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Does Infrared Saunas help with weight loss? (Not really but kind of)
TL;DR: Not reaklly but hen paired with good sleep, exercise and a healthy diet, Infrared Sauna use can be a very good assist for your weight loss goals.
“There are zero studies showing long-term weight-loss benefits from using infrared saunas,”
Brian Quebbemann, M.D., medical director of The N.E.W. Program, a bariatric program in Newport Beach, California.
However, we found one! Read on…
Infrared saunas have become increasingly popular in recent years for their numerous health benefits, including stress relief, improved skin complexion, and increased flexibility. Weight loss is one advantage that has drawn a lot of people’s attention. The issue of whether infrared saunas can help with weight loss is one worth researching given the rise in obesity rates and the continued hunt for efficient weight loss techniques.
In this post, we’ll look at the research on infrared saunas and weight reduction and debate whether or not this type of heat therapy can actually aid in weight loss.
The Science behind Infrared Saunas and Weight Loss
The theory behind infrared saunas and weight loss are that the heat they emit can boost metabolism and result in calorie burning. The idea of thermogenesis, or the process by which the body produces heat and burns calories, is the foundation for this. Infrared sauna advocates claim that the heat generated by the sauna can boost metabolism and result in more calories burned, which can help people lose weight.
Sauna mimics physiological and protective responses induced during exercise to some extent. Increased heart rate and sweating can boost metabolism and effectively work as a gentle cardiovascular exercise like walking or jogging.
Regular sauna use reduces stress, which could be an indirect cause of weight loss. However, this effect would be indirect and difficult to prove the connection to sauna use.
There are very limited studies on whether Saunas actually help with weight loss. We found one.
Binghampton Infrared Sauna Study, https://saunas.org/using-an-infrared-sauna-for-weight-loss/
A 2 phase Infrared Sauna Weight Loss study was conducted at Binghamton University in New York.
Phase 1 (16 weeks)
In this study, participants were exposed 3 times per week to a 45-minute infrared sauna at 43 degrees Celcius for 16 weeks. Compliance ranged from a low of 12 sessions completed to 45 sessions. The findings were participants who had high compliance (used the sauna regularly) had a greater loss in body fat. Participants measured up to a 4% drop in body fat over the four months. However, interestingly, those that came in late in the day or evening lost significantly more body fat than those using the sauna in the morning. The change in body fat was confirmed by measurements of serum glucose levels.
Their hypothesis is that increasing core body temperature will increase human growth hormone production and that should increase serum glucose levels, which is what was found. In addition, we observed that the higher the core body temperature reached, the larger the decrease in body fat.
Phase 2 (8 weeks)
Participants were exposed 5 times per week to a 30-minute infrared sauna at 43 degrees Celcius. On average, the study subjects lost about 0. 5% body fat per week totalling approximately 4% over 8 weeks. This resulted in approximately twice the rate of fat loss as compared to Phase 1 (8 weeks vs. 16 weeks). A control population was used in Phase Two of the study and the body fat of the control group did not change over the 8-week study.
This study shows a change in body fat percentage levels and body composition levels as a result of Infrared Sauna use but it does not specify if the participants saw a change in weight.
How an Infrared Sauna MIGHT help with weight loss
While sauna sessions can help promote relaxation and relieve stress, they are not a proven method for weight loss. The weight loss that may occur during or after a sauna session is temporary and due to loss of water weight, rather than fat loss. The body loses fluids through sweating in a sauna, and replenishing these fluids with water will quickly return you to your pre-sauna weight. Although the evidence to suggest Infrared Saunas do help with weight loss is shaky, here are some reasons the sauna could potentially help with weight loss.
1. Increased Calorie Expenditure
Your body has to work harder to cool down when you enter an infrared sauna since your body temperature rises as you do. Your metabolism quickens, your heart rate rises, and you start to burn calories. Several variables, like your body weight, how long you spend in the sauna, and how hot it is, will affect how many calories you burn.
It’s worth noting that the caloric expenditure from using an infrared sauna is likely to be modest and should not be relied upon as the primary means of achieving weight loss.
2. Improved Metabolism
Your body uses the metabolic process to turn the food you eat into energy. Your body can burn more calories when your metabolic rate is higher, even if you aren’t exercising.
According to studies, spending time in an infrared sauna can raise your heart rate and boost your metabolism. The improvement in metabolic rate will probably be slight, though, and may not necessarily result in a large reduction in body weight.
3. Better Relaxation and Stress Relief
Infrared sauna relaxation can aid in stress relief and better weight management. Yes, stress and worry can have a big impact on weight.
Stress can alter hormone levels, which can result in weight gain, as well as regular eating patterns, which can result in overeating. By regulating hormones, enhancing sleep quality, and reducing overeating, relaxation and stress release can aid in weight loss.
According to studies, using an infrared sauna for a while can have a calming and stress-relieving impact, which can enhance general health and wellbeing. Reducing stress may make it easier for you to maintain a good diet and exercise routine, which are the best ways to lose weight.
So, Can you really slim yourself from an Infrared Sauna?
It’s crucial to realize that weight loss is a complicated process that is influenced by a variety of variables, such as genetics, hormone levels, and lifestyle choices. The best approaches to losing weight continue to be regular exercise and a balanced diet.
Despite this, including frequent infrared sauna sessions in a weight loss regimen can still be advantageous because it may boost other weight loss initiatives. For instance, spending time in an infrared sauna may help to reduce stress and enhance sleep, which can be beneficial for managing weight.
Additionally, using an infrared sauna may have a number of additional health advantages, including easing joint and muscular discomfort, enhancing circulation, and enhancing the immune system. Infrared saunas may promote a more optimistic outlook by enhancing general health and well-being, which can help you stay motivated and on track with your weight loss objectives.
Infrared saunas by themselves do not significantly contribute to weight loss, but they can have a favourable effect when included in a comprehensive weight loss program that also includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Infrared saunas shouldn’t be relied upon as a sole method of weight loss, though, since it’s crucial to realize that weight loss is a complicated process that is influenced by a variety of circumstances.
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick ( Sauna Benefits Deep Dive and Optimal Use with Dr. Rhonda Patrick & MedCram)
“There have been some studies analyzing cardiorespiratory fitness in people that do aerobic exercise and comparing it to people that do sauna and comparing them again to people that do aerobic exercise and sauna and the ultimate outcome of what the analysis showed was that;
- People that did exercise and used the sauna had better cardiorespiratory fitness than people that did exercise alone or did sauna alone
- There is a synergy between sauna use and aerobic exercise where people that are doing both seem to have better cardiorespiratory fitness.
- People that exercise had better cardiorespiratory fitness than people that only did the sauna and didn’t exercise, but if you compare people that don’t exercise but do the sauna, they have better cardiorespiratory fitness than people that don’t use the sauna at all.”
Even though there is very little evidence to suggest that Infrared Saunas solely create weight loss, I think it’s safe to say that when paired with good sleep, exercise and a healthy diet, Infrared Sauna use can be a very good assist for your weight loss goals.