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Infrared Sauna For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Find Out How Regular Infrared Sauna Therapy May Help

All aspects of everyday life are affected by the pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue that accompany the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. From brushing your teeth, to stepping out of bed, food preparation, and the overall limitations of moving a body that is steeped in the ruthless symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis,this autoimmune disease is degenerative and debilitating with no known cure.

Typical treatment involves symptom management and an aggressive pharmaceutical approach to reduce joint swelling and pain. With the little known cause of rheumatoid arthritis, it is believed that prolonged states of stress response worsen symptoms and increase periods of disease activation. This ultimately speeds up the deteriorating effects that this condition has on many systems in the body including the disfigurement of extremities.

So, Can Infrared Sauna Therapy Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

When it comes to using an infrared sauna for arthritis, the treatment can be quite promising. In recent years, case studies involving individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis using broad spectrum infrared sauna treatment twice weekly have proven highly successful in finding elongated states of remission (1). These results have created the platform for the dawning of a new era in how we treat and foster the well being of individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

If you, or someone you love, is living with rheumatoid arthritis, please read on to understand how infrared sauna therapy can help manage and relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Learn how the infrared light spectrum affects the body’s systems to relieve symptoms, read about previous case studies that found symptom relief from infrared sauna therapy, and finally discover how regular infrared sauna therapy provides freedom from painful joint swelling and keep rheumatoid arthritis in remission so that life for you or your loved one can be lived free from debilitating pain.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

A man's wrist in pain caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that over time degrades and erodes many of the body’s systems including the joints, eyes, lungs, skin, and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of the body rather than an external threat. Rheumatoid arthritis damages the lining of the joints, causing severe swelling, pain, fatigue, and sometimes the deformity of the joints and limbs.

The chronic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is the cause of the degradation of other body systems beyond the joints. It is also inflammation in the joints that causes the synovium (joint membrane) to thicken. This results in an abundance of synovial fluid leading to ligament and tendon expansion and weakening causing deformity in the joints and limbs of individuals suffering from this condition. Prolonged inflammation causes the loss of elasticity in the cartilage as ligaments stretch and weaken.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is episodic, meaning the condition flares up during certain periods of time and also finds remission at other times. Understanding the causative factors behind the ‘flare ups’ can help individuals to manage the condition. Like all autoimmune disorders remaining in stress response for prolonged periods of time appears to be a strong causative component in stages of increased uncomfortability.

Rheumatoid arthritis begins by affecting the smaller joints at first, fingers and toes in symmetrical alignment. For example, if the left big toe is affected so too is the right big toe. As the disease progresses larger joints are affected, eventually the cardiovascular system and internal organs pay the toll of prolonged inflammation.

Medical professionals refer to the ‘flare up’ stage as disease activation and periods where there are little to no signs or symptoms as states of disease remission. While there is no known cure, the goal in any treatment plan is for the patient to remain in states of remission with no experienced symptoms (2).

Understanding that inflammation throughout the body is the primary mover of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms helps to create a treatment plan that addresses this underlying culprit.

The infrared spectrum of light has a unique interaction with the cellular network of the body that results in increased circulation and therefore reduced inflammation. This is an important aspect of any rheumatoid arthritis management plan.

Who Is Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis And What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis To Occur In Certain Individuals?

Approximately 1.5 million Americans live with rheumatoid arthritis, 70% of all cases occur in women between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Men living with rheumatoid arthritis generally are older than 60 years of age. The exact cause of this chronic condition is unknown. Medical professionals surmise that genetics, environmental factors, and chronic stress make certain individuals more susceptible to this autoimmune disease.

While the exact cause of the condition is still unknown, it appears that lifestyle plays a critical role, both in the emergence of the condition as well as affecting states of remission and disease activation. Although biomedicine has been unable to determine specific factors that lead to the development of the disease, professionals in the field do know that prolonged states of stress response keep the condition active. Inflammation is the underlying destructive factor in the degradation of ligaments, tendons, and ultimately joints. As the condition progresses inflammation will eventually take its toll on the vital organs (2).

Finding a management plan that addresses inflammation will be a positive factor in keeping the disease in remission. If you or a family member lives with rheumatoid arthritis, consider infrared sauna therapy as an excellent means of managing inflammation.

Typical Pharmaceutical Treatments Used To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis And Why They May Increase Disease Activation

Pharmaceuticals, typically an ineffective treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is often managed with an aggressive plan to decrease inflammation from occurring in the body. To manage arthritis pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are used, this includes over the counter drugs, such as ibuprofen as well as prescription pain relievers. Using painkillers may reduce pain, but they do not necessarily ‘cure’ the underlying issue of the condition.

Chronic inflammation is addressed using corticosteroids, including prednisone, which is a quick acting anti-inflammatory prescription drug. The risk of side effects in this family of drugs is strong and medical professionals prefer to use them for short periods of time. Risk of heart disease, increased stress response, and cardiovascular issues are some of the side effects from prolonged use of corticosteroids. In addition to the harmful side effects, these drugs encourage stress response in the body by activating sympathetic dominance (survival states/fight of flight) of the autonomic nervous system.

Management through drug treatment may ultimately worsen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by inducing further states of stress response. Keeping rheumatoid arthritis in remission requires aggressive treatment of inflammation and encouraging states of relaxation. Infrared sauna therapy has an astounding impact on chronic inflammation without any harmful side effects.

Additionally, infrared sauna therapy encourages parasympathetic dominance (states of relaxation) of the autonomic nervous system and gently draws individuals out of stress response so that prolonged states of disease remission becomes the norm.

How Does An Infrared Sauna Reduce Inflammation And Therefore Encourage States Of Remission In Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients?

Successful treatment of rheumatoid arthritis relies on two key components: Inflammation reduction (without harmful side effects) and finding pathways out of stress response and back into states of relaxation.

The relationship between the infrared light spectrum and the molecular structure of the body is complex, and the result of this interaction has far-reaching health benefits. Infrared sauna therapy is a preferred treatment for arthritis because of its powerful effect on the circulatory system and its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Where there is no inflammation, there are no symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

So, How Does Infrared Sauna Therapy Reduce Inflammation?

A mature man suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis walking with his wife

Infrared wavelengths exist on the invisible spectrum of light and cannot be seen with the human eye, but are experienced kinetically as heat. The infrared spectrum of light penetrates deeply into the epidermis and therefore fully engages the cellular and molecular network. As the rays of infrared light burrow into the epidermis, the largest human organ, they heat the body up from the inside out. The body responds to both infrared heat therapy and light to reduce inflammation by increasing circulation. Improved blood circulation intrinsically flushes inflammation out of the joints by creating a current of hyperoxygenated hemoglobin through the affected areas of the body.

When the body is exposed to the healing rays of the infrared spectrum, the living anatomy of the human body invites the light into its network system to create a domino effect on the cellular activity to decrease inflammation.

As the infrared light seeps beyond the initial membrane of the skin to penetrate into the soft tissue of the body, the cellular mechanism responds in excitement. The human form is comprised of 50 trillion cells, each cell in the body has what could be considered an ‘energy plant’ the mitochondria, where ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production occurs. The mitochondria are very sensitive to all light, particularly sensitive to the deeply penetrative rays of the infrared.  As soon as the body is exposed to infrared light, ATP production is exponentially stimulated.

As ATP production increases in response to infrared light exposure, this releases nitric acid, which hyperoxygenates the hemoglobin. The freshly oxygenated blood cells begin to flow throughout the body like a fast-moving river.

Inflammation occurs in rheumatoid arthritis patients as a result of the fluctuation of synovial fluid in the membrane of the joint cells. The lack of oxygen in the inflamed regions of the body causes swelling and pain. Ultimately this swelling will stretch the tendons and ligaments causing deformity in the joints of individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Within minutes of exposure to the infrared light spectrum, ATP production is heightened and increases the flow of oxygen in the blood.  This creates better and faster flowing circulation of the blood throughout the body and thus reduces inflammation (3).

In 2009 the US National Library Of Medicine published a revelatory case study using 17 individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and followed their journey through a four-week infrared sauna therapy treatment. Each individual took two infrared sauna therapy sessions per week lasting for at least 15 minutes. The study reported that there were no adverse effects but rather revealed that:

“Pain and stiffness decreased clinically, and improvements were statistically significant during and after infrared sauna sessions. Fatigue also decreased. RA patients felt comfortable during and especially after treatment.” –US National Library Of Medicine, Institute Of Health, 2009 (4)

This study reveals the positive effects of infrared sauna therapy over a short period of time with relatively infrequent infrared sauna treatments on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. One can surmise that with greater frequency of sessions over a prolonged period of time, symptom reduction would be exponential. It is conceivable that total remission of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis would occur after consistent and regular exposure to the infrared spectrum.

It is possible to find relief from inflammation without using toxic pharmaceutical medication with harmful side effects to treat cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Not only is infrared sauna therapy an excellent modality in treating the symptoms of this chronic condition, but it also has a profound impact on overall health.

