Looking to invest in an infrared sauna blanket to boost your health and fitness?
Aside from the fact that this new trend is a good way to relax, infrared sauna blankets offer several great health incentives that will appeal to runners. These include: accelerated recovery, improved heart health, better brain function, reduced stress, increased calorie burn and an overall boost to endurance.
With more technology coming from professional healthcare centers to our homes, it is becoming much easier to stay healthy without having to make the journey to a gym (or a spa).
The infrared sauna blanket is a great addition to the health enthusiast and professional athlete’s arsenal of health aids.
Below we take a look at how infrared sauna blankets work and whether they are truly the next big thing to hit the fitness world.
Can they improve health, recovery, and performance? Or are they just another fad, destined to be forgotten?
- What Is an Infrared Sauna Blanket?
- How Does an Infrared Sauna Blanket Work?
- 6 Benefits of Using Infrared Sauna Blankets
- Are Infrared Sauna Blankets Safe to Use?
- Why It is Good For Runners and Athletes
- Conventional Infrared Sauna vs. the Blanket
What Is an Infrared Sauna Blanket?
While most of us know what a sauna is, and how an infrared sauna works, a sauna blanket is a slightly different proposition.
This device is a blanket version of the infrared sauna and comes with all the heating capabilities you enjoy from a sauna. It looks like a sleeping bag that covers your body while lying down. You fold it around yourself from the neck down to your feet and zip it up to enclose the whole body for evenly distributed heat.
Most infrared sauna blankets work with electricity, so you plug it in just as you do with an electric blanket for your bed. The enclosure part is normally made from durable, sustainable synthetic materials to last a long time.
Enclosed inside these materials, you’ll find the infrared heat source penetrating your body for the best effects. Additionally, there are layers of charcoal, clay, and medical-grade magnetic strips, each of which has various health benefits.
Crystals are integrated into the inside of the blanket to improve the overall health benefits, including improved blood circulation, relief from joint and muscle pain, and increased blood-oxygen levels. The treatment is delivered to your body through very low-frequency currents to keep you safe while using the blanket.
How Does an Infrared Sauna Blanket Work?
Infrared sauna blankets heat your body with infrared heat rays while you’re fully enclosed inside. This process works like an infrared sauna that uses infrared technology to heat the space and your body while you’re inside it.
Because the blanket is close to your body, the infrared heat will work much faster and more effectively. An infrared sauna is used by one person at a time, which makes it more hygienic.
The infrared heat penetrates the body evenly to provide the same benefits as the infrared sauna.
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6 Benefits of Using Infrared Sauna Blankets
You can enjoy several health benefits by using an infrared sauna blanket regularly.
1. Accelerated Recovery
Studies have shown that the deep penetration of infrared rays into the muscle tissue helps improve recovery and repair. This will greatly affect your sore muscles after a hard running session by quickening recovery and reducing the pain.
Because the infrared heat increases the blood flow to the muscles, it will speed up the healing process. This increase in healing time and efficiency means you won’t have extended periods of soreness and stiffness after a workout.
This is great news for runners and athletes who depend heavily on recovering quickly from their sessions. This recovery rate affects muscle recovery and the damage caused by an injury by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. We recommend using both ice and heat to optimise your recovery times.
2. Improved Heart Health
Infrared heat helps improve blood vessel function while promoting the formation of new blood vessels. Infrared heat also offers many of the same benefits as cardio exercise, especially for your cardiovascular system.
This is a great opportunity for athletes who can’t exercise due to injury or strain but still need the health benefits of cardio. Additionally, you can increase the benefits of a low-impact cardio session when you use the blanket afterward.
If you use infrared heat regularly, it can help heart function by normalizing blood pressure.
3. Better Brain Function
Another great benefit of infrared heat treatment is the improvement of reasoning and general brain health. This reduces your risk of developing brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that both men and women benefit from this type of treatment. Infrared heat helps improve the neural network, increasing cognitive abilities. Using an infrared sauna blanket frequently will improve your brain function, resulting in healthier cognition and a sharper mind.
4. Reduced Stress
The heat provided by infrared treatment helps reduce the stress factors in the body, which results in overall health improvement. Infrared heat helps lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone and is responsible for the fatty band around the lower abdomen.
