A sauna at the spa used to be the pinnacle of luxury, and for those who could afford it a sauna treatment offered great health benefits. Fortunately, saunas are more accessible nowadays, especially with near infrared and far infrared sauna systems that can be installed at home and more gyms making saunas available as well. If you haven't tried sauna therapy yet, it could be well worth the effort to improve the look of your skin, help you lose weight, fight off infection, detox the body from all sorts of toxins, and generally improve your health.
A traditional wet sauna or dry sauna treatment can encourage the body to sweat out bodily wastes and toxins. It also lightly stresses the cardiovascular system for better heart health and blood vessels. Near infrared and far infrared saunas have much the same positive health effects, with some variations.
Natural Cures: In addition to detoxing and the other health benefits mentioned above, sauna therapy is said to be good to cure a hangover, treat arthritis, reduce chemical sensitivity, and encourage healing from tissue damage or infections.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
06/23/2012: Oldriska from Prague, Czech Republic: "Hi everyone, I've read about the benefits of infrared saunas and was wondering what your experience is/do you use the sauna to treat or help with any particular condition? I have chronic pain (trigeminal neuralgia and TMJ Disorder), and am looking for ways how to boost my energy and feel healthier again. Thank you."Replies
06/23/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Oldriska, I don't know if I can extol the benefits of far infrared saunas enough! I absolutely love them. For almost a year now, my husband and I have made it a wonderful habit of taking one at least once a week, sometimes twice, if time permits. They are more pleasant to me than a traditional sauna because the heat doesn't need to be nearly as high for the benefits to take hold in your body. Over this period of time I have also learned about the numerous advantages of this type of sauna which only encourages me to take them with more enthusiasm.
I see you have been reading about them so I won't go beyond telling you my experience. I have always been very interested in health and alternatives to support that. I don't go to western drs. Due to my own beliefs that most of them just want to sell their bill of goods which are mainly pharmaceuticals. Therefore, I do everything I can to promote my own body's natural healing process.
What I love about the far infrared saunas is they not only detox the body from toxins but they are the only saunas that detox heavy metals. They will also detox pesticide residue and chemicals. I think today, with such a toxic world this is an absolute must and essential even when you try to eat right and stay away from pharmaceuticals. As Dr. Brian Clement would say, "We live in a toxic cesspool which is leading to most disease today. " By the way, he is the owner/ director of Hippocrates Health Center and last year, after discovering that only Clearlight saunas are also EMF free, he replaced all of his far infrared saunas with that product. It is the one I take a sauna in as I am also aware of the damaging effects of EMFs.
In my youth I used to take traditional saunas but they would zap me of my energy, make me feel claustrophobic because of how high the heat would get and make me feel weak. I don't have those effects with this type of sauna. I feel energized. Clean, of course, from knowing how efficiently they detox. My body feels renewed as they also reduce inflammation in your organs and any pain in my body disappears. Before I had stem cell therapy for my hips, I was in such pain that taking the far infrared sauna was a God send as the pain was reduced tremendously. It improves your circulation so my skin looks rosy and bright, I feel happy afterward and I think this is due to it producing endorphins in the body.
I know that it speeds up the metabolism so if you are carrying extra weight it will help release it. Far infrared saunas also reduce cholesterol and strengthens the heart and lungs. Honestly, in that sense, I don't have issues with any of those so I can't say too much regarding these.
Anyway, I hope my experiences help you in deciding its value. I can give you the website of the far infrared sauna that I use: www.healwithheat.com. I am actually seriously considering getting one for my home because I benefit from it so much and just for the convenience!
Best of health to you, Lisa"
06/23/2012: Citygirl27 from Richardson, Tx, Usa replies: "Re: infrared saunas - Is this something we can buy easily enough online, or do you have to use it installed in your home or a rec center?"
