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12 Infrared Sauna Health Benefits Backed by Research

In this article, we will take a look at the infrared sauna health benefits and what the research tells us about the pros of using an infrared sauna.

Infrared saunas are very popular these days and almost everyone has a good experience with them. It is nothing unusual to have an infrared sauna at home.

Heat treatment has been used to help heal the body for thousands of years.  Infrared saunas are significantly younger than the traditional ones, yet, there are many known infrared sauna health benefits documented by studies and experience of many people.

Infrared sauna therapy uses infrared technology in order to raise the sauna’s temperature to a desired level. The radiant heat is absorbed by the surface of the skin and offers several health benefits, including the detoxification, stress relief  and cardio vascular system improvements.

Let’s take a look at some of the amazing health benefits offered to those who use the infrared sauna regularly.

1. Detoxification

While many chemical elements are essential for life, some elements like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury have no known benefits in a human body.

Harmful toxic elements like manmade chemicals and heavy metals get accumulated in our fat cells and usually get eliminated by burning of fat and then excreted in sweat.

Infrared sauna is the most effective method to sweat out toxins since the human body possesses the ability to get rid of toxins in the sweat.

Detoxification is one of the most significant infrared sauna health benefits.

Detoxification potential of an infrared sauna is 3 times greater than a regular sauna.

The body heats up raising the core body temperature by two-to-three degrees using the infrared light in the infrared sauna and increases the blood circulation to even the smallest blood vessels.

This increased circulation triggers the sweat mechanism increasing detoxification and lowering circulating levels of toxins in the body.

Infrared saunas allow to eliminate about 7 times more toxins than the conventional ones.


Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review

2. Weight loss

Infrared saunas, because of their potential to perforate the skin more deeply, trigger sweating that aids in lowering weight and waist circumference in just a three-month period with regular use of half an hour session every day.

The heat from infrared sauna increases the blood flow, thereby increasing five to seven quarts up to thirteen quarts a minute. This heat also increases cardiac output, heart functioning and metabolic rate, causing more calories to burn off and resulting in weight loss.

The increased metabolic rate aids in burning around 200 to 600 calories in a 30-minute session. If the use of infrared therapy is accompanied with proper and healthy diet and daily workout and exercises, more effective results can be obtained.

If the use of infrared therapy is accompanied with proper and healthy diet and daily workout and exercises, more effective results can be obtained.

You can read more about this topic in our article focused on infrared sauna weight loss.

Interestingly, one of the amazing infrared sauna health benefits is increased calorie intake and improved feeding behavior in individuals with loss of appetite.

Thus, infrared sauna therapy helps in increasing the hunger hormone called ghrelin in low appetite individuals and in balancing key regulator of nutrient sensing (ghrelin levels) in obese patients.


Sauna-induced body mass loss in young sedentary women and men

Ghrelin: much more than a hunger hormone

3. Relaxation & stress reduction

Infrared saunas are guaranteed to help you relax your senses with a revitalizing deep tissue sweat that gives a fully refreshed feeling. Infrared therapy soothes the mind by enveloping the body in revivifying warmth.

Mindful meditation, reduction in cortisol levels (hormone released due to stress) and chronic stress are some benefits of infrared sauna.

The heat generated by infrared sauna boosts the blood circulation that gives a profound sense of relaxation throughout the body.

The discomfort decreases and kinked muscles and taut nerves respond to the therapeutic sauna heat. This chronic stress relief technique offers a warm and relaxing effect thereby loosening the tightened and knotted muscles, leaving you feeling calm, energized and invigorated.

In addition to stress reduction, infrared sauna therapy stimulates the release of happiness triggering chemicals or neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.


Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review

Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems:
A systematic review

4. Immune system boost

Deep radiant nature of infrared heat enhances the body’s defense mechanism towards microbes, bacteria and infection.

The powerful healing properties of infrared heat stimulates the cellular energy by increasing the production of white blood cells in the body.

The white blood cells are an essential element for aiding the body in combating any harmful pathogens that might enter the body and elevating the body’s natural defense against illness.

Studies have reported that people who take regular sauna sessions (2-3/week) minimize their incidence of influenza and cold by over 65%.


Benefits and risks of sauna bathing

Visiting a sauna: does inhaling hot dry air reduce common cold symptoms?
A randomised controlled trial

5. Skin purification

Infrared sauna technology purifies the skin by eliminating toxins from the skin pores thereby restoring the skin to its youthful appearance. Sauna heat increases circulation, resulting in clearer, cleaner, softer, and healthier-looking skin.

The secret behind this skin rejuvenation is the production of collagen; far infrared rays give a boost to collagen production in your body.

Sweat produced in infrared saunas is 80-85% water and 15-20% of the perspiration consisting of toxins like heavy metals, sulfuric acid (H2SO4), sodium (Na), ammonia (NH3), uric acid other fat-soluble toxins.


Infrared and skin: Friend or foe

6. Pain relief

Infrared sauna therapy works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing blood circulation and speeding the flow of oxygen.

By minimizing soreness in the nerves, the infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and pain and helps the body heal itself naturally.

7. Improved blood circulation

As the heat from infrared sauna sessions increases the core body temperature, the blood circulation increases with it as well.

Consistent infrared sauna sessions stimulate the blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and alleviate pain and inflammation after intense exercise.

8. Improved brain function

A good percentage of infrared sauna heat has the capacity to influence the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), that protects, repairs, heals and elevates the growth of brain cells.

A good quantity of BDNF in the brain relieves stress and prevents any mental illnesses thereby maintaining a good cognitive health.


Biological effects and medical applications of infrared radiation

9. Chronic fatigue and insomnia reduce

Infrared saunas mitigate symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. These symptoms include fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and low-grade fever.