With more relaxed muscles, you will find sleeping much easier at night and for longer periods without interruption. Having a good night’s rest will improve your mood and reduce stress.
Endorphins, the body’s natural pain medicine (and the Holy Grail for many runners!), are released while you are exposed to this infrared; the increase in these hormones leads to lower pain levels during recovery.
5. Increased Calorie Burn
Timed, controlled heat from the blanket helps the body release toxins as they are carried out in the sweat. Your heart rate will also increase while you are inside the infrared sauna blanket, which means your body will burn more calories.
This process will help improve the endocrine system’s health, which may help you lose weight. This weight loss is not just water loss but actual fat-burning.
With a healthier endocrine system, the body will function more optimally and have a better-regulated metabolism which functions for improved calorie and fat burn.
6. Improved Endurance
Regular treatments with an infrared sauna blanket will help increase your muscle endurance. Athletes who frequently use this treatment experience better oxygen supply and more blood flow to the muscles, which removes toxins from the muscles. This allows your muscles to perform for longer before they fatigue.
These benefits apply to both infrared saunas, as well as the cheaper and more portable infrared sauna blankets.
Are Infrared Sauna Blankets Safe to Use?
At-home infrared sauna blankets are considered safe for anybody in relatively good health. If you have heart disease or skin conditions, you should only use it with supervision.
You’ll sweat considerably while using the infrared sauna blanket, so dehydration is a risk to keep in mind. Ensure you’ve hydrated adequately before and after using the blanket.
Thermal damage is also a possibility if the temperature of the blanket is set too high. Thermal damage occurs when the temperature of your body’s tissues increases past its threshold. This damage may cause permanent cellular injury, which interrupts your metabolic processes.
Consult your doctor before using an infrared sauna blanket, and read the instructions on how to use it properly.
How to Use an Infrared Sauna Blanket
Using an infrared sauna blanket is fairly simple.
- Lay it out on the floor, couch, or bed and plug it in.
- Before you get into the blanket, set the temperature to the desired heat.
- Once set, zip yourself into the blanket and relax.
Using an infrared sauna blanket daily is safe, but many experts recommend using it two to three times per week.
After every session, you should rinse off in a cold shower to cool your system and encourage the healing process to continue.
How Long Should You Stay In It?
It is recommended by the manufacturers of infrared sauna blankets that you use them for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. This time frame will help the heat to penetrate every part of your body and help you to relax and recover during every session.
It will take about 10 to 15 minutes for the blanket to reach the desired temperature, at which point you’ll start to sweat… A lot!
Are They Easy to Clean?
Simply wipe the inside of the blanket with a damp cloth or disinfectant wipes. Ensure you reach into the corners and seams where sweat gathers. Next, dry the blanket with a towel to remove any remaining moisture. Leave it open to air for 10 to 15 minutes, then fold it away.
Infrared sauna blankets are made from durable and waterproof fabric, so they’re easy to clean after every use.
Why It is Good For Runners and Athletes
Infrared heat helps release muscle tension, aches, and pains. For the full benefit of infrared treatment, we recommend using it after interval sessions, long runs, and races.
Regular infrared sessions allow your body to acclimate to the heat and help you cope with the heat during a race. The heat from the infrared sauna blanket will also help increase the plasma in your blood to improve blood flow to the muscles.
You’ll increase lung capacity and function as the gentle heat from the infrared blanket helps to clear out the lungs and sinus passages. This will help you run greater distances without straining to breathe, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles.
A lot of damage is done to the muscles during training and in races. The body needs time to recover after every race or training session, and this time can be greatly reduced with frequent infrared sauna treatments.
Infrared heat penetrates up to two inches into the muscles, which helps reduce overall recovery time and relieve muscle pains and strains.
Conventional Infrared Sauna vs. the Blanket
The cost factor is a main consideration when comparing the blanket to conventional infrared saunas, which many gyms have. If you have a gym membership, purchasing the blanket may not be worthwhile.
Another factor is ease of use. If you visit your gym three times per week, having a few sessions in the sauna is as simple as walking in and sitting down.
While the blanket is very simple to use, it does require some setup and maintenance.
When it comes to mobility, the blanket is the best option. This factor is especially great for athletes needing infrared treatment while traveling. The convenience of taking your infrared sauna blanket with you when attending races away from home outweighs everything else.