Infrared Sauna Therapy For Immune and Detox Support

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Infrared Sauna Therapy For Immune and Detox Support

Infrared sauna therapy can make a huge difference in our quality of life.  We all want to be healthy, vibrant, and energetic. This, however, can become very difficult to achieve if your body is full of toxins. The truth is that we are exposed to toxins throughout our life from pollution, toxic tap water, plastics, medication, conventional cleaning and body products, non-organic food, stress, and unhealthy lifestyle choices.

These toxins get deep inside your fat cells and deep in your tissues, and over time they can lead to pain and disease. This is why detoxification is so important. Detoxification allows your body to clean out what’s harmful and creates an opportunity for repair and renewal.  Infrared sauna therapy may be one of the best ways to help your body open up its detoxification pathways.

In this article, you will learn more about infrared sauna therapy and its major benefits. You will understand the difference between infrared sauna therapy and steam saunas. I will also share my favorite infrared sauna that you can use at home even if you have limited space.

infrared saunas

Infrared Sauna as a Detoxification Therapy

Your skin is one of your largest organs and one of your most important detoxifying organs. Its way of detoxification is through sweating. While being outside on the summer heat is a great way to sweat, it is not the most effective. The sun is not available year-round and you have to be careful with the ultraviolet light and skin damage. 

Infrared sauna, on the other hand, is a sauna that releases infrared light. Infrared light is safe and goes deeper into your body allowing it to release fat-soluble toxins, lower toxic burdens, and even enhance internal detox pathways as well.

Heat and sauna therapy can be found across cultures throughout history. Heat has been considered healing for a long time. The Romans were famous for their baths, Native Americans still use sweat lodges, and the Japanese use hot soaking tubs. Today we can take advantage of infrared sauna therapy inside our own homes, a technology that offers us science-backed health benefits.

infrared sauna

What Is Infrared Sauna Therapy?

Infrared sauna therapy is a form of sauna that uses infrared heaters that release infrared lights you experience as heat as it gets absorbed through the surface of the skin. Infrared sauna therapy uses Far Infrared Technology (FIR), which is a non-invasive light therapy that can penetrate your body as much as three inches. It used FIR wavelengths between 5.6 and 20 microns. 

Through this process, infrared sauna therapy heats your muscle tissues and internal organs without heating the surrounding air. This heat helps your organs and tissues to detoxify by pushing toxins out of your bloodstream to be eliminated by perspiration or sweating.

The infrared wavelengths of infrared sauna therapy are able to stimulate multiple pathways throughout the body. They help to enhance liver detoxification, improve the immune system, kill pathogenic organisms, support metabolic pathways, stimulate metabolism, optimize kidney filtration, aid elimination, reduce stress, and enhance healthy weight loss.

The FIR technology of infrared sauna therapy can penetrate the body 1.5 to 3 inches below the surface level. It helps to reduce the size of water clusters inside your body allowing them greater mobility and an easier access to body tissues. This helps to enhance cell membrane tone and functionality, nutrient absorption, circulatory patterns, and detoxification. It can also improve lymphatic and blood circulation, reduce inflammation, improve microcirculation throughout your body, lower lactic acid, and increase oxygen delivery to your cells (1, 2).

Major Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

Infrared sauna therapy has so many health benefits from detoxification to enhanced physical endurance. According to research, regular sauna use can lower the risk of mortality by 40 percent. No matter what your goals are, infrared sauna therapy has something to offer you. Let’s take a look at each of these amazing benefits (3).

Improves Immune Response 

One of the main benefits of infrared sauna therapy is improved immune response and immune system support. One study on the benefits of Finnish sauna on white blood cells looked at the effects of a 15-minute sauna session on a group of long-distance runners and a group of non-athletes. Researchers looked at the body mass and blood samples of each participant.

Both groups experienced improved immune response, body mass loss, better plasma volume, increased number of white blood cells, lymphocyte, neutrophil, and basophil counts, however, the group of athletes experienced greater benefits. These findings indicate that infrared sauna therapy is not only fantastic for your immune system, but combined with regular exercise it is a powerful combination for an improved immune response (4).

