Heat Shock Proteins, De-Stress, Pain Relief

The 2021 Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas

Lose Weight, Feel Great & Detoxify

Written by Christopher Kiggins

The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas

Introduction Introduction Introduction

I had never set foot inside an infrared sauna until five years ago. I was overweight, extremely stressed and had high blood pressure, which is partially hereditary. I was taking medication to regulate my HBP, which rose to 153/90. My pulse was resting around 100 BPM. At this point, you can hear your heart beating in your head. Let me tell you, it wasn’t comfortable.

My name is Christopher Kiggins, and I’m happy that none of the above is now true.

I’ll never forget the first time I used an infrared sauna—I was on the showroom floor of Sauna Works (which was my first job in the industry) and after about 15 minutes things just went calm. The stress, which felt like an elephant sitting on my chest, disappeared and I could breathe freely. That night was the best sleep of my life. I continued to take saunas frequently and a few unexpected things happened: My stress level went down, I was waking up without an alarm clock and my addiction to caffeine diminished to where I no longer needed it.

My blood pressure returned to normal levels after two weeks and I was able to quit my HBP medication. My pulse was resting at about 76, which meant I no longer could hear my heart in my ear. I’m not sure you’ve ever experienced that, but it’s a great feeling.

I found relief using far infrared saunas, and I believe that everyone else can as well by taking sauna sessions regularly. From small ailments to larger health issues, infrared saunas have something to offer literally everyone.

In this book, I’ll explain how infrared saunas work, how to properly use them, the difference between traditional saunas, and how to shop for an infrared sauna. I will discuss how they are built and compare the different types of infrared heaters. After many years in the industry, I have gained the knowledge to help you weed out misinformation through science and first-hand experience.

Over the years I have sold thousands upon thousands of infrared saunas and the same questions keep surfacing. From the science of infrared, to medical studies of sauna treatment, to an infrared sauna buying guide, this book covers a very wide range of topics designed to answer the most frequently asked questions.

I decided to write this book based on the feedback that I have received from people that I have seen changed for the better by infrared saunas. From cancer treatment, weight loss, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and Lyme’s disease, I have seen infrared saunas change many lives and I will show you how they can change yours.

How to Use this Book How to Use this Book

This book is an exhaustive work on infrared saunas, and I feel strongly that consumers should know everything they can before buying a sauna. It’s a major investment in your life and health. If you make the right decision now, you’ll set up your health for the better for many years to come.

That being said, this book is flexible—you may read it cover to cover, or you can just jump straight to the Buyer’s Guide, or any other chapter for that matter. Is it better to understand the difference between near and far infrared before learning about the debate between carbon and ceramic heaters? Of course! However, each chapter is designed to give you the information you need regardless of the order you read them in.

Some people will be fascinated by the Medical Studies chapter, but it will also put some people to sleep. This isn’t to say I didn’t write and rewrite that chapter at least ten times trying to make it interesting, it just seems to be the nature of medical studies! I find them fascinating as they show actual results.

That said, I use large type and plenty of pictures, and I do recommend reading the entire book—you never know which piece of information might ultimately change your decision.

I hope you have as much fun reading this as I did writing it. And more importantly, I hope you find lifelong relief through the use of regular infrared saunas.

The History of Infrared Saunas The History of Infrared Saunas

The first time I heard the phrase infrared sauna I immediately thought of science fiction sauna. My mind flashed to infrared goggles and how they were part of a sauna? I literally had no idea infrared means heat as well as light.

I don’t think I’m alone in this thought, but while infrared saunas may seem like a very modern concept to people like myself, who in the past 20 years or so have just now started to use them, they actually date back quite a ways.

As I’ve talked about in the introduction, infrared saunas have helped me conquer personal health problems that range from high blood pressure to insomnia, and they’ve helped thousands of people I’ve talked to as well.

To understand how infrared saunas have become such a valuable part of people’s everyday lives, I think it’s important to be familiar with where the concept of a sauna and the technology originally comes from.

The Origin of the Sauna Concept The Origin of the Sauna Concept

As you can imagine, infrared saunas weren’t possible until the advent of electricity; however, the basic premise of a sauna—using heat for its healing properties and ability to cause a cleansing sweat—has been around for an incredibly long time.

Over two-thousand years ago, the Greek physician Parmenides said, “Give me the power to create fever, and I will cure any disease.”

Thousands of years ago, in Mexico and Guatemala, indigenous peoples used something called a Temazcal as a kind of dry sauna. Temazcales were usually permanent structures built of volcanic rock and cement, shaped like a dome.

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An example of a Temazcal

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To produce heat, stones are warmed with fire and placed in the center of the room or near the walls

To produce heat, volcanic stones were warmed with fire and placed in a pit in the center of the room or near one of the walls, warming the interior with a dry, intense heat. After a battle or physically-intense games, participants would enter the Temazcal as part of a curative ceremony to cleanse and heal the body following the physical rigors.

Athletes still use saunas this way today; even I can relate. After I swim or play tennis, I love spending 30 to 40 minutes giving my muscles well needed relief. In other parts of the Western Hemisphere, Native Americans used sweat lodges—a counterpart to today’s steam saunas—as part of their spiritual ceremonies.

Native Americans weren’t the only ones to find spiritual aspects in saunas; across the Atlantic in Estonia, steam saunas were also being used as part of spiritual ceremonies. But it was not far from Estonia—just across the gulf of Finland—that the steam saunas that are popular across the world today developed.

In Finland, the first saunas featured fireplaces and stones that were heated to extreme temperatures before having water thrown over them to generate steam. When the Finnish people began to later migrate to other parts of the globe, they brought their sauna traditions with them. 

If you’ve ever been a member of a health club, or spent time at a fancy hotel, you’ve surely seen a traditional steam sauna that grew out of the long Finnish sauna tradition. Even the method of heating stones, and pouring water over them to create steam, is the same—though now those stones are heated using electricity rather than a fire.

Something I always found interesting was that these ancient Finnish style saunas were originally created to bathe with warm water.

Types of Early Saunas Types of Early Saunas

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Sweat lodges were historically used as a spiritual experience

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Ritual detoxification would take place, sweating out negative thoughts and energy.

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Sweat lodges used steam to heat its interior.

Temazcal: A permanent structure found in the highlands of Central and Southern Mexico and Guatemala, usually made of clay and used by athletes or warriors to heal and cleanse their bodies after intense exertion.

Sweat Lodge: A transient structure built by the Native Americans. Sweat lodges are believed to have been used for spiritual reasons rather than for healing. Sweat lodges were usually made of saplings and covered with blankets or animal skins. The sweat lodge used steam to heat its interior.

Estonian Saunas: Similar to Finnish saunas, but like the Native Americans, Estonians also used the saunas for spiritual reasons and in rituals. Estonian saunas used steam and were very close cousins to the Finnish sauna.

Finnish Saunas: This type of sauna is now found in many gyms and hotels throughout the world. The oldest saunas in Finland used pits dug into the slope of the ground, with a fireplace and stones heated to high temperatures. Water was thrown onto the stones to create steam. Besides raising core body temperature, the Finnish sauna was also a very early hot shower or bathing room.

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Finnish saunas are the first example of people taking a warm bath by creating steam.

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Finnish saunas raise core body temperature through heating rocks or burning wood.

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Finnish saunas gained popularity throughout the world for their dry heat and ease of use.

The Birth of Infrared Saunas​ The Birth of Infrared Saunas​

Now we know where the history of traditional and steam saunas came from. However, if you are like me and you have experienced benefits from infrared saunas or you are interested in starting infrared sauna therapy, you probably want to know when infrared technology entered the sauna game.

It was actually all the way back in the year 1800 when a man named Frederick William Herschel first discovered infrared rays. Herschel held a prism up to sunlight and noted the refraction of light in the prism. During this experiment, Herschel noted that filters of different colors seemed to pass different amounts of heat. Herschel thought the colors themselves might be of varying temperatures. So he devised a clever experiment to investigate his hypothesis.

He directed sunlight through a glass prism to create a spectrum and them measured the temperature of each color.

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William Herschel discovered infrared light by holding up a prism to light

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Herschel noted a section of light directly below the color red

Herschel used three blacked-bulb thermometers to measure each color of the spectrum. As he measured the temperatures of each color he noticed all of the colors had temperatures higher than the controls. Additionally, he found that the temperatures of the colors increased from violet to red (with red being hotter than violet). 

After noticing this pattern, Herschel decided to measure the temperature just beyond the red portion of the color spectrum in a region where no sunlight was visible. To his surprise, he found that this region had the highest temperature! In doing so he discovered a type of light that we cannot see with our eyes!

This was the earliest research into what we would later come to know as infrared light (‘infra’ red light means light that is below red on the spectrum—infra means below in Latin).

Herschel published his early studies of this concept with the Royal Society of London in 1800. A quick side note—Herschel also happened to discover Uranus! No, I’m serious. He discovered the planet in 1781.

Over the 1800’s, research into infrared light continued to gradually evolve, with scientists learning more and more about what it was and how it functioned. The connection to saunas, however, wasn’t made until about 100 years ago, when Dr. JH Kellogg of Battle Creek Michigan invented something that he called an electric light bath.

Because of Frederick William Hershel's discovery in 1800, we know that there is a spectrum of light we cannot see that produces heat hotter than any color we can. Meaning, this heat can effectively be pointed like light (which it is). This spawned the first investigation of light saunas by Dr. JH Kellogg.

The sauna cabinet, which Kellogg first displayed a version of at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, was sold all over the globe, with some reports saying that German doctors used the technology to cure the King of England of gout, a development that led to the King having the light bath installed in Buckingham Palace.

Drawings of Dr. Kellogg’s product from this time period look similar to near infrared saunas that are available today. The bulbs inside Kellogg’s cabinet generate incandescent light that is rich with near infrared rays that penetrate the skin and raise the body temperature, creating a similar effect as a steam sauna without humidity.

The technology for far infrared saunas, which are the variety that I personally swear by, wouldn’t come until many years later. In the 1960’s NASA had been doing research into far infrared for the space program, and had discovered how to produce far infrared rays. It was a Japanese doctor, Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, who received the first patent in 1965 for a ceramic far infrared heater, which he began to use for healing in the same way one would use a near infrared or traditional steam sauna.

Until this point, no one had been using far infrared heat in a  sauna setting. For the next 14 years, doctors in Japan were the only ones using this technology, until 1979, when the product was finally released for public use. The technology eventually came to the United States in the 1980’s, and it has continued to be refined and made more effective since then.

Infrared Sauna
Finnish Style

A Timeline of Sauna History​ A Timeline of Sauna History​

1112 AD

The birth of saunas

One of the first descriptions of a Finnish sauna is written.

1112 AD
1519

Saunas existing in North America

The Spanish arrive in Mexico and find temazcales, a kind of dry sauna, to be an integral part of the medicinal culture.
1519
1760

Finnish saunas catch on

The start of the Industrial Revolution and the emigration of Finnish settlers to other parts of the world spreads the concept of the Finnish Steam sauna.
1760
1800

Infrared heat is discovered

Frederick William Herschel publishes first infrared heat studies in the Royal Society of London.

1800
1916

The first infrared sauna is created

Dr. J.H. Kellogg invents the electric light bath, which was a forerunner of near infrared saunas.

1916
1965

First infrared sauna patent

A doctor in Japan, Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, has the first patent on record for far infrared sauna technology.

1965
1979

The emergence of infrared saunas

Far infrared sauna technology becomes available to the general public.
1979
2008

Carbon fiber infrared saunas

Carbon fiber is used in frared sauna heating elements for greater comfort and longer infrared wavelenghts
2008
2010

Full Spectrum Infrared

Full spectrum infrared saunas (near, mid and far) is created.
2010
2020

Red Light Therapy Sauna

SaunaCloud® invents the first Red Light Therapy Full Spectrum Sauna.
2020

Introduction to Infrared Light Introduction to Infrared Light

Before we get into the details of how infrared light is used in saunas, it’s necessary to understand the core principles of light energy.

What is Infrared Light?

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The light spectrum seen above (also known as the electromagnetic spectrum) moves from the shortest light wavelengths on the left to the longest waves on the right. The lengths of the waves themselves correspond with the respective heat they produce. Violet has the lowest temperature with the shortest visible wavelength. On the opposite side, red has the hottest temperature with the longest wavelength.

The most biologically damaging light waves are gamma rays, which are the shortest on the entire light spectrum. This is what bad guys use to vaporize people in comic books. The next light waves on the spectrum are x-rays, and they are related to gamma rays in that they are also biologically hazardous. 

The next invisible light on the spectrum is ultraviolet light which accounts for about 10 percent of the light energy coming from the sun. In big doses, these rays are also harmful. Visible light is the next portion of the spectrum and allows for our sense of sight and color.

The reason why humans see different colors is because objects either absorb or do not absorb these different light wavelengths, or frequencies, bouncing and reflecting off objects. The reason why you can see a red apple is because the organic compounds of the apple absorb every color but red. As you move down the visible spectrum of colors from purple to indigo to blue to green to yellow to orange to red, the light wavelength becomes longer.

Reflection and absorption vector illustration

The last and longest wavelength (700 nanometers) visible to the human eye is red. After that, light is invisible to the human eye. This is where infrared light exists. “Infra-red” actually means “below red.”

Infrared light is invisible to humans, but it radiates energy which we feel as heat. Additionally, it can be focused and reflected just like visible light. It can even be harnessed and pointed at objects for them to absorb. The only difference is instead of seeing the color of the light, you feel the invisible light wave as heat.

Infrared naturally comes from the Sun. In fact, the Sun’s energy consists of 50 percent infrared light at the level of Earth’s atmosphere, and at ground level infrared energy accounts for 53 percent of light—we just can’t see it. But we feel it! (In some places more than others!)

All types of light penetrate into objects, not just infrared. As this light infiltrates an object its radiant energy (also know as electromagnetic radiation) is absorbed by that object at the molecular level, causing the thermal motion of the object’s particles—effectively ‘charging’ them.

In layman’s terms, the absorbed heat moves or charges the object’s molecules. As a result, the object’s core/internal temperature will increase based on the level of absorption.

Just as certain objects absorb different colors, as in our red apple example above, objects have different organic properties which allow them to absorb different levels of infrared!

We understand heat as humans either from thermal radiation (infrared light), an object emitting heat into the air (convection) or by touching an object directly (conduction). That’s it. There are only three ways to feel heat! Most of the time when you feel heat, you feel infrared. Almost all thermal radiation consists of infrared wavelengths, which means that all objects that emit heat also emit infrared.

This is my favorite example:

When you are walking outside on a hot summer day past a brick building in direct sunlight, if you put your hand a few inches away from the bricks but you don’t touch them, you still feel the radiant heat coming off of the brick—that’s infrared! The Sun’s infrared light has actually heated the ceramic bricks from the inside (through absorption) and then the heat is released in the form of infrared light. You experience this light as heat. This is how infrared night vision works—it’s picking up on your radiant infrared energy.

How Infrared Saunas Work How Infrared Saunas Work

Infrared saunas work by harnessing the absorbed heat of an object in a small enough environment so that when you sit close enough to the source, your core body temperature will rise to the point of sweating.

The most common objects used in an infrared sauna are carbon and ceramic compounds because they hold and absorb the most heat. In the pictures below, ceramic is on the left and carbon is on the right.

Infrared
Hot Rocks

The molecular properties of carbon and ceramic change when heated; when an object absorbs infrared energy, it causes its molecules to activate and move. When they move, infrared energy is released in the form of invisible light.

When you sit close to the infrared heat coming out of a carbon or ceramic infra-red heater, your body then absorbs the infrared energy, thus charging your body’s particles and raising your core body temperature.

The scientific principle which proves that heat turns into invisible light is called Wien’s Law of Displacement.

Wien’s Law includes a formula that provides the wavelength of the infrared light of a blackbody (or an object’s absorption amount that is quantifiable in a wavelength measured in microns). A blackbody measures how much infrared an object can absorb from .00 to 1.0. The heat which radiates off a heated object is referred to as thermal radiation (infrared light) and this is what is measured by Wien’s Law, shown here:

Wien’s Law of Displacement: 5268 / ( temperature °F + 460) = the Peak Emission Wavelength (PEW) of an object (measured in microns)

When you put in a temperature into the formula above, what is produced is an inverse amount of heat to wavelength.

The length of an object's infrared wavelength works inversely. The hotter an object’s temperature, the shorter the infra-red wavelength it produces. The cooler the object’s temperature, the longer the infrared wavelength it produces.”

Let’s try a few temperatures:

5268 / ( 400°F + 460) = 6.06 microns

5268 / ( 90°F + 460) = 9.48 microns

The average skin temperature of a human is 90°F. Because of thermal radiation, we actually put out infrared in the same way that any other object emits infrared. We absorb infrared and we emit it! Based on the formula, our Peak Emission Wavelength is 9.48 microns.

Remember the brick building example? You can actually do a test right now to feel infrared. Put your hands together, but don’t let them touch—separate them about one inch apart. You will actually feel the infrared heat on the palms of your hands!

When your body absorbs infrared heat your core temperature rises. The caveat is that the longer the infrared wave, the greater amount that your body can absorb and the higher your core temperature can rise. This is why it’s very important to find the perfect balance of long wavelength light at just the right amount of heat to produce a consistent and prolonged sweat in an infrared sauna. Let’s go and find that balance.

Infrared vs Traditional Saunas Infrared vs Traditional Saunas

All infrared saunas use either ceramic, carbon or halogen heaters to produce infrared light to create a deep sweat. The effects of each of the heaters are vastly different, and you’ll eventually have to make a choice which is best for you. Let’s get into the differences between each heater.

Ceramic Heaters Ceramic Heaters

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Ceramic heaters have a surface temperature of 400°F, which is too hot to sit 2″ away from

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Because of this, ceramic heaters have to be concentrated in a few areas of the sauna, not 360°around you

Remember what a blackbody is? (Hint: It’s how much infrared an object can absorb). In order to find the right object to use for an infrared heater, you must look at the molecular components that allow for the greatest amount of heat retention, or infrared absorption.

What the original inventors of infrared saunas realized is that a ceramic compound (ceramic is a naturally occurring mineral that comes from clay) lends itself to different states and shapes. Ceramic clay can be molded when wet, it can be dried to take forms of objects (pottery, bricks for buildings) or used to cook. When you heat it, its electrons start to move which generate heat.

In the infrared sauna environment, ceramic is a good conductor of infrared heat because its blackbody rating is closer to 1.0 (ceramic heaters have .99 emissivity). This is higher than any other mineral or rock. What that means is that ceramic absorbs infrared better than any other object.

Emissivity is defined as an object’s effectiveness in emitting energy as thermal radiation. In layman’s terms, this means is that emissivity measures how well an object holds infrared energy (or how much it can absorb) so it can then release it as infrared/thermal radiation.

There is a downside using ceramic as an infrared emitter. The problem with ceramic is that it gets too hot. The absorption property of ceramic allows for its surface temperature to rise to 350 – 400 degrees°F.

Let’s put this into the Wien’s Law formula:

5268 / ( 350 °F + 460) = 6.44 microns

This is a good wavelength to raise your core body temperature through absorption into your soft tissue, but it’s not the best way to administer infrared heat in the sauna environment.

The problem with this wavelength is that it’s too hot (at 350-400°F) to sit 2 inches away from, as you do in an infrared sauna. Additionally, the 6.4 micron wavelength is too short for our bodies to optimally absorb it into our body’s water molecules. Our bodies are made up of 60% water. 

