A sauna belt is a device usually worn around the waist, hips, or thighs that is intended to relieve muscle pain and tension and to help the wearer lose unwanted fat in these target areas. Several brands of sauna belts are available. They offer adjustable power cords; battery-operated versions; belts made to go around other areas of the body, such as the arms or legs; and many other options.
The uses vary depending on the company selling the sauna belt. Some say it is mainly intended for muscle and back pain relief, but most market it as a miracle weight loss belt. As a muscle relaxer and pain reliever, the sauna belt operates on the same principles as a heating pad for sore muscles. They are similar to heating pads and are, therefore, said to have similar results.
The sauna belt as a weight loss product is based on the use of sauna rooms for weight loss. Proponents of sauna therapy claim that sitting in a sauna raises the heart rate and, therefore, the metabolism, resulting in fat being burned. While it is true that one can lose several pounds in a single sauna session, the weight loss is mainly the result of lost water from intense sweating. Rehydrating will negate most of the weight loss.
The heart rate also may rise, but the amount of fat burned will not be nearly as much as if the time had been spent exercising. The weight loss in a single session may be significant enough to help athletes reach a lower weight class or to reach a temporary weight goal. Many people who use the belt, however, are more concerned with longer-term fat loss than with temporary weight loss.
A sauna belt is intended to “sweat out” the problem areas of the body, resulting in weight loss. Based on the effects of a sauna, it is possible that sauna belts may indeed reduce the size and weight of certain areas temporarily, until rehydration occurs. Although the sauna belt is marketed as a fat-burning product, this weight loss should not be mistaken for fat loss. If a sauna can slightly raise the metabolism by exposing the entire body to heat, then it is possible that a sauna belt might have a similar, if smaller, effect. The sauna belt also may be effective for weight loss but, for sustained fat loss, most fitness professionals agree it would be more effective to engage in physical activity.