06/23/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Citygirl27, Yes, they can be easily found and bought online. If you go on the website I mentioned in the post to Oldriska, you can see them, read about all the benefits and even purchase one. As for using them, my husband and I go to a wellness center but we know a lot of people who have purchased them for their homes. The 1-2 person saunas are easy to install as they use a regular household outlet. I also know these can be used indoors or outdoors. Hope that answers your questions. Lisa"
06/24/2012: Oldriska from Prague, Czech Republic replies: "Lisa, Thank you very much for your reply - it's very helpful and informative! I have a question which I'm not sure you can help me with. I'm currently on some medication to treat my trigeminal neuralgia (not too happy about taking pills, but the pain just gets unbereable at times). You mentioned the detoxifying benefits of the sauna. I'm a bit worried that my medication could lose some of its effectiveness through my sweating in the same way we lose minerals through skin when we sweat. Would you think this possible or would the loss be too little to even notice? Thank you and I wish you a nice day!"
06/24/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, USA replies: "Hi Oldriska, There is truth to what you're saying regarding the medication and sweating. You will most likely lose some of it. Still, the benefits are so great I think they will far outweigh that. What I mean is, according to many of those at the cutting edge of health now, the reason we even have illness/ disease is due to our body's malfunction and inability to keep it balanced and working efficiently. Also, in many meds there are heavy metals in them which your body is also ingesting. Obviously, I don't know what medication you are taking but any medication is also toxic to our body thus, why there is a litany of side effects warnings given when you see ads for them. So, they may "help" the significant issue but they are causing all sorts of side effects within our organs!
Of course, the final word I would say to you is, discuss it with your Dr.I just helped a woman get off her migraine medication that she has been taking daily for 5 years. It was through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, changing her diet and supplementing with far infrared saunas. She was very scared to go off her meds for fear that the migraines would return but I said there was no point in going all this alternative route only to not trust that they were doing their job in restoring her body to balance and health. I told her to ask her Dr.Who then explained the procedure to eventually getting off them completely. That in total, took one month and it has now been one month that she has not needed any medication! She is thrilled with the results. I was grateful that her Dr. was supportive of her decision.
I hope this helps! I wish you the best, Lisa"
[YEA] 06/24/2012: Robert Henry from Ten Mile, Tn USA replies: "HI U LISA, You are right on the money about the Infra Red Sauna. We converted our heat Sauna into a custom designed FIR sauna about 4 years ago. Even our sweat is different. It is slick and has a smell. This is coming from your fat giving up it's toxins. All our ceramic emitters are exposed so we get the stright stuff. Store bought sausas have the emitters behind a safety guard. With a custom built sauna you don't have that problem. You get the stright skinney.
If anyone is serious about FIR Saunas, then I recommend that you design and build you own as I did. The commerical folks have to consider liability, and you get an inferior product.
=======ROBERT HENRY============= "
06/24/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Robert Henry, That is awesome that you use a far infrared sauna! And yes, the benefits are beyond a traditional sauna. It's wonderful that you built your own but not everyone is as capable as you. Still, it does not take away from us being serious about using a FIR sauna. Though the one I use is one that is sold to the public, I think it is by far the most superior FIR sauna on the market. It uses both a carbon and ceramic heater, not metal rods and the EMFs levels are so low, they are insignificant. Not the case with any other FIR sauna.
Anyway, my point is that you don't have to build your own to have a really good one but you do need to do your research! And cheap can mean just that, cheap!
Best to you Robert Henry! Lisa"
06/25/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Oldriska, I hope this finds you doing well. I wanted to add that I did contact a Dr.Friend who is also quite knowledgeable on far infrared saunas. I posed your question to him and what he said was as far as the pain medication for the trigeminal neuralgia, there should be no lessening effect. The medication would be fully used before it becomes ready to be detoxed. Also, you might also experience a reduced need for the medication which would be great!
