Today I was reminded why I love my infra-red sauna. We almost didn’t move it to California, because finding the space for it in our small apartment is a challenge. Since much of the time it is warm here, the sauna doesn’t get a lot of use. Today was the first time I used it since moving in May (we’ve mostly used it as a place to store unpacked boxes!).
The last couple of weeks have seen cooler overnight temperatures (such that I switch from the quilt to the feather duvet) and somewhat cooler daytime temperatures. It still gets warm most days, but some days it is actually comfortable to be walking around mid-day with long pants / jeans. With the cooler temperatures, I’m not worried about the sauna heating up the apartment.
The infra-red sauna doesn’t actually get that hot (its default setting is 50 deg C). It is powered through a regular outlet, and uses about the same power at the electric kettle (we tested this back in Ottawa) – however, unlike the kettle, it runs for much longer (usually 90 minutes or so – 20 minutes to warm up then I’m in it for usually 45-60 minutes). Because it doesn’t get as hot, it doesn’t dry out your eyes. It also means that I can use my iPad inside the sauna – so I watch TV while sweating away all those toxins in my system. It works by heating you up from the inside – causing you to sweat a lot (you need to drink a lot both before and after sauna’ing).
Today I finally hopped in the sauna. At first I didn’t think it was doing much. It took longer than normal to start sweating. In part I think because my body has forgotten the stimulus – after a couple of regular sessions my body will remember the stimulus and start sweating faster. When I got out of the sauna, I had an immediate sense of peace and calm. It is the same endorphin rush I get from sweating while exercising … however, with the low blood counts, neuropathy, and visual cognition issues I haven’t been able to do exercise that causes me to sweat. I have really been missing it. So, today I am thankful that we didn’t sell the sauna, and that it was there for me. I shall be using it more frequently in the next few weeks as I recover from chemo and prepare for surgery.