Perhaps when you are checking social media, you see some celebrities enjoying a cozy wooden sauna. Lady Gaga shared a photo of herself in an infrared sauna and said it is her personal remedy when her body goes into a spasm. Jennifer Aniston said in her interview that she and her co-star friend Courteney Cox regularly use infrared saunas for skin detoxification.
It is good to know that using saunas is not specific to our modern lives. Scandinavians have been using saunas for weight loss and relaxation purposes for centuries. Saunas are still part of Finnish culture, and in its 5.3 million population, there are about 2 million saunas. In addition, it is estimated that there are more than 1 million saunas in the United States.
While the conversation about infrared saunas is mostly about their benefits, health concerns come up here and there. One of these concerns is the rumor that infrared saunas cause cancer. To be able to fully enjoy your infrared sauna experience, it is important to clarify these concerns and have a better understanding of how it works.
What Is an Infrared Sauna?
Traditional saunas heat your body by heating the air around you, whereas infrared saunas use infrared light waves to deliver heat directly to your skin. Traditional saunas produce high temperatures, ranging from 150-190 F, which is too high for some sauna users.
Infrared saunas, on the other hand, produce a more manageable and adjustable heat of around 140 F, while maintaining the health benefits of traditional saunas. This difference makes infrared saunas a better option for those who cannot tolerate high amounts of heat.
Among numerous infrared sauna health benefits, one could mention stress reduction, weight loss, detoxification, sleep improvement, inflammation and pain relief, cardiovascular health improvement, and skin rejuvenation.
Does Infrared Sauna Cause Cancer?
Unfortunately, cancer affects millions of people worldwide, but making healthy decisions will lower the chance of getting cancer. The American Cancer Society explains that exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of sunlight is the principal cause of skin cancer.
Infrared and UV radiations are both emitted from the sun and are often mixed up. You are exposed to both of these radiations though you cannot see them. Infrared light waves only have a heating effect and are only experienced as heat. UV radiation, on the other hand, is electromagnetic radiation that causes chemical reactions on top of its heating effect.
According to research conducted in 2020, professor Mark Birch-Machin of Newcastle University’s Department of Molecular Dermatology claims that, unlike UV, infrared light does not increase the chance of developing skin cancer.
An infrared sauna only operates with a specific range of infrared light waves and does not contain UV light. Brent A. Bauer, M.D., states that many studies have examined infrared sauna mechanisms, and no evidence-based negative effects have been recorded so far, making infrared saunas a safe and suitable option. Also, Harvard Medical School researchers report that far-infrared sauna use is a safe way to create therapeutic benefits.
Can Infrared Sauna Therapy Help Treat Cancer?
World Health Organization (WHO) states that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 (about one in six deaths). By avoiding potential risks and using currently available evidence-based preventative measures, between 30 and 50 percent of cancers may now be avoided.
Early cancer identification, proper therapy, and patient care can effectively lessen the burden of the disease. In other words, If detected early and treated well, many cancers have a high chance of being cured.
Professor Endre Mester employed red light therapy for the first time in 1967 to examine how cancer cells respond to radiation. Heat raises the temperature, which leads to hypothermia. Dr. Irvin Sahni says that compared to cancer cells with abnormal anatomy, especially concerning their vascular supply, normal cells can resist heat because of their normal structure. Therefore, a cancer cell does not thrive in a hyperthermic situation.
By exposing the patient’s body to heat, the infrared rays selectively destroy and eliminate those less viable cells, i.e., cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. According to several studies, infrared radiation plays a significant role in cancer pathology that will likely soon be employed to treat cancer.
Infrared Sauna Health Benefits To Prevent and Fight Cancer
In addition to cancer treatment, infrared saunas can provide various significant health benefits that can indirectly help treat cancer. Here are a few of these benefits:
- Mental Health Improvement:
A recent study at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reveals that mental health improvement could extend the lives of cancer patients. Relaxing sauna sessions relieve stress and improve body strength using light therapy, leading to mental health improvement.
- Immune System Boost:
The immune system is the most important factor in battling any disease, including cancer. Improving the immune system leads to quicker recovery and prevention of cancer. Saunas are recommended by researchers at Finland’s Institute of Biomedical Science as a way to boost athletes’ immune systems.
Infrared saunas improve the immune system using detoxification and artificial fever. Detoxification can boost the immune system by facilitating the job of the lymphatic system, an important system responsible for fighting against toxins and recovering the balance in the body.
The heat from infrared saunas raises core body temperature, causing an artificial fever. Fever is the body’s natural strategy for strengthening and accelerating the immune response. Hyperthermia caused by exposure to infrared light waves increases C-reactive proteins, T-Cells, and white blood cells in the body, which are directly responsible for fighting off diseases and protecting the body from damage. An improved immune system, in conjunction with toxification, leads to more vitality against all kinds of diseases.
