INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY
The regular use of an infrared sauna for support of detoxification is one of the best things you can do to restore health and remain healthy. Infrared saunas penetrate deep into the body increasing heat shock proteins, inducing more sweat, then the release of toxins, and at the same time increasing longevity.
How do Infrared Saunas work?
Infrared saunas use infrared light(not visible to the human eye), which penetrates deep into the body creating heat from within. A traditional sauna, also known as a Finnish sauna, uses steam or hot rocks to heat a room to 190-220 degrees. Because of the extreme heat traditional saunas can be uncomfortable, with some people finding it hard to breathe. On the other hand, infrared saunas are heated between 120-170 degrees, with deeper penetration into the body, providing even greater health benefits, while also being more comfortable.
In an infrared sauna, 80% of the heat is directed toward your body’s core, and the other 20% will heat the surrounding air. The infrared heat raises your core body temperature and stimulates the lymphatic system, immune system, and the cardiovascular system. Your body’s response to the heat is to sweat profusely, releasing heavy metals and other toxins through the skin, the largest detox organ of the body. The water in your body also resonates with far-infrared heat, which supports the detoxification process.
DETOXIFICATION-A LIFESTYLE MUST
We live in a very toxic world, with exposure to pesticides, toxic metals, environmental pollution, and GMOs to name a few. Even with our best efforts it is impossible to avoid all toxins. Our body has organs and pathways all focused on the task of eliminating toxins. Sweating, a pathway through the skin, is one of the major, and underutilized pathways for elimination of toxins. Studies indicate sweating is a major method of excreting pesticides1, toxic metals,2 (including cadmium, lead, and aluminum), Bisphenol A (BPA),3 and mycotoxins associated with mold exposure.4 This happens as infrared heat energy penetrates tissues, triggering mobilization of chemicals from subcutaneous fat storage, directly into the sweat. Sauna is by far the safest form of detoxification with added benefits for heart disease, enhanced immunity, increased longevity, and even weight loss. Detox programs built around infrared sauna therapy are the most effective and efficient methods of whole body detox.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF INFRARED SAUNA
Besides infrared saunas ability to detoxify the body, which helps with weight loss, research indicates you can burn up to 600 calories in one 30-minute sauna session, as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.5 Saunas are able to heat your core body temperature, increasing blood flow and heart rate much like exercise. In other research conducted by Binghamton University they found that participants who spent 45-minute sessions in an infrared sauna 3 times a week, lost 4% body fat in just 16 weeks.6
The heat from an infrared sauna increases the body’s production of white blood cells, and induces an artificial fever, which when combined, are the immune system’s first line of defense when infection strikes. Fever is the body’s natural mechanism to strengthen and accelerate the immune response, so it can take the appropriate action against infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria. In studies, heat has been shown to destroy harmful germs and bacteria, while a 1% increase in body temperature results in a 40% increase in immunity, according to Nobuhiro Yoshimizu, MD, PhD.7,8 Additional effects of infrared sauna therapy include the increase in heat shock proteins leading to improved immunity, and 30% reduced risk of getting a cold or flu with regular sauna use.9,10,11
One of the most profound and proven sauna health benefits is for cardiovascular health. In 1981, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that regular sauna use “may be as effective as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning calories as regular exercise.”12 In another study conducted in Finland sauna use has been shown beneficial for preventing cardiovascular deaths. When compared to men who never use sauna, frequent sauna users (4-7 times per week) were 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular-related causes.13
Regular sauna therapy appears to extend the life span. In one study, 2,315 Finnish men, who used sauna 4 to 7 times per week, had a 40% reduction in mortality from all causes.14 Another study that supports the observation in extended lifespan from sauna use, relates to increased activity of the FOXO3 gene, a master regulator gene linked to increased longevity. 14,15 FOXO3 gene activation has also been linked to Stem Cell activation, DNA repair, and improved immune function. 14,15,16
Pain & Inflammation
Sauna therapy also shows benefit in reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain.17 In one promising study chronic pain patients experienced a nearly 70% reduction in pain after just one session of infrared sauna therapy.18
Skin and beauty
Far infrared exposure has been shown to impact two essential ingredients of healthy skin by increasing production of collagen and elastin.19,20 Far infrared wavelengths also improve the delivery of nutrients to the skin by increasing blood flow. Saunas may be able to help purify skin, reduce wrinkles, improve stretch marks and cellulite, treat and prevent acne and blackheads.
Cautions for use of Infrared Sauna
Cardiovascular Issues, Obesity, or Diabetes—Individuals with obesity or with a medical history of heart disease, low or high blood pressure, circulatory problems, or diabetes should consult a physician before use. Heat stress increases cardiac output and blood flow to transfer internal body heat to the outside environment via the skin (perspiration) and the respiratory system. This takes place primarily due to major changes in the heart rate, which has the potential to increase by thirty (30) beats per minute for each degree increase in core body temperature.