In addition to addressing the issue of inflammation in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, infrared sauna therapy reduces expressions of stress response in the body by coaxing the physiological network back into states of relaxation.

Medical professionals understand that a causative factor in the active expression of this chronic condition is prolonged states of stress. Symptoms of inflammation, pain, and fatigue are addressed through infrared sauna therapy as well as the causative factors of prolonged states of stress.

Increase Collagen Production Through Infrared Sauna Therapy: Repair The Cellular Damage Incurred From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exposure to near-infrared light increases collagen production (5). Collagen is responsible for the elasticity in the skin and bones. By augmenting collagen production, bone marrow regenerates at faster rates to reduce damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Inflammation in the joints over prolonged periods of time stretches and weakens the ligaments and tendons around the joint and produces bone deformity in the outlining areas. This occurs in the later stages of rheumatoid arthritis. By increasing collagen, joint tonus is also increased; this means that any inflammation that is occurring in the joints will not have the same damaging effects.

Further, heightening collagen production will stimulate cellular regeneration in the bone marrow of the body and will heal damage incurred from prolonged inflammation.

Exposure to the infrared light spectrum will not only reduce inflammation, but it will also increase collagen production; and therefore,  begin to heal the damaged bones, tendons, and ligaments that have been incurred after years of living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Infrared Sauna Therapy Provides Relief From Stress Response: A Causative Factor In Rheumatoid Arthritis

While medical professionals have been unable to find a direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis, it is well understood that a stressful lifestyle is a contributing factor both in the onset of the condition as well as a trigger for phases of ‘flare ups’. If individuals suffering from this disease were able to maintain greater states of relaxation or have the tools to easily exit stress response, then remission would remain the constant.

The warm rays of the infrared light spectrum open and expand the cellular membrane to induce states of relaxation. When relaxation occurs, projected energy outward is drawn back into the body’s network for nourishment and healing. Prolonged states of stress response will create a myriad of diseases within the body. Infrared sauna therapy is a pleasurable tool that will draw the body out of stress response back into states of rest and relaxation where healing can occur.

Individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis must find states of relaxation in order to obtain remission from the disease. Relaxation for these individuals is not a luxury but a necessity. For this reason, the infrared sauna can be a lifeline out disease activation back into remission for rheumatoid arthritis patients (6).

How To Use An Infrared Sauna For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Man looking in mirror after infrared sauna therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive condition and usually affects the smaller joints in the early stages. Individuals who have found complete remission from the disease have testified that while they were using infrared sauna therapy they would raise the inflamed joints upwards and draw these parts of the body closer to the heating units within the infrared sauna. For example, if arthritis is affecting the ankle joints then it is advised that you lay down on the bench in your infrared sauna with the legs up the wall and ankles resting close to the heat emitters.

Reversing the flow of circulation by having affected joints raised above the head, inflammation is reduced and penetration of the infrared rays are able to move more directly into the painful areas of the body.

Infrared saunas do not rely on high external heat, but rather raise the internal core temperature from the inside out. It is therefore comfortable to sit in the unit for anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes. The more exposure time to the infrared spectrum the greater the ATP production becomes and therefore an internal climate of fluid circulation of hyperoxygenated blood cells occurs.

The temperature in the infrared sauna does not need to be set high to reap the health benefits of improved circulation. Finding a physical posture in the infrared sauna that promotes proximity of the painful areas of the body to the heat emitters will increase symptom relief without adding the stress of high temperatures.

If you or someone you love is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis then infrared sauna treatment could be the solution to finding remission, especially when particular postures are assumed during the sauna session to promote circulation to painful parts of the body.

Is Remission From Rheumatoid Arthritis With Infrared Sauna Therapy Possible?

Receiving the diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder is fear-inducing, particularly when there is no known cure. In addition to the pain and limited mobility associated with rheumatoid arthritis, individuals are left anticipating the worst. Living in dread of the ultimate demise of the body as a result of this degenerative disease is stressful unto itself. Medical studies now suggest that there is an opportunity for the cessation of symptoms and possibly the complete remission of the condition including a stunting of the progression of the disease.

Infrared sauna therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is a treatment method that can provide greater states of comfort, free from painful symptoms within the first four weeks. This treatment will also induce states of relaxation and release its patients from states of stress response that are responsible for disease activation.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is a painful and potentially lethal condition, there is hope for patients suffering at the merciless grip of this condition. Stepping into the infrared light spectrum opens up to the possibility of the dawning of a new future, one where pain relief from rheumatoid arthritis is possible without any harmful side effects and where, perhaps, even full remission can be found.

***** Contraindication: If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and are currently on a management program created by your medical practitioner, please consult with him or her before proceeding with infrared sauna therapy.



Additional Reading:

Infrared Sauna and Autism

The wide spectrum of symptoms, behaviors, and expressions that fall under the auspice of autism means that each individual case is entirely unique. While some individuals may consider autism as a gift, or a way of being in the world that is unique and special, others, depending on symptom expression may be looking for treatments to improve the quality of life. 

This article by no means suggests that autism is a condition that needs to be fixed or cured. If, however you are looking to improve the quality of life for yourself or your loved one, there is substantial scientific evidence to suggest that regular sauna bathing alters the biochemistry of the autistic individual to minimize symptom expression.

Whole body heat therapy as experienced in an infrared sauna is known to improve BH4 levels in individuals for whom deficiency of this compound was associated with heightened autistic symptoms. Additionally, regular sauna bathing improves the quantity of heat shock proteins in connection to BH4 disbursement throughout the tissues of the body. Also. Sauna bathing helps to detoxify the body from potentially harmful heavy metals.

This article will explore in detail how sauna bathing affects biochemistry to improve the quality of life for individuals deficient in BH4, rather than looking to cure or fix the broad band width of the autistic spectrum.

Autism From An Epigenetic Perspective: Modifying Environmental Influence To Reduce Symptom Expression

The cause and even correlative factors contributing to the expression of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remains largely mysterious. Without knowing specifically what causes a disorder it can be difficult to treat its symptoms. Furthermore, ASD is a general  umbrella term that classifies many symptoms of distorted or stunted neurological developmental. 

No two cases of Autism are exactly the same. It is believed that a combination of genetic as well as epigenetic factors contributes to its expression. Both environmental factors and heredity seem to contribute to this developmental disorder. (1)

Neosauna Tip: What is epigenetics? Epigenetics is the modification of genetic expression without altering the DNA itself. Typically environmental factors, both internal and external, play a role in gene activity or expression. Epigenetics can work in both positive and negative ways. This means that environmental exposure to pathogens, toxins, and heavy metals may impact the expression of certain disorders that may not have been activated had environmental elements been healthier. 

Further, epigenetics empowers the individual to create an environment, both internal and external, that fosters the healthful expression of genes. Some scientists believe that Autism is an epigenetic disorder, although there is no conclusive evidence. (2

Here is what a journal published by the National Institute of Health tells us about the relationship between epigenetics and Autism:

“Currently, epigenetic and its complex mechanisms are presented as the most momentous mediator in the environment and genome interactions. Environmental factors can affect the quality and quantity of gene expression without changing the DNA sequence through epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, changes in histone proteins, and expression of noncoding RNAs. This way, they can be transferred to the next cellular generation or even the next organism generation…

As a result, exposure to harmful environmental factors can change the expression of developmental key genes in critical periods of embryo formation and increases the risk of genomic imprinting diseases such as autism. Given that autism is an epigenetic disorder in which environmental risk factors are the most momentous mediators in its pathogenesis, detection of these factors can help parents avoid the danger of autism onset in their children. By following the mentioned tips, parents can provide a lower risk condition for the outbreak of autism.” (3)

Regardless of the cause or correlative factors contributing to the expression of ASD, research suggests that by modifying exposure to certain elements positively impacts how symptoms are expressed in individuals living with Autism. 

Research suggests that the following three environmental factors may contribute to increased manifestation of Autistic characteristics: 

  • BH4 (Tetrahydrobiopterin) Deficiency
  •  Heavy metal toxicity 
  • Lack of Heat Shock Protein Production (Specifically HSP 90)

While there is little any parent or individual can do to alter DNA coding, it appears that it may be possible to modify the biochemical atmosphere to reduce Autistic characteristics for individuals living within the spectrum to make daily life more enjoyable.  

Recent research into the correlative factors contributing to ADS indicate that regular sauna bathing may increase BH4, detoxify the body of heavy metals, and improve Heat Shock Protein production.

BH4 Deficiency And Autism: Can Sauna Bathing Improve Tetrahydrobiopterin Levels In The Body

Infrared therapy can potentially improve Tetrahydrobiopterin levels in the body of autistic children

Tetrahydrobiopterin, or BH4 (and sometimes THB) is a necessary component for a variety of enzymes in the body, most importantly those involved in the formation of nitric oxide (NO), and specific neurotransmitters such as: Dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine. This means that BH4 plays a vital role in overall health and very specifically in stabilizing mood and improving cognitive ability. (4)

Clinical research has demonstrated that BH4 deficiency in the spinal fluid of individuals diagnosed with Autism is a correlative factor in the worsening of specific Autistic traits such as verbal expression, eye contact, and desire to interact with others. Conversely, a study performed on six children diagnosed with infantile ASD demonstrated that by augmenting levels of BH4 in the spinal fluid the children,over a three month time period, showed improved social skills, more eye contact, and heightened cognitive function. (5)

So how can parents or individuals diagnosed with Autism improve BH4 levels?

