Infrared saunas may result in you losing weight for a short period of time. Unfortunately, this weight loss doesn't affect the amount of fat on your body, your muscle strength or tone, or your general physical fitness level. Infrared saunas have a few benefits, but increased fitness isn't one of them.
Benefits of an Infrared Sauna
Infrared saunas are relaxing after a stressful day or workout. Infrared saunas reduce the tension in your muscles and helps your body sweat out a number of toxic substances through your sweat glands. While you leave the sauna with a sense of good health and well-being, this is the limit of an infrared sauna's benefits.
Saunas and Weight Loss
Infrared sauna weight loss is due to perspiration. The heat in the sauna causes you to sweat profusely, so your body loses a considerable amount of fluid. This fluid loss is what causes the weight loss. The heat doesn't increase the speed of your metabolism nor does it decrease the size or number of adipose, or fat, cells in your body.
Dangers of Saunas
Infrared saunas don't increase your metabolism, but they do increase your chances for health problems. Prolonged sessions in saunas may put you at risk for heat stroke, burns and dehydration. If you frequently use saunas for weight loss, you're risking serious complications. These may include brain swelling, hypovolemic shock, low blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular problems. Consult your doctor before using a sauna if you have health issues such as diabetes, kidney disease or heart problems.
Infrared saunas should not be used for weight loss. They are ineffective, dangerous and could have fatal consequences if used solely for this reason. Saunas should be used only for relaxation and stress relief. Talk to your doctor about a healthy eating plan and exercise program if you're trying to lose weight; the only proven non-medical weight loss methods are diet and exercise.
- Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (16th edition); Lawrence Madoff et al.
- Dermatology and Venerology; S.T.Pavlolv, et al.
- Harvard Health: Saunas and Weight Loss
- University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Medicine and Public Health: Sauna-Induced Sweating Offers Many Health Benefits