Glowing skin, body feeling light, energized and refreshed. The physical benefits of Infrared (IR) Saunas are studied and proven, but why is the person who walks out of that warm little room so different than the person who went in?
While our devoted client base has felt the real changes of IR therapy and sung sauna praises, I want to share my own personal story of how the saunas have helped me to heal not just my body, but my mind as well.
Because the meditative, centering, and transformative effects are more complex and less tangible to study or apply to scientific statistics, here is how Inner Light changed my physical health and mental clarity, and enabled me to heal from the inside out.
Infrared Saunas & The Brain
When Inner Light first opened, I was in recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
My brain was not functioning at a normal level due to the trauma, and I was experiencing brain fog, fatigue, mood swings, and tension.
Looking for relief, I started using the saunas two to three times a week, craving just a simple, no-activity induced sweat session while my brain was in recovery.
Not only did I receive that much needed detoxifying sweat after months of not being able to do any high intensity workouts, but I noticed that I felt more and more myself after each session. The fog seemed to lift as each 60-minute session came and went. The tension released. I started to feel balanced again. Centered again.
I could feel that my brain was healing, that it was repairing itself, but most of all, I felt my mood and my mind were coming back to me.
So I wanted to know why - and how - this was possible.
Physically, infrared saunas penetrate deep into your tissues and muscles which increases blood flow to your extremities and the brain. The brain uses oxygen from your bloodstream in order to function properly. Simply put, the more oxygen to the brain, the happier the brain is, and the better it functions.
In a study done by Dr. Cassano at Massachusetts General Hospital, a wand emitting near-infrared light is shined on the forehead—sessions are usually 30 minutes long, twice a week on patients with depression and TBI. Though only a small percentage of light reaches the brain, it’s enough to reach cells in the prefrontal cortex. Dr. Cassano explains that in someone with depression the prefrontal cortex can be less “connected” to parts of the brain that affect emotion, such as the amygdala. Cellular activity in these areas of someone with depression can overwhelm less-active cells in the prefrontal cortex. Normally, the prefrontal cortex helps control excessive activity in the amygdala and the brain’s other emotion centers. But infrared light can fuel the mitochondria, a cell’s powerhouse.
“The cells become energized and they’re more likely to function properly,” Dr. Cassano says. “They re-establish the connectivity. Shining the near-infrared light might ‘wake them up,’ and improve communication between the prefrontal cortex with the deeper areas associated with emotion.”
Powerfully and undeniably, I felt the emotional and behavioral changes as my physical brain healed in the lights and the heat of the saunas.
From a scientific and physical perspective, the saunas repaired damaged nerves, bruising, and broken connections. From an emotional and spiritual perspective, the lights brought me back to myself, helped me find calm and clarity during one of the most terrifying and trying times of my life, and they fused a connection with myself - mind and body. All in that little warm room, bathed in color.
Infrared Saunas & The Skin
After I recovered from my brain injury, I continued to use the saunas on a consistent basis. One of the most significant effects I experienced was a lasting change in my skin.
I had a healthy, buoyant glow that I had not seen since high school. It was like someone had turned on a light bulb from deep within me. After each session, my skin was clearer, it was lifted, rejuvenated, and luminescent. My skin liked the saunas too…
So I looked in to the science to see what could cause this transformative effect.
When near-infrared light is absorbed by the skin, it stimulates new skin cells to grow in a healthier way, provides protection against damage, and helps heal a variety of skin problems. In addition, red light therapy is thought to improve acne because it impacts sebum production, which contributes to acne. A study published in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showed significant improvements in skin appearance after just 12 weeks of sauna skin therapy using near-infrared technology. Participants experienced a reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity and firmness.
From healing traumatic injury to getting a good glow, the saunas taught me that wellness and healing come from the inside. That we all have the power to heal ourselves from within. And the lights show us the way.
I am honored to share my story with you, and wish you all the healing, clarity, and health. Proudly sharing with you Inner Light’s new memberships and offerings that combine ancient wisdom with modern science, I encourage you to come in for your next session and continue your journey to achieve holistic wellness and a deep, authentic connection with yourself.
INTERESTED IN MY HEALING PROGRAM?
I approached my healing using the new unlimited detox membership, which provides the ideal sauna frequency and experience to maximize all of the powerful healing benefits of IR.
Unlimited Sessions per month (at 40% off)
Access to our network of leading wellness experts and resources.
60-minute initial wellness consult, with a personalized action plan.
30-minute wellness check in and follow up.
Inner Light Tote Bag with therapeutic herbal tea.
15% OFF UNLIMITED Gift Card to the The Shop
$450 Standard / $315 Express. Renews monthly.
MANAGER, INNER LIGHT WELLNESS
B.A. Russell, N. Kellett & L.R. Reilly. Study to Determine the Efficacy of Combination LED Light Therapy (633nm and 830 nm) in Facial Skin Rejuvenation. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 2005; 7: pp 196-200.