Facilitates Detoxification

Your skin is your largest detoxifying organ, and it does this cleansing job through perspiration or sweating to eliminate toxic chemicals. Research has shown that using a sauna regularly can improve your sweat detox pathways and may result in up to 2 liters of sweat per hour. Studies have found that using an infrared sauna regularly can help you detoxify your body from environmental toxins and heavy metals, including mercury and arsenic.

Not to mention that all this sweating and detoxing can lead to clear and glowing skin. No wonder that US firefighters use saunas to get rid of the toxins they encounter through their work and prevent any consequent disease. You may not be running into a fire every day, but you can certainly benefit from detoxifying from environmental and lifestyle-related toxins (5, 6, 7, 8).

Reduces Inflammation 

Chronic inflammation is the root cause of most modern-day chronic health problems. Infrared sauna therapy can reduce chronic inflammation and the risk of consequent pain and disease by hyperoxygenation of the blood cells.  Benefits of this include.

Optimizing Circulation

Improving the Body’s Immune Response

Reducing Chronic Stress Response

Enhancing a State of Relaxation.

Infrared sauna therapy sends infrared light to cellular structures throughout your body increasing ATP energy production and improving circulation which results in lower inflammation and reduced pain.

Sweating during an infrared sauna therapy session also helps your body to get rid of toxic pollutants that are one of the main causes of chronic inflammation.

Infrared sauna address stress and tension.  These are common underlying cause of chronic inflammation.  This means that infrared sauna therapy may help you to gain freedom from inflammation and pain.

Research has shown that infrared sauna therapy may reduce chronic pain syndrome, symptoms of rheumatoid and autoimmune conditions, and inflammation related to cardiovascular health (9, 10).

Improves Insulin Sensitivity   

Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and diabetes are serious health issues that millions of people are facing worldwide. Insulin sensitivity, on the other hand, enhances fat burning and reduces inflammation. The good news is that infrared sauna therapy may improve insulin sensitivity and enhance your health as a result.

Research has found that insulin-resistant, diabetic mice experienced a 31 percent decrease in insulin level and a significant improvement in blood sugar levels after receiving 30 minutes of hyperthermia treatment three times per week for twelve weeks. While eating a healthy, nutrient-dense, and low-carb diet is still critical for improved insulin sensitivity, research suggests that infrared sauna therapy can help you improve insulin sensitivity (11).

insulin resistance

Activates Heat Shock Proteins 

The heat of infrared sauna therapy generates stress in your body which prompts the destruction of old and damaged cells and the creation of new and healthy cells through autophagy. Heat shock proteins (HSP) are a group of proteins that your cells create as a response to exposure to stressful conditions they encounter due to heat.

HSPs play an essential role in your body’s cellular repair system. They may help to stabilize new proteins and refold damaged proteins. Infrared sauna therapy can activate HSPs by up to 16 times the baseline. It is a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of heat therapy (12).

Stimulates Autophagy

Autophagy is a process of cellular recycling where the cell itself metabolizes its various components in order to recycle them and build new and healthier cell structures. Cellular stress is the major driver of the process of autophagy. Your body is constantly seeking homeostasis. When it experiences stress, your body needs to prepare for survival.

This means that it breaks down older or damaged cells and cellular organelles to leave room for the creation of new and healthier ones for better energy efficiency. When using an infrared sauna, your body experiences higher temperatures than normal.

This stress from heat stimulates autophagy and allows for cellular renewal. Research has found that this process has anti-aging benefits by activating internal antioxidant, repair and degradation processes (13).

Increases Human Growth Hormone Level

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a peptide hormone that is critical for your growth, cell reproduction, and cellular regeneration.  HGH acts to preserve lean body tissue, burn fat, and allow cellular healing. It is not only important for muscle growth, but also for brain health, energy, and vitality. Even if gaining muscle is not your main goal, increasing your HGH levels is critical.

