By Jessica Collins for Heat Healer
Looking for a smarter way to hack your post-workout recovery time and improve overall fitness? (Um, who isn’t?!) Well, look no further than the traditional practice of heat therapy, reinvented with Infrared technology.
Heat therapy has been around for thousands of years, but scientific research is now starting to really understand the mechanisms behind why heat has such an intensely positive effect on our cardiovascular health and fitness, the immune system, and longevity in general.
Here are three reasons you should be regularly using heat therapy as part of your post-workout recovery routine.
1. Activate your Heat Shock Proteins (for a healthy heart and brain)
Yes, you heard us! Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are clever little molecules within our bodies, which help prevent the normal cell damage that occurs in response to daily life. Specifically, Heat Shock Proteins clear away other, damaged proteins from our cells. If left untreated, damaged proteins can contribute to a number of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as cardiovascular disease.
So how can we influence our bodies on a cellular level, and tell our HSPs to work harder? By putting our body into a temporary state of ‘heat shock’, also known as ‘heat stress’, we set off a chain of physiological reactions including increased heart rate, sweating, and caloric consumption, as well as activating our HSPs to do their jobs. More good news - exercise and fasting can also help activate HSPs, so by doing these in conjunction with heat therapy we can really optimise their function.
2. Reduce your recovery time (and sleep better)
Research from Japan found treatments with Infrared sauna significantly reduced the muscle and body pain of fibromyalgia patients (a condition which Lady Gaga has shone light on recently). This has been replicated in studies for other types of pain, including leg pain, endometriosis pain, nerve pain, and pain caused by arthritis. Because Infrared saunas increase blood circulation, they can support the body to heal, particularly when repairing inflamed joints.
Not only is an Infrared sauna a great way to relax and ease sore muscles after a workout, but using a sauna around 90 minutes before you want to go to bed is a neat way to hack your body’s natural temperature regulation processes to improve sleep quality. Temporarily increasing your core body temperature and then allowing it to drop helps send a strong signal to your body that it’s time to sleep and gives you a better chance of a deep and restorative rest.
3. Boost your immune system (and never miss a workout)
A clear link between increased body temperature and effective immune response has been uncovered in a number of studies. These have shown heat therapy to reduce the occurrence of illnesses, such as the common cold, as well as triggering an increase in white blood cells, which help to defend our bodies from viruses and illness. Yet another study found elevated body temperature helps certain types of immune cells work better, resulting in a temporarily enhanced immune response.
Further studies into the use of conventional saunas have also discovered a dose dependent effect. This means, the more saunas you have, the stronger the benefits. Thanks to modern technology, heat therapy can be easily incorporated into your daily health and fitness routine using a personal Infrared sauna blanket. Roll one of these babies out in your bedroom or living room (or anywhere you’ve got a power source) and you’re instantly able to reap the rewards Infrared heat therapy at a time that is convenient for you. For more information on heat therapy, the studies mentioned above, and Infrared sauna blankets head to heathealer.com.