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The Pros and Cons of Infrared Sauna

Health

One of the best feelings is finishing up a swim, or a gym session, and heading to the sauna. It helps you relax after a workout, but let's be honest, you don't need an excuse to have a sauna. Your muscles feel rested and the heat helps relieve sore muscles. Not only this but saunas are known to help your overall health and wellbeing. The only problem is they can be pretty hot! If you're one that can't handle the heat then maybe the option of an infrared sauna might be of interest. But what are the pros and cons of an infrared sauna?

What Is An Infrared Sauna?

Traditional saunas heat the air around you, whereas an infrared sauna uses infrared lamps to warm your body directly. They do this using electromagnetic radiation. The infrared panels used instead of conventional heat penetrates human tissue which heats the body up before heating the air. This means the infrared sauna operates at a lower temperature, usually between 120-140°F. A conventional sauna is usually between 150-180°F.

This infrared heat penetrates more deeply than just warm air. The professionals from NeoSauna.com explain that this will allow you to spend more time and experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature. The environment is more tolerable and also allows your core body temperature to rise a few degrees.

What Are The Pros Of An Infrared Sauna?

There are a few supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna and they're similar to those that are experienced with a traditional sauna.

Sleep will tend to be better when using a sauna regularly. It helps get the body into a relaxed state and helps the muscles rest properly. With this comes a feeling of relaxation due to the heat. It also helps improve circulation, expels chemicals & dirt and removes dead skin cells from your body and from your skin. This makes a sauna ideal for detoxification and with it comes an immune system boost.

The high temperatures in the sauna help lower your blood pressure whilst also increasing your blood circulation. It burns calories as it raises your metabolism and makes your heart beat faster. The blood flow is diverted from the inner organs to the skin as the heart rate increases. With a faster metabolism, it means saunas are good for weight loss.

With this increased blood flow, the introduction of more blood helps aching and injured muscles recover faster. Because the flow of blood is stronger, the metabolic and toxic waste products are purged from the body much faster. Our skin is responsible for eliminating up to 30% of body waste, giving it the nickname, the third kidney.

Not only does it help with aching muscles, but it also helps with joint pain and has been known to treat conditions such as arthritis. The intense heat doesn't just help with muscles and joints, it is a good helper for people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Saunas have been around for years, centuries even and have been used for all sorts of health conditions. There are many studies that concentrate on the benefits of traditional saunas but there aren't many that concentrate on infrared saunas.

What Are The Cons Of An Infrared Sauna?

Whilst there are many benefits of using an infrared sauna, there are also a few negative reasons. Much like anything, there are pros and cons, we need to decide whether it's worth the risks or not.

Starting with something a little simpler, using a sauna can cause some heat discomfort when used for elongated periods of time. This can then cause light-headedness which can be uncomfortable.

Whilst lowering your blood pressure will be good for some people, others it won't be. Using saunas can lower your blood pressure to a state of hypotension which comes with a whole host of symptoms including dizziness, nausea, fatigue, depression, blurry vision and even loss of consciousness. Other negatives of an infrared sauna include transient leg pain and airway irritation.

There has been one study that found continuous use of an infrared sauna, which included 2 sessions a week for 3 months, consisting of 15-minute sessions. The results of the study showed that males demonstrated an impairment of sperm count and motility.

If using a sauna is something you've always enjoyed doing but don't like the thought of changing up some air heat for electromagnetic radiation then stick to what you're doing. There are plenty of health benefits to be had either way so it might not be a bad idea, there might be some negatives to using the infrared sauna for elongated periods of time but there's nothing saying once in a while will cause you any harm. Treat yourself to something you deserve, either at the gym or at home, and let your muscles relax.

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.