Infrared sauna therapy can help with that. Research has shown that two 20-minute sauna sessions a day can lead to a 2-fold increase in HGH baseline, while two 1-hour sessions a day can lead to a 1,600 percent increase. In some cases, infrared sauna therapy can increase HGH levels up to 5 times the baseline level. Just remember, regular infrared sauna use is key for experiencing full benefits (14, 15, 16).

growth hormone, 10 Ways to Optimize Human Growth Hormone Naturally for Anti-Aging

Improves Physical Endurance

Infrared sauna therapy may also improve your physical endurance.  This is great news for you if you are training for something, exercise a lot, or simply want to improve your stamina for daily tasks or chasing your kids. Physical exercise increases your body temperature and can put a strain on your body.

Getting acclimated to heat through infrared sauna therapy can improve your body’s self-cooling mechanism. Research has shown that it can help your body to perform better in hot climates or summer time. Research has also shown that infrared sauna may improve blood flow to your muscles, and increase red blood cell count for better oxygen transport, both of which benefit your exercise performance and endurance (17, 18, 19).

infrared sauna

Difference Between Infrared and Steam Saunas

You may be wondering why I am recommending infrared sauna therapy instead of steam saunas. The short answer is that infrared sauna therapy offers more health benefits. 

Purchase and installation

On a like-for-like basis, traditional saunas need to be bigger than infrared saunas.  This means they need more materials and labor.  This means they are generally a lot more expensive than an equivalent infrared sauna.

The reason wet saunas need to be bigger than infrared saunas is that they need some level of plumbing, ventilation, and drainage. Infrared saunas, by contrast, just need an electrical connection. As a result, installation costs also tend to be much higher for wet saunas.

As a corollary to this, the larger size of wet saunas can make it harder to find a place to put them, especially if you want your sauna indoors.

Running Costs

Infrared sauna therapy does more with less.  Traditional steam saunas need to reach a temperature of around 150-190°F.  Infrared saunas only need to reach a temperature of 110-150°F.  This means that they are far quicker to heat up.  An infrared sauna will be ready in 10-15 minutes whereas a wet sauna will usually need 30-40 minutes.

Putting these two facts together means that infrared saunas tend to be significantly more economical to run than wet saunas.  In fact, it can cost over twice as much to run a wet sauna as it does to run an infrared one.


Infrared saunas are also easier to clean and, generally, more hygienic.  The only liquid in an infrared sauna is your own sweat.  You can wear a towel or robe to absorb this or just give your infrared sauna a quick clean afterward.  Wet saunas have steam with all that implies.  You, therefore, need to be very careful to protect them from mildew, mold, and harmful bacteria.

Health Benefits

On a similar note, from a medical perspective, infrared saunas are more efficient than traditional, wet saunas.

For example, infrared sauna therapy allows your body to perspire 80 percent water and 20 percent toxins and waste. By contrast, traditional steam saunas only allow your body to sweat out 3 percent toxins while 97 percent of the sweat is water. This means that infrared saunas are significantly better for detoxification.

Furthermore, the lower temperature of infrared saunas means that, if you wish, you can stay in them for much longer.  Many people can stay in an infrared sauna for 30-40 minutes comfortably.  With a traditional sauna, you generally need to limit your time to 10-15 minutes.  This can make a huge difference if you’re using a sauna to deal with chronic pain.

Some people like wet saunas because they can inhale steam to cleanse their sinuses and lungs.  This is a fair point.  It is, however, often more efficient to achieve this by other means.

For example, you could use an infrared sauna for its all-around health benefits.  You could then use regular steam inhalation to cleanse your respiratory system.  This often works out more convenient and economical as well as more comfortable.

