Juice Cleanses are Cool but Infrared Saunas are the Ultimate Health & Beauty Detox



If you've visited this blog before, you know that I'm a fan of infrared saunas.  I've talked at length about my personal sauna experience and that of others.  Lately, I've seen a few people I follow on Instagram share glimpses of them sweating in an infrared sauna.  The frequency with which I am seeing these stories prompted me to ask the question....is there a benefit to sauna during the cold, winter months?

The answer to that question is a resounding yes!  And I'm here to share them with all of you in hopes that you finally treat yourself to this amazing experience. 

Not long ago I looked at my hands and noticed that my fingers were all shriveled and wrinkly looking.  Yes, I'm a year older but that doesn't necessarily explain why my hands seemed to have aged overnight.  The real reason why this was happening is because of the lack of blood flow to my fingers.  Unfortunately, cold weather causes the body to have to prioritize which areas of the body receive adequate blood flow.  

With increase blood flow, comes increased warmth.  Hence why we sweat during workouts.  In winter, our body is busy trying to keep our organs warm so it's diverting blood flow inwards leaving our extremities to fend for themselves.  This explains the cold fingers, toes, and ears.  Cold finger/toes is not really a big deal but when I think about the fact that our skin's surface is also getting reduced blood flow, it makes me pause.  

When it comes to optimal health and beauty, blood flow is one of the most precious commodities available.  Without it, we die...  But with adequate circulation, we experience a myriad of benefits.  One such benefit is an enhanced immune system.  That's because good circulation allows white blood cells to be transported through the body.  Exposing our bodies to extreme heat also stimulates autophagy which is a process in which old and damaged cells are cleaned out in order to regenerate new, younger cells.  Perhaps one of the reasons why people don't get as sick in the summer is because our blood circulation is greater in the warmer months...who knows? 

But let's talk about what beauty benefits of enhanced blood flow.  Blood carries nourishment that feeds our cells.  When cells don't get access to enough nutrient-rich blood, they don't do well.  In extreme cases, the cells die off.  But, for most people, lower blood flow results in dull, dry looking skin.  When our scalp doesn't have access to a constant flow of nutrient-rich blood, hair growth slows.  

All these reasons are probably why I'm seeing more celebrities treating themselves to trendy infrared saunas.  The very first time I tried a sauna, my skin was breaking out badly.  After a few sessions, the acne lesions seemed to magically go away.  Perhaps the intense sweat sessions helped my body to release toxins that would've been purged through the skin on my face.  When I committed to visiting the sauna at my gym a few times a week, my glow was undeniable.    

Recently, I stumbled on a video where a guy treated himself to a sauna session a day for 10 days.  At the end of his experiment, he enjoyed several wonderful benefits from weight loss & pain reduction to improved skin and better mood.  So, of course, I want to try a similar experiment for myself...especially heading into a new year.  You know how some people do juice cleanses every year to clear out toxins?  I think saunas make a great detox alternative if juice fasting isn't your thing. 

If you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, consider treating yourself to a series of infrared sauna sessions.  I got started by buying a few sessions on Groupon.   After my first round, I was hooked and splurged on an at-home unit.  If there aren't any spas offering sauna sessions in your neck of the woods, hot yoga might be a great alternative.

Although I don't use my sauna as much as I should, it's been a fantastic asset over the years to help with pain management (husband's old football injury).  Infrared heat is also a great way to intensify deep conditioning on wash day.

 (*Editor's note: the sauna at the gym dried out my hair. I had to keep that in mind to make sure I deep conditioned frequently and replenished the moisture accordingly.  Infrared saunas don't have the same drying effect on the hair so frequent visits are very doable)

Really looking forward to trying a consistent sauna challenge to see if I can compound the beauty benefits in a short period of time.   If you're going to give this a try, be sure to implement the tips I learned from Karrueche's sauna wellness routine

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