Today, our fast paced lives can be exciting and rewarding, but doctors tell us that the chronic stress that comes with it is literally killing us with increased levels of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, premature aging and even death that can arrive years before our time.
Regular use in an infrared sauna has been shown to reduce stress, but just how does this actually work ?
Our autonomic nervous system is set up with two opposing positions, fight or flight (sympathetic) and rest and digest (parasympathetic). We need both to survive but our ANS system evolved when we lived under real survival threats (think tiger). When faced with such a threat the sympathetic part of our ANS informs the hypothalamus to immediately release sugar from our liver and cortisol from our adrenal glands so we can run like lightning and live to see another day. Today, our higher thinking brain can perceive threats like being stuck in traffic or being behind at work or a news program about trouble far away as actually being a real threat, just like a tiger. We can get caught in what is called a cortisol cascade until we are burned while our immune function becomes depressed making us susceptable to colds and flu. We can literally get stuck in this harmful loop. It is only when we get back more into the parasympathetic mode that our health has a chance to return. This is where the infrared sauna comes in.
When we get into the infrared sauna, the first thing that happens is vasodilation. This is the blood vessels opening up as the warming infrared wavelengths penetrate into the soft tissue. Your muscles relax and pain starts to disappear both in muscles and joints. When the body senses these changes it naturally starts to relax and calm down. Breathing becomes slower, blood pressure drops and you may even feel a little smile appear feeling this good. This is the parasympathetic part where healing occurs and it happens naturally in the sauna. This is the simple secret.
Using your Clearlight Infrared Sauna for twenty minutes, three times a week is a good way to affect this sympathetic /parasympathetic set point. Regular sauna usage will actually diminish stress over time. The harmful cortisol cascade will lessen or leave entirely as the body/mind learns how to live without the harmful effects of paper tigers. It works, it really does.
–Dr. Raleigh Duncan
Founder / Clearlight Infrared Saunas