- Cardiovascular Health Improvement:
Cardiovascular diseases frequently lead to death in cancer survivors, and it is necessary for these individuals to pay close attention to their cardiovascular health. One of the most important health advantages of infrared sauna therapy is cardiovascular health improvement.
Infrared light stimulates the creation of nitric oxide, a crucial signaling molecule needed for blood vessel health. This chemical relaxes the arteries and keeps blood from clotting and clumping. Moreover, it fights free radicals to reduce oxidative stress and regulates blood pressure.
- Wound Healing and Pain Relief:
Chemotherapy and radiation can delay the wound-healing process. Infrared sauna therapy helps with inflammation and increases the recovery rate of wounds. Using an infrared sauna when undergoing chemotherapy not only complements the chemotherapy effects but also covers some of the disadvantages of chemotherapy.
- Weight Loss:
For some cancer types, such as breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer, weight gain is more common during chemotherapy. To fight cancer or any disease for that matter, you should pay close attention to all aspects of your physical and mental health. It is not a secret that being overweight lowers your chances of recovery from a disease. In addition, having a fit body improves your self-confidence and, thus, your mental health.
The Research Foundation awarded the Binghamton University professor a grant to work on infrared heating systems. In his research, he measures the patient’s body temperature, physiologic measurements, and long-term body weight changes to evaluate the impact of infrared saunas. Researchers observed a 4% drop in body fat during four months of regular exposure to infrared light.
- Skin Health:
Skin diseases are one of the most notable side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Using an infrared sauna will lighten skin tone, improve skin health, and even lessen fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. Infrared sauna therapy opens pores through detoxification and perspiration, removing toxins, dirt, fat, and other undesirable material under the skin and leading to these benefits.
A study from Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, shows that IR radiation enhances the quantity of total collagen and might lead to a clinical improvement in skin texture. Your body generates less collagen as you get older, which causes dry skin and the development of wrinkles.
Infrared sauna therapy also stimulates collagen production, which leads to skin hydration and improved elasticity. Using an infrared sauna when fighting cancer can cancel out the skin damage caused by chemotherapy.
When Should You Avoid Using an Infrared Sauna?
Though infrared sauna therapy has numerous health benefits and can help prevent and fight cancer, If you are taking any type of medication, have a particular disease, or are pregnant, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before getting infrared sauna therapy.
Studies from around the world have shown that using infrared saunas not only does not cause cancer but also aids in its treatment and prevention. An infrared sauna can be life-saving for those receiving cancer therapy or who are more likely to get cancer. Though infrared sauna therapy alone does not lead to recovery from cancer, it is a very good complement to medical treatment.
Indoor infrared saunas can provide the benefits of traditional saunas without extreme heat. So if you have heat intolerance, we highly recommend infrared saunas. Since cancer patients are more likely to become infected with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, getting infrared sauna therapy at home rather than in gyms and spas can be a risk-free option.
Best Infrared Saunas for Treating and Preventing Cancer
- Enlighten Diamond
This 3 person hybrid model by Enlighten is an ideal sauna for treating various diseases and preventing them by improving your immune system. The hybrid design of this sauna gives you a choice to switch between infrared to traditional, meaning that you can have the best of both worlds in one sauna cabin. The traditional option provides you with high temperatures, and the infrared side gives you adjustable, more manageable temperatures.
On top of this unique option, the 8 nano full-spectrum heaters used are among the most effective, durable, and safe heaters on the market, and the high-quality real Canadian red cedar wood construction prevents any bacteria growth, toxicity, and allergies. The spacious design of this cabin allows you to lie down on the bench and expose your whole body to infrared lights or the heated air.
If you want to read more about the Enlighten Diamond model or purchase it, click here.
- Sunray Sedona
The Sedona model by Sunray is a good-value infrared sauna for 1-person use. Constructed of hard red Cedar wood, this sauna cabin offers you a long-lasting safe infrared sauna experience, making it one of the great options on the market for treating diseases.
It is equipped with an Oxygen ionizer system that purifies the air and helps your respiratory system get more Oxygen to your cells and improving recovery speed. The Carbon-nano heaters used in this cabin expose you to infrared light waves that deeply penetrate your body with very safe EMF levels.
If you want to read more about the Sunray Sedona model or purchase it, click here.
- Golden Designs 2-Person Full-Spectrum
This 2-person full-spectrum model by Golden Designs is another popular infrared sauna on the market that gives you more than a typical infrared sauna therapy. The 6 heaters used in this sauna cabin consist of 3 PureTech near-zero EMF far infrared and 3 near-infrared elements.
This particular combination, along with the placement of the features, ensures the highest efficiency and full-body exposure. The Himalayan salt therapy used in this sauna offers you a variety of health benefits, including but not limited to the state of mind improvement, detoxification, and respiratory system improvement.
If you want to read more about the Golden Designs Full-Spectrum model or purchase it, click here.
Ask an Expert
If you need help choosing the best infrared sauna for your specific needs, our expert team is always happy to help. You can reach us via chat, our email address, or our toll-free number (844) 217-9954.