In fact, water is so good at absorbing far infrared (4-1000 microns) that the earth’s oceans are heated because the water molecules absorb the Sun’s far infrared energy. Our bodies are optimized to absorb far infrared energy.

Therefore, it would be much better if we could find something that got hot enough to heat the body, but also had a longer wavelength of infrared light for proper absorption into our water molecules (with the right balance of comfort to heat).

Carbon Heaters Carbon Heaters

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Carbon heaters have a surface temperature of 140°F, which isn’t hot enough to raise your core temp in 30 minutes

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Because of this, they are the least effective infrared heaters and should be avoided

Twelve years ago there was a significant innovation in the infrared sauna industry: carbon fiber panels. The reason for this was that carbon fiber is more malleable than hardened ceramic and its surface area can be spread out and expanded. It’s also cheaper to manufacture a sauna using carbon; hence, the cheapest infrared saunas are made out of carbon!

Here’s the rationale behind pure carbon heaters: by expanding the total surface area of the infrared heat this would lower the surface temperature and allow for a longer infrared wavelength that can be placed 360° around your body. As we have already established, infrared heat is just invisible light. Therefore, it is optimal to place as many heaters around you so your body is essentially enveloped in infrared light for maximum absorption. 

Now, this happens to be my personal viewpoint—it is better to have a maximum surface area of infrared light surrounding you and why I think carbon heaters led the best companies to think of combination carbon heaters—which have a surface temperature of 190°F. Unfortunately, pure carbon saunas just don’t have enough surface temperature to do too much of anything in an infrared sauna environment.

So what’s the maximum surface temperature of carbon panels in infrared saunas? About 140 – 150°F. Let’s plug that temperature into Wien’s Law:

5268 / ( 150 °F + 460 ) = 8.55 microns

Carbon fiber panels do have a much longer infrared wavelength than other heaters. Seems better, right? Not necessarily. Carbon fiber doesn’t allow itself to absorb as much infrared as ceramic. Its blackbody emissivity rating is closer to .94 or .95.

Hypothetically, let’s say you were standing in the sun wearing a black shirt, which absorbs 99 percent of the infrared light coming from the sun; whereas a light blue shirt absorbs 86 percent of the infrared light. The black shirt gets much hotter because it absorbs more infrared light. Pretty straightforward.

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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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I am a tooltip for a hotspot

This is the difference between carbon and ceramic. Carbon simply does not get hot enough in an infrared sauna environment to raise core body temperature on its own as it doesn’t absorb as much infrared energy/light.

I want to make a very important point: the difference between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna is that an infrared sauna relies on the changing of the internal properties of objects to exude heat in the form of thermal radiation. This light is absorbed by your body and your core body temperature rises. As a result, you produce a deep sweat—your body’s natural mechanism to cool itself.

Traditional saunas heat the air (and the water in the air), which then heats your skin. If you want hot air, get a traditional sauna. If you want to heat your body, get an infrared sauna.

In the same way that traditional saunas do not heat your core body temperature enough to allow for the health benefits they are capable of providing, carbon infrared panels also do not get hot enough to heat your body’s core temperature. Hence, both are lacking in the sauna environment.

As a result of the low surface temperature of carbon heaters, low-cost sauna companies have to increase the carbon panel surface area to heat the air above your head to simulate getting a good sweat. Did you ever wonder why cheaper carbon saunas always look the same (with their heaters raised up almost to the ceiling)?

Yes, having enough heater surface space in the sauna can raise the air temperature in the sauna. However, by doing this, it is no longer infra-red light heating your body; but rather hot air convection, the same as traditional saunas. The effect of raising the air temperature to overcompensate for low surface temperatures and underpowered heaters is not the goal of infrared saunas (and is disingenuous if you ask me).

Because infrared energy is actually invisible light, it can be described in the same manner as a flashlight that reflects light in a certain direction: Light from a flashlight travels in a straight line, which is true of invisible light as well. You can think of infra-red panels as giant flashlights reflecting infrared light in a straight line.

The goal is to reflect this light into your body in order for it to be absorbed creating a rise in core body temperature, which is infrared sauna therapy in a nutshell. When carbon panels are positioned above your head, they are effectively reflecting this light into thin air and the infrared energy is wasted. Unfortunately, the person inside the sauna is often fooled as they feel heat because the air temperature will rise.

The debate between ceramic vs. carbon heaters can be summarized in a single sentence:

Ceramic heaters run too hot and carbon heaters don’t run hot enough.

I made it my personal mission to find out if there was something in the middle that was hot enough to raise your core temperature while being comfortable enough to sit next to for 30 minutes. It took me years to discover, but I found that very heater.

VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite 190°F Heaters VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite 190°F Heaters VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite 190°F Heaters

Eight years ago, when I first started to find out about infrared saunas I quickly realized that just about every infrared sauna company had missed the boat on providing a heater that operated at a comfortable temperature while simultaneously raising your core body temperature.

As we’ve gone over, the industry standard infrared heaters simply don’t cut it (they’re either too hot or not hot enough). One day I was in one of the cheaper carbon saunas and something hit me.

What would happen if you combined two materials with very high emissivity to get the best of both heaters?

The result was the most effective infrared heater ever created. By mixing quartz and graphite together, you get a more emissive heater than carbon at a much cooler temperature than ceramic. You also get a longer, deeper penetrating infrared wavelength. Because the chemical properties are now mixed, you get a blackbody absorption rating between that of carbon and ceramic combined—.95 (quartz) – .99 (graphite) = .97.

This blackbody absorption rating allows the combination quartz/graphite compound heater to hold a hotter temperature of 200 degrees °F, which is the ideal temperature for an infrared heater. Let’s input 200 °F into our formula:

5268 / ( 200 °F + 460) = 7.90 microns

This means that the infrared wavelength is pretty much right in the middle of carbon (9.4 microns) and ceramic (6.0 microns). The Peak Energy Wavelength of the quartz/graphite heater is 7.90 microns, but remember, this is just an average which can be expressed by a bell curve.

As you can see, the peak emission wavelength is right at 7.90 microns, however, you still have infrared waves traveling at 6.0 microns and wavelengths traveling at 9.4 microns. Why is this important?

Our bodies are made up of over 60 percent water. Different molecules in your body are going to accept and absorb different infrared wavelengths. The shorter the infrared wavelength the deeper that it can penetrate into your body. The longer the wave-length the shallower the absorption, but at a greater amount.

The water molecules in your body absorb a greater amount of infrared than any other molecule in your body. Water actually absorbs the highest amount of infrared energy on the planet, and without water’s ability to absorb infrared, we’d be in a continuous ice age.

The greater the amount of infrared energy that your body receives, the greater the amount that will be absorbed by your body’s water molecules. The different molecular types in your body are water, protein, connective tissue, fats and carbohydrates—98.7% of these are water molecules.

Because a ceramic heater has an emissivity of .99 (versus .95 emissivity of carbon) more of it will be absorbed by your body’s water molecules and your core body temperature will rise faster. The more infrared light, the more energy is absorbed by your body. All things being equal, you will get a much better sweat in a ceramic sauna rather than in a carbon sauna.

However, because we were able to create our (patent pending) combination quartz/graphite compound heaters we have effectively found the sweet spot of infrared heaters. You literally get the best sweat possible whilst being able to sustain that sweat for over 30 minutes. In an infrared sauna, the more sweat, the better.

From my own experience and hearing hundreds of stories throughout the years, carbon simply doesn’t put out enough infrared energy to be absorbed by your body. Your experience and resultant health benefits will be greatly reduced when using only carbon heaters.

Additionally, you get an even distribution of infrared light around your body at 360°. This allows for you to absorb so much more infrared at every angle you are sitting in your sauna.

Halogen Heaters Halogen Heaters

The last type of infrared heaters that have become popular due to “full spectrum” infrared saunas are halogen heaters. Unfortunately, somebody thought it would be good to falsely claim that these heaters produce near infrared (which they don’t) and claim them to be “full spectrum heaters.”

Halogen heaters happen to be great heaters that produce a very high surface temperature (775°F). They are used across the globe at restaurants for outdoor patios to keep their customers warm. I’m pretty sure you have felt the heat these give off. I have used them many, many time in a sauna environment and have sold them to 6/7 continents—people love them. That being said, they aren’t full spectrum heaters! And I can prove it using our nifty formula!

Let’s plug in 775°F to see where it lands—near, mid or far.

5268 / ( 775°F + 460) = 4.26 microns

This is still in the far infrared bandwidth!

In order to get to the cooler end of the near infrared spectrum, you would have to heat an object to 2150°F! This is where near and mid infrared overlap. This is the actual burning temperature inside of a bonfire! You simply could never put something this hot inside of a 4′ x 6′ x 7′ room. It would be a severe fire hazard and you would fry your clients!

How someone in this industry thought this would be good to call “full spectrum” is beyond me… What’s worse is that literally every company has followed suit, which has caused people searching for infrared saunas online to be very uninformed. Most people calling me demand their future sauna to be “full spectrum” without even knowing the benefits of each wavelength. 

They just hear the buzzword “full spectrum” and there’s no negotiating. I wish they knew that what they end up purchasing definitely is not a “full spectrum”, “broad spectrum” or “true spectrum” sauna. Frankly it’s all bullshit and the industry is pulling a fast one on the uninformed public (hence this book!) Sorry for the rant, but it needs to be said…

That being said, halogen heaters happen to be great emitters of far infrared energy. They are made of quartz, which does a great job of keeping its charge from infrared energy and then putting it out as heat. I really do think the sweat you get in an infrared sauna is better having them in the sauna.

TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic

Patented

  • 97% Emissive
  • 190°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 7.9
  • Average EMF: .20 mG
  • Most effective at raising core temp for 30+ minutes
  • Most comfortable
  • Long infrared wavelength for maximum absorption

Halogen Heaters Halogen Heaters

Generic

  • 97% Emissive
  • 775°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 4.2
  • Average EMF: 3 mG
  • Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
  • Less comfortable/Most Intense
  • Shortest infrared wavelength for infrared absorption

Ceramic Heaters Ceramic Heaters

Generic

  • 97% Emissive
  • 400°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 6.0
  • Average EMF: 10 mG
  • Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
  • Less comfortable
  • Moderate infrared wavelength for infrared absorption

Carbon Heaters Carbon Heaters

Generic

  • 95% Emissive
  • 140°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns 9.2
  • Average EMF: 30 mG
  • Least effective at raising core temp for 30 minutes
  • Least effective
  • Long infrared wavelength with little to no heat/absorption

Near vs Far Infrared Near vs Far Infrared

The Importance of Surface Temperature The Importance of Surface Temperature

The surface temperature of the heater is going to determine the infrared wavelength that is absorbed into your body. The longer the wave, the more that can be absorbed. As discussed in previous chapters, How Infrared Saunas Work, Wien’s Law shows the thermal energy output in microns. As a result of inputting a surface temperature, you get a wavelength that shows how deep a heater can penetrate into your body with far infrared waves.

So what’s the best micron wavelength for your body to absorb in an infrared sauna? What will provide the maximum health benefits?

The short answer is 7.90 microns.

Now I’ll show you how we got there.

The most important factor for receiving health benefits in an infrared sauna is raising your core body temperature. As a result, your body will excrete toxins, you will lose weight and recycle old cells, so you must have a sauna that gets hot. The best surface temperature to heat your body and penetrate deep into your tissue is 200 °F.

5268 / (200 °F + 460) = 7.90 microns

As we see in the infrared light chart, the far infrared spectrum of light goes from 4 to 1000 microns.

Remember that the Wien’s Law formula is actually an inverse of surface temperature to wavelength. The hotter the surface of an object, the shorter the wavelength. The inverse is true as well. As we get a higher micron level, the surface temperature drops and the wavelength becomes longer.

Near-infrared is represented in the infrared spectrum from .7 microns to 2.0 microns. Using Wien’s Law, this results in a surface temperature of 2150 °F – 7000 °F. The interior air temperature will obviously never get that hot in any infrared sauna, but in order to mathematically get the proper near-infrared wavelength, the near infra-red heater must (theoretically) get that hot.

The problem, besides the unreasonable heat requirement, is that the lower micron level does not help you attain the major health goals of infrared saunas—rest, weight loss and detoxification.

Near Infrared Near Infrared

Near-infrared heaters operate at a much higher temperature than far infrared heaters. The hottest a far infrared heater will get to is 825 degrees °F. At a 4.0 micron wavelength, the surface temperature of the infrared heater is 825 degrees °F, which is highly uncomfortable to be sitting a few inches away from.

As I explained earlier, by trying to produce a deep sweat using the near-infrared band of radiant light, you have to heat the surface temperature of the object producing heat to at least 2,150°F. Shall I repeat that?

Now, there is an entire sub-section of infrared saunas out there called “near infrared saunas.” You might have heard of them. They claim to use near infrared heaters alone to heat your body. However, having done our research and scientifically proven that no infrared sauna heater has the surface temperature hot enough to be in the near infrared bandwidth, these claims are false! “Near infrared sauna” are using far infrared heaters! You can tell as they use halogen heaters! Simply return to the previous chapter explaining halogen heaters. However, these heaters are still extremely hot at 775°F.

Because these “near-infrared sauna” heaters are so hot, there is usually only one side of the body being heated at a time. Take a look at the following pictures:

Rotisserie
Near Infrared

The “near infrared” lamps only exist from one location in the sauna—there aren’t multiple panels. If there were panels on both sides, you would heat yourself to unsafe levels. Because there is only one direction the near infrared light is coming from, you have to continuously turn your body like a rotisserie chicken to produce a full body sweat. This is far from the even, enveloping, 360° heat of a far infrared sauna.

The Bonfire Explanation The Bonfire Explanation

The thermal radiation created by a bonfire travels away in all directions. Heat that is transferred via convection mostly travels upwards as the heated air billows up. If you are to the side of the fire, the heat you receive is transferred via thermal radiation (i.e. infrared light). If you are standing directly above the fire, you receive heat from both thermal radiation and convection (not a good place, mind you). For this reason, directly above the fire is the hottest place to be.

Note that thermal radiation can include many different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation and not just infrared. So what’s the internal temperature of a bonfire? 2100-2200°F!

These are actual near infrared temperatures!

So, here’s a great way to explain how near infrared doesn’t actually exist in an infrared sauna:

As we’ve already shown, “near infrared heaters” don’t exist. They simply don’t have the surface temperature in the proper range 2150°F+ to be considered near infrared, let alone mid infrared! 

But, let’s say for kicks that you did actually sit next to an object with the same internal temperature as a bonfire… Have you ever sat next to a roaring bonfire outside on a cool night? It feels amazing right? But why does it feel good? Because you’re sitting far enough away from it to be the right temperature for you to feel comfort in the warmth. You don’t sit directly next to the fire!

If you sat directly next to the fire your clothes would literally start burning from the heat of the air alone! So what do you do? Move away to a safe and comfortable distance. 

My point being, that by the time the infrared waves hit your body from a bonfire operating at 2200°F, that thermal radiation (and respective infrared waves) have cooled significantly to be inside the far infrared bandwidth of light.

So, while you might be seeing a near infrared fire, you are feeling far infrared heat! 

Far Infrared – The Game Changer Far Infrared – The Game Changer

Far infrared saunas actually became popular much earlier than near infrared saunas. When it was discovered you could skip a step by heating your body directly, instead of the air and water between (like traditional saunas), it was by using the far infrared wavelength.

The objective of an infrared sauna is to produce a deep and sustained sweat by whole body hyperthermia, and no more than that. In order to hit this exact measurement, you must heat the body by using an optimal wavelength of light (the Peak Emission Wavelength) that results from the thermal radiation of an object (the surface temperature).

Far infrared is fantastic for many of the same things that near infrared is great for—a boost in metabolic rate, reduce and burn fat cells, improved circulation, increasing cellular energy, faster skin rejuvenation, and faster cellular perfusion.

I am in no way saying that near infrared doesn’t have therapeutic value (as we’ll see in a later chapter); however, in the infrared sauna environment, it is less than ideal. If you are certain you need near infrared, I would recommend a handheld near-infrared LED light panel that you place directly on top of your skin outside of the sauna.

I highly encourage you to conduct as much research on near vs. far infrared as you’d like but remember to look for the science behind the claims. The purpose of using an infrared sauna is the cumulative health benefits, all of which can be safely and comfortably attained through far infrared while you are sweating, losing weight, and detoxifying your body.

Moreover, if you are sitting in an infrared sauna and it is producing heat, you’re sitting next to a far infrared heater, no matter what they tell you!

custom-infrared-sauna-3-1024x640

Full Spectrum Infrared Saunas Full Spectrum Infrared Saunas

What Is a Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
A Guide to Near, Mid and Far Infrared
What Is a Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
A Guide to Near, Mid and Far Infrared

Far infrared saunas in their current form have been around for 30 years. Near infrared saunas have been around for about half the time as people started realizing the benefits of not just far infrared, but mid and near as well.

Without getting into a discussion of which is better in an infrared sauna environment (near vs. far, which we’ve already covered in detail here) let’s discuss the merits of having both near, mid and far infrared in a sauna. The sun’s spectrum of electromagnetic radiation has an entire portion that is made up of near, mid and far infrared–which we humans feel as heat.

This infrared spectrum lies just beyond the visible light spectrum as you can see here:

are-you-microwaving-yourself-in-an-infrared-sauna
Each portion of the electromagnetic spectrum of light serves its own purpose (gamma rays are used to kill cancer cells, visible light allows for us to see, and infrared allows us to feel heat). We can then harness this penetrating heat in an infrared sauna to put out invisible light that our body absorbs as heat which then raises our core body temperature and produces the amazing health benefits we’re already aware of. There are three levels of infrared, near, mid and far, that each resonate with the subcutaneous fat layer of the human body producing different healing responses. Let’s take a look at the three kinds of infrared light and their benefits in an infrared sauna:

Near Infrared:
Healthy cell immunity, wound healing, skin purification and pain relief.
Near Infrared:
Healthy cell immunity, wound healing, skin purification and pain relief.

Near infrared wavelengths have a lower micron level and a resulting shorter wavelength which mostly penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin. This makes it a very safe choice for the improvement of cell health, the renewal of skin, tissue growth and wound healing.

A lot of sauna companies use near infrared technology that is similar to the infrared used in handheld cosmetic and LED healing devices. While these LED devices are great when they can be targeted on a specific area of skin–they are very hard to use in an infrared sauna environment, as you need to place the LED lights within inches of your skin.

Let’s take a look at an LED panel that’s used by a competitor.

In order for this device to be effective you have to hold it directly over your skin for an extended period of time (minimum 15 minutes to get the blood flowing to the desired area)–not behind a mesh heater pointed at one spot on your back. What happens if you have knee pain? 

You would have to stand and hold your knee right in front of the LED panel. What’s more is that this LED panel is hidden behind a mesh cover which will block nearly all of the rays of light (remember, all light travels in a straight line, including infrared). What good is this light if it is being blocked by mesh? It makes zero sense!

Flat Bench
Weak Heaters

The object of an infrared sauna is to heat your body and raise your core temperature–a small 10 watt LED panel is not going to heat your body at all. Now, I am a firm believer of the effects of near infrared in LED light form-it’s just hard to do correctly in an infrared sauna (and at the moment, no sauna company is doing it right). 

What I would personally do is purchase a hand-held near infrared LED device and hold it over the area of skin that I wanted to re-juvenate.

You still get all of the amazing health benefits of near infrared (cell health, the renewal of skin, tissue growth and wound healing) while heating your body–which is what an infrared sauna is supposed to do! Furthermore, if you look at companies who only offer near infrared, you’ll see they only use near infrared lamps–not LED panels. Why? Because they understand that saunas must be hot! But as we already went over, they aren’t using actual near infrared!

