The Incredible Healing Power of Infrared Saunas
When it comes to revitalizing your health, reversing illness, and just making you feel great, few things compare to an infrared sauna.
Infrared saunas are clinically shown to help fight cancer, reduce blood pressure, relieve pain, reverse heart disease, promote weight loss, and give you a host of other health benefits.
The deep healing power of infrared energy
Ever get in a car on a sunny day in winter? Wonder how it feels so warm inside when the air outside is freezing? That's the infrared light from the sun.
In this same way, infrared saunas penetrate up to 1-1/2 inches below your skin to detoxify and revitalize your cells. This produces a deep, detoxifying sweat that eliminates toxins at the cellular level. Infrared energy is powerful, yet it's so safe it's used in hospitals to warm newborn infants.
Using infrared saunas to fight cancer
Over 2,000 years ago, the famous Greek physician Parmenides said, "Give me the power to create fever, and I will cure any disease." Cancer clinics in Germany and Mexico are putting this principle to use. They routinely treat patients with hyperthermia, where the body is exposed to high temperatures. High temperatures can kill cancer cells, usually without damage to normal tissues.1
Most of the German cancer clinics that I've visited use both infrared hyperthermia and infrared saunas for their patients, and so do many of the Mexican clinics. Infrared saunas provide a form of whole-body hyperthermia that boosts your health in many ways. You can even enjoy infrared sauna at home, as I’ll explain in a moment.
In an article in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Lawrence Wilson, MD writes, "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."2
Dr. Wilson notes that infrared sauna therapy for cancer offers a combination of healing mechanisms. They act simultaneously to support the fight against cancer. These include:
1. Hyperthermia: Heating the body is a well-known and underused method of killing cancer cells, says Dr. Wilson. Cancer cells are weaker than normal cells and more susceptible to damage from heat. Infrared saunas are superior for this purpose, he says.
2. Eliminate Toxins: Saunas also help purge the body of toxins, such as heavy metals and chemicals.
3. Improving circulation. Cancer often grows in tissues with poor circulation and thus poor nutrition and oxygenation. Infrared saunas boost overall circulation. This brings nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other substances to all body tissues.
4. Decongesting the internal organs. The liver, kidneys and other internal organs can become burdened with estrogen, chemicals, and toxic metals. Infrared saunas cause blood to move toward the body surface. This helps cleanse the internal organs.
5. Care for your body's largest organ: Your skin is a major organ for eliminating body wastes. But in most people, it's inactive because they don't sweat enough. Infrared saunas help cleanse you from the inside. They encourage sweating and free up toxins stored beneath the skin.
Infrared treatment shrinks tumor volumes 86% in 30 days
In a clinical study published in the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, scientists studied far infrared's effects on human cancer cells in vitro and on cancer cells in mice. Far infrared therapy reduced tumor volumes 86% in 30 days. The tumor-suppressing effects were even seen without high temperatures, even as low as 77 degrees Fahrenheit.3
In another study, researchers in Japan discovered that whole-body hyperthermia with far infrared strongly inhibited the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice without deleterious side effects. Researchers believe this therapy is promising for long-term studies of a noninvasive treatment of breast cancer.4
The healing power of 'cellular cleansing'
Most of us don't sweat enough regularly. We live in air conditioned homes, cars, and offices. We use antiperspirants and most of us don't exercise enough. But your body was designed to sweat. And sweat is a key way to cleanse your body.
The infrared sauna is a powerful means of cellular cleansing. It increases your metabolism and boosts blood circulation. It also relaxes your muscles, soothes your spirit and rejuvenates your entire body.
The deep penetration of infrared heat releases toxins from the fat layers just beneath the skin. It also helps your body eliminate toxins from your internal organs. These toxins pass from the organs to the fat tissue under the skin. Then they are eliminated in perspiration.