There is a rapidly growing number of diseases associated with BH4 deficiency which has given way to more extensive research to figure out how to improve BH4 levels in non-invasive, as well as easily accessible ways. (6)

Regular Sauna Bathing Improves BH4 levels in two primary capacities:

  • Improved levels and circulation of BH4 throughout the tissues of the body via vasodilation
  • Augmented Levels Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90) maintains the integrity of nitric oxide synthesis (6)

Sauna Bathing To Improve BH4 Circulation Throughout The Body:

As the body’s temperature rises during a sauna session a variety of biochemical changes begin to occur, including vasodilation (the dilation of blood cells). This process induces a more positive flow of circulation throughout the body relieving any blockages of blood flow. Where circulation is inhibited, often disease ensues as body tissues lack essential nutrients delivered via blood. (7)

Full body heat therapy serves to evenly distribute BH4 to all tissues by creating higher levels of BH4 synthesis on the surface tissues of the body. As BH4 disbursement occurs, portions of the body that have been deficient in BH4 will receive the nourishment of this essential cofactor enzyme.

Improved distribution of BH4 positively impacts neurotransmitter activity in the brain including dopamine production and serotonin stability.

While many forms of vigorous exercise are known to improve BH4 production, a sauna session provides a platform for individuals who may be vigorous exercise prohibited. Additionally, the passive stance of sauna bathing may better serve the autonomic nervous system as well as the entire endocrine network. 

Sauna Bathing To Improve Heat Shock Protein Production:

Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are in fact protein chaperones, their presence within human physiology allows for the positive transportation of proteins as well as in keeping the intracellular communities healthy. An increase in HSPs has demonstrated to aid in the prevention of serious neurological conditions, as well as other chronic autoimmune disorders.

HSPs are created when organisms are subjected to fluctuations of temperatures extreme enough to move beyond habituated temperature in either direction. There are many, many variations of HSPs, specifically HSP 90 has been proven to play a vital role in the disbursement of BH4. From the National Institute of Health’s published journal on BH4, HSP90, and Autism:

“ A second mechanism involves the heat shock protein Hsp90, which is induced by even modest heating of mammalian tissues. Sauna heating of these surface tissues may act via Hsp90, which interacts with the GTPCH-I complex and is reported to produce increased GTPCH-I activity by lowering its degradation. The increased consequent availability of BH4 may lead to lowered nitric oxide synthase uncoupling, such as has been reported for the eNOS enzyme. Increased BH4 synthesis in surface tissues of the body will produce increased circulating BH4 which will feed BH4 to other body tissues that may have been BH4 deficient. Similar mechanisms may act in vigorous exercise due to the increased blood shear stresses and possibly also heating of the exercising tissues and heart.” (8)

While improving the quantity of HSPs is important for maintaining intracellular health for all people, it may well prove to be essential in improving the quality of life for children and adults living with autism. 

Sauna Bathing, Detoxification From Heavy Metals, And Autism

A child with Autism enjoys the benefits of the sun, similar to infrared sauna therapy

Certainly, there is simply not enough data to suggest that heavy metal toxicity causes autism, or increases symptoms; however, some leading experts in the field of integrative medicine suggest that there may be a correlation.

A correlative factor is not the cause of, but possibly may contribute to genome activity. As it is believed that autism may begin in utero, an interesting study was recently released where the baby teeth of children were analysed to find out if higher levels of heavy metal toxicity was correlated to Autism.

Cindy Lawler, PHD., head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Genes, Environment, and Health Branch, writes about the in utero experience of children diagnosed with Autism:

“We think autism begins very early, most likely in the womb, and research suggests that our environment can increase a child’s risk. But by the time children are diagnosed at age 3 or 4, it’s hard to go back and know what the moms were exposed to. With baby teeth, we can actually do that.”

The Medical News journal goes on to state:

“The study revealed that children with ASD had much higher levels of lead throughout their development.”

Still, there is not enough data to prove that toxic metals influence autistic expression. However, any individual looking to carry a child in the future would do well to engage in a regular sauna therapy practice to detoxify the body before impregnation.

Further, although the evidence is not conclusive,  there seems to be a correlation between heavy metal bodily pollution and autism. Certainly regular sauna bathing is a powerful means by which to detoxify the body and therefore potentially reduce symptom expression.

Parents often want to take any steps necessary to improve the quality of life for their children. If there is a chance that detoxifying the body of heavy metals with sauna bathing to render the daily life experience of an autistic child easier, then certainly it would be worth it. 

Sauna Bathing And Children: A Few Precautions

If parents decide that sauna bathing is an appropriate treatment for their children, there are a few precautions to consider. The developing bodies of youngsters are more sensitive to heat, so it is worth considering infrared sauna therapy over other types of heat therapy modalities for the reason that atmospheric temperature is significantly lower.

It does not take extreme elevated temperatures to improve BH4 distribution and increase HSP production, which would be the goal in treating an autistic child. 

Children should never be left unattended in a sauna. It is important that a trusted adult remain with the child at all times. 

Lastly, children should not stay in saunas for as long as adults would. Taking a fifteen minute sauna three times a week is adequate to increase HSP production, circulate BH4, and detoxify the body. 

*** Before beginning sauna therapy parents should check with their primary care physician.

Sauna Bathing To Improve The Quality Of Life For Individuals Living With Autism

Happy child with autism who receives infrared sauna therapy

Autistic Spectrum Disorder means many different things for many different people. In fact, for some it is not a disorder at all, just a different way of being in the world.

If you are the parent of a child with autism and you feel that you would like to improve the quality of life for your child, then regular sauna bathing does promise to improve BH4 levels, as well as HSPs, and further detoxify the body of potentially harmful heavy metals. 

Autism may be correlated to BH4 deficiency and it stands to reason based on scientific research that improved levels of BH4 lower the level of symptoms experienced and expressed, including, but not limited to improved social interactions, heightened cognitive abilities, and eye contact.

When children are participating in sauna bathing of any type, every precaution must be taken to ensure their safety.

Autism is not necessarily a condition that needs to be ‘fixed’. Many individuals consider this ‘disorder’ to be a gift. All of the recommendations and studies presented in this article are for individuals who are suffering in some capacity due to autistic expression.

Sauna therapy, particularly infrared saunas, do promise to improve overall health and quality of life for individuals of all walks of life including those within the autistic spectrum. 



Infrared Sauna Therapy And Heavy Metal Detoxification Protocol

With many of the technological conveniences of modern living there are some downsides to our heavily industrialized world. Among the most significant symptoms of contemporary life is the prevalence of heavy metals in the air, food, water, and many consumer products.

Heavy metals may be highly destructive to health and are also found everywhere. Regardless how vigilant an individual may be in their lifestyle and daily choices, it can be difficult to avoid the accumulation of heavy metals. All is not lost, however, heavy metals are easily extracted from the body through specific detoxification protocols. 

Significant research by the National Institute of Health suggests that the unique quality of radiant heat experienced during an infrared sauna may effectively relieve the body of harmful heavy metals. 

Explore what heavy metals in particular may be harmful to health, how to detect their presence in your body, and finally active steps you can take to detoxify the body from their loaded impact on vitality.

What Are Heavy Metals And How Are They Accumulated In The Body?

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium

Metallic elements with heavy atomic weight that also boast a density that is five times higher than that of water have been given the name heavy metals based on their weight and density!

The prolific use of heavy metals in technology, medication, domestic structures, agriculture, and  industrial use, means that they are ubiquitous and somewhat inescapable. (1)

Due to their omni presence, heavy metals in the body are accumulated over time through environmental exposure; from food, polluted water, industrial airborne chemicals, pharmaceutical medication,the containers that carry food and beverage, the paint on the walls of buildings, and even tooth fillings. Most humans alive today have some level of heavy metal poisoning depending on geographical location and lifestyle choices. (2)

While all humans need certain heavy metals to maintain balance within the body, such as zinc, manganese, copper, iron, and chromium, an excess may cause damage to the body. Conversely the wrong types of heavy metals absorbed into the body may eventually degrade health. 

Particularly harmful heavy metals to be aware of are cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead.  None of the aforementioned metallic elements have any known benefit to human physiology. (2)

While considering heavy metal poisoning please remember that even the most vigilant of citizens, who are cautions of what they eat, the products consumed, and even where they live, are all collectively subject to the absorption of toxic metals by virtue of being alive on planet earth today.

While there are some measures each individual can take to reduce exposure to heavy metals, such as ensuring that our homes and offices are free of lead based paint, drinking bottled water, choosing to eat organic food, living in cities or places that have less industrial chemicals in the air, at the end of the day most are in the same boat.  Toxic levels of heavy metals exist in the body.