While near infrared does have great healing benefits, we don’t advise using only a near infrared sauna on its own. Near infrared gets too hot to be used solely in an infrared sauna (2,150 °F). Near infrared sauna companies know this and force their sauna users to sit on a small stool and rotate their body at different time intervals essentially rotisserie’ing’ themselves. They have to do this because if they surrounded your body on all four sides it would be far too hot to get any benefit at all from. Not practical or comfortable!

Mid Infrared:
Pain relief, improved circulation and weight loss.
Mid Infrared:
Pain relief, improved circulation and weight loss.

Mid infrared wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body than near infrared and are therefore good for increasing circulation and blood flow. When used on a consistent basis, mid infrared sauna therapy has been shown to significantly increase blood flow and reduce muscle and joint pain.

Healing can occur faster because mid infrared penetrates deeper into soft tissue where inflammation occurs. To produce MIR, sauna heaters must be able to maintain a surface temperature of 825°F. This is extremely rare in the sauna environment as most heaters don’t get this hot.

Though major infrared sauna companies may claim to provide mid infrared, the material used in their heaters never actually reaches this temperature. Don’t be fooled by fancy marketing and branding. Let the sauna do the talking.

vantawaveheaters-1024x640

Far Infrared: Weight loss, Detoxification, Circulation,
Lower Blood Pressure, and Relaxation
Far Infrared: Weight loss, Detoxification, Circulation,
Lower Blood Pressure, and Relaxation

Because far infrared sauna therapy heats the body directly rather than simply warming the air, it raises the core body temperature and produces a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside. Far infrared also aids in blood pressure reduction & weight loss, as you get a great passive aerobic exercise.

The longest infrared wavelength, far infrared, penetrates deepest into the body, reaching adipose tissue (fat cells) where toxins are stored. The range of temperatures that you want for a far infrared heating panel will be from 400°F to 90°F. Between these temperatures is where the far infrared band is produced.

However, we have found that sitting two inches away from a heater that is 400°F will be far too hot to be comfortable and will not allow you to stay in your sauna for 30 minutes (the object of an infrared sauna is to sit in there longer and prolong your sweat. The longer you sweat the more health benefits you’ll get).

Every one of our carbon (“solocarbon,” “nanocarbon,” etc., they’re all the same heater) competitors heaters only ever reach 140°F on the surface of their heaters which will simply not be hot enough to produce a sweat.

For this reason we aim for 200°F on the surface of our heaters which gives you the longest wavelength at the most beneficial temperature. You will also be able to sit in your sauna for 30 minutes each day while getting the deepest sweat possible.

Why Would You Want a Full Spectrum Sauna? Why Would You Want a Full Spectrum Sauna?

For many years Infrared Saunas have been either Far Infrared or Near Infrared. How you used one depended upon your health needs and requirements. Currently an optimal sauna experience combining all three spectrums in one is available, which allows for extended diversity and an incredibly effective sauna experience.

This combination of all three spectrums of infrared ensures total health concerns could be addressed and targeted in only one session.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. The subcutaneous layer of fat stores many toxins and can be found just below the skin’s surface. A Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna can penetrate into the tissues up to a depth of two inches. The temperature of a full spectrum infrared sauna is typically between 100 – 150 degrees °F.

However, despite operating at a lower temperature, your body will typically perspire far more in a full spectrum infrared sauna due to complete heat penetration.

Full Spectrum Infrared Energy Penetrates
Your Body at Not Just One Level, but Three
Full Spectrum Infrared Energy Penetrates
Your Body at Not Just One Level, but Three

Normally our bodies pump ten to fourteen pints of blood per minute. Full spectrum infrared sauna rays increase the blood flow up to twenty six pints per minute. When blood flow is increased you have additional oxygenation assisting the body to repair cells and tissues.

The full spectrum infrared sauna also stimulates the sebaceous glands to release harmful toxins such as petrochemicals, mercury and other heavy metals. While there is much debate how these toxins are released-through your skin or through natural means (defecation, urine, and breath), they are excreted either way.

Toxins that cannot be expelled immediately after entry are stored in our bodies. The full spectrum sauna not only boosts the metabolism but is also extremely effective at aiding the upturn of immune function. While inside a full spectrum infrared sauna you can fully relax, listen to calming music, meditate, enjoy color light therapy, or perhaps a yoga routine to introduce heat into your practice.

After taking a full spectrum sauna session your body’s core will be comfortable all day as the detoxing benefits continue long after your session ends. You’ll be relieved of your pain too.

Red Light Therapy / Photobiomodulation Red Light Therapy / Photobiomodulation

Using Color Light LED Therapy in an Infrared Sauna Using Color Light LED Therapy in an Infrared Sauna

As we have gone over ad nauseam in this book, light is heat and heat is light. Each lightwave (color) has its own wavelength which has its own temperature. Remember, this is how infrared light was discovered as infra-red has a hotter temperature than red light.

In the visible spectrum of light each color has its own wavelength.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and indigo. Now, here’s how that light affects the body.

When the body (or a part of the body) malfunctions, it is replaced in a way similar to how machinery is handled.  Cells have the ability to repair themselves—by sending repair proteins which either destroy the cell or turn it into a cancer cell. As we age, our cells gradually decay; the DNA stays relatively intact, but proteins degrade with time. This is a big part of the aging process, leading to wrinkled skin as well as more serious consequences.

When these malfunctions are treated with chemical ingredients (medication) they can sometimes cause an array of negative side effects. Contemporary medicine uses these chemical ingredients to suppress how the machine is malfunctioning—but does not address the root issue, which is diseased life energies.

Albert Einstein had a theory about this. His approach dealt with the body not as an amalgamation of parts but as a total system operating in harmony with the electromagnetic light energy of the universe.

His understanding was that Photobiomodulation (or color light therapy; i.e., vibrational healing through specific light waves) lies in rerouted energy fields that form complex relationships with other fields surrounding the physical/cellular substance to “fix” the malfunction of how the machine works.

We are surrounded by light (and color). If we are engulfed in light it goes that this light and color can affect our health in both positive and negative ways. For example, you don’t want to absorb too many gamma rays! An inverse to this is infrared—which is also a specific wavelength of light that gets absorbed into your body and gently raises your core body temperature. 

A rise in core body temperature is very similar to exercise which when sustained over a period of time causes the body to sweat—which is extremely healthy. This is also true when your body absorbs specific colors of the visible light spectrum.

According to the theory of chromotherapy, the body itself is composed of colors.

The body exists from colors: the body (and its parts) is stimulated by these colors. Internal organs and limbs of the body have their own color (literally); and thus, their own vibrational energy/wavelength. 

We are all energy—down to the cellular level. Our body parts, organs, skin, hair and cells are energy centers which vibrate and harmonize with the frequencies of these colors and these colors harmonize with these body parts.

When these individual body parts deviate from these expected normal vibrations the body is either diseased or malfunctioning. By vibrating these malfunctioning parts with their harmonized wavelengths (colors) they become balanced and the diseased energy patterns are corrected. 

Let’s dive into how Photobiomodulation works.

Health Benefits of Each Color Health Benefits of Each Color

Red — Younger looking skin. Decreases signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, by increasing collagen production.

Violet — Cell renewal. Increases cell regeneration, which helps to cleanse the skin and reduce inflammation.

Blue — Combats acne and whitens teeth. Reduces the bacteria that causes acne and whitens teeth.

Cyan—Smoother skin. Smoothing, calming, healing treatment, that helps irritated and inflamed skin.

Green — Even complexion. Balances out redness and blotches for naturally beautiful skin.

Yellow — Reduces redness. Alleviates inflammation, sunburn, rosacea, or other skin conditions to enjoy healthier skin.

Orange — Glow from within. Revitalizes your skin for a brighter glow. Adds radiance and vitality to dull skin.

Infra-Red — Literally means ‘below-red’. Penetrates deeper into the skin for better rise in core temperature.

Are Photobiomodulation and Red Light Therapy the Same? Are Photobiomodulation and Red Light Therapy the Same?

Short answer: yes.

Red Light Therapy (RLT, also, Photobiomodulation [PBM]) is a form of Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) which releases light with relatively long wavelengths (600-1000 nanometers) over injuries or lesions to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give relief for both acute and chronic pain.

The red lights are released from light-emitting diodes (LED) that is usually built into a device made to expose these radiations to your body (such as lamps or lasers).

LEDs release energy through photons, which is the most fundamental unit of light and are released due to moving electrons within atoms (within the light). The intensity of PBM lasers and LEDs is not high like a surgical laser. There is no heating effect.

RLT is commonly found in gyms, spas, tanning salons, saunas or dermatology offices where you can take sessions. Each session lasts around 20 minutes and it may take up to 10 sessions for you to observe the health benefits. The procedure involves lying down or standing in front of the provider’s LED lights, more often directed towards the face, areas that show signs of aging or a particular injury. The lights are placed within inches of the treated area.

Within this range, two types of low-level light are produced. The first is red light, which has an approximate wavelength of around 620-750 nm which is also known as the therapeutic window. Red is among one of the colors that are in sunlight, which is the wavelength that specifically gives you that refreshing and warm feeling when you bathe under the sun. As mentioned, infrared means, “below-red.” As red moves from the color to infra-red, there is some crossover of color. (Red is also the hottest visible color).

On the other hand, is near-infrared light (NIR) which has wavelengths between the range of 750-2500 nm. They range just above the visible light spectrum with an even more specific therapeutic window ranging from 800 to 880 nm. 

Due to their longer wavelengths, NIR light is capable of penetrating deeper into the body’s tissues compared to red light. When these wavelengths penetrate the skin, it increases the synthesis of a molecule called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) at a cellular level.

The Impact of Red Light Therapy on a Cellular Level The Impact of Red Light Therapy on a Cellular Level

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is known as the primary molecule which creates and stores energy amongst all living organisms. They are produced through cellular respiration, a process in which molecules are broken down to release energy for cells to perform their primary functions.

During this process, nitric oxide is known to interfere with ATP production by increasing oxidative stress which may lead to cellular death. Nitric oxide levels usually rise when we experience stress or become ill. Hence, living in perpetual stress would reduce the longevity of our cells due to the lack of oxygen consumption and energy production.

During Red Light Therapy, red and near infrared light are absorbed by chromophores in the cells. By removing the nitric oxide roadblock, the cellular respiration process would occur much more efficiently in our bodies leading to more production of ATP and cellular regeneration.

As more energy is produced and with cellular death being significantly decreased, the body’s metabolic functions become amplified. Hence the consumption of oxygen would increase which cells use to build new proteins to promote cellular regeneration. This is what causes the myriad of rejuvenating, detoxifying and strengthening effects that celebrities, athletes and everyday people have experienced through the red light therapy treatment.

Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas

Red light therapy is getting extremely popular. The way it is administered I personally don’t understand. Patients stand in front of a tower (or LED panel) and then turn their body 360° during a 20-30 minute span. Unfortunately, this reminds me of our rotisserie chicken example. Remember?

Are you a chicken?
Rotisserie

As we’ve already gone over, this is not ideal—it’s (1) uncomfortable to keep spinning yourself around and (2) not the fastest way to absorb infrared energy (either through infrared in LED form or by way of light felt as heat. What would be better would be better would be to have the LEDs enveloping your body at 360° around you.

While I can not deny the health benefits and medical studies with conclusive evidence of Photobiomodulation benefits, I think the best way to administer LED light would be in an infrared sauna. That way, you are doing two things at once—raising your core body temperature as well as energizing your cells through increasing ATP rejuvenation with LED lights. The ideal scenario would be to have both the infrared and LED lights surrounding your body from every direction.

By adding RLT to an infrared sauna session, you get the (dare I say) “Full Spectrum” of infrared benefits.

Additionally, doing so would stimulate the production of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) which are bodily proteins that promotes its metabolism. Increased temperatures also enhance cardiovascular functions such as boosting blood flow, the rate at which the heart pumps blood and efficiency of transporting oxygen to the muscles. Furthermore, this prevents cellular death, promotes the strengthening of muscles and bones, increases detoxification, pain relief and wound healing.

I go into far greater detail of Red Light Therapy health benefits in the health benefits chapter below.

Health Benefits of
Red Light Therapy
Health Benefits of
Red Light Therapy

Improved Skin and Complexion

At 650nm, red light penetrates the skin by 10 mm, enhancing the natural energy production of your body’s cells. Natural light wavelengths enter the cell and stimulate the mitochondria (which is the powerhouse of cells). This increases the cellular respiration process which creates ATP energy. 

This greatly helps damaged cells to repair themselves, causing scars and sun damag to slowly disappear. Increased collagen levels provides your skin with structure and slows the effects of aging by reducing wrinkles and fine lines. As a result, higher levels of collagen also increase the production of elastin and fibrillin which gives the skin greater elasticity, connective tissues and natural regenerative abilities.

Additionally, increased collagen levels are crucial for the maintenance of bones since it is the main component of cartilage, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Studies have found that athletes who have more collagen experienced less joint pain during extensive walks and exercise sessions.

red-light-therapy-infrared-sauna

Red light therapy can also be used to supplement acne treatments. Their anti-inflammatory effects decrease the skin’s production of oil and bacteria without using products or techniques with chemicals that may dry the skin.

Most of these benefits are mainly attributed to red light as it can only penetrate through the surface of the skin. However, NIR light is capable of penetrating deeper into the body’s tissue to remedy serious injuries or illnesses. 

Injury Recovery

Athletes or individuals with significant injuries can accelerate their recovery by targeting affected areas during red light therapy. Other conditions that they can recover from include foot ulcers, Achilles tendons and muscle atrophy. Furthermore, RLT is an effective pain relief method so that they can recover with ease and continue training to get back in shape.

After NASA successfully implemented red light therapy on astronauts, they continued to contribute their findings to cancer treatment. Over two years, patients who were undergoing bone marrow or stem cell treatment in hospitals were also given High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate (HEALS). 

It has since been proven to reduce pain from oral mucositis in patients by 96%, which is one of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. HEALS was also used to reduce the effects of multiple sclerosis, diabetic conditions, Parkinson’s and some ocular applications.

LEDs have also been used in oral light therapy to alleviate sensitive teeth, reducing bacteria, inflammation, oral wounds, infections such as candida and as pain relief when patients are recovering from gum and jaw bone surgeries. Studies have found that red light therapy is especially effective in dramatically reducing bacteria counts compared to tooth-brushing, which eventually leads to less tooth decay and cavities.

Great for Brain and Mental Health

Red light therapy is known to treat a variety of brain disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injuries, global ischemia, Parkinson’s and more. Multiple reviewed cases found that red light therapy improves cognitive capacity and spatial learning. Studies have also shown that it can effectively mitigate symptoms of Dementia, which has no known cure. 

Dementia is a condition where the brain deteriorates, causing cognitive deficits. After patients suffering from dementia undertook red light therapy, they demonstrated improvements in executive functioning, neuro-plasticity and connectivity measurements.

They can also act as additional treatments to psychiatric disorders such as seasonal affective disorders, insomnia, depression and more. A study on veterans found that those who were exposed to red and NIR light therapy reduced their depression scores by up to 18%.

Improved Bone Health

NASA has done extensive investigations to prevent the bone and muscle loss of astronauts while in space due to the lack of gravity. Astronauts lose 1-2% of bone mineral density for every month that they are in space and may have increased risk of developing fractures after returning to Earth. They developed red light/NIR treatment that was also named HEALS. It received its accreditation as a FDA-approved product which is proven to reduce the effects of bone atrophy.

Researchers from Sao Paulo have also discovered that shining LED lights on legs during exercise helps eliminate cellulite while reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bone weakens and becomes fragile to even the smallest of bumps. Those who had exercised without the lights lost 2.5% more bone mass compared to those who did over the course of 2 years. The same effects can be said for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Halotherapy / Salt Therapy Halotherapy / Salt Therapy

Halotherapy, or salt therapy, is the practice of breathing in microparticles of salt in a small environment. Once the salt particles are inhaled, they penetrate deeply into the lungs which help to provide relief for respiratory conditions such as asthma, common cold, allergies, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, COPD, and more.

A regimen of dry-heat salt therapy is very beneficial for people who also have skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, cosmetic surgeries and acne.

In the past two to three years Halotherapy has become popular inside of infrared saunas. This makes a lot of sense to me as it is small space, the perfect dry and hot climate and meshes very well with the benefits of infrared therapy. Personally, I’m all for having a salt diffuser in my sauna to get the maximum benefit from my 30 minute session as possible. 

The History of Salt Therapy The History of Salt Therapy

In 1843, a Polish physician named Felix Boczkowski realized that salt miners at Wieliczka suffered far fewer respiratory issues than other miners, as well as the general population. Soon thereafter, he published a paper titled, “About the Breathing of Salt Dust;” which was the first study on the effects of salt inhalation. 

A few years after this discovery, Dr. Boczkowski (who happened to also be a very smart business man), opened the original salt health facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine. There he provided salt baths by utilizing underground natural brine. Additionally, he would take asthma patients down into the salt mines for regular inhalations.

A hundred years later in 1949, a German Dr. K.H. Spannahel, had observed during WWII that civilians hiding in salt caves from constant bombings had positive respiratory health benefits. He presented the creation of the “Klyutert Cave” which would be a place to conduct the systematic approach to confirm the medical effectiveness of underground salt environments and their respiratory benefits. 

In the early 1900s, Eastern-European doctors and engineers were able to simulate the air conditions inside of salt caves. In modern-day Halotherapy, (“halo” means salt in Greek) a small generator blows fine microparticles of salt into a small space. Because of this invention, salt therapy was able to be studied and then used in European hospitals to treat respiratory ailments. 

 

The Birth of Halotherapy The Birth of Halotherapy

 

As Halotherapy became more popular in the medical community, the need for further research became a necessity. In 1985, in order to perform ongoing studies and specified research, The Institute of Balneology was created in Odessa, Russia. Here they developed the first medical Halotherapy device. This device replicated the grinding and crushing of salt that would then diffuse the salt microparticles into the air. 

You could argue that Halotherapy was “invented” in a medical environment, but I believe the knowledge of Salt Therapy is ancient. There are stories of Catholic monks bringing in sufferers of respiratory issues into caves in Roman times to help alleviate symptoms. Personally, I believe this knowledge was simply lost. Once the fall of the Soviet Union happened, this knowledge was spread to the rest of the world and was able to be used inside of different applications.

Halotherapy in an Infrared Sauna Halotherapy in an Infrared Sauna

As it is not realistic for people to have their own salt caves, small halotherapy diffusers are a new option for incorporating salt therapy into your home or sauna. These generators are the easiest and fastest way to inhale fine salt to get the most health benefits—even faster than salt lamps or walls (seen in the photo above). 

While I personally have Himalayan salt lamps in every room in my house, I believe salt diffusers to be much more effective in the sauna environment as they can diffuse well over 100 times more fine salt particles in a 30 minute sauna session.

Here’s what a salt diffuser looks like:

Salt Therapy Health Benefits Salt Therapy Health Benefits

By using a high quality salt diffuser in your sauna, it spreads ultra-fine Himalayan salt throughout the entire sauna cabin for the entire duration of your session. This enables the healing effects of the salt to reach the deepest parts of your lungs, bronchioles and alveoli, providing your body with the maximum potential health benefits.

