Unfortunately, getting sick is a normal part of life. Usually spread in highly populated settings like schools and offices, but sometimes even just by taking a trip to the grocery store, viruses can often be avoided by strengthening your immune system so that it can fight the illnesses with its full strength. There are endless home remedies and over-the-counter medications that you can take to strengthen your immune system during this vulnerable time of the year, but one method has proven especially effective: the use of an infrared sauna.
Before we dive into the multitude of benefits that come with using an infrared sauna to strengthen your immune system, let’s take a look at what exactly causes a weakened immune system. An immune system may not be working to its optimal capabilities if it is dealing with excess stress, little to no exercise, malnutrition, a lack of sleep, or a combination of any of these.
Unfortunately, some of these things may be unavoidable at times, and we may need some immune system support. While infrared sauna use directly benefits the immune system, it also provides you with health benefits when it comes to sleep, stress, and detoxification, giving you a well-rounded experience that positively impacts multiple aspects of your well-being. Benefits of an infrared sauna that specifically help to strengthen your immune system include:
1. Increased Production of White Blood Cells
The heat generated by an infrared sauna stimulates energy at a cellular level which, in turn, increases the body’s production of white blood cells. These cells form a component of your blood and act as your immune system’s first line of defense when infection strikes. When a harmful substance enters your body, white blood cells detect it and control the immune system’s response. Clearly, these small cells are critical when it comes to the functionality of our immune systems. An increased production of white blood cells, as stimulated by infrared sauna use, can help the body to more effectively fight off illnesses.
2. Triggered Immune System
Hippocrates famously said, “Give me a fever and I can cure any disease.” The idea that increased temperatures trigger the body’s immune system response is certainly not new. Fevers help your body to fight off infection by allowing certain immune cells to work more efficiently and effectively. According to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, hyperthermia, or the exposure of the body to high temperatures, gives these cells the ability to destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells.
3. Release Impurities
One major benefit of infrared sauna use is detoxification. When your body does not sweat enough, it holds onto potentially harmful toxins, chemicals, and impurities that were meant to be eliminated through sweat. These impurities may come from the food you eat, the air you breathe, the liquids you drink, and anything else you may consume. Ensuring that your body can eliminate these toxins efficiently is one of the best ways to stay healthy and support your immune system. A typical 20-minute session in an infrared sauna allows your body to flush out these impurities from the inside out so your immune system has less to fight off. You may even notice a slight glow in your skin after your sauna session. This is visible evidence that your body’s largest organ has been purified and detoxified.
4. Better Blood Circulation
The deeply penetrating heat of an infrared sauna promotes blood circulation throughout your entire body, providing oxygen-rich nutrients to your extremities. This means that any areas that were poorly circulated before your sauna session will be flushed out, and any harmful substances that were building up will be released through sweat. The increase in circulation pumps the blood towards the outside surface of your body, taking with it any bacteria or other illness-causing substances. Better circulation also benefits the heart, muscles, and arteries.
5. Increased Cellular Regeneration
Infrared sauna usage can also strengthen the immune system by stimulating cell regeneration. This kind of regeneration can help your body dispose of cells that might be old, damaged, or ineffective and replace them with new cells. Over time all cells are regenerated, but the heat from an infrared sauna catalyzes the regeneration process and ensures all bodily systems are running as smoothly as possible. This is especially beneficial during the cold and flu season when the body is being attacked more frequently.
Since high stress levels often result in a weakened immune system and, as a result, illness, reducing your stress levels is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Excess levels of cortisol, the hormone that is released when the body is stressed, can weaken your immune system’s ability to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. Regular use of an infrared sauna balances cortisol levels and relaxes the body and mind. This allows your immune system to work efficiently, without the hindrance of high cortisol levels.