Considerations in Purchasing a Sauna:

After careful research, I found many issues within the Infrared sauna industry.   The biggest problems I see with many common FIR Sauna’s include:

1)  Toxic Materials:  Many sauna’s are made with chemical treated wood and toxic glues and other chemicals

2)  Dangerous EMF Levels:  Many sauna’s produce high levels of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s)

3)  No Certification:  No Official Certification (lack of 3rd party testing)

4)  Poor Ventilation:  This can lead to increased CO2 in the sauna and reduced detoxification

5)  No Warranty:  You purchase at your own risk

infrared sauna

Introducing High Tech Health:

High Tech Health has been promoting infrared sauna therapy for over 15 years as an extremely efficient way to detoxify the body of heavy metals and chemicals. With our reputable background, team of medical practitioners, years of research and education, they have designed the Thermal Life Sauna as the safest and most effective sauna for far infrared detoxification

Hypoallergenic, Premium Poplar Wood

  • All poplar construction – confirmed to be non-toxic by both researchers and thousands of past and present High Tech Health customers, including the most chemically sensitive.
  • Poplar wood does not outgas chemicals or have strong odors making it superior to cedar, spruce, hemlock and basswood.
  • Poplar is the only wood that will not cause lung, eye, nasal and skin irritations and add to the body’s total toxic burden.
  • Poplar is the wood recommended by toxicologists for clinical and home use of therapy saunas used for medical purposes.

State-of-the-art Bio-Resonance Heaters

  • The custom designed ceramic-inside-metal-sheath heaters deliver the highest quality FIR therapy (130-145 degrees) with the lowest EMF rating (less than 1.5mG).
  • Emitters are strategically placed throughout the Thermal Life to ensure full body coverage and deliver therapeutic temperatures in less than 20 minutes.
  • The frequency and intensity of the FIR therapy has been engineered for optimal absorption and controlled detoxification.

Fresh Air Fan

  • Having a ceiling fan eliminates CO2 build up to keep the air healthy, delivers fresh air to the body as the core temperature increases and provides for the purest detoxification
  • The Thermal Life Sauna is the only sauna available with a fresh air fan, supporting its medical grade design and ability to safely and effectively detoxify the body.


  • The Thermal Life Sauna is 3rdparty certified for both residential and commercial use.
  • Certifications meet and exceed the requirements for Canada, the United States and Europe.

Lifetime Warranty

  • A Lifetime Warranty covers the heaters, workmanship and electronics on the Thermal Life Sauna.
  • High Tech Health is the only company that has a Lifetime Warranty on a sauna for clinical use.
  • You can save $500 on High Tech Health by mentioning as your referral source.

For a portable, lower cost option, I really like the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket here.   This is also low EMF and is designed by expert Sauna maker Dr Raleigh Duncan.  Your head stays out of this which most people find really comfortable and their heat tolerance increases so they are able to stay in longer and get more benefits from the sauna therapy.

The sauna blanket has a double-sided zipper for easy in and out and has non-toxic vegan leather for extra comfort and uses tourmaline, clay and charcoal.  The tourmaline and clay layers generate negative ions to help buffer oxidative stress, the charcoal layer binds to pollutants and the clay layer emits negative ions.

You have easy control access with a controller to turn it on and off. Use the coupon code DRJOCKERS to save 15% off on HigherDOSE products including the Infrared Sauna Blanket.

infrared sauna

How to Use an Infrared Sauna

If you are new to infrared sauna therapy, you can start with a short 5-minute session and build up over time to a 20-minute session or longer. Using it in the evening can help you sleep, while using it in the morning can help you to start your day relaxed and rested. If you have time, you may fit two sauna sessions into your day.

There are also a few strategies you can try to enhance your benefits:

  • Exercise before using your infrared sauna to start heating up your body, sweating, and detoxing. Rebounding is a great option for lymphatic and cardiovascular benefits.
  • Take a shower before to heat up your body a bit and remove any external toxins.
  • Try dry brushing before your sauna therapy session to stimulate your lymphatic system and remove dead skin cells.
  • Use niacin (vitamin B3), which enhances toxin release, then exercise to kick-start your sweating process before your sauna therapy session.
  • Take a really good binder such as HM-ET Binder after your session to help internal detoxification.
  • Eat a nutrient-dense organic diet, lower toxic exposure, exercise, reduce stress, and make healthy lifestyle choices to support detoxification, cellular repair, and rejuvenation.

infrared sauna

Final Thoughts

Infrared sauna therapy is a type of sauna that uses an infrared heater that releases infrared lights that get absorbed through your skin.  This is one of my favorite ways to support the immune system and detoxification. Use it regularly and notice a significant health shift over time.