The good news is that through concerted detoxification protocols it is possible to safely rid the body of harmful metals. 

Why Are Heavy Metals Harmful To The Body And What Type Of Symptoms Or Diseases Develop With Over Accumulation?

A man, suffering from too many heavy metals in his body

Once absorbed from the environment heavy metals are stored in the soft tissues of the body and over time begin to erode certain physiological systems, including organ function. Particularly challenging are the stress that heavy metals place upon the liver and kidneys, specifically designed to filter out foreign or toxic substances from the body.

The growing rate of over 80 varieties of autoimmune disorders appears to be in direct relationship to growing exposure to heavy metals. (3) While heavy metal absorption may not directly cause certain chronic conditions, certainly their presence in the body depletes not only organ function, but also signals the autonomic nervous system into states of stress response. 

Symptoms from over exposure to heavy metals varies significantly depending on the intensity of absorption. For most it is the slow rise of the heavy metal toxicity within the body that overtime erodes immune function, the balance of the endocrine system, as well as positive organ function.

Typically illnesses that evolve as chronic conditions may not be diagnostically related to heavy metal exposure.  However significant clinical data reveals that through both hair mineral testing, as well as the measuring of metals present within perspiration, there is certainly a causative, or correlative relationship to heavy metal exposure and specific chronic conditions. (4)

According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD: 

“This question hardly needs answering for many people. The threat of environmental pollution, food, air, and water contamination and from other sources is the highest it has been on the planet earth for thousands of years, at the very least. The main reason is industrialization.” (4)

Regardless of how vigilant a person may be at avoiding heavy metal absorption, it is ultimately too difficult, if not impossible to avoid. Therefore, given the ubiquitous nature of heavy metals the issue at hand is how can heavy metals safely be detoxified from the body?

How can we safely release Toxic Heavy Metals From The Body?

An in-depth study performed by the National Institute Of Health on the topic of: “Arsenic, Cadmium, lead, mercury and sweat” demonstrates that not only can toxic metals be released through heavy perspiration, but moreover, the means by which the body is heated played a relevant role in successfully detoxifying the body. (3

The study took samples of sweat released from subjects both as a result of exercise, sauna bathing, and infrared sauna bathing. (3) While all forms of raising the body’s temperature to intentionally release sweat demonstrated levels of heavy metals in perspiration, due to the radiant nature of infrared heat, this means of thermal therapy was more successful at inducing detoxification than any other method.

So, why is infrared light capable of producing more heavy metals in sweat than any other means of raising the body’s temperature?

If you recall from earlier in this article, heavy metals are stored within the soft tissue of the body. Ambient heat successfully raises the body’s temperature to induce sweating, particularly the mid and far infrared light spectrum.  Due to the frequency of wavelengths emitted, this light is able to penetrate deeply into the soft tissues of the body. 

It is the very nature of the deeply penetrative rays of mid and far-infrared light that is able to successfully heat the body from the inside out. This mechanism allows for stored heavy metals in the soft tissues of the body to be released through sweat. (3)

Not only is it possible to rid the body of harmful heavy metals, there are specific means to doing this, that are more impactful. Radiant heat emanating from the infrared spectrum may be more successful at achieving detoxification from heavy metals than any other heat therapy mechanism.

Creating Healthy Tissues & Organs With Detoxification Protocol

 Human blood cells benefiting from detoxification protocol,  which can be initiated during infrared therapy

Given the heavy burden placed upon the systems of the body through heavy metal overload, it is no wonder that the internal organs almost immediately demonstrate high function after an infrared sauna session. (5)

An enormous pressure is placed upon the cleansing and purifying organs of the body such as the liver and kidneys.  Through sauna bathing individuals are able to capitalize on the largest organ of the body, the epidermis, to cleanse the system from heavy metals. 

Many individuals will notice a shift in available energy after just a few weeks of regular infrared sauna bathing as the internal organs are relieved from processing and eliminating heavy metals. 

Further, high doses of heavy metals within the body’s systems keep the autonomic nervous system in sympathetic dominance as it senses the heavy metals as an external threat. When the autonomic nervous system remains in stress response, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released, which serves to only further compound the toxic overload. 

Infrared sauna therapy may be a viable means of detoxifying the body of heavy metals.   It is also a powerful force in transitioning the autonomic nervous system out of stress response back to states of relaxation and rejuvenation. 

Even with great vigilance surrounding where we live, the water we drink, and the food we consume, there is little the modern citizen of planet earth can do to avoid the accumulation of heavy metals.

Infrared Sauna Therapy To Detoxify The Body Of Heavy Metals

Contemporary living means that heavy metal accumulation happens, with virtually every industry affecting the high levels of environmental metallic elements. Regardless of how dedicated an individual may be to avoiding heavy metals in their food, water, and consumer products it’s accumulation is bound to happen.

The National Institute Of Health’s study reveals that all forms of sweating will aid in the detoxification of heavy metals from the body.  Moreover, this groundbreaking research reveals that the nature of the radiant heat of infrared sauna bathing demonstrates higher levels of heavy metals in the sweat as mid and far infrared light is able to steep itself into the soft tissues of the body where heavy metals accumulate.

While air, food, water, and products may be contaminated with heavy metals, the advent of the availability of infrared sauna therapy may be an ideal solution to detoxify the body.

*** Neosauna Tip: Anytime individuals are engaged in activities that produce copious sweating it is important to hydrate well before, during, and after the activity. Further, due to the power of infrared sauna therapy to detoxify the body, it is well worth considering re-mineralizing the body of healthful substances such as selenium, zinc, and magnesium. While profuse perspiration relieves the body of harmful toxins, so too are many healthy minerals lost.

Considering consuming mineral water after your sauna session. The bottled water Gerolsteiner boasts over 2500 minerals per 1.5 liter and may be a great option to rehydrate and re-mineralize after your sauna session.

Sources Cited:


Epigenetics And Infrared Sauna Therapy

Long gone are the days that individuals are relegated  to mere victims of heredity, in fact the emerging field of epigenetics suggests that each person can actively participate in how DNA is demonstrated physically.

Consider this:  DNA is the recipe or the blueprint, the design behind physical expression, proteins are the ingredients, and you, the individual is the chef! A recipe can be on point in every facet, but if the ingredients are spoiled, it is irrelevant how good the recipe is. 

This article will help you understand how to maintain healthy proteins, or ‘ingredients’ so that DNA can be healthfully carried out in physical expression, as well as ensuring accurate  and positive cellular replication. 

Epigenetics suggests that a few lifestyle changes, nothing invasive or complicated, can powerfully impact genetic expression! Find out how red, infrared light and heat can promote healthy proteins, positive cellular replication, and ultimately the highest version of your DNA expression.

What Is Integrative Medicine? 

Increasing numbers of medical practitioners are beginning to invite complementary treatments into healthcare protocol to treat both acute and chronic conditions.This trend toward integrative medicine that encompasses both allopathic and alternative care into medicinal regimen is largely due to the surfacing of epigenetics. 

Profound understanding that environmental factors and lifestyle choices as powerful influencers on genetic expression has changed the game of healthcare. No longer is it sufficient to rely solely on one system of care to treat illness. For many years it was believed that heredity predetermined many ailments, and in a sense individuals were left feeling as if they were victims of their genes. Not anymore, in fact evidence suggests that individuals are an active participant in genetic expression.

Integrative wellness or medicine is not only a luxury for the hippie dippie upper middle class, but rather a necessary approach to maintain balance and vitality for all people. Here is what the National Institute Of Health states regarding this merger of western medicine with alternative care:

“Western medicine, while excelling at acute care and surgery, puts great emphasis on the chronic use of drugs to suppress the symptoms of illness. What is forgotten is that our bodies have a natural wisdom and intelligence; they have an intrinsic knowledge of how to grow, heal, maintain balance, restore homeostasis, and regenerate. Our bodies have evolved over aeons with capabilities, but when they are suppressed, for example, when nutrition, exercise, and diet are not given adequate attention, or people ingest toxins, then ‘lifestyle-related’ diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are much more likely to arise.” (1)

Mainstream medicine is now incorporating a variety of forms of what was once considered ‘alternative’ medicine into health care regiments, understanding both positive aspects of the allopathic systems as well as its limitations. 

Integrative medicine draws on many fields of healing modalities including, but not limited to:

  • Mindfulness – Meditation, Yoga, Breath, Tai Chi, Ji Gong, and other physical practices that stem largely from eastern traditions.
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Acupuncture, Chiropractics, Massage, Healing touch, Color Therapy
  • Thermal Therapy –  Infrared Saunas, Traditional Saunas, Cryotherapy, Steam Rooms
  • Light And Color Therapy – Chromotherapy, Photobiomodulation (Red & Near infrared light) 

The holistic or integrative approach recognizes that the mind, body, and emotional apparatus each influence the overall health of the individual. In addition to traditional allopathic methodologies, leaders in the field of health care now recognize the necessity to draw on complementary approaches to activate the natural healing intelligence of the body.

