Is an Infrared Sauna Effective for Detox?

Increasing a person’s body temperature has been used for millennia by cultures around the world to improve health and treat disease. Today, there are many tools employed to artificially raise body temperature, from heat lamps to wraps, quilts to hair dryers. The one common denominator among the best of these approaches is the use of far-infrared radiation (FIR) to create and deliver heat to the body. And, one of the best uses of FIR technology for health promotion is the sauna.

Clearly, the word “radiation” has negative connotations in modern society. We go out of our way to avoid anything that emits radiation or is “radioactive.” However, there are many different forms of radiation. A nuclear bomb blast spreads atomic radiation that can be lethal. Ultraviolet radiation can damage the skin by causing burns. The most familiar example of this would be the harmful rays from the sun that penetrate the ozone layers and cause sunburns.

In contrast, infrared radiation is what we often describe as “the healing warmth of the sun.” It is radiant heat, which is a form of energy that heats objects directly, without having to heat the air in between. A classic example of this is being outside on a sunny day when a cloud suddenly obscures the sun. In that short time, the air temperature has not changed but there is a noticeable chill until the cloud passes and the sun is visible again. This is the principle behind radiant heat, or infrared radiation.

Infrared radiation is measured as light along the electromagnetic spectrum. It falls just below (“infra”) the red light segment. It is not visible to the human eye. Infrared light penetrates beyond the skin level and is absorbed by the cells. In contrast, visible light simply bounces off the skin. Near-infrared light is absorbed at the skin level and will cause the surface skin temperature to increase slightly. Far-infrared light penetrates an estimated four centimeters, working energetically at the cellular level to increase metabolism and blood circulation, as well as elevating the core body temperature – all of which can promote healing of injuries and detoxification of the body. Some FIR saunas adopt this process through ceramic infrared heaters to bring additional health benefits to the traditional sauna experience.

One of the clearest advantages of FIR saunas is the sweat-to-temperature ratio. The energy emitted by FIR saunas will result in a “sweat volume” two to three times greater than a conventional steam sauna and do so at a much lower temperature. FIR saunas operate in the 110 to 130 degree Fahrenheit range while conventional steam saunas will typically reach temperatures in the 180 to 235 degree Fahrenheit range. Many individuals find these latter temperatures, as well as the level of humidity, uncomfortable, perhaps even unbearable.

Higher temperatures can pose a cardiovascular risk by elevating heart rate and blood pressure. This concern is reduced with a FIR sauna. Because many toxins are excreted from the body via sweat, increasing sweating has detoxification benefits. However, the fluid loss must be replaced with pure water (at least two cups per sauna session, in addition to at least eight to ten cups throughout the day) and minerals to prevent dehydration.

Few studies have been conducted to determine whether the use of far infrared saunas increases the release of toxins from the body but users report many benefits.

Far infrared saunas are reported to:

  • Decrease joint stiffness
  • Weight Loss
  • Detoxification
  • Relieve muscle spasms
  • Provide pain relief
  • Increase blood flow
  • Assist with inflammation

FIR saunas often take the shape of small “cabins” constructed of oak, cedar or other types of wood. They vary in size, with capacities ranging from one-person to six-people. There is no steam-generating device (such as hot rocks and water). FIR saunas rely on dry heat generated from ceramic heaters safely located behind vented grills throughout the unit.

These saunas require a reliable electrical power source to operate but use significantly less electricity than conventional saunas. Be aware that the amount of electricity required to operate FIR saunas, and therefore the cost to operate them, can vary widely. Also, avoid any that have been constructed with chemical-treated wood.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Cancer-Proof: All Natural Solutions for Cancer Prevention and Healing. Follow her work.


Thomas M
Thomas M22 hours ago

thank you for sharing

Beryl Ludwig
Beryl L17 days ago

Thank you

Anna R
Anna R19 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Lisa M29 days ago


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thank you

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Sarah A2 months ago

thank you

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