If you want to work with a functional health coach, I recommend this article with tips on how to find a great coach.  On our website, we offer long-distance functional health coaching programs. For further support with your health goals, just reach out and our fantastic coaches are here to support your journey.

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Sources in This Article Include:

1. Vatansever F, Hamblin MR. Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications. Photonics & lasers in medicine. 2012;4:255-266. Link Here
2. Crinnion WJ. Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant- induced and other chronic health problems. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Sep;16(3):215-25. PMID: 21951023
3. Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):542–548. Link Here
4. Pilch W, Pokora I, Szyguła Z, Pałka T, Pilch P, Cisoń T, Malik L, Wiecha S. Effect of a single finnish sauna session on white blood cell profile and cortisol levels in athletes and non-athletes. J Hum Kinet. 2013 Dec 31;39:127-35. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2013-0075. PMID: 24511348
5. US fire departments turning to detox saunas to fight off the cancer threat – But are they effective. CTIF. Link Here
6. Eisalo A, Luurila OJ. The Finnish sauna and cardiovascular diseases. Ann Clin Res. 1988;20(4):267-70. PMID: 3218899
7. Ross GH, Sternquist MC. Methamphetamine exposure and chronic illness in police officers: significant improvement with sauna-based detoxification therapy. Toxicol Ind Health. 2012 Sep;28(8):758-68. doi: 10.1177/0748233711425070. Epub 2011 Nov 16. PMID: 22089658
8. Sears ME, Kerr KJ, Bray RI. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:184745. doi: 10.1155/2012/184745. Epub 2012 Feb 22. PMID: 22505948
9. Barsheshet A, Barshack I, Keren P, Keren G, George J. Whole-body hyperthermia attenuates experimental autoimmune myocarditis in the rat. Cardiovasc Pathol. 2008 Nov-Dec;17(6):375-81. PMID: 18402844
10. Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Apr 24;2018:1857413. doi: 10.1155/2018/1857413. PMID: 29849692
11. Kokura S. Whole body hyperthermia improves obesity-induced insulin resistance in diabetic mice. Int J Hyperthermia. 2007 May;23(3):259-65. PMID: 17523018
12. Dubey A, Prajapati KS, Swamy M, Pachauri V. Heat shock proteins: a therapeutic target worth to consider. Vet World. 2015 Jan;8(1):46-51. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2015.46-51. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PMID: 27046995
13. Rattan SI. Hormetic modulation of aging and longevity by mild heat stress. Dose-Response. 2006 May 22;3(4):533-46. doi: 10.2203/dose-response.003.04.008. PMID: 18648625
14. Leppaluoto J. Endocrine effects of repeated sauna bathing. Acta physiological Scandinavica 128, 467-470. Link Here
15. Kukkonen-Harjula K. Haemodynamic and hormonal responses to heat exposure in a Finnish sauna bath. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology 58, 543-550. Link Here
16. Hannuksel ML, Ellahham S. Benefits and risks of sauna bathing. The American journal of medicine 110, 118-126. PMID: 11165553 
17. King DS, Costill DL, Fink WJ, Hargreaves M, Fielding RA. Muscle metabolism during exercise in the heat in unacclimatized and acclimatized humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1985 Nov;59(5):1350-4. PMID: 4066564
18. Costa RJ, Crockford MJ, Moore JP, Walsh NP. Heat acclimation responses of an ultra-endurance running group preparing for hot desert-based competition. Eur J Sport Sci. 2014;14 Suppl 1:S131-41. PMID: 24444197 
19. Kirwan JP, Costill DL, Kuipers H, Burrell MJ, Fink WJ, Kovaleski JE, Fielding RA. Substrate utilization in leg muscle of men after heat acclimation. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Jul;63(1):31-5. PMID: 3624132

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  1. Hi,
    I ordered the sauna but it hasn’t been delivered yet. A friend sent me an email/video on that particular sauna that shows it to be higher in EMF’s than they say, and that the bamboo shell is toxic. I’m concerned and ready to refuse the order. Can you verify any of this?
    Thank you,

  2. Dr Jockers, I have heard infrared saunas can cause illness by activating or mobilizing internal bacteria or viruses in your body? What are you thoughts on that? Thank you so much for your wonderful work!

