Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and users should always consult a medical professional if complications arise from prolonged use.
There’s no more relaxing means of trimming fat and burning excess calories than in a sauna, but how effective are they really when it comes to slimming down your waist? Well, that’s the question we’ll be biting off today.
In order to answer the question of how effective saunas are at burning calories, we first need to understand how they burn them in the first place. It’s a remarkably simple phenomenon, that we use to a lesser extent every day. By exposing the body to higher temperatures - be it through a wet or dry sauna or an infrared sauna - our bodies attempt to regulate our temperature by triggering the sweating response, increasing the heart rate, cardiovascular system, and conveniently for those looking to burn fat at home- the metabolism.
It’s widely known that saunas can help individuals shed excess water weight - predominantly athletes that are weighed ahead of competitions - but this is a superficial means of interpreting the data. Science in recent years has shown that the real-life weight loss benefits of infrared saunas in particular are much more profound than just shedding water weight through sweat; they can actually speed up the body’s metabolism and ability to shed fat and toxins subdermally.
Do Saunas Burn Calories?
Yes, saunas help the body burn through calories. This is down to the fact that as your core temperature rises while using a sauna, the body attempts to regulate this rise in temperature by burning through calories. A two-phase study from the Binghamton University in New York shows that people who used a sauna three-times a week were able to reduce their body fat index by 4% over a four-month period. Researchers noted that users did not change their exercise or diet during the study, and their control group - who did not partake in sauna use - showed no signs of losing weight. This led the researchers to conclude that regular sauna use can have a profound impact on the body’s metabolism and ability to burn through calories in a short period of regular sauna usage.
How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Sauna?
The question of how many calories someone burns inside a sauna remains highly subjective, as you can imagine, on the person’s level of health, and things like their weight and tolerance to heat. The universally agreed upon range of calorie loss, however, is around 1.5-times the normal rate of calories burned than just sitting on the couch. This means that without any real physical activity, you can almost double your body’s ability to metabolize calories - and as you’ll discover in a minute, fat - through the simple act of sitting in a sauna.
Does Sitting in the Sauna Burn Fat?
Yes, sitting in a sauna can help you burn through fat- but it depends which sauna you’re using.
A traditional wood burning or wet sauna, such as a steam room helps your body burn through calories, but have been proven less effective when it comes to burning excess fat. Due to the way in which an infrared sauna targets your body with infrared light - which is transferred to heat that penetrates underneath the skin - it is much more effective when it comes to burning fat. Infrared saunas also assist your cardiovascular, lymphatic and immune systems, as well as the body’s ability to break down fat stored in your subdermal tissues.
How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna For Weight Loss?
We’ve covered this in a previous post, if you’d like to read the full article. However, it’s recommended that you should start your sessions in a sauna for around twenty-minutes, and move progressively from there. Make sure to hydrate before entering the sauna, and monitor your body for anything resembling a headache to preempt the signs of dehydration. To effectively use the sauna for the purposes of weight loss, it’s recommended that you stay longer for twenty-minutes to achieve maximum results, but you consistently monitor your body for any warning signs. As always, advice for the duration of your time inside a sauna should come from a qualified health professional that is familiar with your health and potential intolerances to heat exposure.
While there’s absolutely no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise, using an infrared sauna to consolidate all that hard work and shed a few extra calories can’t hurt. What better excuse to take some you-time out, meditate, listen to some music or a podcast in the comfort of your home, knowing your body is soaking up the benefits while sweating out the fat, toxins and excess calories!
If you’re interested in finding out more about Infrared Saunas, our founder, Dr Raleigh Duncan has put his decades of experience into the Total Wellness eBook, which you can access right here.