The health and fitness space is full of gimmicks and gimcracks that promise to help you lose weight, look sexier, and get healthier.
You know, things like…
-Detox teas and “cleanses”
-Starvation (and overly restrictive) diets
-Overhyped nutrition “hacks” (like intermittent fasting and ketogenic dieting)
…just to name a few.
The sad truth is if you simply ignored most everything published in most fitness magazines and on most fitness websites and just stuck to the basics of energy balance, macronutrient optimization, compound weightlifting, and progressive overload instead, you’d be far better for it.
You’d be able to gain muscle and lose fat with ease, and you’d be able to do it eating foods and doing workouts that you actually enjoy.
If you want to speed up the process, though, or optimize other aspects of your health and performance, you can go a bit further.
You can take the right supplements, for example, incorporate mobility work into your exercise regimen, and take simple steps to improve your sleep quality.
And that’s where infrared sauna enters the picture. It isn’t necessary by any means, but depending on whom you listen to, it can be a boon to your overall health and wellbeing.
That’s why this technology has been getting a lot of attention recently, and if you poke around online, you can find doctors, trainers, and “gurus” singing its praises.
According to its proponents, infrared sauna can…
-Detoxify your body
-Promote weight loss
-Lower blood pressure
-Relieve aches and pains
-Reduce muscle soreness and speed recovery
-Improve skin health and appearance
On the other hand, skeptics and detractors say that most of the hype is humbug, and that these devices are little more than overpriced space heaters.
Well, when you look to the scientific literature, you discover that the answer is somewhere in the middle.
The long story short is infrared sauna does appear to deliver some health benefits, including reduced joint pain and stiffness and improved blood vessel function, but it can’t do what many people hope: it can’t “detox” your body, help you lose weight faster, boost your immune system, or prevent cancer.
And in this episode, we’re going to break it all down.
By the end, you’re going to know what infrared saunas are, how they work, how they can (and can’t) benefit you, how to use them properly, and more.
Let’s get started.
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
6:33 – What is infrared sauna?
7:29 – Is infrared sauna safe?
11:21 – What are the benefits of infrared sauna?
15:39 – Does infrared sauna improve your physical performance?
17:24 – Does infrared sauna enhance recovery after training?
17:56 – Does infrared sauna improve your mood?
18:57 – Does infrared sauna improve your skin health?
19:38 – Does infrared sauna help fight cancer?
20:03 – Can infrared sauna help prevent sickness?
20:53 – What’s the best way to use an infrared sauna?
22:30 – What’s the best type of infrared sauna?
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific References
- Beever, R. (2010). The effects of repeated thermal therapy on quality of life in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(6), 677–681. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2009.0358
- Yu, S. Y., Chiu, J. H., Yang, S. Der, Hsu, Y. C., Lui, W. Y., & Wu, C. W. (2006). Biological effect of far-infrared therapy on increasing skin microcirculation in rats. Photodermatology Photoimmunology and Photomedicine, 22(2), 78–86. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0781.2006.00208.x
- Fernández-Cuevas, I., Bouzas Marins, J. C., Arnáiz Lastras, J., Gómez Carmona, P. M., Piñonosa Cano, S., García-Concepción, M. Á., & Sillero-Quintana, M. (2015). Classification of factors influencing the use of infrared thermography in humans: A review. In Infrared Physics and Technology (Vol. 71, pp. 28–55). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infrared.2015.02.007
- Ernst, E., Pecho, E., Wirz, P., & Saradeth, T. (1990). Regular sauna bathing and the incidence of common colds. Annals of Medicine, 22(4), 225–227. https://doi.org/10.3109/07853899009148930
- Soejima, Y., Munemoto, T., Masuda, A., Uwatoko, Y., Miyata, M., & Tei, C. (2015). Effects of Waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: A pilot study. Internal Medicine, 54(3), 333–338. https://doi.org/10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042
- Noponen, P. V., Hakkinen, K., & Mero, A. A. (2015). Effects of Far Infrared Heat on Recovery in Power Athletes. Journal of Athletic Enhancement, 04(04). https://doi.org/10.4172/2324-9080.1000202
- Mero, A., Tornberg, J., Mäntykoski, M., & Puurtinen, R. (2015). Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men. SpringerPlus, 4(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40064-015-1093-5
