Sweat and Soul

If Dr. Oz and Oprah both like it, then we all better get on board! “It” being infrared heat, more specifically, infrared heat found inside a sauna. It’s the newest way to experience the age-old, traditionally Finnish, dry bath experience.

Did you know that the word “sauna” is the only Finnish word to make it into the English language? That’s because a sauna (really pronounced sow-na) is completely amazing. Take a simple idea; dry heat. Add a human body. What happens? Lots of sweating, for one thing. And that is good! Sweat reduces the toxins that naturally (and maybe unnaturally) build up in our bodies. Infrared heat also provides pain relief, stress reduction, stabilizes blood pressure, strengthens your cardiovascular system, and…wait for it…increases your metabolism! Yay! Sitting naked in a hot room will burn calories.

You don’t actually have to be naked, but that is part of the traditional sauna experience. The Finns always sauna in the buff. They also carry in birch branches to give themselves a good thrashing while they are at it. Hey! There’s nothing dirty about it; in fact, the entire sauna experience for the Finnish is spiritual as well as physical. Think about it; it’s quiet, peaceful, restful; you come out feeling renewed and whole. There is a Finnish saying “saunassa ollaan kuin kirkossa” – which, roughly translated, means you should behave in a sauna the way you behave in church.

Finland has the highest concentration of saunas per capita than anywhere else in the world. Nearly every home has a sauna, and there are more saunas than cars. That may be the best advertisement for any product, ever.

Anyway, back to Dr. Oz and Oprah, who have given infrared saunas two thumbs up, or rather, four thumbs up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2xGguNN2Vc  Traditional saunas heat your body through indirect heat; infrared heaters produce radiant heat that is absorbed directly into the body. As that radiant heat penetrates the muscles, they relax, relieving your body of tension, tightness and stress. Your circulatory system is stimulated, your sweat glands start flowing and out go the toxins. All you have to do is push a button and chill.

If you are in the market for a sauna (and if you aren’t, you should be) take a look at the offerings from Alpha Wellness Sensations. This 30+ year old Belgian company produces some wonderful infrared units, including the Chaleur, which comes in 1,2,3,4 and 6 person models. Another interesting option is the Intens, a fashion forward take on the traditional sauna, and is available in 12 color and design combinations. Both styles are heated with DUO heaters; magnesium oxide which heats the air and quartz that emits infrared rays directly into the body. Alpha Wellness Sensations also carry a complete line of custom designed and built saunas for absolutely any use or venue; you can opt for an LED starry sky or LED color therapy, custom wood designs and stone tile walls. Alpha Wellness Sensations advertise that they want to be “your partner in wellness” and isn’t that what this is ultimately all about?

So many things we are exposed to or have to deal with rob us of our health; physical and emotional. Here is something that is relatively simple in design, and is a lot cheaper than a hospital stay or therapy. It encourages wellness and well-being and requires no effort on our part…and it can be done without wearing clothes. Come on! It’s crazy not to have one.

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