To see how this works, researchers analyzed the sweat from both traditional and infrared saunas. Sweat from traditional saunas was about 97% water and 3% toxins. Infrared saunas produced a sweat that was only 80 — 85% water. The remaining 15-20% was made up of heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins.5
The secret to effortless detox
If you're a regular reader of this newsletter, you're well aware of the toxins we're all exposed to in modern life. You also know well that many of these toxins in our food, water and air are believed to be a major cause of increased cancer rates. If you want to prevent or reverse cancer, you not only need to reduce your intake of toxins, you also need a regular program to get these poisons out of your body.
Infrared heat is incredibly powerful because it helps you cleanse at the cellular level and release toxins stored in your fat cells. Infrared saunas are also powerful because they're such a simple, easy way to detox compared to fasting, exercise, colon cleansing, and other detox therapies.
Automatic weight loss
It is no secret that maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall quality of life. In fact, a 10-year study published by The New England Journal of Medicine found that waist circumference by itself is a critical factor in assessing the risk of premature death. In other words, if you can maintain a healthy weight, you increase your likelihood of a longer, healthier life.
Did you know that you now have basically the same number of fat cells as you did when you were born? Fat cells develop during the third trimester of pregnancy and you keep the same number your whole life. So how do you gain weight? Your fat cells store fat like a sponge that soaks up water. Infrared saunas help release fat (and the toxins stored in the fat) like squeezing water out of a sponge.
Infrared saunas have been clinically shown to dramatically aid in weight loss. A 2009 study showed that infrared saunas provide significant results in lowering weight and waist circumference in just 3 months. And for those who are sedentary due to medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular or respiratory problems, results were even more profound.6
Burn 600 calories while sitting still!
Another study showed that 30-minute sessions in an infrared sauna can burn upwards of 600 calories. During a sauna weight loss session, your core temperature increases and the body works hard to cool itself. While using an infrared sauna, there is a substantial increase in blood flow, heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories.7
Regular use of an infrared sauna may be an effective means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, akin to regular exercise. Using an infrared sauna is like giving yourself a passive cardio workout — whenever you need it!
In just 30 minutes in an infrared sauna, you can burn as many calories and perspire as much as you would if you ran 6 miles. Yet you can spend the time relaxing, reading, meditating, listening to music, or watching a DVD.
As someone who always means to exercise and seldom gets around to it, I appreciate an easy way to get some of the benefits.
Drug-free pain relief
Infrared rays also help you naturally reduce pain and inflammation. 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.
Infrared saunas are proven relief for sports injuries, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, joint pain/stiffness and other chronic pain conditions.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, a sports medicine expert from the University of Southern California and consultant to Lance Armstrong, "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."
Significant Reduction in Chronic Pain: A study reported in Clinical Rheumatology showed that infrared saunas gave significant relief for patients with chronic pain (such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis). Four weeks of 30-minute, twice-weekly sessions in an infrared sauna resulted in a 40 percent improvement in pain and stiffness (for rheumatoid arthritis) and 60 percent (for ankylosing spondylitis).8
70% Less Pain AFTER JUST ONE SESSION! A recent study published in Internal Medicine, showed that patients with chronic pain saw their pain levels
drop by nearly 70% after their first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores remained low throughout the observation period.9
Reduce blood pressure WITHOUT drugs
Infrared saunas have been clinically shown to provide one of the best, natural ways to lower blood pressure. In a 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri Kansas City, infrared saunas were shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30-minute infrared sauna sessions just three times per week.
