Infrared Sauna Therapy- Science of Healing Made Simple
Infrared sauna therapy uses infrared emitters at different wavelengths without the use of water for additional humidity. This type of thermal therapy is becoming popular all over the world for its health and wellness benefits. This article explains the scientific evidence behind those benefits.
What is Infrared Sauna Therapy?
Sauna bathing is whole-body thermotherapy that people all over the world use for hygiene, health, social, and spiritual purposes. The most common types include traditional Finnish-style sauna, Turskish-style Hammam, and Russian Banya. They differ by the heat source and humidity level. 1
Infrared saunas have become increasingly popular during the last decade. These saunas use infrared emitters at different wavelengths without water or additional humidity. The proper temperature should be between 110 and 160 degrees F. It is recommended to to follow these sauna sessions with a rinse in the shower and to drink plenty of water.
What are the Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy?
The use of private infrared saunas is increasing to enhance health and wellness, especially among those withchronic illnesses who have difficulty exercising. 1
Clinical studies show the many benefits of using infrared saunas. Infrared sauna sessions may help: 1
- Improve the symptoms and outcomes of heart disease.
- Decrease pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Improve pain and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia.
- Decrease fatigue.
- Improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Reduce headaches.
- Improve the symptoms of respiratory diseases.
Infrared suana therapy is generally safe. Side effects are usually mild and easily manageable. Mild heat discomfort is the most common complaint. Other possible discomforts are: 1
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of body fluid
- Excessive urine production
- Weight loss
Seek medical attention if you feel any discomfort after a sauna therapy session. 1
What Does Science Say?
Clinical studies have investigated the effects of infrared saunas on various health conditions. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the available evidence.
Infrared Sauna Therapy as a Natural Pain Relief
A few studies have investigated the effects of infrared saunas on chronic pain. One study looked at 13 female patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome. The patients received infrared dry sauna therapy once daily for two to five days per week. All patients experienced a significant reduction in pain, about 50% after the first session. This effect became stable after ten treatments. 2
In another study, researchers separated 21 patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) (when a build-up of fat deposits in the arteries it restricts blood supply to leg muscles) into two groups: one received infrared sauna therapy, and the other received only conventional treatment. The leg pain and walking distance improved significantly after six weeks in the sauna therapy group but not in the control group. 3
Thirtyeight obese individuals, used an infrared sauna for 15 minutes twice daily for four consecutive days. There were significant improvements in pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression, although body mass index (BMI) did not change.4
Older adults may also benefit from infrared sauna use as studies suggest it may improve common geriatric symptoms, including chronic pain. 5
Overall, these studies suggest that infrared sauna therapy may help alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain syndromes.
Infrared Sauna Therapy for Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases are those that last one or more yers and require ongoing medical attention or limit one’s activities or daily living.6 Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading cause of death and disability. 6 in 10 adults in the US live with such illnesses. 7
Most clinical studies involving infrared saunas investigate their effects on heart conditions. One study enrolled 149 hospitalized patients with advanced heart failure (when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should). The researchers separated the patients into two groups, one received infrared sauna therapy, and the other was the control group. Only those in the sauna group showed significant improvements in symptom severity as measured by the New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification. 8
Another study investigated the effects of 4-week infrared sauna sessions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, two common chronic conditions. The treatment was well tolerated; the patients reported no adverse events or disease exacerbation. The pain and stiffness decreased significantly during the session. 9
A smaller study was done with patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. They had previously been treated with prednisolone with no success. It also showed that 15 to 25 sessions of infrared therapy once daily, reduced fatigue, pain, sleep disturbances, and low-grade fever. The patients showed no relapse or exacerbation of symptoms during the first year after discharge and became socially rehabilitated six months after discharge. 10
These findings suggest that infrared saunas may benefit people with chronic conditions.
Clinical studies show the health benefits of infrared saunas, especially in chronic conditions such as heart diseases, chronic pain syndromes, and arthritis. Remember to always consult a doctor or other health care professional before undergoing any medical treatment.
Own Your Own
Don’t deal with the hassle of going to a gym every time you need to use the sauna. Purchase and installation of home infrared saunas is easy. Having your own promotes regular use, and is more sanitary. Would you like to buy an infrared sauna for your home? Check out our complete guide to choosing the best sauna unit for your health goals.