The powerful healing properties of Halotherapy are earning the attention of some of the world’s most advanced medical institutions and publications. Many believe that when people inhale this salty air, it can help stimulate their respiratory system, reduce inflammation, fight infection, clear blockages and reduce discomfort. Many people who use Halotherapy claim that their respiratory issues to be greatly benefited with increased lung capacity, greatly reduced stress, a boosted immune system and enhanced sleep!

 

Depression Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Psoriasis Eczema Acne Rosacea Dry Skin Rashes
Seasonal Colds Ear Infections Sinus Infections Allergies Hay Fever Snoring Apnea Insomnia
Asthma Chronic Bronchitis Breathlessness Chest Tightness Tonsilitis Laryngitis COPD Cystic Fibrosis

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

In Part 1 your learned that steam saunas were originally created for bathing purposes, and that the health benefits associated with whole-body hyperthermia were discovered much later. As with most inventions, we have studied and improved on the original design. With saunas, we have made advances in quality, technology, convenience, but mostly importantly, we have found ways to maximize the health benefits we get from them.

From relaxation to weight loss, we have tested and understood what causes these benefits and improved upon them, largely through the application of infrared light.

Detoxification Detoxification

Detoxification is the single biggest reason people are interested in infrared saunas. In famed Detoxification book, Detoxify or Die by Sherry Rogers M.D., she explains how infrared saunas go about detoxifying the body:

“Far infrared wavelengths decrease the size of water clusters [in the body], giving them greater mobility and penetration in and out of body tissues. For it is when these hyperactive or energized water molecules move in and out of cells that they also carry toxins that previously were stuck. FIR energy actually causes a resonance dance between the water and chemical molecules to mobilize and unite them.” These combined molecules are then moved out of the body through the breath (exhalation), through urine and feces and… sweat! (Rogers M.D., 2002, pg. 218).

The process of storing these toxins is called bioaccumulation. Toxins come in the form of drugs, pollutants, preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals and poisonous substances, to mention just a few!

So what do toxins do to you?

When they are absorbed into your body, toxins interact with enzymes and confuse cellular receptors. This does not allow for normal cellular function, as the cell is confused by the toxin and its electrical receptivity is off sync, throwing off your homeostasis. This is dangerous because we are made of cells that need to reproduce. Each cell has a job and it can’t function properly when toxic.

Documented illnesses due to toxicity include cancers of every organ system in the body, as well as leukemia, liver disease, pulmonary and cardiovascular damage, anemia and blood changes, nervous system disorders, immune system damage, psychological damage, reproductive and fertility impairment, and kidney dysfunction.

Toxins are stored in adipose tissue—i.e., fat cells. There are many chemicals, pesticides, and preservatives that exist today that didn’t exist 100 years ago, and the body has no natural reaction to these toxins. They simply accumulate in the body until it’s too late. But there is a way to get rid of them—sweat!

“The bottom line is that sweat is the only proven method for getting the most damaging toxins out of the body. There are no drugs, no surgery, no chelation, nor other detoxification methods with before and after measurements proving that unwanted chemicals like PCB’s and pesticides were eliminated.” (Rogers M.D., 2002, pg. 218).

When the right infrared wavelength is absorbed by the body it will cause your cells to vibrate at what’s called resonant frequency.”

Resonant frequency is the tendency of a system to oscillate with greater amplitude at some frequencies than others. When the body absorbs infrared in the 6.0 microns range your cells begin to vibrate—toxins are shaken free of your adipose tissue (fat cells) and are then released through your lungs, small intestine (excretion), urine and through your integumentary system (your skin). 

After exposure in the infrared sauna environment your skin becomes highly permeable, and the blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to the surface to cool your body. Sweating is the main mechanism to cool your body!

Millions of microscopic sweat glands are infused with fluid from the blood, which then release and empty to your skin’s surface, thereby flushing the releasing toxins and heavy metals out of your body. This is the major way how an infrared sauna contributes to health through detoxification. 

It is my belief that producing any sort of sweat will do this—by way of a hot tub, exercise, steam, traditional or infrared sauna. However, the method that is the easiest of these options to sustain a sweat over a 30+ minute period is easily an infrared sauna. This is because of the lower air temperature, which allows you a more prolonged, comfortable experience. The more sweat, the more water you drink the more toxins you excrete.

Toxins can definitely damage your body. Sometimes they act alone, and sometimes they cooperate with other disease causing factors, which can be fatal over time. The human body is designed to recognize and remove toxins, however, you need to know how to help yourself:

• Reduce your exposure to exogenous and endogenous toxins when possible. Basically avoid plastic at ALL costs.

• A healthy diet is one way to reduce the amount of toxins you absorb.

Help your body get the support it needs to clear out toxins that enter your system. If you think you have a high level of toxins or heavy metals in your body you can visit your doctor and do a blood or urine test. You can test how much lead is in your body fairly easily through a urine test. While not always the case, the more lead in your body the more other heavy metals you are carrying as well.

Regular infrared sauna use is a proven way to help rid your body of toxins and heavy metals accumulated over time.

Cardiovascular Health Cardiovascular Health

Perhaps one of the most underrated results of regular infrared sauna use is the benefit to your heart. Detoxification and weight loss are far more popular topics, but the fact remains cardiovascular disease kills more Americans every year than every other disease combined.

Your heart keeps you alive by pumping oxygenated blood through your body. It flows from your arteries to your blood vessels into your blood venules and then all the way to your capillaries, where the body’s most important function occurs—cellular perfusion.

This is the purpose of your heart—not to pump blood, but to pump oxygen to your cells

Once your heart stops pumping, your body has no way to rid itself of carbon dioxide and your cells become acidic. Infrared saunas contribute to heart health and lower your blood pressure naturally. 

Sitting in an infrared sauna causes a chain reaction of events:

First, your heart beats faster to bring blood to the capillaries just below your skin’s surface so sweat can be released through your skin triggering your body to go into the parasympathetic mode of your autonomic nervous system. This is your body’s “rest and digest” mode. It is the unconscious action responsible for transmitting sensory information from your body’s organs to your central nervous system. This transmission tells your body to relax.

Next, the opposing and complementary nervous system response is the sympathetic nervous system. This is the fight or flight response which tells your body to be alert and to act in the face of danger or challenges requiring quick responses. Your body must be in one mode, but not both, at all times.

Lastly, when your body goes into relaxation mode in the parasympathetic response, your blood vessels expand through vasodilation. Your nervous system tells your heart to pump faster and for your arteries, vessels, venules and veins to allow more blood to pass through. Blood pressure drops as a result.

While not the goal of this book, it’s good to know this: Blood pressure is best explained through the following analogy:

If your heart is a hand gently holding a bag of fluid with a straw leading out of it, the systolic blood pressure rate (top number when measuring blood pressure [120/80]) is the amount of resistance that the straw applies to the fluid when it attempts to leave the bag when squeezed. If the straw’s circumference is bigger, there is less pressure resistance, and if the straw’s circumference is smaller, the pressure is greater. The greater the pressure, the higher the systolic blood pressure number.

The diastolic rate (the bottom number [120/80]) is the amount of pressure exerted inside the straw (or arteries) during rest after the bag has been emptied through contraction through of the straw.

So when your body tells your heart to pump faster and to expand the circumference of your blood vessels, your systolic blood pressure will go down. This will also cause your diastolic blood pressure to drop.

This is how infrared saunas lower your blood pressure—expanding the means by which blood is transported through your body allowing for better and faster circulation through expanded blood vessels. Because your body is also put into the parasympathetic state, you are more relaxed and your sense of stress will be reduced. Most of the time this lowers your heart beats per minute. 

Over time, this will make a big difference in the health of your heart and lower your blood pressure. Lowered blood pressure equals less heart attacks, strokes, brain aneurysms and heart disease. 

Weight Loss Weight Loss

Weight loss is the second most popular topic (after detoxification) that people ask about when researching infrared saunas. I was very skeptical in that there are so many websites and sketchy saunas that advertise “30 minutes in an infrared sauna burns 600 calories!” claims, which, of course, are baseless. The process is subtle and you still have to make healthy dietary choices for maximum effect, but weight loss will happen over time with regular infrared sauna use.

Let’s get into how this works:

In order for you to sweat, your heart is forced to pump at a faster rate. When your heart beats per minute rise, your blood vessels begin to vasodilate, allowing for more blood to be pumped more quickly through the vessels and capillaries underneath your skin. As more oxygenated blood is pumped through your body, your body will begin to burn more stored energy. This is your metabolism being boosted by using an infrared sauna

Your metabolic rate is directly tied to cardiovascular exercise

Moreover, the rise in metabolic rate is sustained over long periods of time after any workout, including taking an infrared sauna. If you do this over the span of days, weeks and even months, you will lose weight.

But allow the facts to speak for themselves:

Binghampton University Infrared Sauna Weight Loss Study

A study at Binghampton University, performed by Dr. Kenneth Mcleod, professor of bioengineering, showed conclusively that using True Wave II combination carbon and ceramic heaters in a Clearlight Sauna three times a week can eliminate an average of four percent body fat over a four-month period. 

For a 175 pound man, that represents a seven-pound reduction. The participants in the study did not change their diet or exercise patterns. The control group in the study showed no weight loss over the 16 month period.

The hypothesis was that increasing core body temperature caused an increase in human growth hormone production which in turn helped to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. When the human growth hormone in the body was increased it helped to improve body composition, increased bone mass, muscle mass and assisted in decreasing fat stores.

Phase One (16 week study):

Participants were exposed 3 times per week to an infrared sauna at 110 degrees for 45 minutes at a time for 16 weeks. Compliance ranged from a low of 12 sessions completed to 45 sessions.

Findings: Participants who had high compliance (used the sauna regularly) had a greater loss in body fat. Participants measured up to a 4 percent drop in body fat over the four months. However, those that came in late in the day or evening lost significantly more body fat than those using the sauna in the morning. The change in body fat was confirmed by measurements of serum glucose levels.

The hypothesis was that increasing core body temperature elevated human growth hormone production increasing serum glucose levels, which the study confirmed. In addition, the Binghampton scientists observed that the higher the core body temperature reached, the larger the decrease in body fat, also consistent with the HGH hypothesis.

Phase Two (8 week study): Participants were exposed 5 times per week to an infrared sauna at 110 degrees for 30 minutes after 3 pm. On average, the study subjects lost about 0.25% body fat per week totaling approximately 4% over 8 weeks. This resulted in approximately twice the rate of fat loss as compared to Phase 1 (8 weeks vs. 16 weeks). A control population was used in Phase Two of the study, and the body fat of the control group did not change over the 8 week study.

While using an infrared sauna is great to lose weight, there are things that you can do to expedite it. Drinking water before, during and after your sauna session will help speed up your metabolism.

If you are used to regularly drinking soda, coffee or even alcohol, your body will now crave water. As with many things, one healthy habit starts another—it’s no different with infrared sauna use.

Stress Stress

Putting your body into relaxation mode with an infrared sauna also helps alleviate your stress levels. We are hardwired to respond to stress with the ‘fight or flight’ response through our sympathetic nervous system. Prehistoric people had to worry about predators, but since we don’t have to worry about sabre-toothed tigers anymore, we have created new fears: work, money, relationships and family which can all cause stress.

When you are stressed, your body triggers the fight or flight response and releases adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline makes your heart rate increase and cortisol tells your body that it is under attack. 

This constant release of hormones into your bloodstream will harm you in several ways: your immune system can be damaged, your body will retain more fat cells and you might gain weight. As a result, you are prone to depression as well as anxiety, which will then disrupt your sleep patterns, affecting your memory retention and ability to concentrate. The constant release of adrenaline can also cause a cardiac emergency as well.

Lack of sleep is also detrimental to health. You will experience increased stress, decreased brain function, impaired motor controls, lethargy, weight gain, poor mood swings, lowered and reduced immune functions to fight disease and infections, lowered productivity and poor memory.

Using an infrared sauna daily will remove your body from the fight or flight sympathetic mode, and instead, you will relax in the parasympathetic mode. This will cause your heart rate to decrease, your blood vessels to dilate and to make you feel much more relaxed. The feeling of relaxation tends to last for the rest of the day into the night.

Improved sleep is the primary benefit that I consistently experience when using my infrared sauna

The trick that I use is to take a very hot steam shower right after I get out of my sauna. I don’t personally own a proper steam shower, so I just turn the water on as hot as possible, let the steam build up in the shower and then get in. If you combine the sauna and steam together you will be so physically exhausted that you will have no choice but to sleep and relax.

Pain Relief Pain Relief

Infrared therapy utilizes light to create heat; whereas, traditional saunas use heat to warm the air, which in turn warms the body. The benefit of infrared heat is that the body is heated directly without warming the surrounding air. This heat is far more comfortable than steamed heat as it is not required to be as hot. (Have you taken a steam sauna recently? It’s hard to stay in there for longer than 10 minutes, maximum). Thus, you can remain inside an infrared sauna longer gaining all the benefits from the warm and gentle infrared heat.

Because infrared is light, instead of hot air, that light actually travels inside your body and is either absorbed by your body’s water molecules or your soft tissue. When this happens, your muscles become looser, your joints, shoulders, hips and knees become more fluid and moving feels much easier. This is because your joints are surrounded by many miniscule muscles that when heated, loosen up greatly. This makes ease of movement much easier.

The pain relief that comes from this gentle heat can be felt for so many conditions; however, the main pain reduction occurs due to this comfortable infrared heat penetrating joints, muscles, tissues and nerve endings, while also producing additional white blood cells alleviating inflammation. 

Inflammation has currently been identified as the leading cause of most ailments and health conditions. Infrared sauna use increases blood flow, bringing healthy, oxygenated blood to whatever area is in need while relaxing your body to get you out of pain.

Infrared heat produces vigorous perspiration which in turn accelerates heart rate as when involved in moderate exercise. There is serious evidence, cited by many studies, that validate these results in terms of successfully treating various painful health conditions such as muscle strains, joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

• From USC, Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, a sports medicine expert, “Infrared wavelengths penetrate the body to create heat, which creates profound therapeutic benefits. They increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal.”

• From NASA, Dr. Harry Whelan determined that infrared heat allows for deep penetration of muscle and tissue, increasing cell growth from the inside, allowing the body to reduce pain and heal more quickly.

• From Japan, published in the Internal Medicine Journal, it was discovered that after even only one FIR session, chronic pain sufferers experienced significant reductions in pain, by up to 70 percent. These pain level scores decreased even further and remained low throughout the entire observation period. The conclusion was FIR is effective for chronic pain treatment.

If you are a sufferer of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic inflammation, or you are just an athlete in need of faster recovery, using an infrared sauna will at the very least help you ease your pain.

Inflammation Inflammation

For the longest time I had no idea what inflammation was; it was one of those health buzzwords that everyone was talking about. For the life of me I couldn’t wrap my head around what it meant and how it harms the body. To help us both out, I am going to start with the definition. 

You can think of inflammation as your body’s protection mechanism against harm. There are two kinds of inflammation: chronic and acute. You are likely far more familiar with acute inflammation, which is your body’s response to banging your knee or slicing your finger (hopefully not too deep…). 

The way inflammation works is that when something like a cut or wound happens, your immune system releases an army of white blood cells to essentially surround the wounded area, creating a wall or barrier (kind of like an army would). This creates visible swelling and a literal red ring of these white blood cells. This is inflammation.

If you have an infection like the flu, bronchitis or pneumonia the process is very similar. When infection happens your body creates the army of white blood cells, but instead of fighting a wound, they fight a virus. Without this army, you would surely die. During this process your immune system is ‘inflamed.’

Chronic, sustained inflammation can also occur in response to other unwanted substances in the body, such as toxins from cigarette smoke, plastic particles, or an excess of fat cells (especially fat in the belly area). Inside arteries, inflammation helps kick off atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty, cholesterol rich plaque. 

Your body perceives this plaque as abnormal and foreign, so it attempts to wall off the plaque from the flowing blood. But if that wall breaks down, the plaque may rupture. The contents then mingle with blood, forming a clot that blocks blood flow. Blood clots are responsible for the majority of heart attacks and most strokes.

It is really quite simple: eliminate these toxins in your body and you will drastically diminish the buildup of plaque which will in turn reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Far Infrared sauna therapy is one of the most effective tools available when it comes to battling inflammation. Recently I fell while skiing. Nothing was broken but my entire body felt swollen. 

After just a couple of sessions in my sauna symptoms began to disappear and within days I was feeling much better. Sweating in an infrared sauna enables your body to release toxins, metals and chemicals. It also aids in pain relief, enhanced circulation and greatly reduces inflammation.

We now know inflammation to be the beginning of many if not most diseases. Inflammation is also part of the body’s immune response. It begins with irritation and changes into the immediate healing response of inflammation; meaning, your body is constantly fighting against itself. 

Chronic inflammation can last several months even years. This can lead to certain cancers, arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis and allergies. Inflammation is part of the body’s innate healing process, however, it is best to heal the inflammation prior to allowing it to develop. This can be accomplished with consistent use of far infrared sauna therapy.

Thirty minutes a day in an infrared sauna is all that’s needed to improve your circulation and reducing inflammation. Increased circulation is also wonderful for lowering blood pressure, relieving pain, reducing stiffness and, of course, fending off inflammation.

How does infrared sauna therapy actually work in terms of reducing inflammation?

Far infrared heat produces vigorous perspiration which in turn accelerates heart rate as when involved in moderate exercise. There is serious evidence, sited by many studies, that validate these results in terms of successfully treating various painful and also silent health conditions such as inflammation, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. Most of all, even after the first session, inflammation is reduced and pain is relieved; the longer the therapy the more successful.

Far infrared sauna users have also experienced improvements in the level of inflammation on their skin. Difficult cases of psoriasis and other skin ailments have improved dramatically after use of infrared saunas, often over a short period of usage; one to two months. Skin health has also greatly improved with reduction in cellulite, clearing of acne and relief from psoriasis and eczema.

“The skin is the window to your overall health. The healthier your skin is the healthier your overall health is.”

Far infrared sauna therapy also neutralizes blood toxicity and smooths the walls of arteries, capillaries and veins. It also allows for the healing of upper respiratory infections. It has proven to be outstanding in the ease of inflammatory symptoms from asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, colds, flu, sinusitis and congestion as it clears the inflammation, swelling and mucus clogged passages.

Total detoxification is possible as the absorption of infrared enhances white blood cell function, increasing immune response and the elimination of foreign pathogens and cellular waste products. When toxins are eliminated lymph node function improves and immune function strengthens. 

Further research has also tagged additional ailments currently and medically proven to be beneficial when using far infrared sauna therapy when battling anything that includes inflammation.

Far infrared sauna therapy is such a wonderful tool for your overall physical health. It is always good to remember to leave enough time in your day for a quick infrared sauna session. Remember, far infrared sauna therapy involves the use of infrared rays to gently heal, soothe, stimulate and detoxify the body as well as the mind. 

The rays have the ability to penetrate all layers of the human body, penetrating into the inner-most regions of the tissues, muscles and bone. Not only is this relaxing but it benefits the mind, body and spirit.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis

As I get older I feel like my body is failing ever so slightly. Specifically, I can feel my shoulder socket snap like it’s grinding a gear when I move my arm. There is also the pain and stiffness I experience when I stay in a fixed position for a lot of time. Every joint just moves slower

Now, at the time of writing this, I’m 34. I’m no spring chicken, but not as up there in age as some of you reading this book. That being said, there’s hope to feel younger using FIR therapy. It is widely acknowledged that consistent use of far infrared saunas seriously aids in the eradication of not only joint pain but also assists in the elimination of the more severe pain caused by arthritis.

I have personally heard from many far infrared sauna owners regarding this result for years as anecdotal evidence of pain reduction. This is good–we can all use a little less pain in aging joints. 

