Infrared Therapy Health Benefits

Skin Purification and Rejuvenation
Perspiration during sauna helps remove toxins and impurities residing deep within pores. Additionally, infrared causes dilation of blood vessels resulting in increased blood circulation and delivery of fresh nutrients to the skins surface. The result is healthier, more noticeably vibrant skin.

Infrared exposure can also produce noticeable improvements in skin tone, softness, elasticity, and smoothness, and reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet. 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 experienced a reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity and firmness [1]

It is believed by many in the medical community that many common illnesses and chronic conditions are caused by the build-up of toxic substances in the body. Infrared sauna is an efficient way to induce a detoxifying sweat that carries toxins out of the body through the skin’s pores. [2] Studies show sweat from a traditional sauna contains 3% toxins, while sweat from an infrared sauna contains up to 20% toxins. Do the math. Infrared sauna therapy removes 7 times the toxins removed from a traditional sauna sweat.

Infrared sauna also penetrates up to 1.5 to 2 inches below the skin’s surface, thereby raising the body’s core temperature by 2 to 3 degrees. This allows for a deeper, systemic detoxifying effect at the cellular level where toxins reside, including in fat cells, a common repository for toxins.

As the light/heat penetrates the body, it sets up a sympathetic cellular vibration which breaks up the ion bonds of the large water molecules into smaller particles, permitting toxins and trapped gases to be released. Some toxins are released into the blood stream to be eliminated by the liver, kidney and bowels, while other toxins closer to the skin surface are removed by sweat.

As your core body temperature increases to 100 – 101 degrees F, body fat becomes more water soluble and begins to dissolve and enter the bloodstream to be eliminated by the kidneys and bowels. As this subcutaneous layer of fat and oil found below the surface of the skin liquefies, it also exits the body through the skin’s sweat glands, taking harmful toxins with it to the surface of the skin.

Improved Cardiovascular And Circulation
The infrared heating effect deep in muscular tissue and organs causes an increase in heart rate and cardiac output as the body works to cool itself. This leads to a cardiovascular training and conditioning effect.

Studies show that infrared sauna dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow similar to regular exercise. Blood flow during infrared sauna has been reported to rise from a normal rate of 5-7 quarts per minute to as much as 13 quarts per minute. [3] [4]

In a 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri Kansas City, exposure to infrared was shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30 minute infrared sauna session 3 times per week. The study concluded that infrared sauna therapy dilated blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure. [5]

“Regular use of an infrared sauna may be just as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise.” ~ Journal of the American Medical Association.” August, 1981.[6]

Truly, a cardiovascular workout while relaxing or reading a book!

Weight Loss
While using an infrared sauna, there is substantial increase in heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolic rate. This results in the burning of calories akin to regular exercise. A 30 minute infrared session can result in the burning of between 200 and 600 calories, the equivalent of a 2 to 6 mile jog. [6] Regular use of infrared sauna has been shown to beneficial in achieving weight loss.

Fluid that is lost will be replaced by drinking water, but the calories burned will not be replaced.

Release of toxins stored in fat cells facilitated by infrared energy also is beneficial to weight loss. Toxins become trapped in the fat cells and tissue cells in your body. When these toxins fill your cells, they also trap fat in them and hold the toxins in the fat in order to isolate the toxins. The more the toxins build up, the more fat is stored in the cells. When the toxins stored in cells are expelled through infrared detoxification, the body no longer needs the excess fat as a defense against vital organs being poisoned, The body is then liberated to begin shedding the built up fat.

Pain Relief
Infrared sauna heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and speeding oxygen flow. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps the body heal itself naturally. The deep heat, up to 1.5 to 2 inches into body tissue, can provide soothing relief for back pain, sprains, stiffness, spasms, and headaches.

A recent study published in the journal, Internal Medicine, showed that chronic pain patients experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. Researchers concluded that infrared heat therapy is effective for chronic pain treatment. [7]

Similarly, during a seven week study of 40 patients suffering from chronic lower back pain, the group receiving infrared therapy reported an approximately 50% reduction in pain levels, with the greatest relief toward the end of the period. [8]

Wound Healing
Infrared sauna also has been shown to accelerate cell regeneration and wound healing. Studies conducted by NASA concluded that Near Infrared LED light significantly promoted faster cell regeneration, wound healing, and human tissue growth. [9]


[1] B.A. Russell, N. Kellett & L.R. Reilly. Study to Determine the Efficacy of Combination LED Light Therapy (633nm and 830 nm) in Facial Skin Rejuvenation. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 2005; 7: pp 196-200.

[2] Science of Far Infrared Ray Wave Therapies, Yamazaki, T., M.D., Man and History, Toyko, Japan (1987)

[3] A Study of the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna Therapy, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Becky Edwards, M.D>, Heather Kort, D.O and Faculty Staff Advisor: Dr. John Foxworth, PharmD

[4] Dr. Masakazu Imamura, MD, et al. Repeated Thermal Therapy Improves Impaired Vascular Endothelial Function in Patients With Coronary Risk Factors. Vol. 38, No. 4, 2001. Journal of American College of Cardiology: pp 1083-1088.

[5] Becky Edwards, M.D., Heather Kort D.O, Faculty Staff Advisor: Dr. John Foxworth, PharmD. A Study of the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna Therapy – Conducted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, 2005.

[6] Sealre, AJ 1982. Effects of the Sauna; Journal of the American Medical Association, 247 (1)(Jan 1):28

[7] Internal Medicine (Tokyo) Aug 15, 2008 by Matsushita K, Masuda A, Tei C. The First Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University Hospital, Kagoshima, Japan.

[8] G. D. Gate, P.J. Rothbart, Ya Li, Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial., Pain Research & Management, 2006 Auburn, 11(3), 193-196

[9] Whelan et al; Effect of NASA Light Emitting Diode Irradiation and Wound Healing. Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery, Volume 19, Number 6, 2001, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, pp. 305-314.