it and stay hydrated.

  • As one Dutch doctor put it, "Death in a sauna is a rare event."

  • And a possible title for one of those dark, Nordic thrillers.

  • So, feel free to hop into an infrared sauna, but keep your skepticism on.

  • I'm Zoe Foulkes, thanks for listening to According To Science; see you next time!

Let's talk about infrared saunas.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Click the word to look it up Click the word to find further inforamtion about it