The widespread push toward integrative medicine has its roots in epigenetics. Epigenetics affirms that the environment, both internal and external, plays a major role in what genes are expressed, or turned on. This places each individual in the power position to make lifestyle choices that both promote and expand their health.

What Is Epigenetics

Genetic expression after infrared therapy

“Emerging epigenetic data indicate that IM (integrative medicine) techniques are fully viable and credible approaches for treating illness, on par with Western medical counterparts in terms of goals and risks. In fact, these approaches have proven superior to some conventional treatments because they tend not to elicit such serious side effects. Since it is understood that epigenetic factors are potent modulators of gene expression and that such modulations can be reversible, it is logical to presume that factors and practices within the IM purview are capable of evoking an epigenetic response.” (1)

So, what exactly is epigenetics? 

Epigenetics is derived from the root word, ‘epi’ which means above in greek (think of epidermis: the top layer of skin).  It is the assertion that changes or modifications in the environment, be it internal or external, may influence gene expression rather than the altering of the genetic code itself. (2)

Neosauna Tip: Epigentics does not involve altering genetic coding of the DNA itself, which are similar to the blueprints of a design project, genetic expression refers to what portions of the blueprint are manifested in physical form. Epigentics describes how environmental factors influence what portion of genetic coding gets ‘turned-on’ and which portion of the ‘blueprints’ remain unactualized. DNA is a potential expression, not the actual expression itself. 

The goal of integrative medicine is to actualize positive genetic expression based on lifestyle habits. For many years it was believed that each individual was destined to live with hereditary conditions that they had no control over, this is simply no longer the truth.

Exploring lifestyle choices that promote the positive expression of genes involves breaking certain harmful habits, ensuring the balance of the autonomic nervous system, and adding components into the environment that activate innate healing potential of the body.

The specific relationship between human cellular composition and the red and infrared light spectrum augments the healing response at the cellular level to activate superior health.

How Does Red Light And Infrared Light Impact Genetic Expression?

“Light and temperature shape nuclear architecture and gene expression” (3)

Modifying genome expression can occur through the use of a multitude of methods. However, evidence suggests that both light in therapeutic doses, as well as temperature-based modalities, play a pivotal role. 

Photobiomodulation And Epigenetics: An Oxygenated Body

A person breathing fresh oxygen into their body

Photobiology is a powerful means to alter genome expression, very specifically the use of red and infrared lights as seen in photobiomodulation (PBM) is among the most impactful. 

The photoreceptors of each cell within human physiology are awakened by the spectrum of red and infrared light. Ostensibly, the energy center of each cell, the mitochondria, alter their metabolic reaction in response to therapeutic doses of red and infrared light. Absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (4)

Mitochondrial response to light photons emitted from red and infrared light has a powerful effect on energy conversion to increase oxygen levels in the body. Through exposure to the broadband of red and infrared light, absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (4)

By increasing the oxygenation level of the entire body with PBM,  the specific means by which cellular replication occurs alters genome expression. (5) Many diseases and illnesses simply cannot abide within an environment that is rich in oxygen. 

Heat Therapy And Epigenetics: Heat Shock Proteins & And Telomere Length

Whenever the outer or inner environment experiences a positive change, by necessity genome expression is also positively altered. By intentionally raising the core temperature of the body a chain of biochemical reactions occur to impact how proteins express the blueprint of DNA.

Neosauna Tip: Please note that healthy proteins determine the accurate and positive rendering of DNA. (6)

Therapeutic doses of intentional heat as experienced in saunas is crucial in the creation of healthy proteins as well as healthy protein caps.

Saunas affect proteins in two primary ways:

  1. Heat Shock Protein Production
  2. Influence The Maintenance Of Telomere Length 

Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are essentially protein chaperones. HSPs are macromolecular structures, despite their tiny size, their discovery in the early 1960s has opened up doors in the field of genetics, changing forever how the scientific and medical communities view our genetic mapping. HSPs provide an opportunity for each organism to ‘up-regulate’ gene expression. (6)

This is because HSPs are responsible for ‘folding’, or essentially protecting proteins. Proteins are responsible for the actualization of the blueprint of DNA. If DNA is the recipe, then proteins are the ingredients used to prepare the meal, and each individual is the cook. If expired ingredients are used to prepare the meal, it does not matter how good the recipe is, the meal will not be healthful or tasty!

Therefore, protein health is an intrinsic component in the upregulation of genetic expression. Protein health is ameliorated by increasing HSPs in the body, essentially the caretaker of the proteins. (7)

The National Institute of Health recently published a journal entitled: “Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging”, the following is stated in this publication: 

“Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival. The rate of telomere shortening can be either increased or decreased by specific lifestyle factors.” 

What is a telomere and why are they so important in determining genetic expression?

Telomeres are the end caps of chromosomes, similar to the plastic around the end of a shoelace that serves to stop the shoelace from fraying. The function of a telomere is to protect the ends of chromosomes during cellular replication. Before cellular division occurs it must copy DNA so that each daughter cell inherits the direct replica. Without telomeres, DNA would be lost every time cell division took place. (9)

In short telomeres are like buffers to chromosomes, and ensure the accurate transmission of DNA during cellular replication. Aging occurs because over time telomeres shorten in length eventually eroding the chromosomes themselves to create mutiny of cellular replication. 

Research performed by the National Institute of Health suggests that telomere length can be maintained, and therefore the accurate transmission of DNA by ensuring profuse intentional sweating at least three times a week for fifteen minutes. (10) Passive sweating has greater effects on maintaining telomere length than does sweating due to intense physical exertion. 

As opposed to sweating that occurs as a result of vigorous exercise, passive sweating occurs in saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs. Passive sweating is critical because it allows the autonomic nervous system to remain in states of growth and nourishment even as the cardiovascular system is stimulated and profuse sweating occurs. (10)

Epigenetics relies upon healthy proteins and accurate cellular replication. This can be achieved, in through passive sweating to ensure production of protein chaperones as well as the maintenance of telomere length.

Sweat, Light, Proteins And Epigenetics: Infrared Sauna Bathing The Path To Positive Genetic Expression

Sweat droplets highlighted by the infrared light spectrum

Positively affecting genetic expression does not need to be invasive or complicated. In fact, there is no lab necessary or visits to high-end clinics. It is possible to positively affect gene expression through something as basic as infrared sauna bathing.

Infrared sauna therapy is the ultimate:  ‘two birds; one stone’ ideology because it capitalizes on both the benefits of photobiology as well as heat therapy.

There is sufficient research to suggest, and evidence to support, the truth that each individual can become an active participant in their genetic expression by making lifestyle choices that support healthy proteins, mitochondrial metabolism and healthful cellular replication.

No need for extensive stem cell procedures to ensure that the blueprint of your DNA is accurately and positively expressed phenomenally!

Sources Cited:

  7. ‘Biology Of Belief’, Dr. Bruce Lipton, 2008

Longevity And Sauna Bathing

What is life extension really about? Implicit in any longevity program is not merely extending the quantity of chronological life, but also improving the quality of life. For many, this means creating a body that is free of disease, full of vitality, and an emotional stance that is both stable and joyful. 

The pursuit of longevity can be broken down into two primary branches. First, creating a healthy physiological landscape that prevents high mortality rates due to disease and illness. Second, altering and transforming how genes are expressed through proteins in a coherent and high functioning cellular landscape.

Longevity is a complex topic. There are many factors that correlate indirectly and directly to the quantity and quality of life. From geographical location, nutrition, and genetics, there are many aspects to consider. 

There will always be considerations that fall out of the realm of immediate control, but with respect to the participatory actions an individual can take toward his or her longevity, regular sauna bathing emerges as a heavy hitter in the game of longevity.

For the sake of precision and clarity, this article has been divided into two primary compartments.

  • Factor #1: The reduction of the risk of mortality from chronic disease and an examination into how and why regular sauna bathing may positively impact degenerative illness.
  • Factor # 2: The transformation of proteins, cellular, and intracellular expression through sauna bathing to alter the physiological makeup of each individual to promote longevity.

What Is Longevity And How Is It Defined?

In very simplistic terms, longevity refers to life expectancy. Increasing longevity, or the probability of living longer, involves two primary components: A) Reducing the risk of mortality and B) Altering the biological expression of age at a cellular level.

In tandem, both factors contribute to expected longevity for the human species. While there are many correlative elements that contribute to life expectancy; from genetics, to nutrition, geographical location, access to modern medicine, and clean water. Each of these influences play major roles in determining an individual or community’s life expectancy.  Another surprising factor that is deeply compelling for longevity is sauna bathing.

With over forty clinical studies on health and sauna bathing, research demonstrates impressive evidence into the field of sauna bathing and human biology that has accelerated over the past twenty years. This collection of data demonstrates that regular sauna bathing may powerfully and positively impact health in general, and more specifically longevity.