Safety Of Heavy Metal Detox With Infrared Saunas
Sometimes the detoxing process can be risky, as it can lead to large amounts of toxins all being released at once. This huge rush can damage your filtration organs such as your liver and kidneys, or even drive heavy metals further into your brain tissue.
People undergoing Infrared sauna therapy do occasionally have large “healing reactions”. Healing reactions are events that may happen during sauna therapy and may look like the disease is worsening. This is the body pulling out toxins and metabolizing them for excretion.
In Asian medicine, this is sometimes referred to as “it gets worse before it gets better”. These symptoms indicate that indeed large amounts of substances are being detoxed and released into your body systems. If this happens with you, I recommend cutting back sauna sessions to just 5 minutes per session, twice a day. Do this until you feel better. I also recommend drinking large amounts of water to flush things through.
Showering After Infrared Sauna Sessions
These detox reactions are one reason why it is so important to remove sweat by showering right after an infrared sauna session. As the sauna removes those toxins from the sweat, those substances can be reabsorbed by the body if left on the skin for too long. I recommend taking a shower within 20 minutes of getting out of the sauna. If it is not possible at the time, take time to towel off as much sweat as possible, and change your clothes until you can clean up.
So now we can see how infrared sauna therapy can help you detox heavy metals and improve your overall health. There are so many benefits of sauna therapy that I could fill a whole book. I’m passionate about teaching people how to heal with the use of an infrared sauna. I highly recommend getting one for home use. They don't take up too much space, they are affordable, and are easy to set up and operate. Of course, the best benefit is feeling amazing!
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~ Dr. Candy
Dr. Candy's Recommendations - Best Infrared Saunas
You can get optimal conditions for healing by selecting the right infrared sauna. There are many cheap knock-off sauna brands flooding the US market. Most of these items are made in China and are not built to last. The materials used to make a cheaply made sauna can also contain toxic fumes, cancer-causing fire retardants, or other harmful chemicals.
I recommend getting a well-made infrared sauna. This will result in you getting more health benefits and better healing from your home sauna therapy. A high-quality infrared sauna will last a lifetime. Your family will be healthier short term and long term. Infrared saunas can also add value to a home. A lifetime of natural health is worth the investment.
Above all others, the highest quality infrared saunas that I recommend are made by Clearlight(R). The Clearlight brand is founded and designed by doctors. They have optimized the whole home-sauna-experience. Focused on health-supporting features, Clearlight saunas are the best of the best.
1 - Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Apr 24;2018:1857413. DOI: 10.1155/2018/1857413. PMID: 29849692; PMCID: PMC5941775.
2 - Matsushita, Kakushi, Akinori Masuda, and Chuwa Tei. "Efficacy of Waon therapy for fibromyalgia." Internal medicine 47.16 (2008): 1473-1476.
3 - Shinsato, Takuro, et al. "Waon therapy mobilizes CD34+ cells and improves peripheral arterial disease." Journal of cardiology 56.3 (2010): 361-366.
4 - Choi, Hoon Sung, et al. "Repeated dry sauna therapy improves the quality of life in obese Korean people." Korean Journal of Family Medicine 41.5 (2020): 312.
5 - Sugie, Masamitsu, et al. "Effectiveness of a far‐infrared low‐temperature sauna program on geriatric syndrome and frailty in community‐dwelling older people." Geriatrics & gerontology international 20.10 (2020): 892-898.
6 - About Chronic Diseases. CDC. 2022. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm. Access: 08/31/2022.
7 - Chronic Diseases in America. CDC. 2022. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm. Access: 08/31/2022.
8 - Tei, Chuwa, et al. "Waon therapy for managing chronic heart failure–results from a multicenter prospective randomized WAON-CHF Study–." Circulation Journal 80.4 (2016): 827-834.
9 - Oosterveld, Fredrikus GJ, et al. "Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis." Clinical rheumatology 28.1 (2009): 29-34.
10 - Masuda, Akinori, et al. "The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome." Journal of psychosomatic research 58.4 (2005): 383-387.