Infrared sauna and health: Part 1. Is there benefit in infrared sauna?

In the modern world sauna is surrounded with an aura of health, beauty and relaxation. Many articles and books agree that sauna (sweat lodge, thermae, hammam, banya – substitute what you like) was used by Finnish (Indian, Ancient Greek, Turkish, Russian) people from ancient time to modern days and was a proven way to become more healthy and good-looking. A sauna today is associated with a healthy lifestyle and traditional medicine.

When infrared sauna emerged, in late sixties, it began to compete with traditional saunas on the same market. Apparently, manufacturers and sellers of infrared saunas began to look for ways to differentiate from the traditional saunas. Some of the advantages of infrared saunas were clear – lower electricity cost, lower air temperature, no humidity – but there was a need for proof that infrared saunas are as beneficial as traditional ones. Even better would be the proof that they are even more beneficial.

From here begins the history of a numerous health benefits of infrared saunas and infrared radiation. Strange, scientific-looking words like vital rays, resonant absorption and all spectrum of benefits from skin beauty to cancer cure were ascribed to infrared saunas since then. What part of these claims is a truth and what is a lie? Is infrared radiation really so beneficial for our health? Is there something in an infrared sauna from centuries-used in Finland traditional sauna? Or is it a completely different device? I think nobody knows for certain as certainty now means scientific proof and there was not many studies of both traditional and infrared saunas. All that were do not cover all benefits associated with an infrared sauna. Some doctors who use an infrared sauna in their practice may rely on their experience but there is clearly not enough data available to make a completely unrelated to sauna industry person to believe in all that benefits. In attempt to provide scientific evidence of infrared sauna benefits marketers often list references to studies that have distant relation to infrared sauna technology (if they list any references at all).

So the only conclusion can be made in such environment of high noise of unsupported claims but low volume of relevant information. It is that infrared saunas provide some benefits to our health, although it is not clear what these benefits are and to what degree they help our health. Also it is not clear whether these benefits come from the same cause that in a traditional sauna or from infrared radiation.

Someone when deciding for himself if an infrared sauna will improve his health need to rely on his own experience (trying to take a sauna at some place, better several times) and common sense. In attempt to apply common sense to the mechanisms of infrared sauna effect on human organism I’ve decided to start the series of posts about health effects of infrared sauna.

What biological effects a human body experiences while taking a sauna? How our organism reacts to heat and infrared radiation? What is the connection between an infrared sauna and health benefits ascribed to it? Does an infrared sauna cure illnesses directly or by some indirect way? Can these benefits be achieved in some other ways? Who needs an infrared sauna and who don’t? These are the questions I will try to answer in this series.

This is the first post in this series. In the second post I will write about how our body responds to heat and infrared radiation. Don’t forget you can subscribe to this blog via email to receive all subsequent posts to your email box. And if you want to say anything on this topic, you can always leave your comments under this post.

Read other parts of Infrared sauna and health series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.