Pain relief happens when far infrared heat penetrates all of the tiny, miniscule muscles surrounding your joints, gets absorbed into your water molecules and soft tissue and increases circulation (while allowing oxygenated blood to flow efficiently to injured or sore joints). 

When muscles are warmed, in the far infrared heat, the body’s tissues made of collagen, become more flexible as they are exposed to the increased temperature. 

Muscle spasms are reduced and when nerve endings calm down, relieving pain, the body is able to heal naturally. Essentially, the gentle heat from far infrared soothes both the causes and effects of arthritis.

Now, far infrared heat will not cure all arthritis and joint pain; but when combined with frequent sauna therapy as part of an ongoing health regimen, a lot of the pain dissipates and your body will loosen up. 

For many, this is a significant improvement in your quality of life. This allows you to feel younger and maintain a more active lifestyle, which naturally boosts your mood, increases better mental health and improves your wellbeing. It also strengthens the muscles surrounding joints, effectively creating a baseline ease of movement that was much better before sauna therapy.

Those living with arthritis and frequent joint pain imagine the day they can realize relief without medication. Prescriptions alleviate pain; however, they can stress the liver when dangerous toxins increase. Then they will need to be eliminated. Because of this, those in pain are looking for an alternative to lower their pain and increase their mobility. Far infrared sauna therapy is the most effective avenue for pain reduction as it also compliments traditional medical therapies.

Recently a study attributed joint pain relief from far infrared sauna therapy to a temporary rise in the delivery of noradrenaline, cortisol, adrenaline, and growth hormones. These are all anti-inflammatory. 

Endorphins are considered to be the body’s natural painkillers; they are also released in a sauna session. The word endorphin is a combination of  “ENDO-genous”, which means ‘occurring naturally in the body’, and “mo-RPHIN-e”, (morphine) which is a pain-relieving compound. These beta-endorphins are natural opioids that are part of our natural painkiller system. This system is known as the “mu-opioid” system, which stops pain signals from going from the body to the brain.

From the above study, over half the participants received relief from general pain and enjoyed added mobility.  

From another study, a report produced by Saxion University of Applied Sciences, found that there are additional positive effects from far infrared sauna therapy. This university, located in the Netherlands, took seventeen individuals who suffered from arthritis, some from RA, and treated them with infrared sauna treatments over a period of four weeks. They discovered that this therapy decreased pain, stiffness, and fatigue and was significantly successful in benefitting pain reduction from those suffering from mild to severe arthritis. 

Arthritis pain can be debilitating. It is a serious disease and its symptoms are greatly relieved when utilizing far infrared therapy. The heat from infrared infiltrates tissues, muscles, and organs. It penetrates the blood flow as it excites the body’s cells to throw off and eliminate toxins. Circulation is improved, metabolism increases and tissues are re-oxygenated. The gentle heat from far infrared lowers pain levels and has been proven to relieve chronic pain, as well.

If you suffer from arthritis, always consult your health practitioner first about including my suggestion of utilizing far infrared sauna therapy into your daily health regimen. Combined with proper diet and exercise, a far infrared sauna may help you recapture a more active, pain-free lifestyle allowing you to enjoy more balance and abundant health in your daily living.

Infrared Saunas and Cancer Infrared Saunas and Cancer

A very interesting word that I just learned is called autophagy, (from the Ancient Greek word autóphagos, which means “self-devouring” and kýtos, which means “hollow”) which is the mechanism of a cell to remove dysfunctional/unnecessary components within itself. ‘Auto’ means cell and ‘phagy’ means eat. This is the body’s method of removing damaged cells and regenerating newer, healthier cells. 

This self-devouring might sound cannibalistic but it happens to be a very normal activity of our cells to keep the body healthy. It’s a great self-preservation instrument by which the body effectively cleans and recycles its own cells.

Autophagy may play a role in the prevention and treatment of cancer. As we grow older, our cells don’t perform their normal functions as well and may turn into cancer cells which, if left unchecked, can multiply (which is what cancer cells like to do). 

While nearly all cancer cells begin from a defective cell, the body usually recognizes and removes them through the autophagic process. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to keep the autophagic processes working at the highest level around the clock. Infrared saunas may help.

Infrared saunas can play a very big role in the prevention and reversing of cancer. In 2004, Dr. Lawrence Wilson wrote and article stating that “If I were to single out one method to combat cancer, it is the sauna. It assists removal of chemical toxins and heavy metals, increases oxygenation, enhances the immune system, and reduces the radiation burden in the body.”

There are many cases in modern medicine where cancer patients who were exposed to whole body hyperthermia (the rise in core temperature after taking a sauna) sometimes went into remission. This is because heating the body stimulates the immune system and may cause cancer remission. 

In fact, there are cancer clinics in Germany which use hyperthermic infrared sauna therapy with their patients. Additionally, more than twenty United States hospitals offer some form of hyperthermic treatment for their cancer patients.

The main principle of whole body hyperthermia for cancer treatment is that cancer cells are sensitive to extreme heat. Malignant tumors, which are lumps of cancerous cells, do not have the ability to adapt their blood circulation to high temperatures.  

Cancer cells are weak compared to healthy cells; thus, heat stress effects them greater than normal functioning cells. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, heat stress at a high temperature can kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.

In a 2009 clinical study in the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, it was found that thermal radiation (infrared heat) reduced tumor volumes in mice by 86 percent over the span of 30 days. The study then focused on cancer cells in vitro and had a very similar effect—infrared energy in the far infrared spectrum reduces the size of cancerous tumors.

In a similar study in Japan, researchers discovered that raising one’s core body temperature with infrared heat inhibited growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.

 

Improved Circulation

Infrared saunas open your body’s blood vessels, venules and arteries through the process of vasodilation. As your body relaxes into the parasympathetic mode of relaxation, your blood vessels, venules, arteries and capillaries all expand, allowing more blood to pass through them. 

Additionally, because your body rises in core temperature, your body begins to sweat—which is your body’s natural mechanism to cool itself. In order for this to happen, your heart needs to pump harder and faster. When open pathways for circulation is combined with a boost in cardiovascular rate, circulation is increased.

When this happens, essential oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body. This also increases cellular perfusion, which is the carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange in your cells. Because cancer often forms in tissues with poor circulation and poor nutrition, improved circulation means less cancer cells.

Elimination of Toxins

 

What is really interesting about using a sauna is that this rise in core temperature, and subsequent boost in cardiovascular rate, essentially routes this extra blood flow to the skin; as a result, your body effectively shunts the blood which normally goes to your internal organs which flows to your skin to get rid of heat trapped in the body. This helps to clear your skin, move toxins out of your body and boost your immune system.

Infrared sauna treatments greatly assist the purging of toxins (plastics, heavy metals and chemicals) from the body. Removing copper, lead, mercury, arsenic and cyanide will help the body get back to homeostasis and balance the body’s pH levels.

Most people don’t sweat nearly enough to utilize the epidermis as a mechanism to remove toxins. By sweating, you are essentially cleaning the body from the inside out by using an infrared sauna.

 When you’re in a good sauna routine every day, you are forced to drink water before during and after your session. This means that during your sauna session you will sweat up to a pint of sweat during a 30 minute period.

Alongside cleansing the largest organ of your body (your skin), regular infrared saunas also help to eliminate toxins from your other organs. 

When the skin is frequently opened through sweating, the normal organs of detoxification are unburdened. Your liver, kidneys and small intestines allow for better function which in turn help for even further detoxification. This helps cancer patients immensely. 

Weight Loss

The American Institute for Cancer Research states that one of the biggest risk factors for cancer is obesity. The reasons for this is that lipophylic carcinogens are stored in fat cells, which have no means of escape without proper diet, exercise or infrared saunas! Infrared saunas burn fat through a rise in cardiovascular rate.

During a 30 minute sauna session, a sauna user is able to burn up to 300 calories. While this is not the 600 calorie in 30 minute b.s., it is still significant and will add up over the span of months. You will want to make sure you are doing regular sauna sessions in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. If you do this you will see a noticeable difference almost immediately. Your risk for forming cancer will also fall significantly as well.

Immunity Activation

Conventional cancer treatments suppress your immune system, which is your body’s natural mechanism to fight back. Whole body hyperthermia actually does the opposite. Regular infrared sauna sessions help to boost your white blood cell count, boost heat shock proteins, and reduces inflammation—all of which greatly boost your immune system.

Heat shock proteins attack cancer cells which makes them more vulnerable to being destroyed by the immune system. Dr. Gurdev Parmar, from the Integrated Health Clinic agrees. “Heat weakens cancer cells which makes them stick out to your immune system.” This is because heat shock proteins attack and damage cancer cells which ‘marks’ them for death by the immune system and natural killer cells. This activates macrophages and dendritic cells which are then sent to the tumor.

By heating the patient with whole body hyperthermia the dendritic cells migrate to the body’s lymph nodes. This is where T cells (Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes) activate against cancer cell proteins, killing them.

This is based in science. At the Clifford Hospital Hyperthermia Center, which is the world’s largest whole body hyperthermia center in the world, doctors found that raising the body’s core temperature to over 107°F can activate T-Lymphocytes and the activity of T and B-Lymphocytes and the anti-cancer natural killer cells. This also helps to redistribute the body’s white blood cells to improve the body’s immune system.

Stress Reduction

Infrared saunas are a peaceful place—a sanctuary, if you will. There is an inherent calm; no distractions, no sounds, just gentle heat. When you take an infrared sauna your body goes from the fight to flight; or from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic mode of your autonomic nervous system.

In other words, infrared saunas reduce stress. 

Excessive stress, or a hyperactive nervous system, contributes to many forms and cases of cancer. When the body’s autonomic nervous system is activated in the muscles, brain, adrenal glands, and thyroid all become overstressed. This inhibits digestion, immune response and normal eliminative organ function. This is the opposite of what a cancer patient needs. 

Infrared saunas sessions promotes rest, relaxation and recovery through parasympathetic dominance. This is good for less stress, better digestion (toxin removal) and a better immune system which is great for cancer patients.

When the body feels that it is under attack, the sympathetic nervous system function is engaged. This draws the blood to the core (trunk) of the body to prepare for blood loss. Saunas do the opposite by activating the parasympathetic function, drawing the blood away from the core and into the periphery. This allows for the free passage of blood, healthier cells, reduced stress, boosted immune system and reduces acidity in the body; all of which inhibit and even prevent cancer.

 

Cell Health Cell Health

Infrared therapy stimulates the body’s circulatory system which causes the heart to beat faster and cause the body’s blood vessels to vasodilate (expand). This helps clean the circulatory system (arteries, blood vessels and venules) and send more oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.

Better circulation allows for more toxins to flow from adipose cells to the surface of the skin to improve cellular health, assist in muscle recovery and boost the immune system.

In a recent study done by NASA called “NASA Light Emitting Diode (LED) Medical Program – Progress in Space Flight and Terrestrial Applications”, it was found that near infrared light “absorbed by the cells stimulated the metabolism in muscle and bone as well as skin and subcutaneous tissue.” Which promotes faster wound healing and human tissue growth.

What people have been experiencing in infrared saunas for years has now been proven by NASA in the laboratory.

Near infrared light “stimulates the basic energy processes in the mitochondria (energy compartments) of each cell, particularly when near-infrared light is used to activate the color sensitive chemicals (chromophores, cytochrome systems) inside.”

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Over the years I have come across several clients in need of relief from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Far infrared sauna therapy comes highly recommended by health practitioners and those who have knowledge of how helpful infrared can be alleviating most, if not all, of the symptoms of CFS. 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a debilitating disease affecting millions. It is a complex disorder presenting with symptoms of profound fatigue unaffected by usual rest patterns. It is exacerbated by excess physical or mental activity

Common symptoms of CFS include extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain. Sufferers experience impaired memory and mental function along with the inability to sleep. These symptoms result in a decline in the participation of daily life and living.

Currently, there is a great deal of proof that heat from a far infrared sauna is quite successful in detoxifying the body, thus reducing the symptoms of CFS.

Some physicians and scientists specializing in CFS believe there is a strong connection between the disease and toxins, especially heavy metals, plastics and chemicals. Heavy metals and toxic chemicals settle inside the body’s cells, where they are stored until either burned out through fat loss or through detoxification with an infrared sauna.

One of my clients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome completed a mitochondrial function test and discovered her body was filled with toxins. Her health practitioner immediately had her begin far infrared sauna therapy, as infrared heat is quite successful in detoxifying the body.

One of the most underrated effects of daily far infrared sauna use is a great night’s sleep; this also immensely helps to mitigate CFS symptoms. What’s better is the the result is immediate. You take a sauna and that night, you sleep. Like really sleep.

Normally, it takes me an hour to wind down prior to falling asleep. During the night I awaken many times, roll over and usually fall back asleep but many times I do not. I also an physically unable to sleep in past 8 am. So if I go to sleep too late I’m screwed the next day.

After my first far infrared sauna experience, I was amazed at how quickly I fell asleep and how deep I actually slept through the night. When a CFS patient gets more healthy sleep their body is more likely to heal naturally.

Taking a far infrared sauna is extremely relaxing, especially when followed by a hot shower, steam sauna or hot tub. Infrared heat feels great and as your body relaxes and muscles loosen causing pain to go away. There is a reason for this. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain killers. This causes your body to feel more relaxed, less stressed and feel the kind of tired you feel after a workout. This all leads to great sleep.

So many of the common CFS symptoms are diminished when the sufferer enjoys a deep, restful nights sleep. When this is combined with detoxification, real relief from CFS can occur. Additionally, if you are in pain, infrared generally relieves everything from normal aches and pains to the deeper pain caused by CFS and of arthritis, fibromyalgia and even common muscle strains and/or injuries. Pain certainly can keep you awake and the infrared heat soothes pain away.

Infrared sauna therapy provides benefits to people of all ages. It is a cost-effective therapy that will improve your overall health and well being. You will begin to enjoy a better quality of life as a wonderful and refreshing night’s sleep allows you to feel more rested and rejuvenated.

One of the concerns I haven’t addressed is the low tolerance for heat some CFS sufferers have as sweating tends to add to the fatigue. The good news is far infrared heat is mild compared to traditional hot-rock saunas; you can begin slowly at a low temperature and even though detoxification may take longer—the sooner you begin to tolerate the heat the more quickly you will reap the benefits. 

For those who suffer from CFS, there is increasing evidence that regular far infrared sauna therapy greatly improves the symptoms and eventually the toxicity levels in the body leading to a full recovery of the disease.

Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia

One of the greatest benefits from the use of infrared sauna therapy is pain relief. When you take an infrared sauna endorphins are released, which your body’s natural painkiller. The word endorphin is a combination of  “ENDO-genous”, which means ‘occurring naturally in the body’, and “mo-RPHIN-e”, (morphine) which is a pain-relieving compound. 

These beta-endorphins are natural opioids that are part of our natural painkiller system. This system is known as the “mu-opioid” system, which stops pain signals from going from the body to the brain.

One of the more common inquires I receive is can the infrared saunas help with pain, particularly pain from Fibromyalgia. I am always so happy to answer a resounding “Yes!”

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory loss and mood issues. 

Researchers believe that fibromyalgia exacerbates painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms can start after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. Conversely, symptoms can also build up over time with no single triggering event. 

Women are much more likely to develop Fibromyalgia than are men. It is also found that many people who have fibromyalgia also suffer with tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. 

Currently there is no cure for fibromyalgia; however there are a variety of medications available to control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures may also help. This is where many health practitioners suggest the use of Infrared Sauna Therapy.

Infrared sauna rays help fibromyalgia sufferers naturally reduce the pain and inflammation they experience. Infrared sauna heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues. It increases circulation, and boosts oxygen flow to the tissues. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps the body heal itself naturally. 

One of the mechanisms found most effective, when utilizing infrared sauna heat, is pain reduction on every level. This occurs due to an increase in endorphins and the reduction of stress. B-endorphin levels are raised and plasma ACTH levels were reduced due to the infrared heat. The bonus is these endorphins also effect mood even as they reduce symptoms resulting from an over-stressed body. Endorphins also greatly reduce the feeling of pain. 

Infrared sauna heat works by penetrating tissues, joints and muscles thereby increasing efficient blood flow allowing more efficient circulation. By reducing pain on the nerve endings, wherever that occurs, the infrared heat from a sauna will reduce pain and muscle spasms allowing your body to relax and heal naturally.

There are several studies reflecting the successful use of infrared in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. In one recent study from Internal Medicine, it is demonstrated that patients with chronic pain (Fibromyalgia) discovered their pain levels dropped by seventy percent after their first session of infrared sauna therapy! This study continues on to state that as the patients continued the therapy the scores remained low throughout the entire observation period. 

A recent study aimed to investigate whether infrared sauna therapy improved pain, symptoms, and quality of life in Fibromyalgia patients. See the study below:

“Effects of Thermal Therapy Combining Sauna Therapy and Underwater Exercise in Patients with Fibromyalgia”

Forty-four female Fibromyalgia patients received a twelve week infrared therapy program comprising of sauna therapy once daily for three days a week and underwater exercise once daily for two days a week. Pain, symptoms, and quality of life were assessed using a pain visual analog scale (VAS), a fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ), and a short form 36-item questionnaire, respectively.

All of the patients reported significant reductions in pain and symptoms after the twelve week thermal therapy program, which remained relatively stable during the six month follow up period (that is, the thermal therapy program improved both the short-term and the long-term VAS and FIQ scores).

I highly recommend infrared heat as we now know infrared wavelengths penetrate the body to create heat, which creates profound therapeutic benefits. These infrared rays increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal and also aids in chronic pain relief.

Heart Health Heart Health

Your heart keeps you alive by pumping oxygenated blood through your body. It flows from your heart, to your arteries to your blood vessels into your blood venules, and then all the way to your capillaries, where the body’s most important function occurs—cellular perfusion. Cellular perfusion is where the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange in your cells. This is how your life is sustained.

Therefore, the purpose of your heart is not to pump blood, but to pump oxygen to your cells. Once your heart stops pumping, your body has no way to rid itself of carbon dioxide and your cells become acidic.

I can not stress it enough, cardiovascular health is very important. Maybe the most important thing. Everyone should know their blood pressure, or at least have some sort of an idea what it is. 

The good news is that there are ways to maintain heart health. It is well known that diet and exercise play a large roll, but there’s another way to keep your heart healthy: regular infrared sauna use!

When you sit in an infrared sauna a few things happen:

• Your heart begins to beat faster, pumping more oxygenated blood to your blood vessels and venules and eventually to your capillaries.

• This brings blood to the capillaries just below your skin’s surface so sweat can be released through your skin (to keep cool) and to facilitate a faster oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.

• The increase in your heart rate allows your body to go into the parasympathetic mode of your autonomic nervous system. This relaxes your body and mind—reducing blood pressure.

The parasympathetic nervous system is your body’s “rest and digest” mode of unconscious actions that are responsible for transmitting sensory information from your body’s organs to your central nervous system. This transmission tells your body to relax. 

The opposing and complementary nervous system response is the sympathetic nervous system. This would be the ‘fight’ in the fight or flight response which tells your body to be alert and to act in the face of danger or challenges requiring quick responses. Your body must be in one mode, but not both, at all times.

When your body goes into relaxation mode in the parasympathetic response, your blood vessels expand through vasodilation. Your nervous system tells your heart to pump faster and for your arteries, vessels, venules and veins to allow more blood through. Instead of your body storing its blood in the trunk of your body (to prepare for an attack and blood loss), while in the parasympathetic mode, your blood is transferred to your skin to produce sweat.