Factor # 1 Reducing Overall Mortality Risk With Sauna Bathing

  • Improve Insulin Sensitivity
  • Reduce Chronic Heart Failure & Hypertension
  • Improve Cardiovascular Function
  • Augment Circulation And Oxygenation Of The Body
  • Create Healthy Intracellular Communities Rich In Heat Shock Proteins

Consider two primary factors in determining life extension. The first is the ability to reduce the risk of mortality.  This concept, however, abides beyond the parameter of ‘life events’. If we can define ‘life events’ as for example, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, crime, and other contributing causes of death that are not overtly health related; meaning those occurence outside of immediate control.

There is little action anyone can take outside of safety precautions and measures, so perhaps there ought to be a third factor category labeled ‘Fate’. When it comes to maintaining a healthy body free of disease, sauna bathing certainly is a heavy hitter in any life extension program.

Sauna Bathing And Heart Health

“The cardiovascular effects of saunas have been well documented in the past. It lowers blood pressure, and there is every reason to believe that its effects are good for blood vessels.” (1)

This is written by Dr. Thomas Lee, a cardiologist from Harvard Medical. From heart disease to diabetes, and a broad array of autoimmune diseases, many chronic illnesses respond positively to regular sauna bathing. Roughly 670,000 Americans die every year of heart-related diseases. As a general demographic there is great room for improvement when it comes to heart health.

While, it is absolutely true that diet and other contributing lifestyle habits profoundly impact heart health; it is also true, that regular sauna bathing demonstrates positive results for individuals living with chronic heart conditions. Moreover, it is relatively inexpensive, accessible, as well as enjoyable.

For anyone interested in longevity, establishing a healthy heart will certainly be top of the list. From Harvard Medical Journal on Heart Disease Fatality reporting on a study involving individuals living with cardiovascular disease, the authors write: 

“Frequent visits to a sauna were also associated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke” (1)

Autoimmune Disorders And Sauna Bathing: Remission And Sauna Bathing

According to the National Institute Of Health over 23.6 million Americans live with autoimmune disorders. While many of the over 80 varieties of autoimmune disorders may not always be directly lethal, they can be debilitating and weaken immune defenses that ultimately increase mortality rates. (2)

Sauna bathing capitalizes on the thermoregulatory trait of humans to continually find a balance of internal temperature. By virtue of this innate trait, a variety of the body’s systems are engaged in order to do this, including the triad of the autonomic nervous system; the hypothalamus (the emotional center of the brain), pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. (3)

Many autoimmune disorders, although they exist without a concrete causative factor, can be traced back to overextension of sympathetic dominance, or more colloquially put, living in states of stress for too long depletes the health of the body. A depleted physical form inevitably begins to demonstrate illness and disease. Sauna bathing nurtures the autonomic nervous system by ushering states of being back into parasympathetic dominance where cellular regeneration occurs as well as healing of the tissues of the body. (3)

Type II Diabetes And Sauna Bathing: Secretion Of Heat Shock Proteins Positively Affects Insulin Sensitivity

According to Dr. Philip L. Hooper of Colorado University Medical, in his published journal by the National Institute of Health, there is a strong correlation between full body thermal therapy, the production of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs), and insulin sensitivity. He writes the following expanding on the relationship between this cascade of  biochemical change:

“t2DM (Type II Diabetes) is an age-related disease that reduces longevity and in many ways accelerates many of the features associated with aging. HSPs are thought to play a fundamental role in longevity and aging.” (4)

Research suggests that insulin sensitivity is low in tissues where there are less HSPs, this has a remarkable impact on both types of diabetes. This information suggests that as the number of HSPs increase in different tissues of the body, so too does insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity directly impacts the expression of both types of diabetes. While it is true that all thermal therapy induces increased HSPs, meaning either plunging temperatures, or elevated temperatures, the former is certainly a more comfortable option! 

For a variety of reasons, sauna therapy in its many forms is more pleasurable, accessible, and possibly a safer means by which to increase the production of heat shock proteins than extreme cold therapies. The development of Type II diabetes drastically impacts longevity in a significant portion of global society.

Brain Degenerative Diseases And Sauna Bathing:

A senior couple walking and strengthening their hearts

According to a finnish study that followed twenty men between the ages of 42 years and 60 years over a decade, researchers found that regular sauna bathing (at least three times per week) had a strong correlation in the reduction of the expression of brain degenerative diseases. The authors of the publicized journal entitle their work:

“Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men” (5)

There were an estimated 46 million individuals in 2015 diagnosed world wide with some form of dementia. Deterioration of brain function significantly reduces life expectancy, but moreover greatly reduces the quality of life. It is true that there are many factors that contribute to progressive brain degenerative diseases, it is remarkable the positive impact that regular sauna bathing has on preventing the development of dementia. (6)

In addition, not only is sauna bathing effective, it is also enjoyable and relies on the natural functions of biology. Certainly, with the wellspring of available health benefits associated with sauna bathing its impact on Alzheimers and other brain degenerative diseases is astounding.

Factor # 2 Biological Age Versus Chronological Age:  Genes, Proteins, And Cellular Expression

  • Heat Shock Proteins: Intracellular Health
  • Telomeres: The Longevity Protein Cap
  • FOX03: A Gene Necessary For Longevity
  • Autonomic Nervous System Health

Longevity is not only a matter of reducing mortality rate: Fundamental to any life extension program is the transformation of cellular composition, genetic expression and a balanced autonomic nervous system that fosters the health of all tissues within the body’s systems.

What Is A Telomere And How Does Its Length Affect Longevity? Ground Zero Of The Aging Process

Telomeres are the ‘caps’ that seal off the proteins at the end of each and every chromosome. Often likened to the plastic portion of a shoelace that keeps the lace from fraying at the end. Telomeres have three primary functions:

  • They help to organize each of the 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell
  • They protect the ends of the chromosomes by forming a ‘cap’ this ensures proper fusion 
  • They allow cells to replicate properly during cell division (8)

The demonstration of increased biological age can be brought back to ground zero. Are telomeres maintaining length? 

Every time DNA is replicated the chromosome strands are shortened. This is fine because the end caps, the telomeres, take the hit of being shortened. Once telomere length is shortened excessively, DNA itself, without the protective barrier,  also begins to be affected and demonstrable aging occurs. (8)

Neosauna Tip:

Longevity could be summed up in one sentence: Maintain telomere length; Maintain Youth!

So if every time cellular replication occurs and telomere length shortens, how do we keep telomeres healthy and long? Here is where regular sauna bathing comes in. Yes, it is possible to ensure telomere health through sweating it out in a warm cabin like structure! This is great news.

The action of telomerase allows cells to keep reloading without aging. (8) How can an individual encourage telomerase? What specific actions can be taken to ensure telomeres maintain their length? Creating a healthy atmosphere of the intracellular community is crucial. 

A study performed by Brigham Young University revealed that individuals who were able to sweat profusely at least three times a week demonstrated significantly longer telomere length. (9)

The reason why profuse regular perspiration is so critical is because Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are produced in higher quantities. Singularly HSPs play a vital role in intracellular health. Often HSPs are considered protein chaperones; they escort, clean, and ensure a  healthy intracellular space void of excessive free radicals.

Through regular thermal, both hot and cold therapies, the body begins to produce  more HSPs.  This, in turn, aids in the maintenance of telomere length so that cellular replication can occur in a healthy way without destruction to DNA.

Heat Shock Proteins, Telomere Length, And FOX03: The Longevity Cocktail

The triad of protein chaperones, protein end caps, and the longevity gene makes it possible to actively reduce the biological expression of age. Unfortunately, continued environmental stress may erode the efficacy of this triad.

When research is performed on the gene FOX03, by changing the external environment to include more or less toxins, it directly affects the lifespan of the subject. (10

Authors of: ‘FOX03: A Major Gene For Human Longevity’ published by the National Institute of Health and authored by Dr. Brian J. Morris, writes:

“…Because of its actions and strategic position in relation to intracellular pathways, FOX03 has long been considered to play a pivotal role in the molecular basis of longevity”

As a healthy intracellular community is crucial for the gene FOX03, it becomes clear why augmented production of HSPs, the protein chaperone is so critical. Further, the detoxification of potentially harmful pathogens that occurs while engaged in regular sauna bathing is paramount to maintaining the integrity of FOX03. The production of HSPs that occurs while engaged in sauna therapy is necessary to maintain a healthy intracellular community, and therefore the integrity of the longevity gene FOX03.

The Autonomic Nervous System And Longevity

The nervous system reaping the positive benefits of infrared therapy

“Oxidative stress: Accounts for the loss of between 50-100 base pairs per cell division. The amount of oxidative stress in the body is thought to be affected by lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, and stress.” (8)

Imperative to longevity is a balanced autonomic nervous system, this ensures that individuals do remain in states of stress response for prolonged periods of time. Stress, as the leading cause of chronic illness is not news, but how does this work?

