About one year ago, I developed stress hives. At the time, I was healing from my own trauma while simultaneously managing a high caseload in both private practice and community mental health. I was stressed and extremely burnt out. I was using topical creams and medication to ease the hives as well as checking in with my therapist once a week. Although it was all helpful, I did want to look into more holistic approaches to taking care of my skin. I met up with a good friend of mine from grad school for lunch, and she suggested that I try infrared sauna. At the time, I had started seeing infrared sauna studios popping up all over Orange County, but had not tried it yet. That same weekend, I booked an appointment and have been obsessed ever since!
You see, I've been wanting to write a blog about this for some time, but wanted to first try it long-term before recommending it to my readers. Although I initially began going to the sauna to improve my skin, I began noticing mental health benefits of it as well. After going to the sauna for about one year now, I feel that I can now discuss this topic. I not only noticed a better relationship developing with my skin, but also improvements in my overall mood. Here are 6 mental health benefits of infrared sauna:
1. Improves sleep
2. Pain relief by boosting the production of beta-endorphins
3.Reduces symptoms of depression, stress, & anxiety
4.Improves overall brain function & prevents cognitive decline by increasing development of new brain cells
5. Balances the body & mind when combined with chromotherapy
6. Provides space & time for mindfulness or meditation
Adding infrared sauna to your self-care practices can truly elevate your overall wellness routine. It may take you a couple sessions to adjust to the heat. Typically during your first sauna session, you won't sweat as much as you will in ongoing sessions. I usually set the sauna between 147-155 degrees Farenheit for about 40-45 minutes, but everyone has different preferences. I try to go once per week but if I am unable to, I aim to go twice a month. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sauna sessions. And as always, consult with a physician before making any decisions regarding your health.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog does not substitute for mental health services or financial advice. These are my personal thoughts gained from my experiences and education as a psychotherapist. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.