Regular use of infrared saunas promote the expansion of your arteries, blood vessels and venules which reduces the strain on your heart as it has more room to push blood through. This increases circulation and naturally lowers your blood pressure. This will undoubtedly increase both the quality of your life as well as your life span.

Lower Blood Pressure Lower Blood Pressure

The way that I learned to explain how blood pressure works is through the following analogy:

If your heart is your fist that is gently holding a bag of fluid (let’s say purple gatorade) with a straw leading out of the bag, the systolic rate (the top number when measuring blood pressure [120/80]) is the amount of resistance that the straw applies to the fluid when it attempts to leave the bag.

In real life, this would be your aorta (the artery that allows oxygenated blood to flow from your heart to the rest of your body).

So if the straw’s circumference is bigger, there is less pressure—if the straw’s circumference is smaller, the pressure is greater. The greater the pressure, the higher the systolic blood pressure number.

The diastolic rate (the bottom number [120/80]) is the amount of pressure that is exerted onto the straw (or arteries) when the heart is at rest in between your heart beats.

So when your body tells your heart to pump faster and to expand the circumference of your blood vessels, your systolic blood pressure will go down. Because your arteries and blood vessels have expanded to allow more blood through, they exert less pressure during diastole (when your heart is at rest), which then causes a drop in diastolic blood pressure

It is through this manner that infrared saunas will lower your blood pressure—expanding the means by which blood is transported through your body allowing for better and faster circulation. Because your body is also put into the parasympathetic state, you are more relaxed and your feelings of stress will be reduced. This also naturally reduces blood pressure. These two factors begin to work together in unison causing a major decline in blood pressure.

This all results in less stress upon your body, mind and heart–all resulting in greater health.

Albeit anecdotal, besides amazing sleep night in, night out, the number one health benefit that I personally receive when regularly using my sauna is lowered blood pressure. I have hereditary high blood pressure on my Father’s side. 

If I get stressed for prolonged periods, let my weight go 15-20 pounds over where I should be, or eat improperly, my blood pressure likes to sit at 135/90ish. Being 34, this is not great. If you allow your blood pressure to stay over 120/80 for too long, only bad things can happen. You know the common risks and you should know your numbers.

When I am rigorous in my sauna routine I am calm of mind and heart. I don’t hear my heart pumping in my ear before I go to sleep at night, I don’t feel my pulse pumping in the 90’s throughout the day and as a result my blood pressure drops to very normal levels. However, this only happens when I pay attention and use my sauna like it’s going out of style!

Lyme’s Disease Lyme’s Disease

Anyone who suffers from Lyme’s Disease will find their bodies overwhelmed by toxins. Unfortunately, they lack an effective means of removing these toxins from the body. Additionally, Lyme’s sufferers have a difficulty sweating—making detoxification even harder.

This is where infrared saunas create the perfect channel for detoxification. Infrared saunas will improve liver and kidney function, promote better digestion and elimination, and detoxify your body through sweat, breath, and the urine and feces. They boost the immune system to boot.

One of the main symptoms of people with Lyme’s Disease is that they accumulate more toxins than normal people. Because of this, Lyme’s Disease patients have overburdened kidneys and livers due to the stress sustained by inflammation and toxic burden brought about by chronic infection.

This can and will lead to overwhelming symptoms of poisoning by neurotoxins (which is what Lyme’s Disease facilitates). Detoxifying the body through the skin eases the burden off of the liver and kidneys because it allows toxins to bypass these key detoxification organs. 

Sweating by way of an infrared sauna allows toxins circulating in the blood to be excreted directly through the skin, removing the necessity for the liver and kidneys to process, store, and eliminate toxins. The vast surface area of the skin allows quick, efficient detoxification without placing a burden on other detoxification organs.

This natural means of detoxification by using an infrared sauna greatly assists in reducing inflammation, boosts the immune system, promotes sweating, releases toxins, and cleanses the body of infection—all of which vastly negate the effects of Lyme’s Disease.

Skin Health Skin Health

The biggest organ in your body is your skin. It serves so many amazing purposes, with the main purpose being a barrier. But it is also a window—to your health.

Most skin conditions, including eczema, acne and psoriasis, share a common trigger. Generally this is a malfunction of the body’s immune system. This malfunction causes the body to react, sometimes aggressively, to a normally innocent substance such as pollen or even a tissue or organ not working properly; which would normally not pose a threat to an individual’s health.

Conventional medicine encourages drugs to clear up skin. This can be difficult for those suffering from skin conditions as these drugs suppress the immune system and can make matters worse. The side effects from immune suppressing pharmaceuticals can include cancer, serious infections and even death. 

Another viable and very successful treatment that has dramatically and positively affected the treatment of many skin maladies is the consistent use of Far Infrared saunas. 

Those suffering from skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns and scars see an amazing effect on the health of the skin and complexion even after only a few sauna sessions. The skin becomes softer, smoother, has a better tone and takes on a radiant, healthy glow. This is directly related to how circulation greatly improves skin.

Remarkable results repairing damaged skin, especially when chronic conditions exist such as eczema and psoriasis, happen during Far Infrared sauna treatments.

Additional results from sessions in the sauna include diminished facial lines (crow’s feet), unclogged pores, faded age spots, decreased dark circles under the eyes and even diminished under eye bags.

So, just exactly how does this all happen? 

Sweat! 

Did you know you would die without sweating? We are always sweating. 24/7/365. We expel this mix of mostly water and salt, naturally produced by the body to prevent overheating. It’s not only vital, it’s healthy. Here at SaunaCloud®, we believe the more sweat, the better. 

There are many ways to gain the benefits of a healthy sweat. The best one I’ve found apart from intense exercise is the use of an infrared sauna.

For many years wellness professionals and health-conscious laymen have been praising far infrared saunas for their amazing ability to make people sweat copiously and comfortably. 

When we perspire in an infrared sauna, we help our bodies rid themselves of toxins like mercury, lead, plastic micro-particles and other contaminants that have accumulated within us over time. Also, by intensely sweating while experiencing far infrared we benefit our hearts, lungs, kidneys and other organs essential for survival. 

By purging the body of toxins through the sweat we accomplish two things—we take vital pressure off of the normal organs involved in detoxification (the kidneys, liver and small intestine), so the are able to function better as healthy organs; as well as we purge the skin of dirt, toxins, sebum and dead skin from your pores. Over a week of regular infrared sauna use, this makes your skin look and feel clear, soft, and practically glistening in good health.

For those suffering from certain skin diseases, or those just wishing to improve the look and feel of their skin, FIR saunas can be particularly therapeutic. Healthy sweat makes your skin glow. It is our largest and major organ of elimination however many people do not (noticeably) sweat on a regular basis. 

This is why repeated use of a far infrared sauna promotes perspiration and slowly releases toxins via skin elimination, which can help reduce your toxic load quite significantly. The use of sweating as a form of detoxification and is downplayed by modern medicine, yet it has been valued as a form of cleansing since ancient times.

Over two-thousand years ago, the Greek physician Parmenides said, “Give me the power to create fever, and I will cure any disease.”

A Far Infrared sauna heats you from the inside out, raising your body’s core temperature resulting in a deeper, more cleansing sweat. This boosts your immune system and clears up any skin condition over time.

It’s said that using a far infrared sauna will cause you to produce a sweat that is composed of 20% toxins, compared to only 3% when using a traditional sauna. As your body temperature rises, it will draw the blood away from your core and to your skin to make you release salty liquid from your sweat glands to help cool you down. 

Sweat is the mechanism which helps regulate core body temperature. This is controlled by your autonomic nervous system and happens immediately from a rise in temperature from exercise, whole body hyperthermia or from a fever.

You have two different types of sweat glands: eccrine sweat glands, which are distributed over your entire body, and apocrine sweat glands, located on your scalp, armpits, and groin area, which end in hair follicles. However, they serve the same purpose.

Since exercise raises your body temperature, sweating associated with exercise is a sign that you’re exerting yourself and enjoying the many benefits that exercise offers. However, sweating in and of itself is also beneficial. Effectively, sauna sweat is just as good as exercise sweat.

Researchers have also noted the promising roles of sweat in terms of detoxification. Sweat is the necessary and important function when a body has been exposed to high levels of metallic poisons such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, trace metals and even some toxic minerals. Sweating is also the preferred method for ridding the body of toxins when urine shows elevated levels of mercury.

If you decide to add far infrared sauna therapy into your health routine get ready to really sweat. Excessive sweating may cause your body to lose valuable fluids and electrolytes. Stay well hydrated and replace your electrolytes naturally by drinking coconut water or water mixed with Himalayan salt. 

Before a sauna session it’s recommended you drink at least a full glass of water to be followed by the same when you exit the sauna. You can sweat up to a liter of sweat in a 30 minute session.

We often forget that our skin is the largest organ in our body by a wide margin. Because of this, you can use it as a barometer to your overall health. Your skin is also the most porous organ in your body. This bodes well for keeping itself clean and healthy, as long as it’s taken care of.

Heat Shock Proteins Heat Shock Proteins

Increasing your core body temperature is not only great for your immune system, it is also great for athlete endurance and can even extend the length of your life.

A rise in core temperature can be done either through taking a sauna, a steam or exercise. I was unaware that you are also giving yourself a false fever (close to 100°F) when you are exercising. 

It’s no surprise to anyone that when you are exercising, you are causing stress to your body and muscles. It’s this stress that tears muscles and makes them bigger so they can lift more weight in the future.

I am going to explain how you do a similar thing in the sauna. You “tear” or stress your body through heat, which causes you to create what are called ‘heat shock proteins’ so your body is better ready to fight disease, have better endurance during exercise, more energy throughout the day and better sleepall through heat stress. 

I will also go into whole body hyperthermia and its effects on the brain, the creation of new brain cells, improved focus and the alleviation of depression and anxiety.

 

What are Heat Shock Proteins? What are Heat Shock Proteins?

Heat shock proteins are proteins produced when your body experiences stressful situations such as exercise or heat stress. This helps the body maintain homeostasis, form new proteins, reactivate malformed proteins and perform chaperone functions (such as stabilizing unfolded proteins on deformed cells).

Did all of that make sense to you? Ok, great. Moving on… I’m kidding! 

Heat shock proteins essentially perform maintenance check-ups on other proteins at the cellular level to ensure their survival. 

Furthermore, HSP’s also attempt to rehabilitate metabolic diseases and cellular stress by promoting proper protein folding, which happens in disorders such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis. 

A bit better now? We’re getting there… 

On a basic level, HSP’s respond to stress in our body. This stress can come by the way of extreme heat, exercise, calorie restriction, injuries, old age and even cancer. The reverse would be cold shock proteins which are created by exposure to extreme cold (as in cryotherapy or cold plunges).

Heat damages our cells; however, heat shock proteins essentially act immediately, in overdrive, to repair those cells by overcompensation (i.e., making too many proteins, which leave you enough for your future stressful endeavors; thusly, acclimating your body to exercise and heat so you have a greater tolerance in the future when you encounter stress)

People who eat less, exercise, take regular saunas or cold plunges can effectively live longer simply by doing these activities as they have more HSP’s in their body. (Yes, eating less causes stress to your body in a good way!) Your body is ready when things go wrong, essentially, by having stored HSP’s.

To supplement the effects of heat shock proteins of those who lack exercise and those who wish to boost their physical performance, the regular taking of infrared saunas is an effective method used to induce such heat stressors. When exposed to the sauna’s heat, it triggers the release of heat shock proteins which produces the same cardiovascular, hormonal and extra-cellular protein responses as ones released during exercise.

Because of their many health benefits, heat shock proteins are quite popular nowadays and a big-time buzzword (almost as big as Full Spectrum!)

Infrared Saunas and the Release of Heat Shock Proteins Infrared Saunas and the Release of Heat Shock Proteins

Saunas are a great way to enhance the production of HSP’s in your body. They have been used as a popular form of hyperthermia throughout history for a variety of purposes; which extend their physiological benefits such as aging and longevity. 

Widely known traditional Finnish saunas provide exposure to temperatures of up to 80-100°C (176-212°F) and increased humidity for 5 to 20 minutes. It uses heated stones and water to create this hot and humid atmosphere. 

As famous as Finnish saunas are, what are equally famous are the cold plunges that Nordic people partake in after a hot sauna session—only to get right back in the sauna. Why do you think they have been doing this for over a thousand years? Heat shock and cold shock proteins! They are causing extreme stress to their bodies! They knew it before anyone else!

In comparison to Finnish saunas, infrared saunas have particularly risen in popularity as they utilize infrared wavelengths which penetrates the skin with the advantage of lower temperatures of 45-60°C (113-140°F). Therefore, it is much easier to sustain a sweat for 30+ minutes as it is much more comfortable to sit in without burning your nostrils and esophagus (a cheap shot at traditional saunas—I’m aware). 

One of the biggest differences is that infrared saunas do not generate any humidity, which results in longer and drier heating sessions (while producing a better sweat as you absorb the infrared heat internally rather than externally through the air). 

Both traditional Finnish and infrared saunas are known to produce the same health benefits and same amount of heat shock proteins; but we believe, the longer you sweat, the better. It is simply much easier to stay in an infrared sauna longer.

Due to the busy lifestyles that we all have, we may not have the time to gain the boost of heat shock proteins that we need from exercising. However, I always recommend coupling infrared sauna sessions with healthy eating and exercise. 

An infrared sauna is popularly termed to be a miracle device, which I hate to burst your bubble (and mine), is false. However, they can be a miracle wake up call to your health and how you treat your body. Should you decide to do some moderate exercise in conjunction with your sauna sessions, you will recover faster and have more endurance to perform your routines. 

 

Health Benefits of Heat Shock Proteins Health Benefits of Heat Shock Proteins

In the following study, participants sat in a heat stress chamber (sounds more proffessional than a sauna, right?) in high heat (73°C, 163.4°F) and no heat (26°C, 78.8°F) for 30 minutes. Blood samples were extracted before and after the exposure and results concluded that heat stress increased the heart rate by 60 percent and actively stimulated the nervous system and blood pressure to boost the heart’s overall cardiac output (or blood flow). 

Those suffering from congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia were measured to have reduced levels of hydroperoxide, BNP levels, and an increase in nitric oxide metabolites (which has also shown to significantly reduce the risk of acquiring these diseases by 66 percent in middle-aged people). Similarly, it also reduces the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s and improved their overall mortality rate.

Exposure to the heat stress chamber also increased levels of chaperone HSP72 by up to 50 percent and other factors that positively influence endocrine functions. HSP72 is one of the various heat shock proteins produced which prevents cells in the body from undergoing apoptosis, or cellular death. Heat shock proteins literally save your cells from themselves!

The findings included that induced heat stress increases levels of norepinephrine, which regulates blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels and increases the heart’s total blood output. 

Norepinephrine is also released in the body to enhance the contractions of skeletal muscles and the heart. These proteins are proven to be therapeutic towards rheumatological diseases, muscular dystrophy and other conditions that weaken skeletal muscles that come with age or injury—thus, increasing longevity.

Here’s what’s most fascinating to me—the body’s release of norepinephrine improves your focus and your ability to concentrate. Additionally, it increases the production of prolactin, which allows your brain’s synapses to happen faster and helps to repair damaged neurons. This also literally creates new brain cells and allows you to easier retain new information or knowledge.

Aspiring athletes would be delighted to know that taking a sauna after they exercise would increase their blood plasma volume for up to 4 days and concentrations of hemoglobin which allows for greater transmission of oxygen into the body. 

This helps with improved cellular health in that your cells are getting the oxygen they need, in the time they need it, through cellular respiration. This allows for your body to heal faster as the actual exchange of carbon dioxide to oxygen happens faster in your cells.

Another heat shock proteins study that exposed rats to 41°C (105.8°F) of hyperthermic treatments for 30 minutes showed that HSP’s are correlated to 30% more muscle regrowth than their control group. Once a person has been acclimated to high temperatures, they have been known to have higher production of heat shock proteins concentrations when followed by exercise.

Finally, another (non-rat) study found that those who were suffering from conditions that range from rheumatological diseases, chronic pain to depression experienced significantly less symptoms when exposed to heat shock proteins. 

Those suffering from clinical depression had reported improved appetites, relaxation and somatic symptoms. Individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia reported decreased pain and stiffness and improved quality of life, all due to the effects of regular sauna bathing.

Although it is widely known that exercise will lead to a healthier life, we must ask ourselves: what are the changes that occur in our bodies at a cellular level during exercise that make us healthier?

Scientists discovered that increased body temperatures that result from exercise (or saunas) is essential to the human body, as stressors that are induced from exercising releases a variety of proteins that maintain your health.

However, as a large number of people are unable to exert themselves due to age, injuries or chronic diseases (such as osteoarthritis, obesity and spinal cord injuries) can start to accumulate and multiply.

By understanding exercise and the effects of increased internal temperatures, healthy and athletic individuals can also make informed decisions on how they could potentially enhance their physical performance and overall wellbeing.

Popular entrepreneur and author, Tim Ferriss, has described his experience being often hospitalized due to his body’s difficulty in regulating heat. He revisited this idea many years later as he became his own test-subject in Stanford University’s experiment to study the effects of heat shock responses by undergoing exhaustive military heat marches.

Tim wanted to know the extent to which you could strengthen your physique and endurance by acclimating to high temperatures as a result of increased metabolic activities, perhaps without the need to exercise excessively. 

What Tim found out was that by releasing heat shock proteins caused a massive release of the human growth hormone, which helps in building muscle, keeping bone density, maintaining insulin levels, and improves heart function. This among many other benefits such as increased brain function, pain relief, better cellular health, increased endurance and life expectancy can no longer be ignored. Heat shock proteins are the real deal and you can now use your sauna to release them in your body. 

Learning the secrets to these heat shock responses would be of immense value to professional athletes and everyone who seeks to become a happier and healthier person.

Can You Get High in an Infrared Sauna? Can You Get High in an Infrared Sauna?

The single best thing about taking an intense infrared sauna session (yes, they can get intense) is the reward of taking a hot steam shower after. The combination is literally intoxicating and something I recommend to everyone I sell an infrared sauna to. You get such an amazing natural high from taking an infrared sauna session on its own that when you combine the steam shower afterward it feels like you’re floating for hours on end. 

I don’t personally believe in taking chemicals to alter my mood—I’d rather go for a swim, a run or… take a very intense sauna! The feeling you get after a 30+ minute sauna session and a hot shower is only what I can describe the feeling of being high is. Once I felt this feeling a few times I wanted to find out what was going on. 

What I found out was that it is essentially the same concept as why people like eating very spicy jalapeño peppers. It’s not that these people enjoy the pain—it’s that they enjoy the “high” or feeling after eating the jalapeño. It’s actually the pain that causes the high. This is what happens after a sauna session as well! Let’s find out why.

Endorphins Endorphins

There is some science to back this feeling of floating you experience. Have you ever wondered what’s responsible for the natural high (or “runner’s high” after exercise) in general? The most common explanation that you’ve heard is that it’s because of your body releasing endorphins, but that’s not entirely what’s going on.

(The word endorphin is a combination of the words “ENDO-genous”, meaning ‘occurring naturally in the body’, and “mo-RPHIN-e”, which is a pain-relieving compound).

Beta-endorphins are natural opioids that are part of our natural painkiller system. This system is known as the “mu-opioid” system, which stops pain signals from going from the body to the brain. The body also generates a peptide called dynorphin, which is responsible for the feeling of unease (better known as dysphoria). This unease experienced due to extreme heat in a sauna, eating spicy food, or during intense exercise is because of the release of dynorphin.

