Hot Take: Traditional Saunas Are the Gold Standard

By XPT Life | Wed May 08 2024

The world of wellness is flooded with fleeting trends that promise major results. But more often than not, the most effective practices are those that stand the test of time.

While infrared (IR) saunas are on the rise, they’re not as hot on health benefits. Traditional saunas, however, have been used for centuries and have science on their side. That’s why you’ll only find the most effective form of heat exposure at XPT Studio.

Here’s what the research has to say about reaping the rewards of extreme heat with traditional saunas.

It’s all in the warm-up

When you step into a traditional sauna, you’re surrounded by warm air that slowly raises your temperature from the outside in. This method aligns with how our bodies have adapted to handle environmental heat over time. Your brain responds by expanding blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and releasing sweat to cool you down.

IR saunas use infrared light to penetrate your skin, heating you up quickly from the inside out. The quick rise in core temperature doesn't give your body time to react with its typical regulation techniques, which can be jarring for your system.

Here’s a simple way to think about it: traditional saunas gradually raise your temperature like an oven, while IR saunas flash heat your body like a microwave.

Slow and steady always wins

Your body works hard to keep your core temperature in check to support your brain, muscle, and organ function. Slight, gradual changes in temperature trigger the release of heat shock proteins that repair stress-damaged cells. This process is where many of the sauna’s physiological benefits come from.

However, abrupt temperature spikes in IR saunas disrupt this natural process, and can actually negatively impact your metabolism, blood pressure, and hormone production. And when you consider that the radiation you receive from the sun’s rays is only 20% as strong as IR sauna rays, it’s easy to see how the intensity does more damage than good.

Sweat isn’t a measure of success

Some people gauge the quality of their sauna session by the amount of sweat they shed, and IR saunas are known for triggering excessive sweat instantly. But sweat's primary function is to cool you down. The idea that sweat detoxifies your body is a common health myth — that’s what your liver, kidneys, and intestines are for.

While an IR sauna can induce sweating at a more tolerable temperature, one of the most powerful benefits of heat exposure is building mental resilience by working through discomfort. Choosing an easier sauna experience is like opting for a lighter weight in the gym. It lessens the challenge, and in turn, lessens the reward.

Take your health into your own hands

When it comes to health and wellness advice from brands, it’s a good idea to dive deeper into the peer reviewed research behind marketing claims. We strive to steer you in the right direction by distilling the latest science, but we’ll always advocate for taking the initiative to do your own research and make fully-informed health choices.

Designed to drive benefits

At XPT Studio, we pride ourselves on offering practices and equipment that are scientifically proven to enhance your mental and physical well-being. To maximize the health, mood, and performance benefits of extreme heat, we only use traditional saunas that can go beyond 185°F.

Click here to learn more about the sauna, ice bath, and breathwork experiences available at our state-of-the-art wellness studio.


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