Perceived fatigue levels significantly reduce after frequent therapy sessions. Negative mood, anxiety, depression, insomnia and the patients’ ability to carry out day to day work activities significantly improves after regular sauna sessions.

Infrared sauna is a gentle but effective natural therapy that is an excellent complement to a comprehensive chronic fatigue treatment protocol.

Infrared sauna is a gentle but effective natural therapy that is an excellent complement to a comprehensive chronic fatigue treatment protocol.


The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

10. Anti-aging, muscle recovery, and injury healing

Infrared sauna therapy increases heat shock proteins, antioxidant enzymes, and stimulates cellular cleanup known as autophagy that helps to delay aging process and improves cognitive function.

Sauna bathing can also increase several anti-aging hormones in the body including the insulin-growth factor 1. IGF-1, in particular, helps with injury healing. Infrared therapy has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can accelerate injury healing.


Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance
training sessions in men

Change in hormones reflecting sympathetic activity in the Finnish sauna

11. Cellulite reduction

Cellulite, is an unsightly dimpling of the skin that takes place almost exclusively in women. It’s often seen on the thighs and/or buttocks and is triggered by the herniation of subcutaneous fat present in the connective tissue in the impacted areas. It is basically the accumulation of toxins trapped inside the fat cells.

Heat from infrared saunas is able to penetrate up to 3 inches into the body, to raise the internal temperature enough to liquefy the subcutaneous fat. As a result, the heartbeat increases by 50 to 75 percent, which is the same effect caused by a physical workout.

Due to the increased heartbeat, there is increase in the blood circulation as well which helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite under the skin.


Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications

12. Helps patients with different diseases

Infrared sauna health benefits  also include helping people with several ailments and diseases like:

Cardiovascular conditioning

Infrared heat therapy promotes cardiovascular conditioning just like aerobic activity, with very less exertion. A session in an infrared sauna elevates the body temperature, stimulating the blood vessels to dilate.

This dilation known as “vasodilation”, activates a physiological reaction which includes an elevation in the heart rate, metabolic functions and the cardiac output.

The cardiovascular system conditions the stressed heart in a similar fashion that running on a treadmill would. Expanded blood vessels become more pliant, elastic and supple due to the continual contraction as they get heated and cooled.

The body’s elevated demand for oxygen prompts the heart rate to increase and heart functioning at pumping oxygenated blood through the entire body becomes more efficient.


Effects of repeated sauna treatment on ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic heart failure

Reduces risk of dementia

Frequent heat exposure to infrared sauna is associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The infrared sauna heat penetrates deep into the skin, repairs the tissues promoting healing and increasing metabolic process that eventually helps in managing all aspects of aging, controlling blood pressure, improving blood circulation and reducing all pain levels in the body.

Infrared sauna bathing is beneficial in controlling and alleviating high systemic blood pressure and pulse pressure, which are well-known risk factors for dementia.

It can be said that the cardiovascular effects of infrared sauna serve a neurologically protective function and also improve the cognitive health.

Diabetes management

Infrared sauna use may be associated with improved quality of life in people with type II diabetes mellitus. The sauna heat increases blood circulation which is really important for people with diabetes.

For diabetes management, an infrared sauna increases blood circulation to hands and feet while aiding in rejuvenating the cells, reducing the pain and swelling that are all quite common in diabetes.

Infrared saunas are not a cure to diabetes nor claim to reverse it. However, lifestyle changes, healthy diet, medications, and alternative lifestyle adjustments like infrared sauna technique can be beneficial in the management of diabetes.


Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: summary of published evidence

Recommended pain relief solution for Rheumatoid arthritis and Ankylosing spondylitis

Infrared saunas heat the body from the inside out and relax the muscles and tissues directly. Muscle relaxation through Infrared light therapy relieves pain and reduces inflammation throughout the body, for those suffering from arthritis and Ankylosing spondylitis.

It can be said that the infrared sauna therapy is a recommended solution for rheumatoid arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis because of its unique potential to stimulate healing capacity through non-invasive heat.

By warming the body directly, the infrared heat heals the tissues of the stiff muscles from the inside out while maintaining gentle lower temperatures.

By warming the body directly, the infrared heat heals the tissues of the stiff muscles from the inside out while maintaining gentle lower temperatures. This aids in increased blood circulation which is really important for repairing the inflamed joints.


Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis

Helps to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

An infrared sauna can help with the main cause of irritable bowel syndrome, which includes abdominal cramping or discomfort, gas-related bloating, and reduced tolerance to certain foods.

When infrared sauna heat penetrates into the body, a brief, yet beneficial elevation in body temperature takes place which is like an artificial fever, but the fever that imitates the body’s natural response to such kind of stimulus — boosts the immune system. By promoting healthy immune function, the body is more equipped to get rid of viruses, bacteria, and other types of toxins that can cause flare-ups in the digestive system.

Regular infrared sauna sessions relieve the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic heartburn, and inflammatory bowel disease thereby rejuvenating the bowel.

Lowers high blood pressure

Infrared saunas are backed by clinical research that shows a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Both are key factors in maintaining a healthy heart.

Infrared saunas induce a deep sweat to make the heart pump faster, which in turn increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure and helps circulation.


Far-infrared therapy: a novel treatment to improve access blood flow and unassisted patency of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients

The above infrared sauna health benefits backed up and proven by science make them an ideal solution combined with certain medications and workouts, for treating several ailments and diseases.

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits Infographic

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits Infographic by Feel free to share or use for your own purposes, but don’t forget to link to the source.

Ben Pavlik - Your Wellness Kingdom | Twitter | Facebook
Hi, my name is Ben, I am a fitness enthusiast and sauna lover. Your Wellness Kingdom is my project dedicated to helping others create their own wellness kingdom at home and bringing useful information and reviews related to spa and wellness.

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