This release of dynorphin causes a sensitization of the mu opioid receptors, which then interact with the beta-endorphin. This process is what creates the “runner’s high” feeling. What’s interesting is that it is directly precipitated by the unease of physical exercise, extreme heat and food spiciness (i.e., a bit of pain—depending on the pepper!). Basically, the greater the pain experienced during your infrared sauna session, the better the natural high will be after. 

Serotonin Serotonin

Immediately following an infrared sauna session (and the interaction of the dynorphins and mu opioid receptors) is a sense of “high” from raised serotonin levels. Serotonin is regarded by some researchers as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance. When your serotonin levels are normal you feel happier, calmer, more focused, less anxious, and more emotionally stable. 

An infrared sauna will help to normalize your serotonin levels and put you in the rest and digest mode of your parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, after only a few sessions in a far infrared sauna you will simply exit feeling like you’re floating on a cloud. Add a cleansing shower and you will also experience the best night’s sleep ever and the natural high we’re all chasing!

It’s great to have studies back up how I feel after I experience an infrared sauna session and explain the feeling of being high. I also notice improvement in my energy level and the appearance of my skin. Some additional benefits of far infrared sauna therapy are de-stressing, enhanced exercise recovery, greater flexibility and it even helps me meditate better. 

I guess you could combine the effects of getting high from the heat with improving your skin, enjoying a mild workout, continually detoxing, relieving pain, burning calories and improving your circulation. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy all of these benefits along with the euphoria far infrared heat provides!

If I push myself in my sauna a little bit more each day, the payoff is the incredible natural high that I receive. You literally feel euphoric and that a giant weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. Don’t believe me? Without a doubt the more intense your infrared sauna session is, the better the natural high will be after. Like you needed any more reasons to get your own sauna, right?

Dopamine Dopamine

Dopamine is probably the most well known feel good chemical. Neurons in the brain release dopamine, which carries (signals) between said neurons. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which the body uses to create chemicals called norepinephrine and epinephrine. 

Infrared sauna exposure causes a release of dopamine and beta-endorphins, a neuropeptide hormone. These hormones cause a sense of euphoria, improved mood, more energy, a greater sense of calm, and pain tolerance. The sauna will literally cause you to feel like you have more energy, a calmer mood and mind and the feeling of floating—all done naturally through infrared heat!

Infrared Sauna Safety / EMF Infrared Sauna Safety / EMF

Finding a Low-EMF Infrared Sauna: Why Is EMF So Important? Finding a Low-EMF Infrared Sauna: Why Is EMF So Important?

When I became interested in infrared saunas, I found myself doing a great deal of research on my own time about something called electromagnetic fields, or EMF. It only made sense to investigate the negative side effects of what appear to be miracle health devices. I ended up doing a deep dive and going down the rabbit hole…

What I found out was there is a significant debate over the dangers of electromagnetic fields, which are emitted by any electrical object (including infrared saunas). I wanted to do my due diligence and review potential risks for sauna users. I learned that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) doesn’t consider EMF a proven health hazard, but I also found worrying research suggesting that it might be wise to avoid high-level exposure to EMF, not just in saunas but in our everyday lives.

What Is EMF? What Is EMF?

My expertise is in the health and fitness side of the sauna industry, not the electrical side (I leave that to my electrician business partner). However, I sat down with a physics professor friend to get the basics of how electromagnetic radiation works and its potential negative side effects. 

He told me that the simplest way to conceive of EMF is to think of invisible energy pulses, and to picture them radiating out from any object that has an electric current flowing inside it. Televisions, computers, microwaves, you name it: if they use electricity, they all emit electromagnetic fields.

My friend is a professor, so of course he wanted to elaborate further, and he added that electromagnetic fields can affect any object–including people–within their field. Most common electrical objects give off such low levels of EMF that they pose no risk to humans. However, larger objects with more electricity running through them, such as power lines, may present a health hazard for people who are exposed to them over long stretches of time.

One last thing: EMF is referred to by some as EMR, or electromagnetic radiation. Now, for our purposes, these are the same thing, so I’ll be referring to electromagnetic fields as EMF throughout this book.

EMF Around the House EMF Around the House

As I was describing my conversation with my friend, were you dying to know exactly how strong the EMF emitted by various household objects in your house is? I know I was… My friend, unfortunately, didn’t know off the top of his head. That meant I had to do some research of my own. I ended up purchasing an EMF meter from a company called Lutron off of Amazon. 

What I found was that the strength of an electromagnetic field varies massively based on the size and the strength of the item that is emitting it. Later on, I’ll talk more about how much EMF infrared saunas tend to emit, but before I do, take a look at this chart of how much EMF is emitted by common household objects. You’ll notice that how close you are to an object determines the strength of the EMF that is reaching you.

The Risks of EMF The Risks of EMF

The next step was to learn about the actual risks associated with EMF. This involved reading quite a few scientific journal articles.

Some of the most significant research conducted on exposure to EMF was reported in an article titled California EMF Risk Evaluation June 2002, which is still cited by many experts in the field today. This article drew from two significant research efforts. The first, which took place in 2001, was ELF Electromagnetic Fields and the Risk of Cancer. Researchers in that study found that high average exposures to EMF could double the risk of leukemia in kids under 15. Let that one sink in…

 In a 2002 studyAn Evaluation of the Possible Risks from Electric and Magnetic Fields from Power Lines, Internal Wiring, Electrical Occupations and Appliances, researchers found that heavy and prolonged exposure to EMF could lead to increased risk of adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, miscarriage, and, once again, childhood leukemia.

At this point you might be thinking, “But wait, don’t a lot of the appliances we use every day give off EMF?” And they do, but the keywords here are heavy and prolonged. What was discovered in both studies was that the exposure had to be heavy and prolonged. Your microwave giving off 130 mG (EMF is measured in what’s called milligauss) of EMF while it cooks a burrito for two minutes, for example, doesn’t rank as heavy and prolonged—as long as you don’t stand right in front of it!

However, I don’t want to discount the severity of the findings of these studies. My big takeaway was that the less EMF one could be exposed to while using an infrared sauna, the better. As I’d learned earlier though, it is impossible for infrared saunas to emit zero EMF, because they are electrical devices with wiring and currents. It should raise some serious red flags when a company tells you that they have zero EMF. Trust me, there are many nefarious sauna companies out there lying about this.

Fortunately, there are varieties of infrared sauna that emit barely any EMF at all and in my opinion, very safe to use regularly.

Infrared Saunas and Safe EMF Levels Infrared Saunas and Safe EMF Levels

Infrared saunas are large, they surround you with electrical components, and in order to use them, you must sit inside them for a period of time. If you’ve followed to this point, you know that that can be a recipe for dangerous exposure to EMF. Thankfully though, there is infrared sauna technology that keeps EMF in the super-low range of .2 to .3 mG. 

To put that in perspective, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has previously proposed a safety standard of 3 mG, with anything below 3 mG being deemed as safe. This clear cut numerical guideline makes it easy to shop for a safe infrared sauna: simply ask the sauna salesman for the exact number. Numbers don’t lie. Make the company give you an EMF guarantee in writing. If the number is higher than they say it is, return your sauna for a full refund.

You can never be too cautious, and with that in mind, I suggest that if you’re choosing an infrared sauna for your home that you think about buying a Tri-Field or Lutron EMF meter to test its levels. 

Hopefully most salesmen out there aren’t actively lying about their saunas’ EMF levels, but I’ve just heard too many horror stories. And an EMF meter isn’t a bad thing to have around when you’re purchasing large electronics either.

Choosing a Low-EMF Sauna Choosing a Low-EMF Sauna

The two primary materials used in infrared saunas to produce infrared rays are carbon and ceramic. These materials, when heated, produce infrared rays that raise the body’s core temperature, speed up the metabolism, and bring on all the other health benefits of saunas. 

Carbon heaters are a relatively new invention, and while they have some good qualities, they also generate high EMF levels–up to 80 mG, which is well over the suggested guidelines. Traditional ceramic heaters, on the other hand, have a much lower EMF than carbon heaters, but it’s still possible to go lower.

There are ways to lower the EMF in every infrared sauna; the problem is, very few companies even attempt to do this. What they normally do is to try to mitigate the EMF directly on top of the heater, either by shielding the wiring, double coating their carbon panels or by stacking two heaters on top of each other (which attempts to cancel out the electric current). All methods work.

Here’s the problem: they only focus on the EMF of the heater and then put a very high EMF inducing power supply directly underneath the bench where you’re sitting. The object with the most EMF in the sauna is the power supply hands down. 

This is because the power supply is the literal brain of the sauna which takes either 120 or 240 volts of electricity directly from the wall and disperses that power to all of the heaters. As a sauna company owner, let me tell you that negating the EMF of a power supply is extremely difficult. No one has really figured this out.

What higher end companies do to be able to skirt around this issue is by putting the power supply in the roof of their saunas. The high EMF really only travels a foot or two around the power supply, so where you are sitting you have very low EMF. This is what they base their low EMF claims on.

Why 3rd Party Tests Don’t Matter Why 3rd Party Tests Don’t Matter

Nowadays literally every company has “3rd Party EMF test,” which is just a test that they’ve either paid an independent electromagnetic company to perform or a fake PDF that the company has created out of thin air. The former being obviously better than the latter; however, the latter more abundant than the former. 

Even if a company has a third party EMF test, it doesn’t matter. Here’s why: companies who perform independent tests don’t send in their entire sauna (with the high EMF outputting power supply). What they do is either send in an individual heater panel and have that tested, or they send in one sauna panel (there are six in a pre-fabricated kit sauna) and have that tested. Neither option gives the full EMF picture. In my professional opinion, this negates these tests entirely.

If you don’t believe me, go ahead and actually read one of these tests. I mean it. Actually read the fine print!

Infrared Sauna Contraindications Infrared Sauna Contraindications

As a comprehensive guide to infrared saunas, it makes sense to discuss common concerns in regard to taking regular sauna sessions. Consult with your primary care physician if you have any doubts surrounding your personal health and regular infra-red sauna use. While it’s perfectly safe to use an infrared sauna, there are a few instances where we recommend speaking to your doctor first. Here they are:

Medications Medications

People who take prescription drugs should consult with their physician before use of infrared sauna, as the effects of their prescription might change during increased core body temperature. Diuretics, barbiturates, and beta-blockers may impair the body’s natural heat loss mechanisms. There are also over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines that may cause the body to be more prone to heat stroke.

Children Children

The core body temperature of children 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. 

Consult with your child’s pediatrician before they use the sauna. As noted in the Medical Studies chapter, children have been taking saunas with their parents for hundreds if not thousands of years. As long as you monitor them, they should be alright.

Elderly 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 in order to maintain core body temperature.

Cardiovascular Conditions Cardiovascular Conditions

Individuals with cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension/hypotension, congestive heart failure, impaired coronary circulation or those taking medications which might affect blood pressure, should exercise caution when exposed to prolonged heat.

Heat stress increases cardiac output and blood flow in an effort to transfer internal body heat to the outside environment via the skin (perspiration) and respiratory system. This takes place primarily due to major changes in the heart rate, which has the potential to increase by thirty beats per minute for each degree increase in core body temperature.

Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse

Contrary to popular belief, it is not advisable to attempt to ‘sweat out’ a hangover. Alcohol intoxication decreases a person’s judgment; therefore, they 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. Alcohol consumption is not recommended with infrared sauna use.

Chronic Conditions Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat Chronic Conditions Associated With A Reduced Ability To Sweat

Multiple Sclerosis, Central Nervous System Tumors, and Diabetes with Neuropathy are conditions associated with impaired sweating. You may want to consult your doctor to find out how sweating will affect your disease and the prescription medication you take as a result.

Hemophiliacs/Individuals Prone To Bleeding Hemophiliacs/Individuals Prone To Bleeding

The use of infrared saunas should be avoided by anyone who is predisposed to bleeding. 

Fever Fever

You should not use the sauna when you have a fever or are extremely sick with a cold. Either use it immediately when you first notice cold/flu symptoms or after you have had peak symptoms or a high fever. You don’t want to give yourself a heat stroke by taking an infrared sauna with a fever.

Insensitivity to Heat Insensitivity to Heat

An individual that has insensitivity to heat should not use a sauna.

Pregnancy Pregnancy

Pregnant women should consult a physician before using a sauna because fetal damage can occur with a certain elevated body temperature. Additionally, you are certainly stirring up a lot of toxins in an infrared sauna; if you’re pregnant this can’t be good for your baby.

See the medical studies chapter for more information on pregnancy and sauna use.

Menstruation Menstruation

Heating of the low back area of women during the menstrual period may temporarily increase their menstrual flow. Some women endure this process to gain the pain relief commonly associated with their cycle, whereas others simply choose to avoid the saunas use during that time of the month.

Joint Injury Joint Injury

If you have a recent (acute) joint injury, it should not be heated for the first 48 hours after injury or until the hot and swollen symptoms subside. If you have a joint or joints that are chronically hot and swollen, these joints may respond poorly to vigorous heating of any kind. Vigorous heating is strictly contraindicated in cases of enclosed infections be they dental, in joints, or in any other tissues.

Implants Implants

Metal pins, rods, artificial joints or any other surgical implants generally reflect far infrared waves and thus are not heated by this system. Nevertheless, you should consult your surgeon prior to using an infrared sauna. Certainly, the usage of an infra-red sauna must be discontinued if you experience pain near any such implants.

Silicone does absorb far infrared energy, so implanted silicone or silicone prostheses for nose or ear replacement may be warmed by the far infrared waves. Since silicone melts at over 392°F, it should not be adversely affected by the usage of infrared saunas. It is still advised that you check with your surgeon and possibly a representative from the implant manufacturer to be certain.

Infrared Sauna Medical Studies Infrared Sauna Medical Studies

Here is the Proof Here is the Proof

While saying infrared saunas have many health benefits is great, it means nothing if you can’t back up these claims with proof. Here are the current medical studies that have been done on infrared saunas to backup the health claims.

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Infrared Sauna Buying Guide Infrared Sauna Buying Guide

What to Look for when Purchasing an Infrared Sauna What to Look for when Purchasing an Infrared Sauna

What Kind of Company are You Purchasing from?

Before you purchase your infrared sauna ask yourself the following questions:

How long has the company been in business? 

• What is their online reputation? Do they have complaints? 

How aggressive is their sales team? Why are they so aggressive? 

What is their warranty? Why don’t they cover their sauna for the life that you own it? Are their parts inferior? 

• Will they pay for service, upkeep, and the shipment of parts to and from your house/business? 

Will they properly set your expectations? Do you trust your salesperson? 

Will they let you try out your sauna for 30 days? Do they get too many returns to stay in business?

When you are purchasing your infrared sauna, don’t pull any punches. This is a major purchase (that you only want to do once), so stand your ground and demand that the company you purchase from is held accountable should they not hold up their end of the deal. 

You can do this by asking for a full 30 day money back guarantee and EMF level guarantee, all in writing. If you buy a sauna that you don’t feel represents the quality for the price you paid, simply send it back. You will have documentation to show the company as well as your bank! 

Also, ask for a deal! Too many people don’t ask… I lose money telling you this, but I guess it’s a good way to know that you can trust this guide!

Now that you know what to ask before buying, let’s discuss what to look for in your future sauna. It all comes down to three things: company, cabin, and heaters. 

What Kind of Infrared Heaters are You Getting?

The heater style that you purchase is the single most important part of your infrared sauna buying decision. There are only four styles of infrared sauna heaters: carbon, ceramic, halogen, and combination heaters. 

• Carbon heaters only heat up to 140°F which is not hot enough to raise your core body temperature.

• Ceramic heaters get up to 400°F which is way too hot to sit 2-3 inches next to. 

• Combination heaters are the most effective at raising your core body temperature at 200°F while still being comfortable enough to sit next to for a 30 minute session. 

• Halogen heaters are extremely hot (at a 775°F surface temperature) and only ever act as add-on heaters placed in the front of the sauna, not the meat and potato heaters on all four sides.

See the following comparison chart and infrared absorption images of all three styles below:

TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic

Patented

  • 97% Emissive
  • 190°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 7.9
  • Average EMF: .20 mG
  • Most effective at raising core temp for 30+ minutes
  • Most comfortable
  • Long infrared wavelength for maximum absorption

Halogen Heaters Halogen Heaters

Generic

  • 97% Emissive
  • 775°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 4.2
  • Average EMF: 3 mG
  • Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
  • Less comfortable/Most Intense
  • Shortest infrared wavelength for infrared absorption

Ceramic Heaters Ceramic Heaters

Generic

  • 97% Emissive
  • 400°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns: 6.0
  • Average EMF: 10 mG
  • Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
  • Less comfortable
  • Moderate infrared wavelength for infrared absorption

Carbon Heaters Carbon Heaters

Generic

  • 95% Emissive
  • 140°F Surface Temperature
  • Wavelength in microns 9.2
  • Average EMF: 30 mG
  • Least effective at raising core temp for 30 minutes
  • Least effective
  • Long infrared wavelength with little to no heat/absorption

As you can see in our infrared absorption test, the VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite heaters have the most amount of absorbed infrared. This is because they have the most infrared emissivity combined (with the longest infrared wavelength) with the greatest angle of absorption. 

What this means is that because of the surface temperature, the heaters can be placed 360° around your body. Because of the high heat of the halogen and ceramic heaters, you can only get up to 180° of coverage. This makes a difference in overall infrared absorption and body temperature.

While halogen and ceramic heaters are great for overall infrared output and emissivity, they are lacking in this angle of absorptionfor this reason, they’re not ideal to be the primary heaters in an infrared sauna.

Carbon heaters (also known as nano-carbon) are the cheapest infrared heaters to manufacture. This is why you will see them all over the internet for very low prices in the cheapest saunas. They are also riddled with very high Electromagnetic Frequency or EMF.

The Verdict? The Verdict?

because of their 360° angle of absorption, VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite heaters are the most effective heaters at raising core body temperature over a 30 minute period. 

The graphite elements allow the heaters to produce a long wave infrared heat. This long wave far infrared heat penetrates deeper into the body and is more readily absorbed.

The quartz compound gives the heaters a very high and hot infrared output when compared to nano-carbon heaters. Because of this we can concentrate 100 percent of the infrared light right on your body.

What is the Quality of the Sauna Cabin?

One of the most overlooked aspects when searching for an infrared sauna is the quality of the wood and the weight of the sauna cabin. When you purchase a cheap infrared sauna you will immediately notice how cheap the cabinetry and bench quality are. If you’re ever at Costco or Home Depot, and you see a sauna take a seat inside.

The things you’ll notice will be a cheap feel to the bench–it will be thin and when you shift your weight on it, it will move with your body. Additionally, the wood will be very cheap and have a very odd smell to it that almost smells like it’s been treated with chemicals. Cheap woods will range from hemlock, pine and spruce. A lot of the time the wood hasn’t been kiln dried the correct way and as a result, it warps over time.

Because infrared saunas are made of six wooden panels, it can destroy the sauna if only one panel warps. This is because a perfect fit is very important to keep the warm air in the sauna. Also, if you buy a cheaper sauna the bench and backrest will be flat, it is essentially like sitting up against the 90 degree angle of a wall, which is not comfortable. If you are not comfortable it will literally sit in the corner collecting dust. (Comfort gets overlooked by just about everyone searching for a sauna). 

