Weight Loss And Saunas: Myth or Fact?
Much has been made about Saunas and their health benefits. When these claims venture into the weight loss category, we have to be careful where we draw the line. Here are some common sauna weight loss claims. Let’s examine how many of them are true:
- Saunas burn calories as fast as exercise
- Saunas can achieve significant and rapid weight loss
- Saunas can achieve long-term weight loss
- Saunas can reduce the size of your waist
CLAIM ONE: Saunas burn calories as fast as exercise.
To say that you burn calories as fast as 30 minutes in the sauna as you do from exercising for 30 minutes is flat out, not true. However, sitting in a sauna for 30 minutes is far better, health-wise, than sitting on a couch watching TV. There are even claims out there that a 30 minute sauna session can burn upwards of 600 calories. Let’s use some common sense here. Depending on who you ask, you burn between 50 and 100 calories per hour from sitting.
Some studies propose that because an infrared sauna increases the heart rate, cardiac output rate and metabolic rate, the body burns more calories. For arguments sake, let’s assume that these benefits double your caloric burn rate for a maximum of 100 additional calories burned. Since most sauna sessions are around 30 minutes, this would mean that perhaps you would burn an additional 50 calories per sauna session—the equivalent of not drinking 4 oz. of soda.
MOSTLY FALSE: If you are already exercising, don’t stop. If you aren’t exercising, you should start as soon as possible. For both categories, sauna use is beneficial, but don’t expect it to take the place of exercise.
CLAIM TWO: Saunas can achieve significant and rapid weight loss.
The weight you sweat off in a sauna session is water weight. So, if you are bloated, it is possible to achieve short term, rapid and significant weight loss. However, as soon as you re-hydrate and eat, the weight will come back.
This is part of the regimen boxers use to make their fight weight under medical supervision. The boxer’s five day 20 pound weight loss regimen goes something like this:
- Reduce your water intake from 2 gallons per day on day one to NO water on day five.
- By drinking this much water in the beginning, your body ‘turns down’ the hormone aldosterone that conserves sodium.
- This leads to the body is in a “flushing” cycle.
When the amount of water intake is suddenly reduced, your body stays in the “flushing” cycle meaning you excrete more fluid than you take in.
- Don’t eat more than 50 grams of carbs per day.
- Don’t eat fruits, sugars or starches.
- Eat healthy protein.
- Don’t eat salt. Sodium holds on to water which is where water weight comes from.
- Take hot baths.
- Use the sauna
So even in the extreme, where documented, rapid weight loss has been achieved (boxers routinely lose 15-20 pounds the week prior to weigh-in, and they are starting from a point where they are in superior conditioning) the sauna has played only a small part in the overall weight loss.
Further, and most importantly, this weight loss is temporary and gone in 24 hours. It is achieved through extreme dehydration and is not healthy. Nor are you able to perform at anything near your peak when going through such a rapid weight loss regimen.
MOSTLY FALSE: The sauna will help you lose water weight as it increases the amount you sweat. Through water flushing and diet limitations it is possible to lose a lot of weight in a very short time. However, this weight loss is temporary and the regimen necessary to achieve results is radical and should only be considered with medical supervision. And only a small portion of it results from sitting in a sauna.
CLAIM THREE: Saunas can achieve long-term weight loss.
This is where things start to get interesting. We’ve already discussed how saunas will help you temporarily lose water weight. There’s another benefit to sitting in a sauna that comes through sweating. When we sweat we excrete the impurities in the body. The more we sweat the more we detox.
This directly impacts your weight because ALL toxins are stored in your fat cells (to isolate them from your vital organs), causing them to expand. When we detox, we reduce the size of your fat cells and you lose weight.
Additionally, increasing our heart rate (known as a cardio workout but also documented in sauna use) burns calories stored as fat. Of course, sauna use is not a substitute for proper diet and exercise. But, it can help boost the effects of proper diet and exercise on your weight loss results through detoxification, sweating, and increased heart rate. Additionally, if you have a sauna in your home, it is far more likely you’ll use your sauna than drive to and from your gym for a workout.
MOSTLY TRUE: Now, this is not to say you should jump in the sauna and expect to come out 10 pounds lighter any time soon. But, if you are serious about weight loss, plan on improving your diet and spending a little more time moving around, then adding sauna usage to the mix will benefit you. It’s also why we recommend using our Himalayan Secret Topical Detox Formula during your sauna sessions on both your stomach and the bottoms of your feet.
CLAIM FOUR: Saunas can reduce the size of your waist.
Much has been made about waist size being one of the better indicators of health risks. The smaller your waist, the healthier you are (within reason.) Here is where sauna usage, especially in conjunction with our Himalayan Secret Topical Detox Formula, can be of true benefit. And, let’s face it, when we talk about losing weight, we mostly mean losing inches off our waists.
A 2010 study by Richard Beever BSc MD CCFP CI. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Clinical Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia found that 20 minute sauna sessions, three times a week over three months resulted in an average waist loss of one pound.”
The study made the following conclusions: Infrared sauna use may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure and waist circumference. Subject adherence to infrared sauna use is greater than adherence to other lifestyle interventions. The combination of favourable compliance/adherence, as well as effectiveness in improving blood pressure and possibly waist circumference, makes infrared sauna therapy an attractive lifestyle option.
Actually True: Eat right. Exercise. Use a sauna and our Himalayan Secret Topical Detox Formula. You will be healthier. You will probably sleep better at night. You will probably lessen your stress levels. You might well lose some weight. You most likely will decrease your waistline. So, what’s it all mean? It’s really a matter of your expectations. If you think using the sauna means you can pig out, eschew exercise and drop 10 pounds in a month, you are being unrealistic.
If, however, you think using a sauna, in conjunction with a healthy diet, regular exercise and our Himalayan Secret Topical Detox Formula will make you look and feel better, and end up a bit lighter than before you started, then you will be very happy with your investment in a sauna from SaunaZen.