Let’s be real: life is often busy, demanding, and downright stressful. With so many responsibilities on your plate, you probably dream of basking in the sun on a tropical island. Ahhh, doesn’t that sound relaxing? While you can’t always escape to a tropical paradise (if only!), you can bring the warm, healing sun to you with an infrared sauna blanket. Using far-infrared heat, a sauna blanket warms your body from the inside out, resulting in many physical and mental health benefits.
In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on how infrared saunas are highly effective in helping you relax, relieve stress, boost your mood, and sleep better. Before we dive into the science surrounding this interesting topic, let’s quickly go over why relaxation is so important in the first place.
Why is relaxation important?
While stress is an inevitable part of life and helpful in many situations, too much stress and not enough relaxation can cause problems. Stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise (1). In fact, an estimated 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems (2). Long-term stress can cause countless health issues including high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, depression, anxiety, headaches, weight gain, sleep issues, and a weak immune system—the list goes on and on!
Can infrared saunas reduce stress and improve mood?
To counter all of the stress you encounter, making time to rest, relax, and take care of your body and mind is an absolute must. That’s where an infrared sauna comes in!
Several studies show that infrared sauna therapy is effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and inducing relaxation. In one four-week study, participants diagnosed with mild depression reported improved depression, appetite, and relaxation compared to participants who only rested in a bed and did not receive sauna therapy (3).
In another study, participants who had just one infrared sauna treatment experienced a rapid and powerful antidepressant effect which lasted for six weeks (4). This suggests that short periods of elevated body temperature (hyperthermia) can act as an antidepressant.
Not bad for kicking back in a sauna, right?
How do infrared saunas help with relaxation, mood, and sleep?
If you’ve ever used an infrared sauna before, you’ve likely noticed that a session often results in a lingering feeling of relaxation and satisfaction, kind of like you just spent the day at the beach. This occurs for a few reasons.
Increased serotonin production
One reason this occurs is increased serotonin production, the neurotransmitter that’s responsible for making you feel happy, relaxed, focused, and balanced. The link between heat and happiness has been studied in several different contexts in recent years. A researcher at the University of Colorado, Christopher Lowry, is among those who made groundbreaking discoveries about the relationship between an elevated body temperature and well-being.
In his research, Lowry identified a specific group of neurons in the brain that are sensitive to heat. When body temperature rises, these neurons release a greater amount of serotonin in the body (5).
Lowry theorizes that there may be a connection between the systems that are activated when the body tries to cool itself down and the feeling of relaxation and pleasure. While more in-depth studies need to be conducted, there is a very clear link between temperature and how we feel.
The boost in serotonin also has downstream effects. Naturally, when you feel happier and more at ease, you’ll be able to relax, release tension, and sleep better.
Increased dopamine production
Infrared sauna exposure causes a significant release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) and beta-endorphin (a neuropeptide hormone). These chemical messengers cause a sense of euphoria, as well as improved mood, energy, sense of calm, and pain tolerance. The level of endorphins released during an infrared sauna session are around the same level that cause runners to experience a “runner’s high” after a run (6).
Creating a soothing home sanctuary
As you’ve learned today, using an infrared sauna is an effective way to reduce your stress and anxiety and boost feelings of happiness and calm. It’s safe, too! Unlike the sun, which also delivers harmful ultraviolet rays along with that soothing infrared goodness.
To experience the benefits of infrared sauna therapy yourself, you can either visit a spa that offers infrared sauna therapy or invest in your own at-home infrared sauna. At Koanna, we offer an infrared sauna blanket that gives you all the benefits of infrared therapy and allows you to lay down for the ultimate relaxation experience. Having a sauna at home allows you to have unlimited, convenient access to the benefits of infrared heat at a minimal cost.
While you can use your Koanna infrared blanket anywhere, many of our customers have created a special area in their home where they relax and use their sauna blanket. This space acts as a sanctuary where you can get away from all of the stress, rejuvenate your body and mind, and step back into the busy world with calm and happiness.
Give yourself the gift of heat
At Koanna, we believe that creating a home spa is not about spoiling yourself (well, maybe a little), but rather reconnecting with your body, mind, and spirit. Self-discovery can only be achieved when we make the decision to take care of ourselves, practice mindfulness, and listen to the guidance from within.
Intuitively, we associate warmth with a feeling of pleasure, comfort, and happiness. Like a taking warm bath or relaxing on a sunny beach, an infrared sauna blanket will instantly elevate your mental and physical state. Give yourself the gift of relaxation, happiness, and peace and good things will follow.
The State of Mental Health in America (https://mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america)
The Effects of Stress on Your Body (https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/effects-of-stress-on-your-body)
Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systemic Review (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775)
Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27172277/)
Raising body temp relieves depression, study finds (https://www.colorado.edu/asmagazine-archive/node/2080)
Health Benefits of Sauna (https://www.saunasociety.org/press-releases/2015/10/18/health-benefits-of-sauna)