Medications—Individuals who are using prescription drugs should seek the advice of their physician since some medications may induce drowsiness, while others may affect heart rate, blood pressure, and circulation. Diuretics, barbiturates, and beta-blockers may impair the body’s natural heat loss mechanisms. Anticholinergics, such as amitriptyline, may inhibit sweating and can predispose individuals to heat rash or to a lesser extent, heatstroke. Some over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines, may also cause the body to be more prone to heatstroke.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse—Contrary to popular belief, it’s not advisable to attempt to “sweat out” a hangover. Alcohol intoxication decreases a person’s judgment. Therefore, he/she may not realize when the body has a negative reaction to high heat. Alcohol also increases the heart rate, which may be further increased by heat stress. The use of alcohol, drugs, or medications before a sauna session may lead to unconsciousness.
Elderly—The ability to maintain core body temperature decreases with age. This is primarily due to circulatory conditions and decreased sweat gland function. The body must be able to activate its natural cooling processes to maintain core body temperature. If you are elderly, operate your sauna at a lower temperature and for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Children—Children’s core body temperature rises much faster than adults. This occurs due to a higher metabolic rate per body mass, limited circulatory adaptation to increased cardiac demands, and the inability to regulate body temperature by sweating. When using your sauna with a child, operate it at a lower temperature and for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Reduced Ability To Sweat Or Perspire—Multiple sclerosis, central nervous system tumors, and diabetes with neuropathy are associated with impaired sweating. Consult a physician before using a sauna.
Hemophiliacs / Individuals Prone To Bleeding—The use of infrared saunas should be avoided by anyone who is predisposed to bleeding.
Fever and Insensitivity to Heat—Individuals with insensitivity to heat or who have a fever should not use the sauna until the fever subsides.
Pregnancy—Pregnant women should consult a physician before using an infrared sauna.
Menstruation—Heating of the low back area of women during the menstrual period may temporarily increase menstrual flow. This should not prevent you from using your sauna.
Joint Injury—Recent (acute) joint injury should not be heated for the first 48 hours or until the swollen symptoms subside. Joints that are chronically hot and swollen may respond poorly to vigorous heating of any kind.
Implants—Metal pins, rods, artificial joints, or any other surgical implants generally reflect infrared waves and thus are not heated by this system. Nevertheless, you should consult your physician before using a sauna.
Pacemakers / Defibrillators—Please discuss with your doctor the possible risks this may cause.
In the rare event that you experience pain or discomfort, immediately discontinue sauna use.
1. Stephen J. Genuis, et al. (2016). Human Elimination of Organochlorine Pesticides: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. BioMed Research International, vol. 2016, Article ID 1624643, 10 pages. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2016/1624643
2. Genuis, S.J.,et al. (2011). Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 61: 344–357. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21057782
3. Genuis, Stephen J et al. (2012). Human excretion of bisphenol A: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study. Journal of environmental and public healthvol. 2012 (2012): 185731. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/185731
4. Rea, W.J. (2018). A large case-series of successful treatment of patients exposed to mold and mycotoxin. Clin Ther. 2018; 40: 889–893. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/298611911. W. Dean. Effect of Sweating. (1981). Journal of the American Medical Association. 246: 623. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/360118
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7. Soszyński, Dariusz. (2003). The pathogenesis and adaptive value of fever. Postȩpy higieny i medycyny doświadczalnej. 57. 531-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14737969
8. Yoshimizu, Nakamachi Nobuhiro, M.D., Ph.D. The Fourth Treatment for Medical Refugees. https://www.bio-mats.com/infrared/the-fourth-treatment-for-medical-refugees
9. Multhoff, G. (2006) Heat Shock Proteins in Immunity. In: Starke K., Gaestel M. (eds) Molecular Chaperones in Health and Disease. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, vol 172. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16610364
10. E. Ernst, E. et al. (1990) Regular Sauna Bathing and the Incidence of Common Colds. Annals of Medicine, 22:4, 225-227. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2248758
11. W. Dean. Effect of Sweating. (1981). Journal of the American Medical Association. 246: 623. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/360118
12. Setor K. K., et al. (2018). Sauna bathing reduces the risk of stroke in Finnish men and women. Neurology. May 2018, 90 (22) e1937-e1944; https://n.neurology.org/content/90/22/e1937
13. Laukkanen, Tanjaniina, et al. (April 2015). Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine 175, no. 4: 542. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25705824
14. Flachsbart, F. et al. Association of FOXO3A variation with human longevity confirmed in German centenarians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Feb 2009, pnas.0809594106. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/02/05/0809594106
15. Willcox, B et al. FOXO3A genotype is strongly associated with human longevity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sep 2008. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0801030105
16. Tsai, W. >et al. (2008). Functional interaction between FOXO3a and ATM regulates DNA damage response. Nat Cell Biol 10, 460–467, 2008. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncb1709
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19. Lee, Ju Hee et al. (2006). “Effects of infrared radiation on skin photo-aging and pigmentation.” Yonsei Medical Journal vol. 47,4 2006: 485-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728
20. LLidija Kandolf-Sekulovic, et al. (2003). Immunomodulatory Effects of Low-Intensity Near-Infrared Laser Irradiation on Contact Hypersensitivity Reaction. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2003; 19: pp 203–212, Blackwell Munksgaard. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12925192