I just felt I should pass that on to you. Hope this helps, Lisa"
06/26/2012: Oldriska from Prague, Czech Republic replies: "Thank you so much, Lisa. I've only just started taking my medicine and my doctor wants me to up the dose over the next weeks/months once I get used to it. The side effects are already quite bad after a few days (exhaustion, minor memory loss, nausea) and I'm only on perhaps a quarter of what I should be taking. The thing is I only got diagnosed after 8 months of intense pain so I'm in need of a quick fix (i.e. Western medicine) because I can't take the pain much longer. Otherwise I'd just try to go the all natural way, which I hope to be able to do once my symptoms become less severe. I'm also starting with acupuncture and am hoping that could help too. I'm lucky to have a fitness centre which has a FIR sauna a short walk from home, so I'll definitely give it a go. Do you think two or three 30-40 minute sessions per week would be sufficient? Or is it better to start maybe once a week (I haven't been to a sauna of any kind for years) and build up? Many thanks, I really appreciate your help! Have a great day, Oldriska"
06/26/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Oldriska, The best advice would be 30 minutes every day if you could do it. Then again, 3x is better than just once per week. Everyone has different reactions. I immediately felt benefits but my husband felt very tired as did my friend whom I helped get off migraine medication which I posted about the other day. That was due to a lot of detoxing occurring. I, on the other hand, eat very cleanly, don't use any meds at all and am pretty much a high energy person to begin with.
An important bit to know is that you always want the far infrared heat waves to be on. To accomplish this, set the sauna at a high temperature so it stays on and if the heat becomes too much, just open the door for a few moments to cool down. This will not affect the benefits but only help to keep you more comfortable. And of course, my final suggestion is listen to your own body! It will let you know.
I think it's fantastic that you are also doing acupuncture to help you! I am a great believer in acupuncture and have a wonderful traditional Chinese medicine doctor who has helped me so much with many different issues over the years and whom I have sent at least 30 people to. Ask your acupuncturist who should be knowledgeable, about Chinese herbs to help you with your trigeminal neuralgia. I know that was the final step that helped my friend completely get off her migraine medication. She has now been migraine free for a little over a month and is thrilled. Hope this helps you, Lisa"
06/27/2012: Oldriska from Prague, Czech Republic replies: "Hi Lisa, and thank you again for your input on the sauna and other treatments! Well, unfortunatelly I can't do every day, but will try to stick to the 3-times a week regime, I think it will be plenty considered I'm just starting with it. I'm also very thrilled about acupuncture; the doctor I visit has had some wonderful results, so I feel rather hopeful. I will also look into some herbs, I don't think they necessarily need to be Chinese though, there are some really good local herbs that have cleansing, calming effect and so on, or do you think Chinese would be better? I would also like to ask what do you think of aromatherapy in pain management? I was thinking that could be helpful as well.
I'm very happy to hear that your friend is doing so well without her medication! I hope she continues to be like this and better!
Take care, Oldriska"
06/27/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Oldriska, That sounds awesome that you'll be able to do the saunas 3x a week! I know you will see results and feel the difference. Each time you do it you will be so thankful. At least, that's how I feel about the saunas! Grateful to have the opportunity each time.
As for acupuncture, I love it also. I have reaped the benefits of how effective it is in so many ways. I'm glad you're having wonderful results too and of course, it would make you hopeful! It's very important to feel hopeful otherwise we can become down and feel helpless. If, in your culture, you know of herbs that will be beneficial, by all means use them. I just know from my own experience, Chinese herbs restored my health and they are very powerful medicine. Of course, I have two Chinese herbalists who really know their stuff and have helped me. In addition there is a master herbalist, Ron Teeguarden who helped me as well. You might be interested in going on his site because there is so much knowledge to be garnered there! Http://www.dragonherbs.com/ I think most importantly, that you find someone knowledgeable in herbs to guide you.