If you’re not going to use your sauna, what’s the point of buying it in the first place? What we do is different

We have a fully ergonomic bench and backrest that contours to your back and body. It feels like sitting in a very comfortable rocking chair that was created to fit the contour of your back. This is the single most important thing that I like about our saunas. The bench is also four inches thick and is reversible–so when you move, the sauna nor the bench move with you.

We only use the highest quality wood–Western Red Canadian Cedar wood (which is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) and Nordic Spruce (which is hypoallergenic). 

We do not treat our woods with anything and are always 100 percent VOC free (volatile organic compounds). We kiln dry our wood down to ten percent water content to prevent any warping or cracking. If there is ever any warping, there is no need to worry. You are fully covered under our full lifetime warranty.

We are the only infrared sauna company to cover every part of your sauna (including the wood) for the life that you own it. As in all things in life, you really do get what you pay for.

How to Spot a Cheap Infrared Sauna

There is a dead giveaway of a cheap infrared sauna—tall carbon infrared panels that go up above your head almost to the ceiling.

Carbon panels are very cheap to manufacture and they don’t heat the body well. The surface temperature maxes out at 150°F, which will not raise the core body temperature enough to create a sweat. 

For this reason, companies are forced to increase their surface area size almost to the ceiling. This is actually counterproductive in an infrared sauna setting because the infrared heat is actually invisible light (which travels in a straight line).

It makes no sense to shine this light into the air above your head as a huge percentage of the infrared energy is wasted going into thin air. Heating the air is not the object of infrared therapy, heating your body is.

The concept of carbon panels is nice, but it just doesn’t work for an infrared sauna. Companies essentially admit this by their heater size! Think about it, if their infrared heaters were strong enough, wouldn’t they want to point 100 percent of the light towards your body? Because of this, they’re actually admitting that their panels are too weak to do what an infrared sauna is supposed to do: make you sweat! Take a look at our heater size:

Don’t Overlook Comfort in an Infrared Sauna

Cheap saunas will have cheap wood and cheap, flat benches and backrests. This wood will range from aspen, hemlock and pine. 

What blows my mind is that cheap sauna companies will make a very thin, flat bench that butts up against a very flimsy, ineffective, thin backrest. This actually feels like you’re sitting up against a wall, which is not comfortable at all. Their bench is literally an inch thick. This makes it feel like when you sit down it shifts with your movements.

When I move in the sauna, I don’t want to feel the bench to move with me. This is what happens in a cheap sauna—they’re extremely flimsy. Here’s an example of a well built, ergonomic bench and backrest:

Take a look at the photo above of our bench and backrest. Do you see how it contours and curves to meet the body? Owning two of these saunas myself, they are extremely comfortable.

What I tell people is that if you’re not comfortable in your sauna you won’t use it. If you’re not going to use your sauna, what’s the point? 

The Oxygen Ionizer Red Flag The Oxygen Ionizer Red Flag

If a sauna company is pushing an oxygen ionizer it’s usually a good indicator that you are dealing with a cheap sauna company that uses cheap carbon heaters. Somehow, cheap Chinese manufacturers think this is something the American market likes. Well, it is a good thing in that it can help us weed-out cheap saunas.

What an air ionizer is trying to do is to kill the bacteria in the air to remove the toxins from the sauna.

When you use hot enough infrared heaters it actually acts as a natural air ionizer as it will produce the negative ions required to kill bacteria the same way an oxygen ionizer does. When you are not using the sauna, simply keep the vent in the roof and the door of the sauna open to allow for air to circulate. Keep a steady rotation of towels moving through the sauna and wash them regularly and you won’t have any problems with bacteria.

What Kind of Company are you Purchasing from? What is their Warranty?

It is paramount that you investigate the company you are purchasing your infrared sauna from. How long have they been in business? What is their online reputation? Do they have complaints? Do they have obvious fake reviews? These are important questions. 

A lot of companies have real negative reviews that they suppress with fake reviews they write themselves. All you have to do is dig deep enough online and you’ll find them.

How aggressive is their sales team? Why are they so aggressive? If a company’s product is so great they shouldn’t be pushing for the sale like a used car salesman! Make sure you actually like (and trust) your salesperson. This shouldn’t be a pushy sale.

What is their warranty? Why don’t they cover their sauna for the life that you own it? A good rule of thumb is that a sauna company will dictate their warranty length (i.e., 5 years) for how long they think their sauna will last. If their sauna would last 10 years, wouldn’t they cover it for 10 years?

Will they pay for service, upkeep, and the shipment of parts to and from your house/business?  Will they let you try out your sauna for 30 days? Do they get too many returns to stay in business? What is their return policy?

SaunaCloud Infrared® is the only infrared sauna company to offer a full lifetime on every part of your sauna for the life that you own it. The warranty is valid to the original purchaser of the sauna and ends if there is a transfer of ownership. If your sauna is used commercially, your warranty is five years on all parts.

SaunaCloud® will pay for all shipping of parts to and from the sauna owner as well as any costs incurred by a handyman or electrician for all repairs. Literally no other company does this. 

We have a dedicated phone line for calls/text support operating 24/7/365. We pride ourselves on providing the very best customer service in the industry. We Wrote the Book on Infrared Saunas And we want to give it to you, FREE!

This is how a good company should operate. We also don’t have a negative review in over six years in business! There are good companies out there.

Can you Put Your Sauna Outside? Can you Put Your Sauna Outside?

Having your sauna outside adds an extra layer of fun that having your sauna inside doesn’t provide. It really makes you feel away from everything with not nearly the amount of distractions. You can listen to the sound of the rain, the birds in the morning or the drizzling of rain on the roof. I had my sauna outside for a long time. It’s just not the same in my garage now. 

So, can you put your sauna outside?

It depends on what kind of sauna you have and whether or not it was made specifically made for the outdoors. You can put your indoor sauna outside, but it will depend on your location and if you can keep it covered. 

In very cold environments like the Northeast, you will need a sauna specifically made for the outdoors. This is because these saunas (well, the good ones at least) are insulated and have extra wattage per cubic foot (i.e., more heaters). Additionally, they are designed to be able to handle the outdoor elements. 

If I were to ask you which outdoor element causes the most damage to an outdoor infrared sauna, which one would you think? Rain, wind, snow or the Sun? It’s the Sun! This took me a while to comprehend, but I saw serious sun damage first hand. My parents had their two person sauna on their deck for years (pictured below). They got a bit lazy from time to time and did not properly zip up their cover. I saw how badly the Sun can effect your sauna.

What happens is that the wood begins to fade, then crack, then leak. This will happen to all types of wood that is exposed to the Sun. The ways to alleviate this concern is to (1) keep it out of the Sun and/or (2) place a heavy duty canvas cover over your sauna. 

 

Before you set up your sauna outside there are some things you should consider first, namely—the warranty, where the power supply is located, the type of heaters, and the effect the elements will have on your sauna.

But having set up many infrared saunas outside, I have some tips for you. 

Check your warranty Check your warranty

Most infrared saunas come with some sort of warranty, and many come with a lifetime warranty. Check the fine print of your warranty; however—most have a clause for outdoor storage that will void it if stored outside.

There happen to be ways around this. For instance, at SaunaCloud®, if you want to keep your infrared sauna outside and keep your lifetime warranty, all you need to do is use the canvas cover we provide.

You can also purchase our Sanctuary Outdoor infrared sauna specifically made for the outdoors. We cover our outdoor saunas with a 5 year warranty on all outdoor parts and a lifetime warranty on all indoor parts. It’s unfortunate, but companies just don’t expect their outdoor saunas to last as long.

Bottom line—Check the details of your warranty or call customer service before setting up your sauna outside! Again, get everything in writing!

The Effects of the Weather The Effects of the Weather

As I previously mentioned, the Sun’s UV rays are usually harsher to the exterior wood of the sauna than anything else; besides a hurricane (I’m talking to you people of Florida, who ask me about putting their sauna outside!) Long-term exposure to sunlight can effect the look of the exterior wood and allow for warping, cracking and eventual leaking.

Using a canvas cover when your sauna is outside offers some very important protections: it helps to insulate your sauna so it heats up faster and retains its heat, it protects from water damage and it protects your sauna from the Sun.

A quick note about covers: I would not get a dark color for your cover. I would choose a beige/tope color which won’t absorb too much of the Sun’s energy.

Here’s what a sauna cover looks like:

outdoor-infrared-sauna-cover

Snow in the Spring?! Tornado in the Fall?! Depending on where you live, the weather can be very unpredictable. You have to make sure your cover is on properly and zipped up every night. I’ve made this mistake thinking “oh, it’s Summer, it won’t rain…” Not fun waking up to the rain and your sauna’s front panel is leaking water!

Additionally, you will want to keep the snow off of the top of your sauna if you can. While it’s true that most infrared saunas are designed to withstand some moisture, if pools of water are left standing on top of or around the base of your sauna, you may seem some negative effects like mold or warped wood. Usually this won’t affect the actual operation of the sauna, but you’ll need to check with your model.

Bottom line—Keep the rain and snow off with a cover to stop the moisture from lying directly on top of the wood for extended periods of time.

Power Supply / Plug Location Power Supply / Plug Location

Again, we can’t speak for all infrared saunas, but every SaunaCloud® model requires at least a 120 volt plug. I used to think that 110 volt and 120 volt plugs were the same (whoops!), but they’re not. 110-volt plugs have the two vertical plugs and 120-volt plugs have three prongs (with one horizontal and one vertical). Like this:

3-prong-plug

It’s pretty easy to install a 120-volt outlet, but most homes in the United States don’t come standard with them outdoors, so you’ll need to account for that.

If you are buying a larger outdoor sauna, or one that is made for the outdoors, these saunas are almost always 240-volts. Here’s what a 240-volt plug looks like:

There are many infrared saunas that have their power supplies located in the roof and many under the bench. This makes a difference for a few reasons. 

• If your sauna’s power supply is located in the ceiling/roof then you will want to make sure it is very protected from water damage. Rain usually washes right off the top of your sauna. However, if you live in a place that snows, your roof will accumulate snow, which will turn to ice then try its damned best to seep down into your sauna—damaging (and maybe even destroying) your power supply. I lost the stereo in mine this way.

• Having the power supply in the roof means that the power cord will be coming from the roof as well. This takes away from the total distance it can travel to your outlet. Most saunas have an eight foot power cord; however, infrared saunas made for the outdoor usually only have a six foot cord.

Bottom line—Make sure you have the right plugs in place for your saunas power requirements.

Best Style of Infrared Heaters for the Outdoors Best Style of Infrared Heaters for the Outdoors

Let me give you a big warning about putting an indoor infrared sauna outside. Do not put a pure carbon sauna outside under any circumstances. Their heaters simply do not hot enough to heat up

Here’s a crucial point to understand regarding outdoor saunas that often gets overlooked—When your sauna is outside and it’s freezing (like literally 32°F), your sauna and all of its heaters, controllers, power supply, thermostat, wires, stereo and wood are all frozen

In order for you to use your sauna you actually have to unthaw your sauna. If your sauna only has weak, carbon heaters it simply won’t unthaw! You need hotter heaters. At the very least, make sure there are at least two halogen heaters (preferably 350 watts each) in your outdoor sauna. Because they have a surface temperature of 775°F (instead of 140°F of pure carbon heaters), your sauna will actually warm up (and in a very reasonable amount of time, maybe add an extra 5-10 minutes). 

Space Planning Space Planning

We can’t speak for every type of infrared sauna, but most of our saunas weigh between 500-1000 lbs and take up at least 4′ x 4′. If you’re going to put your sauna outside on your deck or patio, please make sure that the surface you’re going to put your sauna on can handle the weight.

Additionally, you want to make sure that you allot enough space around your sauna when it’s outside to allow for proper water runoff.

Also, if the space you plan on putting your sauna has literally any chance at flooding, I would highly recommend raising your sauna up off of the ground using cinderblocks, or something similar. 

Buy a sauna specifically designed for outdoor use! Buy a sauna specifically designed for outdoor use!

Yes, we saved the best for last. If you’re keen on permanently storing your infrared sauna, why not buy one that’s specifically designed to stand up to the elements?

Our newest line of IR saunas, the Outdoor Sanctuary line, are purpose-built for the outdoors. The main differences between our traditional line of saunas are:

• Composite wood (similar to a Trex decking material) to make sure the outside of your sauna does not leak or fade in the Sun.
• 1000 pound sauna that will not be moved or destroyed by the wind or outside elements (your roof won’t fly off).
• (4) 500 watt full spectrum heaters to make sure your sauna can heat up even in the coldest environments.

If you’re interested in learning more about outdoor saunas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

What Kind of Wood is Best? What Kind of Wood is Best?

When I first became involved in the infrared sauna industry, I assumed the wood that makes up the panels of the cabin and the bench was purely aesthetic. When I read sauna the specs and saw the section on wood, I assumed that people picked different types of wood based mostly on their home decorating scheme. Pick the color you like best, right?

I mean, these saunas are serious pieces of furniture, large boxes of elegant wood that go in the corner of a workout room, or on a deck overlooking a wooded backyard. But, the more I learned about them, the more I discovered that the type of wood used in a sauna is important because every material in a sauna has the potential to affect a user’s health.

Why Wood Matters Within Infrared Saunas Why Wood Matters Within Infrared Saunas

The type of wood used makes a difference in how well the sauna will age, how well it will stand up to repeated use, and whether your sauna will be comfortable enough that you’ll want to continue using it over time.

Let’s examine, in depth, the biggest factors to consider when choosing a type of wood for your sauna:

Wood Toxicity Wood Toxicity

Wood toxicity is one of the biggest concerns users have when I talk with them about choosing wood for an infrared sauna. The majority of potential sauna users come to me because they are interested in detoxifying their bodies. With that in mind, they definitely don’t want wood that will introduce new toxins into their environment while they’re using the sauna.

Toxicity of building material is a concern for any health facility, and infrared saunas are no exception. There is a very simple solution to this problem. Choose a high quality wood like a Western Red Cedar that is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, which does not allow for fungus or other allergens to grow.

High-quality sauna manufacturers will also specially dry the wood they use in order to burn away oils, resins, and other allergens that may emerge when a sauna is repeatedly heated and cooled during use (usually down to 8-12 percent water content).

Wood Weight Wood Weight

This is a concern for some folks, especially those who are having their sauna delivered over long distances to their homes. Of course, a purchase as significant as a sauna should be made well, durable, and built to last, but harder wood isn’t necessarily better.

Softer wood won’t crack as easily, and it insulates better. Also, wood that is too hard is heavy, and will present logistical problems when it comes time to have it installed in your home.

At the same time, the wood panels in infrared saunas can also warp over time if the wood is not dense enough. The solution to this is to find a wood for your sauna with a density per cubic foot that is on the low side, but not too low. These numbers are typically measured in pounds.

In my opinion anything over 30 lb/ft 3 will prove to be unnecessarily heavy, but anything lower than 18 lb/ft 3 may not hold up to the rigors of use. The neighborhood you want is between 20 and 25 lb/ft 3.

Resistance to Decay Resistance to Decay

Warping due to flimsy wood is a serious concern, general decay is another. Wood used in saunas is susceptible to the same problem as any other wood over time: steady decay. While there isn’t a metric or numerical system to measure which woods stand up best to decay, there are a few woods that are well known for holding up well over time.

The best solution for your sauna is to pick a wood that’s naturally decay resistant, and then have any wood you choose treated with a wood preservative to enhance that resistance.

Appearance Appearance

This one is pretty much self evident. In my opinion, infrared saunas can look beautiful when you weave them into the decorating scheme in your home or your backyard. This may not be as technical a consideration as other factors, but it’s still worth considering. Just take into account the area in which you plan to install your sauna, and ensure that the wood you choose is an aesthetic fit. You want to like your sauna. Looks matter.

Crushing Strength Crushing Strength

Crushing strength, which is sometimes known as compression strength, is a measurement of how much weight wood can handle before becoming crushed or broken. Whereas density speaks more to weight, this property speaks more to durability.

Your sauna is a haven, a place you can relax and enjoy the many health benefits provided by the process, and that means not having to worry about accidentally cracking the slats of wood in your sauna.

Of course, construction and design make a difference too when it comes to durability (that’s why you don’t want a cheap infrared sauna), but the strength of the actual wood is just as important. I’d recommend against less sturdy woods such as hemlock, aspen, and pine.

Common Woods Used for Infrared Saunas Common Woods Used for Infrared Saunas Common Woods Used for Infrared Saunas

While there are too many different types of wood to discuss in depth here, here are some of the kinds of wood that are most commonly used to make saunas:

Western Red Canadian Cedar Western Red Canadian Cedar

Western red cedar has the ideal density for this kind of application, in my opinion, coming in at a spry 23 pounds per cubic foot. It’s also a great thermal insulator due to this relatively low density and to its high proportion of air space. It has high durability, and cedar is also naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, which prevents the growth of fungus or other allergens.

Even though infrared saunas are dry (unlike traditional steam saunas), which reduces the likelihood of fungal and bacterial growth, antiseptic qualities are still desirable traits since a sauna is a place where you go to sweat profusely (releasing moisture and bacteria). Cedar is also highly resistant to warping, denting, and cracking, even given the broad fluctuation of temperatures in saunas.

For these reasons, and because of its hardiness in wet conditions (and its natural ability to repel insects), cedar has been the defacto choice of those who build traditional steam saunas for hundreds of years. These last two qualities also make red cedar perfectly suited for infrared saunas that are going to be kept outdoors.

Hemlock Hemlock

If you’ve ever done any model building or serious wood carving, you may know this wood, which is as inexpensive as it is low in strength. Simply put, Hemlock is just too soft to handle the temperature bursts that saunas subject it to. It makes great material for a picture frame, though.

Basswood Basswood

One of the major benefits of basswood is that it is free of harmful toxins and allergens that could bother users; when treated properly it is considered hypoallergenic. Basswood also boasts an excellent strength to weight ratio, and a density that is about 25 pounds per cubic foot.

Poplar Poplar

There are many species of poplar, and, unfortunately, most of them are soft and porous, which means they get average marks in tests for strength, resistance to decay, and durability. Poplar isn’t all that well suited for varied hot and cold conditions, either, because of its porous nature and middling strength. While it dents easily, it does score great marks for durability, coming in at 22-31 pounds per cubic foot on average.

Pine Pine

Honestly, when it comes to wood choices for an infrared sauna, pine of any kind is the worst possible choice, in my opinion. This wood is low in strength, overly lightweight, and has poor decay resistance. Pine is also more likely to splinter than many of the other choices on our list, and it’s high in resin content, which is liable to irritate your eyes and sinuses during use. Stay away.

Conclusion Conclusion

Thank you for reading—I mean it

Thank you so much for reading my book! If you made it all the way, you are now an infrared sauna expert backed by the knowledge to make the most informed decision you can.

Sometimes the best things in life are when you are able to help yourself and help people at the same time. Here at SaunaCloud I sell saunas that are some of the best in the world. I back them up with the very best service and full lifetime warranty. In doing so, I get to make my career doing what I love by helping my customers get the best possible sauna that will help them and their family for years to come.

I have sold close to 10,000 saunas at this point and everyday I wake up excited to sell another one as I know that I have done my best to educate that customer and sell them a product I one-hundred percent believe in. 

At the very least I always promise to point you in the right direction.

Should you ever have any questions or you simply want to talk saunas, give me a call at (800) 370-0820 ext 804 or at chris@saunacloud.com — I really enjoy this if you can’t tell so you’ll never be bothering me. Give me a call!

Thanks again,

Chris

Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

I have been writing, learning, educating and generally pointing people in the right direction infrared sauna wise since 2012. Let me know how I can help: chris@saunacloud.com

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