    1. IR Saunas help to improve the immune and drainage systems and your bodies ability to get rid of these pathogens. But it is important to hydrate well and take binders like bioactive carbons or activated charcoal to help bind and pull pathogens and other toxins out of the system.

  3. Dr. Jockers,
    High Tech claims that near-infrared can damage your skin and cause aging. Then you suggested Synergy, which has both near and far. What are your thoughts about the difference between near and far infrared? Have you researched the possible damaging effect of near infared?

      1. Can you recommend saunas that have both then? I know Synergy has both, but I am also looking for a one-person permanent structure like the ones they sell on the other site that you recommended? But they do not have near infrared.

        Thanks for your quick response by the way…

  4. HI,

  5. Hi David, thanks for the detailed explanation of all the benefits of infrared sauna. What I like in particular is the last part that explains how some other strategies can enhance the effect of the sauna session. The main detox pathway with sauna is through sweating. Other toxins from deeper tissues and organs will be picked up by the blood and (g)lymphatic system. To get these toxins out of the body and into the toilet I would suggest the following sequence:
    1) As a warming up, preparing the body for the sauna session, take a warm shower or do some exercise 2) take a large teaspoon or small tablespoon of activated charcoal, mix with some water and drink it, preferably on an empty stomach so that is does not mix/bind with other foods. 3) Take a sauna. 4) Take a shower to wash off all sweat and toxins. 5) Spend some time rebounding on the trampoline to stimulate the (g)lymphatic flow. This will transport the toxins picked up during the sauna towards the liver 6) Have a coffee enema to make the liver and gall bladder dump the toxins into the intestines, where they will be trapped by the active carbon taken in step 2. Without the binder these toxins may be re-absorbed again in the large intestine.
    One word of caution. Activated charcoal is an excellent binder. But it also binds healthy nutrients. If someone takes activated charcoal with every sauna session twice a day 14 times a week this can result in significant mineral deficiencies.

    1. Hello Remco, it is very unlikely that activated charcoal would cause any sort of mineral deficiency. There are thousands of people using this daily and there hasn’t been any published research showing it causing deficiencies. With that said, to be on the safe side, you can support your body with activated minerals and a mineral rich diet. Also, you can use other binders such as bioactive carbons fulvic/humic acids, zeolite, etc.

  6. I listened to a webinar that was emailed to me by Nathan Crane which was hosted by Trevor? There was no way to go back or fast forward on it, and there is no contact information. No record of the Q&A. Someone asked about FIR blankets, which is what I have and missed the answer. The only way I can find is to start all over again and it’s long.

    Can you please comment on the blanket model. (Bought it from Promolife for about $370. Made in China by Guangzhou Electronic Co.)

      1. Thank you
        dr. Jockers!
        been wanting for over a decade +. Yet 1-insecure regards
        emfs and safety…So, grateful for your research, thank you………2–Cost. Became more important after
        as read good for healing the brain. Is this true? And if so, portable or blankets not useful since head not included? Appreciate. In serious need but still confused.

  7. Dr Jockers, in one post you said the infrared blanket was acceptable. I’m considering the HigherDose blanket. Do you have an opinion about this one? Thank you for your time

      1. Thank you so much for your reply! I love the synergy portable however, the cost is a huge factor for me at this time. Thank you again.

  8. Hi Dr. Jockers:
    I need an outdoor NIR/FIR sauna. Any recommendations for that. Thank You for your work and advocacy for our health.

  9. I have a far infared portable sauna I purchased in 2004. I use it 10 minutes at least 5 times a week before bed. It helps me sleep better. What is the difference between far and near infared sauna benefits? Should I increase the time to 20 minutes, then take a shower?
    I am 80 years old, on no prescription drugs and am blessed with good health!

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