Infrared Sauna Therapy for Mental Health

By Dr. Candy Akers

Our mental health is something that we cannot ignore. It is as crucial as our physical health. A lot of attention has focused on mental health lately, especially since the pandemic. Although not a replacement for mental health therapy, infrared sauna therapy can play a significant role in helping the healing process and prevention of mental health issues. 


Easy Use at Home

Traditional saunas are available at most public spas, gyms, and health centers. They can be very helpful. Unfortunately, you will most likely need a membership and have to share it with others. An infrared sauna, on the other hand, can be easily installed at home for regular, consistent, and private use.  

Research has shown that using infrared saunas for at least 15 times a month, contributes to long lasting positive effects on cognitive and mental health. With regular use, infrared sauna therapy has been shown to reduce depression, maintain better sleep, enhance mood, cognitive health, and much more (Silvers, et al, 2018). Let's explore more about the association between infrared saunas with mental health.

Reduce Depression and Improves Mood

With infrared sauna therapy, the body is exposed to light that penetrates the skin to the core of the body and heats you from the inside. This type of therapy has been shown to play a vital role in enhancing euphoria. These saunas actually stress the body, which makes it produce and release euphoric hormones from the brain. These modifications become semi-permanent after a few sessions. Continuous use may lead a person to more consistent feelings of happiness with reduced depression and improved mood. Research has shown that people with depression who use the infrared sauna regularly, have their symptoms reduced by 50%.  


Reduce the Risk of Dementia

Today, dementia has become the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that around 160 million people are expected to be affected by dementia by 2050. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited. We know that steps can be taken to aid in the prevention of dementia and infrared sauna therapy can help. It was observed that 66% of men were less likely to develop dementia even after one time of infrared saunas use per week. A study out of the United Kingdom showed similar results. (Laukkanen, et al, 2018).

Decrease Headaches

Chronic tension-type headaches have become a significant problem across the globe. Chronic headaches are when you have severe headaches for more than 15 days in a month. The duration and intensity can vary as per the situation, lifestyle, and a person's overall well-being. However, research has shown that infrared saunas can relieve headache pain intensity. These saunas are considered a safer and more direct treatment for headaches. The study has shown that people using infrared saunas are less likely to experience chronic tension-type headache syndrome than people who don't.

Boost Restorative Sleep

In order to function well throughout the day, high-quality deep sleep is vital to optimize mental health and brain functioning. It was analyzed that sleep problems are more common in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. However, these problems can be relieved with regular infrared sauna use.


How to Use At-Home Infrared Saunas

Yay! You brought home an Infrared sauna box. What’s next?

Start slow and low

When first starting out, it is important to keep the sessions short, around 10 minutes set at 110°F (Cristiano, et al, 2019). Listen to your body.

Maximum Time

After you’ve been using your at home sauna for a while, you can increase your time but it is still recommended to keep the sessions less than 30 minutes. It is better not to stress your body too much. 

Stay hydrated

While using an infrared sauna, you will sweat. Therefore, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Perhaps even adding some electrolytes. It is important however, to avoid drinking alcohol during your session. It will only dehydrate you more. Just drink plenty water.

Rinse off

After your sessions, you will have sweated out many toxins so it is important to rinse off afterwards with a long shower.  

Final Thoughts

Infrared saunas show significant therapeutic benefits for improving our mental health. For experienced sauna users, 30 minute sessions are suggested. For newbies, 15 minutes proved to be super beneficial to decrease depression and anxiety, risk of dementia, and headaches. Infrared saunas can help people optimize their mental health by improving restful sleep and boosting their euphoric mood. Temperatures should always be set between 110°F to 140°F . Conveniently, you can buy saunas and bring them home to boost your mental health and cognitive functioning.

Dr. Candy's Recommendations 

Best Infrared Saunas For Mental Health

Even though any type of infrared sauna can give you mental health benefits, saunas that are best for improving mental health include a few features. You want them to be versatile, roomy, bright, and simple to operate. We want a “set it and forget it” situation. So that you can warm up, relax, and heal your mind. 

A lot of patients like to lay down in a sauna. It is nice to be able to relax your whole body while listening to an inspirational book or a guided meditation. You may want space to stretch or strike a yoga pose. Additionally, many patients find that having a friend or family member join you in the sauna is therapeutic

1. Clearlight® Sanctuary™ 3-Person Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna

What I Like:

  • Interior Bench Width = 66”
  • Bright and open
  • Chromotherapy lights


Learn more

2. Maxxus 4 Person Low EMF FAR Infrared Sauna MX-K406-01

What I Like:

  • Interior Bench Width = 68”
  • Extra heater for feet
  • Chromotherapy lights


Learn more

Other Recommendations

Over the years I have seen some unexpected but impressive results with using essential oils. Mostly what I have found…is that the healing power comes from the experience of the healer and the quality of the oils. Dr. Axe's lavender essential oil is great for helping balancing hormones in women. You can diffuse it, dab it on pressure points, or rub it on the bottom of your feet. It smells heavenly and the active compounds in the oil naturally balance your nerves and mood.

Balancing hormones is a science that they don’t teach us in Biology class. They don’t even teach it in medical school. If you need help balancing your hormones check out Hormonal Harmony, it could give you an immediate advantage to get healthy, naturally. 

Grab a “Relax & Unwind” Spa Kit

This kit is an affordable way to try out some new therapies that may help you relax. For only 29.99 you get:

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Every product in this affordable bundle has great reviews, and this also makes a great gift.

The Power Of Meditation

Meditation improves relaxation, boosts mood, and enhances focus. But after a stressful or chaotic day it may be difficult to find your inner peace. Homedics designed “drift” for meditative benefits in a simple and beautiful way. Drift captures your attention and pulls you into the present moment. As you watch the beautiful technology roll through a peaceful sand garden, the stressful world melts away. 


1 - Silvers, A. (2018, August). Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Using a Sauna. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (No. 1).

2 - Hussain, J. N., Greaves, R. F., & Cohen, M. M. (2019). A hot topic for health: Results of the Global Sauna Survey. Complementary therapies in medicine, 44, 223-234.

3 - Laukkanen, T., Laukkanen, J. A., & Kunutsor, S. K. (2018). Sauna bathing and risk of psychotic disorders: a prospective cohort study. Medical Principles and Practice, 27(6), 562-569.

4 - Cristiano, L. (2019). Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic medicine. Asploro Journal of Biomedical and Clinical Case Reports, 2019(2), 77.