As for aromatherapy, I have dabbled in it and know it is also powerful in its healing abilities and enjoy reading on the subject. A very interesting site on this subject with a lot of valuable information is: http://www.floracopeia.com/
Anyway, I hope this information is helpful to you! I have learned a lot from both of these sites in their respective fields. Let me know how you feel after your far infrared saunas. I wish you the best! Lisa"
[YEA] 10/19/2010: Faithinhealing from Forest Park, Ohio: "I currently use an infrared sauna to detoxify my body from heavy metals... Excess estrogen... Years of medication... And other toxins that have built up in my body causing illness. I must tell you that it has helped tremendously with chronic fatigue and brain fog that I have!"Replies
10/20/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Faithinhealing, after trying an infrared sauna in a hotel we bought one for our garden and couldn't be happier. I am not sure we feel a lot of changes as far as health goes but I am sure they are there. And we have a lot of fun. We do it once or twice a week and it is a time to stop, chat, listen to the music.... If there is snow on the ground we get out and cover ourselves in snow, if the shower of our pool is still working (we close it before the winter) we shower a few times or of course use the pool during the summer, even if it is already quite cold (we are closing it soon so it is finished for this year but the sauna goes on). We have invited people we know to use it but no one ever comes. It wasn't expensive, is cheap to run and we couldn't be happier. When we move we take it with us!"
[YEA] 03/23/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France: "I don't know whether this information might be of interest but just in case here it goes. We used to go to the spa in the hotels we stayed in during our trips. Last July when we moved to a house with a garden we immediately started thinking about having our own sauna. We knew that we preferred infrared as it is less hot so I did a lot of research on the Internet as where we live (North East of France) you only find the types you set up inside the house. I have to confess that we were a bit afraid to order one on the Internet as they are not that cheap so if something went wrong it would be quite a disaster but..... we decided that we had to give it a try also because we wanted to give ourselves a wedding present (we got married last September). And guess what... we couldn't be happier. We use the sauna surely once a week in the winter, sometimes twice if we have the time and more in the summer as we are outside anyway. We set it up under a covered terrace but as it has a roof you can put it anywhere just be aware that if there is a storm it might fall over, which happened to ours, so if it is in the middle of your garden think about a way to attach it (we were quite horrified, this isn't even a windy area but there you go). They had said that it would maybe not work under 15ÂºC which worried us as the winters are quite cold here but it has worked perfectly although this winter has been exceptionally cold. It just takes longer to heat up but as it doesn't use much electricity that is not really a problem. In the beginning we thought that we had a problem with one of the tubes which didn't heat up, phoned them and they immediately sent a new one just ours started working so now we have a spare one. Everybody here is health conscious so I thought that maybe this would encourage people to try. When there is snow it is great because we rub ourselves all over with it. By the way, we are 52 and 56 years old."Replies
07/14/2012: Marja from Carlux, Dordogne - France replies: "Hello Francisca, Although you posted 2 years ago I am interested to know where you bought your infrared sauna as I am living in France too. Are you still content about your sauna?"
07/14/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Marja, I know your question was posed to Francisca but I haven't seen her on here since March (I think). I remember she was going to have some sort of surgery on her arm and as far as I know she hasn't posted since then.
Anyway, I thought I would suggest you look at this site because I know these far infrared saunas well since I use them all the time and know their quality:
You will see a section "International Partners" which you can click on or write them. I know they sell in Belgium, maybe even France. They are also the only FIR saunas that don't emit any EMFs.
Hope this helps you out! Best to you, Lisa"
07/16/2012: James from Tulsa, Oki Love My replies: "I love my sauna, had it for abour 7 years, Sunlighten- mine you lie down in, cost about 1800.00."
[YEA] 01/13/2008: Phil from Menifee, CA: "I was a hungover today so I spent some time in the sauna at the gym. This was 2 hours ago and now I'm cured! This always works for me. They say the skin is the 3rd kidney, and if you ever sweat out a hangover, you'll agree. What works best for me is sauna followed by shower, then repeat."