Understand that all involuntary processes within the body including heart rate, digestion, cellular regeneration, circulation, the list goes, all take directive from the autonomic nervous system, thus the name autonomic. Within this system of the body two states of being can occur, but are mutually exclusive. This means that when the adaptive portion of the autonomic nervous system swings into sympathetic dominance, or survival states, circulation, hormone secretion, mood, heart rate, and many other involuntary actions are all affected. (7)

Survival depends upon the individual’s ability to release cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands to perform extreme acts of fight or flight, however if individuals remain in states of stress response for too long, eventually the body’s health is eroded. 

Regeneration, healthy digestion, and cellular nourishment only occur when the autonomic nervous system is in parasympathetic dominance. This means that healthy cell replication can only occur in states of rest and relaxation. Sauna bathing is an incredible tool that aids to coax the autonomic nervous system back into states of regeneration where health and ultimately longevity can be experienced.

Anyone interested in promoting their personal health must find both easy and accessible means of drawing the autonomic nervous system out of states of stress response back into relaxation. 

Adrenaline overload is a primary correlative factor in almost all autoimmune disorders, when the body remains in stress response for prolonged periods of time, eventually the adrenal glands break down. Consider the health of the endocrine system; pineal, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive glands. When this system is in balance a multitude of health benefits occur; likewise when the endocrine system is out of balance there is an erosion of health, vitality, and longevity within the physical form.

Individuals looking for longevity protocol would do well to add regular sauna bathing to a well balanced healthy diet, clean water, and plenty of rest!

Criteria To Acquire Results Successfully: The ‘How To’ Of Sauna Bathing For Longevity

With over 40 peer reviewed articles on sauna bathing and longevity, one thing that is clear; in order to benefit from the results of sauna bathing, the therapy must be engaged regularly. This means, a minimum of three times per week for fifteen minutes.

Yes, sauna bathing promises compelling results for human longevity, but you must be willing to commit to regular sauna protocol. 

It is no wonder that sauna bathing in its many forms has existed since before recorded history. Science has now enabled a means by which to measure these astounding truths; from reducing mortality rates by aiding in the prevention and remission of chronic illness, to enhancing protein health and genetic expression sauna bathing may hold the key to the fountain of youth, but you must be willing to turn to your heat therapy several times a week!  

Is sauna bathing the elixir of life? Perhaps. Certainly it has stood the test of time and scientific research. If you feel moved toward a longevity program for yourself, take some time to discover what form of sauna bathing suits your personality, and lifestyle!



Longevity And Light Therapy

Emanation of light from the sun is what makes life bountiful on planet earth.  Just as light sustains life in the oceans and on land, when specific frequencies are used in therapeutic doses, human life expectancy may also be extended.

Longevity is the process of extending life expectancy and there are many tools and protocols an individual can engage to positively contribute. While many protocols involve adding or subtracting substances into the body, such as nutrition, vitamins, pharmaceuticals or even calorie reduction, light therapy capitalizes on enhancing the natural cellular mechanisms.

In 1965 NASA began turning to light therapy modalities to ensure the healthful reintegration process of astronauts coming back to the planet after time in zero gravity. The use of light by this institution quickly evolved and spread globally as a viable medical treatment for a variety of conditions.

Research suggests that light used in therapeutic doses and in a controlled environment may positively affect life expectancy.

This article explores the human cellular relationship to light, the nature of light frequency, and more specifically what type of light affects longevity, and how to administer light protocol to extend life.

Light And Cellular Health: The Sum Total Of Parts

Human blood cells, which may benefit from infrared therapy

Longevity, light, and the human experience is best understood with a slight change of perception on physiology. Rather than considering the human body as a solid and static organism, as it is often studied, begin to conceive of the human form as an entity constantly in flux, and one that is in conversation with itself, as well as with the outer environment.

The human body is composed of roughly 50 trillion cells, a number that is beyond cognitive conception for most.  This community of cells makes up the sum total of an individual’s physiology. Where there is cellular health, there is also radiant overall health. 

Just like vegetation on land and plankton in the sea, human cellular composition depends upon the full spectrum of light for its survival. 

Understanding the depth of impact that light has on cellular health requires a closer look at the relationship between human cells and the light spectrum.

Neosauna Tip: The light Spectrum, a basic rundown

The sun radiates the full spectrum of light. Some light is visible to the human eye and is perceived as color, while other light is invisible but can often be experienced tactically as heat.

Electromagnetic radiation is one way that light travels to space; either coming off the sun, the flame of a candle, or from another heat source. All light demonstrates as wave frequency.  Each portion of the light spectrum has a unique cadence and rhythm of wave expression. It is the unique expression of each wavelength that gives the properties and qualities to each portion of the spectrum.

Wavelengths can be considered like the finger print for each color and light frequency. Each light frequency is composed of two oscillating forces that create the distinguished light wave: 

1) amplitude of electric field (E)  2) amplitude of magnetic field (M).

How E and M interface constitutes the nature of the wave of light. The means by which light frequency interacts with matter determines whether it is healthful or not for humans. Certain light waves have a greater impact on human cellular health, and conversely certain wavelengths may negatively impact human cellular health.

Take a look at the graph below. This illustrates the electromagnetic spectrum (1): 

You can see that the visible spectrum of light occupies a small portion of the entire electromagnetic field. 

As it turns out, each visible color of light has a positive impact on human health; however, it is the red and infrared (just beyond the visible spectrum) that have proven to be deeply beneficial for human cellular health. As measured in nanometers, ideally the range from 550 nm to 1200 nm will optimize health and longevity when used in controlled therapeutic doses. (2)

Each cell has photon receptors and it is the relationship between photon absorption and cellular health that can alter the course of life expectancy at an individual and collective level. 

Photobiomodulation: The Process Of Healing Damaged Tissues And Cells With Red And Near-Infrared Light

Human cells healing after infrared therapy

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a therapy that uses red and infrared light to effect positive change in the energy centers of human cells. 

PBM is not  based in thermal therapy; however, infrared sauna therapy will effectively capitalize on both heat therapy and PBM to actualize positive transformation. PBM is actualized based on the wave patterns of light as it interfaces with the coding of human cells to positively affect the energy manufacturing centers of the cells.

When specific light frequency is applied, in therapeutic doses to diseased or malfunctioning tissues of the body, through the mitochondrial engagement with light, it may be possible to produce resounding healing results to cells, tissues, and entire systems of the body. (3)

When damaged tissues are exposed to red and infrared light, cellular metabolism is positively induced. This creates a chain response of biological changes to decrease inflammation, pain, and injury.

Through exposure to the broad band of red and infrared light, absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (6) By enhancing nitric oxide production, oxygenation of the intracellular communities is augmented.

The cocktail of red and infrared light when administered in therapeutic doses positively oxygenates blood, and encourages increased circulation of this enriched blood throughout the body. 

Photobiomodulation, Oxidative Stress And Longevity

Oxidation is a naturally occuring chain of biochemical transformation in the body, however oxidative stress is when this process is out of balance in some capacity. Oxidative stress contributes to a multitude of diseases as well as to the aging process. Here is what Dr. Timothy J. Legg, PHD writes on the matter:

“When there are more free radicals present than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, the free radicals can start doing damage to fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body. Proteins, lipids, and DNA make up a large part of your body, so that damage can lead to a vast number of diseases over time. These include: Diabetes, atherosclerosis, inflammatory conditions, hypertension, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer. Oxidative stress also contributes to aging.” (4)

Photobiomodulation And Oxidative Stress Reduction

The use of red and infrared light in therapeutic doses may balance oxidation rates in the body. Research performed by The National Library Of Medicine in their journal ‘Effects of Photobiomodulation Therapy On Oxidative Stress In Muscle Injury Animal Models: A systematic Review’ suggests that through PBM not only are damaged tissues healed, but longevity is profoundly affected. An excerpt from this article reveals the following:

Since the mid-1960s, the use of light energy as a therapy for inflammation and cell tropism has opened up a new research field to understand interaction between electromagnetic energy and biological tissue. More recently, photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) has been used to mitigate and delay muscle fatigue and experimental condition…. Thus PBM has been reported to modulate oxidative events, reducing oxidative stress in different situations.”

By reducing oxidative stress in the body through red and infrared light therapy, it may be possible to extend life expectancy. Tissue repair occurs at faster rates in a body that is balanced in oxidative processes, thereby creating an internal atmosphere ripe for longevity.

Mitochondrial Hormesis and Longevity: Infrared Sauna Therapy Offers Both Heat And Light!

A woman relaxing during heat therapy

Mitochondria are organelles within each cell of the human body, they are responsible for the conversion of outsourced energy into usable sustenance for the body. Moreover recent studies suggest that these energy centers play an impactful role in the aging process. The National Library of Science and Medicine published the following:

“Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction implication increased oxidative stress has been proposed to be associated with a variety of diseases like diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Beyond that, impairment of mitochondrial activity is supposed to be a major reason for aging.” (8)

Therefore maintaining the high functionality of the mitochondria is an essential aspect to health, wellness, and also longevity.

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)  in high levels is known to cause damage to cells. Mitochondrial Hormesis, or Mitohormesis as it is sometimes called, is the process of lowering of ROS, and is therefore associated with both health and longevity (8).

