Studies have Proven the Effectiveness of Saunas and Far Infrared
Far Infrared Sauna Research
This page lists research done on the effects of far infrared and saunas. Many studies have shown remarkable results of far infrared for many health conditions.
Far infrared sauna effects on oxygenation in the body
Study finds increase muscle oxygenation after sauna use, "whole body muscle oxygenation and kcal expended per minute increased 8.1% and 20.1% from baseline, respectively. At the same time, cardiac output (+10.2%), systemic vascular resistance (-13.9%), and heart rate (+12.6%) significantly changed across the measurements periods compared to baseline. These combined results show that FIR had a measurable positive effects on both cardiovascular function and metabolic thermogenic responses leading to enhanced body oxygenation and regional blood flow to allow whole body thermoregulatory cooling. Not presented in the graphs above was a similar respiratory whole body response showing ventilation increasing 20%, tidal volume increasing 29.6% with a lower respiratory frequency of 13.1%. These data suggest that during the FIR trial intervention, the subject was breathing more deeply and provide an enhance oxygen exchange at lung and pulmonary capillary. Thus, leading to a more efficient breathing and oxygen exchange pattern that would be similar a deeper meditation like breathing response despite the high thermal stress load on the body." Download the Report
Near and Far Infrared
Study of far infrared's effects at a cellular level finds that far infrared resonates with the cells more than near infrared.
Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications
Heart Health and Improving Circulation
Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems.
"Evidence suggests that sauna therapy is an effective and underutilized treatment for a variety of cardiovascular problems. Mechanistically, sauna therapy increases vasodilation, possibly through increased production of nitric oxide, and enhances left ventricular ejection fraction." (2)
Repeated sauna treatment improves vascular endothelial and cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Kihara T, Biro S, Imamura M, et alJ Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 March. 39(5):754-759. doi:10.1016/S0735-1097(01)01824-1.
Far-infrared therapy: a novel treatment to improve access blood flow and unassisted patency of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients. Lin CC, Chang CF, Lai MY, Chen TW, Lee PC, Yang WC. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Mar;18(3):985-92. Epub 2007 Jan 31.
"Finnish saunas decrease pulmonary congestion and increase forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEF), and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). (11,12) Research indicates sauna therapy can help respiration in patients with asthma and bronchitis; however, saunas should not be used during the acute phase of a respiratory infection. Regular Finnish sauna therapy improved lung function in a group of 12 men from the Netherlands with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These men did not experience adverse effects from the sauna, had significant improvements in FEV1 and FVC, and reported that they did not have to expend as much effort to breathe." (2)
Heat Shock Proteins and their Effect on Viral Infections
Study on heat shock proteins(HSP) and viral infections "Thus, HSPs and particularly HSP70 can enhance the development of innate and adaptive immune responses against infecting agents (Oglesbee, Pratt, & Carsillo, 2002)." (5 Can the hyperthermia‐mediated heat shock factor/heat shock protein 70 pathway dampen the cytokine storm during SARS‐CoV‐2 infection?)
"Having a Finnish sauna session twice weekly for six months reduced the incidence of the common cold by 50 percent during months 4-6 of the protocol." (2)
Detoxing Heavy Metals and other Toxins
Heavy metals can be detoxed/released from the body via the sweat and urine. Far infrared can help in breaking down the toxins stored in the fat tissue.
"In individuals with higher exposure or body burden, sweat generally exceeded plasma or urine concentrations, and dermal could match or surpass urinary daily excretion. Arsenic dermal excretion was several-fold higher in arsenic-exposed individuals than in unexposed controls. Cadmium was more concentrated in sweat than in blood plasma. Sweat lead was associated with high-molecular-weight molecules, and in an interventional study, levels were higher with endurance compared with intensive exercise. Mercury levels normalized with repeated saunas in a case report. Sweating deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification. Research including appropriately sized trials is needed to establish safe, effective therapeutic protocols." (6 Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review)
Study shows benefit for chronic pain and also for illness related to environmental toxin exposure; "Studies document the effectiveness of sauna therapy for persons with hypertension, congestive heart failure, and for post-myocardial infarction care. Some individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or addictions also find benefit. Existing evidence supports the use of saunas as a component of depuration (purification or cleansing) protocols for environmentally-induced illness." (7 Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems)
Firefighters use infrared saunas to detox after being exposed to toxins in smoke. Firefighters are exposed to many toxins from smoke and debris. Using an infrared sauna is one important way they can eliminate these toxins. (8 IFD firefighters sweat out dangerous toxins to fight back against growing cancer epidemic)
Sauna detoxing has been used on people who were exposed to toxins on 9/11. Here is a report about detoxing which includes dioxins.(9 Health Status of Rescue Workers Improved by Sauna Detoxification)
Study on bisphenol-A(BPA) finds "Induced sweating appears to be a clinically useful tool to facilitate the release of BPA through the skin in order to eliminate this toxicant from the human body." (14)
Pain Relief, Healing Wounds and Arthritis
Study shows far infrared reduces pain and increases tissue repair in wounds. (10 The Application of Far-Infrared in the Treatment of Wound Healing)
A four week pilot study on patients with arthritis found short-term improvement of pain and stiffness and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects with no adverse effects. Fatigue reduced. (11)
"Plasma levels of growth hormone, beta-endorphins, and prolactin also increase during a sauna session." (2)
Improving Mood, Depression and Increasing Energy
"Symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and low-grade fever were dramatically improved after 15 to 25 sessions of thermal therapy."(13 The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome)
- Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications
- Crinnion, Walter J. "Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems." Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 16, no. 3, Sept. 2011, pp. 215+. Gale Academic OneFile, . Accessed 8 Nov. 2021.
- Repeated sauna treatment improves vascular endothelial and cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Kihara T, Biro S, Imamura M, et alJ Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 March. 39(5):754-759. doi:10.1016/S0735-1097(01)018
- Far-infrared therapy: a novel treatment to improve access blood flow and unassisted patency of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients. Lin CC, Chang CF, Lai MY, Chen TW, Lee PC, Yang WC. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Mar;18(3):985-92. Epub 2007 Jan 31.
- Can the hyperthermia‐mediated heat shock factor/heat shock protein 70 pathway dampen the cytokine storm during SARS‐CoV‐2 infection?
- Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review
- Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems
- IFD firefighters sweat out dangerous toxins to fight back against growing cancer epidemic
- Health Status of Rescue Workers Improved by Sauna Detoxification
- The Application of Far-Infrared in the Treatment of Wound Healing
- Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Psychological Characteristics after Far-infrared Hyperthermia Evaluated Using the Profile of Mood State POMS
- The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome
- Human Excretion of Bisphenol A: Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study
- Siewert C, Siewert H, Winterfeld HJ, Strangfeld D. Changes of central and peripheral hemodynamics during isometric and dynamic exercise in hypertensive patients before and after regular sauna therapy. Z Kardiol 1994;83:652-657.
More sources of studies on the benefits of far infrared saunas
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