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Trend Watch: Infrared Saunas and Vinegar Tonics

Trend Watch: Infrared Saunas and Vinegar Tonics

Ever tried an infrared sauna or the health tonics that go along with the experience? Lauren Woodbridge tried both and shares her experience.

Who doesn’t love a good sweat sesh? The kind where every inch of your body from your ear lobes to behind your knee caps to your baby toes are dripping. Sweating may be a powerful tool to rid your body of toxins, pain and stress. Typically, I stay far away from saunas because I can’t get past my breathing troubles long enough to actually reap the benefits.

But then I learned about infrared saunas. Infrared saunas use infrared lights to heat your body rather than the room around you, feeling less like a humid, August day and more like a warm, spring day. You still sweat, but for me it’s just a much more pleasant process.

About a year ago, I went to my first infrared sauna, Purify in Richmond, Virginia. Entering Purify, it smelled faintly of lavender and cedar, with what I’m assuming was acoustic covers playing on the speaker. In tune with the detox theme, I was greeted with a Fire Cider shot from the owner herself. Fire Cider, an apple cider vinegar drink, touts antioxidant benefits from raw, organic citrus, turmeric, ginger, garlic, habanero and wildflower honey. It and other brands like Pok Pok Som, Bragg, Kevita, and Vim & Vigor may be used as a drink mixer, a marinade, added to soups, drizzled on cooked vegetables or just taken as a shot. Note that different brands use different amounts of sweeteners, usually honey or maple syrup, so be sure to pay attention to the labels.

Fans of apple cider vinegar will mention that it has been used for thousands of years to treat various diseases and even disinfect wounds in the Civil War. A little googling and you'll learn that apple cider vinegar may be a remedy and cure for a long list of ailments including bacteria-related stomach upset, fighting off a sore throat, treating things like nail fungus, lice, and ear infections, lowering bad cholesterol, suppressing appetite, increasing metabolism, reducing water retention and relaxing muscle cramps. In addition to the power of drinking vinegar, some have said it may be splashed on your face to soften, exfoliate, and reduce red spots, be rubbed in your hair for balancing pH and preventing dandruff, or be gargled to remove stains on your teeth and kill bacteria in your mouth.

However, after more extensive research on this “magical cure”, I was a little disappointed to find that not all these effects are well documented.  However, there is evidence that adding vinegars to your diet can help curb your appetite, properly and fully digest your food, increase your body’s absorption of certain vitamins and minerals and possibly lower your blood pressure.

Although the vinegar itself was not everything I had thought, the additional ingredients are continually being studied for health benefits. Turmeric contains the phytochemical curcumin which is researched for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and brain-protecting abilities. Citrus juices are high in vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and is good for immune health. Ginger can help with nausea and indigestion and habanero peppers, while making things incredibly spicy, also contain the capsaicin, which may stimulate blood flow and help with pain relief, cancer prevention and weight loss.

If you are a lover of all things sour and all about a new health craze, you should give this one a try! Some brands are more concentrated and should be mixed with water, while others are bought as a more diluted beverage. Again, make sure you pay attention to the added sugar, but it can be a nice, refreshing jolt to get your mind and body going for the day!

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