My Hour in the Infrared Sauna

Sleeping woman laying in sauna


It's quite possible I have the world's ugliest feet. I'd post a picture of them, but I don't want to scare you. Not only are they ugly, but recently they've been causing me quite a bit of pain. It turns out my posture is all wrong, I've spent too many years wearing heels, I inherited some structural problems and my hips are all out of whack. The result? I am in physical therapy and I'm taking a hiatus from running-type exercises like, well, running. And tennis.

My good friend and trainer, Renita Brannan, has been hearing about it for weeks. She was probably relieved to hear that I'm finally taking the bull by the horns (or maybe the hooves in this case) and attempting to get the problem repaired.


She responded to the news that I'm taking time off from working out with the words, "Great. Come sit in my sauna." I am of a certain age, so an invitation to go somewhere and sweat doesn't sound all that good. But she assured me that it was all worth it in the end. I did a little research, and it turns out she's right. But then, she usually is, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Sitting in an infrared, dry heat sauna sweating it out means you're ridding your body of toxins. And proponents of infrared say it's more penetrating than a traditional steam sauna, so you rid yourself of more toxins more quickly. It provides pain relief, particularly of joints and muscles because it increases circulation, thereby decreasing inflammation.

The heat generated by the sauna raises your core body temperature so your heart rate goes up, and that in turn, causes you to burn more calories. That's important when you are taking a break from cardio training. One article I read in JAMA said that 30 minutes in an infrared sauna can burn up to 600 calories! A five-mile run's worth! And along the way the improved circulation makes your skin glow.