- Akerman, A. P., Tipton, M., Minson, C. T., & Cotter, J. D. (2016). Heat stress and dehydration in adapting for performance: Good, bad, both, or neither? In Temperature (Vol. 3, Issue 3, pp. 412–436). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.1080/23328940.2016.1216255
- Hróbjartsson, A., & Gøtzsche, P. C. (2010). Placebo interventions for all clinical conditions. In Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Vol. 2010, Issue 1). John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003974.pub3
- Karanicolas, P. J., Farrokhyar, F., & Bhandari, M. (2010). Blinding: Who, what, when, why, how? Canadian Journal of Surgery, 53(5), 345–348. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947122/
- Scoon, G. S. M., Hopkins, W. G., Mayhew, S., & Cotter, J. D. (2007). Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10(4), 259–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2006.06.009
- Csányi, G., & Miller, F. J. (2014). Oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease. In International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Vol. 15, Issue 4, pp. 6002–6008). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms15046002
- Fujita, S., Ikeda, Y., Miyata, M., Shinsato, T., Kubozono, T., Kuwahata, S., Hamada, N., Miyauchi, T., Yamaguchi, T., Torii, H., Hamasaki, S., & Tei, C. (2011). Effect of Waon therapy on oxidative stress in chronic heart failure. Circulation Journal, 75(2), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1253/circj.CJ-10-0630
- Janssen, C. W., Lowry, C. A., Mehl, M. R., Allen, J. J. B., Kelly, K. L., Gartner, D. E., Medrano, A., Begay, T. K., Rentscher, K., White, J. J., Fridman, A., Roberts, L. J., Robbins, M. L., Hanusch, K. U., Cole, S. P., & Raison, C. L. (2016). Whole-body hyperthermia for the treatment of major depressive disorder: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(8), 789–795. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1031
- Umehara, M., Yamaguchi, A., Itakura, S., Suenaga, M., Sakaki, Y., Nakashiki, K., Miyata, M., & Tei, C. (2008). Repeated Waon therapy improves pulmonary hypertension during exercise in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Cardiology, 51(2), 106–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jjcc.2008.01.004
- Go, Y. M., Park, H., Maland, M. C., & Jo, H. (1999). In vitro system to study role of blood flow on nitric oxide production and cell signaling in endothelial cells. Methods in Enzymology, 301, 513–522. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0076-6879(99)01114-3
- Watanabe, H. (2000). Endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular diseases. Japanese Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 28(6), 441–443. https://doi.org/10.5339/gcsp.2014.43
- Shui, S., Wang, X., Chiang, J. Y., & Zheng, L. (2015). Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review. In Experimental Biology and Medicine (Vol. 240, Issue 10, pp. 1257–1265). SAGE Publications Inc. https://doi.org/10.1177/1535370215573391
- Oosterveld, F. G. J., Rasker, J. J., Floors, M., Landkroon, R., van Rennes, B., Zwijnenberg, J., Laar, M. A. F. J., & Koel, G. J. (2009). Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Clinical Rheumatology, 28(1), 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-008-0977-y
- Sears, M. E., Kerr, K. J., & Bray, R. I. (2012). Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: A systematic review. In Journal of Environmental and Public Health (Vol. 2012). Hindawi Publishing Corporation. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/184745
- La Merrill, M., Emond, C., Kim, M. J., Antignac, J. P., Le Bizec, B., Clément, K., Birnbaum, L. S., & Barouki, R. (2013). Toxicological function of adipose tissue: Focus on persistent organic pollutants. In Environmental Health Perspectives (Vol. 121, Issue 2, pp. 162–169). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205485
- Vatansever, F., & Hamblin, M. R. (2012). Far infrared radiation (FIR): Its biological effects and medical applications. In Photonics and Lasers in Medicine (Vol. 1, Issue 4, pp. 255–266). Walter de Gruyter GmbH. https://doi.org/10.1515/plm-2012-0034
- Kellerer, A. M. (1999). The effects of neutrons in Hiroshima. Implications for the risk estimates. Comptes Rendus de l’Academie Des Sciences - Serie III, 322(2–3), 229–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0764-4469(99)80048-1
- Cardis, E., & Hatch, M. (2011). The Chernobyl Accident - An Epidemiological Perspective. Clinical Oncology, 23(4), 251–260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clon.2011.01.510
- Okubo, T. (2012). Long-term epidemiological studies of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Study populations, dosimetry and summary of health effects. Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 151(4), 671–673. https://doi.org/10.1093/rpd/ncs179