The study concluded that infrared sauna therapy dilated blood vessels and reduced the thickness of their inner lining. This increased circulation and promoted healthy blood pressure.10
What's more, a Japanese study published in the October 2008 issue of The Journal of Cardiology examined the clinical effectiveness and safety of infrared blood pressure therapy, as compared to standard therapies for patients with chronic heart failure. The report concluded that far-infrared sauna therapy is both safe and effective at improving clinical symptoms and cardiac function in chronic heart failure patients. Repeated infrared sauna treatments improved impaired blood vessel functions in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This suggests a preventive role for infrared sauna use for arteriosclerosis.11
Reverse heart disease
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that infrared saunas help improve the function of impaired vascular endothelial cells in patients who are at risk for coronary artery disease. The infrared heat of the sauna opens capillaries to improve blood flow. 15 minutes in an infrared sauna each day for 14 days improved the function of the endothelial cells lining the arteries by 40%.12
Research also shows that infrared saunas help:
Relieve arrhythmias: A clinical study explored the therapeutic use of infrared saunas for patients in the end-stage of congestive heart failure. It showed that saunas helped relieve arrhythmias (an irregularity in the force or rhythm of the heartbeat).13
Improve congestive heart failure: In the Journal of Cardiac Failure, researchers reported statistical improvements in blood pressure, strength of heart (ejection fraction on echocardiogram), and exercise tolerance in patients treated with saunas. Saunas also helped reduce the number of hospital admissions for this condition.14
Other important health benefits
It's hard to think of an aspect of health and wellness that infrared saunas don't benefit. But other clinical studies show that infrared saunas can help you:
Relieve Depression: A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine looked at a group of 28 mildly depressed patients. Half of the patients utilized an infrared sauna once a day for 4 weeks and the other half had just bed rest for 4 weeks. The sauna group showed a significant improvement compared to the control group.15
Boost Your Immunity: Infrared saunas are clinically shown to help patients with weak immune systems, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. MRSA is a potentially deadly bacterial infection that is resistant to most
antibiotics. Infrared therapy knocked out the MRSA pathogens without causing increased inflammation.16
Give You Healthier, Younger-Looking Skin: A study published in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showed significant improvements in skin appearance after just 12 weeks of sauna skin therapy using near-infrared technology. Participants saw a reduction in wrinkles and crow's feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity and firmness.17
The health-boosting power of light
Most infrared saunas on the market produce only far infrared. However, a new development in the field is full-spectrum infrared. These are saunas that provide all of the benefits associated with far-, mid- and near-infrared rays. For instance, near-infrared energy stimulates the body's natural healing powers. Scientists call this photobiomodulation. In cancer patients, near-infrared is used for healing chemotherapy-induced ulcers and wound healing.18 Other research shows that it may be an effective treatment for herpes.19
How to use infrared saunas
If you're already in good health, a 30-minute sauna session three or more times a week will do. Or if you're trying to heal a specific health condition, some doctors prescribe daily or even multiple sessions each day.21
Far Infrared Heat Benefits:
1) Far Infrared expands capillaries which stimulates increased blood flow, regeneration, circulation and oxygenation.
2) Far Infrared is excellent for detox. Scientists in Japan report that in the FIR treatment of clogged capillary vessels, heat expands the capillaries and then initiates the start of a process to dissolve hidden toxins. Far Infrared thereby promotes elimination of fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood: Poisons, carcinogenic heavy metals - toxic substances from food processing - lactic acid, free fatty acids, and subcutaneous fat associated with aging and fatigue - excess sodium associated with hypertension - and uric acid which causes pain. Furthermore, if sebaceous glands are activated, accumulated cosmetics in pores can be eliminated through the skin (sweat and oil glands) rather than by the kidneys.
3) Far Infrared stimulates enzyme activity and metabolism - One hour under the Hothouse dome improves metabolism. FIR heat aids in breaking down cellulite - trapped water, fat and waste.
4) Far Infrared may induce the killing of varied pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
5) Far Infrared promotes rebuilding of injured tissue by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells necessary for the repair of injury). Furthermore, it increases growth of cells, DNA syntheses, and protein synthesis all necessary during tissue repair and regeneration. Excellent for healing burns, scar tissue and skin problems.
6) Far Infrared relieves nervous tension and relax autoneuro muscles thereby helping the body make the most of its intended healing abilities. FIR reduces soreness on nerve endings and muscle spasms, as muscle fibers are heated.
7) Far Infrared strengthens the Immune System by stimulating increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus.
8) Far Infrared strengthens the Cardiovascular System by causing heart rate and cardiac output increase, and diastolic blood pressure decrease - Extensive research by NASA in the early 1980's led to the conclusion that far infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flight.