IR Saunas for Muscle Recovery

Heat, in and of itself, is great for recovery, temporary pain relief and inflammation. However, infrared light, because it heats the body from within, can penetrate further down into the joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and blood flow.

Good circulation is critical for proper healing. Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the site of the strain or inflammation, which helps to create new blood vessels and tissues at the site. The more red and white blood cells that can get delivered to muscles, the quicker they rebuild.

There are many studies that show how the three wavelengths of near, mid and far can help with muscle recovery and performance.

The Journal of Athletic Enhancement published a study looking at the Effects of Far Infrared Heat on Recovery in Power Athletes. It found that far infrared (FIR) heat improves recovery of the neuromuscular performance during intensive training associated with the increase in the testosterone/cortisol ratio. Deep penetration of infrared with mild temperature and light humidity (vs. traditional saunas) appears favourable for the neuromuscular system to recover from endurance performance.

One of the foremost researchers on infrared, Dr. Michael Hamblin, published a study which suggests that red light and near infrared (NIR) can increase muscle mass gained after training, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Flexibility is also important for performance and injury prevention. A study conducted at Auburn University of Montgomery showed a full spectrum sauna can increase your flexibility up to 3x. Benefits of increased range of motion include joint mobility, less friction in the joints, enabling of joint function to diminish stiffness and joint relaxation.