Activation of mitohormesis can be done by a variety of methods, including calorie reduction, thermal therapy, as well as red light therapy (8).

Here is the big magic.  Infrared sauna therapy (with both color red and near infrared light) provides both heat therapy as well as light therapy to induce high functional mitochondria.

Dr. Michael Ristow writes on the subject of increased mitochondrial function and longevity:

“Accordingly, mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with the onset of age-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and neurodegeneration. Furthermore, impairment of mitochondrial activity is assumed to be a main cause of the aging process.” (7)

Without doubt, for individuals looking to promote longevity, fostering the health of the very important organelle mitochondria is critical. Gratefully, there are accessible and practical means to achieving this.

Heat & Light Serve To Foster Longevity: Is Infrared Sauna Therapy The Solution To Life Extension?

Human DNA strands, possible strengthened from infrared therapy

Evidence suggests that while there are several practical approaches to promoting mitochondrial health; two key ingredients are the engagement of PBM, as well as the use of thermal therapy.

Longevity is not about popping another pharmaceutical pill.  In fact it may be that simply enjoying an infrared sauna with regularity could extend life expectancy. The unique relationship between red and infrared light promotes the photon absorption within the cytoplasm of the cells to instigate a positive cascade of biochemical changes, namely inducing high functioning mitochondrial response.

Further, when PBM is combined with heat, a recipe for promoting mitochondrial health is, perhaps, perfected. 

No longer are individuals required to sit back as victims of heredity, but rather through light and heat therapy we may collectively and individually, actively participate in our longevity program.

Sources Cited:


Creativity Unveiled With Sauna Therapy

Is It Possible That The Tandem Union Of Light And Heat Are The Gatekeepers To Creative Flow?

Creativity can at times seem elusive, as if we have to quickly catch the tail of the tiger before the muse vanishes from before our eyes. What if there was a system, a way to tap into creative flow systematically, that could, with certainty, be repeated and replicated as needed?

At first glance it may seem absurd to think that sauna bathing would have anything to do with enhancing the creative process. It does not, however, take much digging to find that historically humans as a species have turned to sauna therapy to purify the body and to find commune with creative power. Across distant lands, and through time, the homosapien has turned to a variety of heat therapy modalities to accentuate their spiritual and creative connection.

The advent of modern biology can now explain why models of heat therapy have been so wildly compelling for the creative mind. From sweat lodges, to traditional Finish saunas, to the dugouts of East Africa, we have collectively as a species found healing, both of the body, mind, and spirit through intense perspiration.

Moreover, connection to the realm of the unseen is the essence of what allows the human vessel to render thought, ideas, and artistic visions into form. The criteria for creative outflow is to ensure that there is a fluid connection between consciousness and body. The human must be rendered a healthy and open vessel for creative flow to occur.

The journey of this article will allow us to illuminate the scientific findings on what happens to the nervous system while engaged in sauna bathing to enable heightened states of creativity, how the broad band of infrared light effects neurological health and cognitive ability through the process of photobiomodulation, methods to improve and stabilize mood through color light therapy, and finally meditative techniques and breath work that can be used while in the sauna to further expand the capacity for creativity.

The Autonomic Nervous System And Creativity: Heat May Guide The Way Back To Creative Flow

Heat from a sauna increasing creativity via the autonomic nervous system

Defining Creative Insight:

According to the National Institute Of Health in their 2016 published journal on creativity and the mind-body connection, creativity can be defined in the following manner:

“Creative insight (CI) has been extensively investigated in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, which is defined as the process in which impasses the solver encountered are broken by restructuring and then leads to a peculiar experience accompanying the sudden solution.” (1)

Creativity appears to be an intrinsic characteristic of the human experience, with solutions seeming to almost fall from the sky into mind’s eye. Regardless of the roles played in contextual life, without exception every individual relies on the powers of creativity to move through life’s challenges, to render ideas into shared reality, and to form relational connections with others.

Is it possible to predict and systematize the creative process? If so, what measures can be taken to ensure that creative flow occurs in predictable and reprical ways?

Autonomic Nervous System – Two States Of Being

Adaptive evolution has ensured that the autonomic occurrences within human physiology have developed in such a way to ensure survival as circumstance necessitates, as well as promoting the expression of creativity as the external stage permits.

The autonomic nervous system is subdivided into two primary branches, scientifically labeled, Sympathetic dominance and parasympathetic dominance. These two branches determine the state of being of the entire individual from biochemical reactions, neurotransmitter activity, hormonal secretion, immune response, and even the quality of thoughts that are generated. (2)

The adaptive quality of sympathetic dominance is outstanding in its ability to ensure the survival of our species both individually and collectively. This branch can be synonymously called states of survival, fight or flight, or stress response. (2)

For example, if our ancestors found themselves under immediate external threat, a predator stalking the entrance to our cave, within a fraction of a second a cascade of biological reactions occur to ensure our survival from this situation. The biochemistry of the body changes within a blink of an eye in preparation to fight the predator or to flee the scene.

Some of the physical transformations that occur include, heart rate elevation, external sensory perception is heightened, pupils dilate, breathing quickens, adrenaline and cortisol are released, and all available energy is directed toward either fighting the threat or running away, hence the term fight or flight. (2)

In addition to the physiological changes that occur in reaction to the external threat, thought forms are also affected. This is a good thing, it means that immediately the mind starts generating ‘worst case scenario thinking’ as a means of protection against an imminent threat. Using the example of a predator outside the cave entrance, the mind of the individual under threat begins immediately to consider all available exit strategies, what weapons might be available, essentially what to do given the worst case scenario if the predator enters the home. This type of survival thinking is critical when danger is immediate and real.

While the body is threatened, this is not a time to heal lingering infections, rejuvenate vital life force, or to create. This is a time to survive.

Ideally, the threat would be conquered either through battle or running away. Once safety was found the autonomic nervous system would transfer out of stress response back to states of safety known as the parasympathetic dominance.

The autonomic nervous system affects not only the biochemical make-up, but also the quality and type of thoughts that are generated.

While states of survival are hugely valuable when a real threat is imminent, what happens, if the autonomic nervous system is not able to find homeostasis, and individuals remain in fight or flight for long periods of time?

Unfortunately, healing of the physical body does not occur, and the mind continues with ‘worst case scenario thinking’, which is the antithesis of creative flow.

So, how does the autonomic nervous affect creativity?

Once greener pastures are found, ideally states of being are transferred back to rest, relaxation, digestion, and into states where wound healing and cellular regeneration can begin to occur. In addition, thought forms are also affected by this biological change. Once there is no longer a threat, thoughts themselves become internally oriented and creative.

Creativity occurs when the mind becomes expansive, when imagination is more real than outer circumstances. Fight or flight causes the mind to narrow its focus on potential danger, conversely states of relaxation allow the mind to broaden and become more receptive to creative flow.

If individuals find themselves in prolonged states of stress, response creativity will be affected. What happens then, if individuals are stimulated into survival response day after day, to threats that are both real and imagined? Two things begin to occur, the body begins to sink into illness, and the quality of thoughts produced by the survival brain continue to generate ‘worst case scenario thinking’, and there is no longer an internal climate ripe for creativity.

Fundamental to creative thought is the ability of the autonomic nervous system to find balance. In a fast paced modern world, many individuals experience surges of adrenaline day after day. The call to action for individuals looking to augment creative expression therefore is the ability to remain or shift back into parasympathetic dominance.

Sauna bathing provides a sanctuary space of relaxation for the autonomic nervous system to effortlessly slip back into states of rejuvenation, regeneration, and creativity.

Sauna Therapy And Parasympathetic dominance: Opening The Vessel Of Creativity

Heat embraces the body and draws the autonomic nervous system out of survival back into states of relaxation and trust. Slipping into a hot tub, leaning back against the benches of a steam room, or closing the eyes as the heat of a traditional sauna encompasses the body, has the effect of immediately releasing tension held in the muscles as the mind and body are soothed and comforted.

It does not take extensive scientific research to convince most of us that heat is relaxing. Nevertheless, it takes but a few short moments in a sauna for the autonomic nervous system to easily slip out of stress response back into states of rest and relaxation.

Published by Science Direct, in the journal of Cardiology, the article describes an extensive study performed on individuals living with cardiac and vascular disorders and their response to Waon therapy (the warming of the entire body using heat therapy), here is the conclusion of this study:

“Repeated Waon therapy improved cardiac function and normalized cardiac autonomic nervous activity by increasing parasympathetic and decreasing sympathetic nervous activity in CHF (chronic heart failure) patients.” (4)

Through a variety of heat therapy modalities, the balance of the autonomic nervous system is fostered. The nourishment of the autonomic nervous system directly correlates with the creative faculties of mind by rendering the body into states of relaxation, where thoughts themselves become more expansive and connected to imagination and solution.

It is no wonder that humans, regardless of time in history, cultural background, or geographical location have found solace in sauna bathing. Spiritual ritual and sauna bathing have often been in tandem association, the ability to access information from the realm of the unseen was no secret to our ancestors.

It may not be necessary or appropriate to engage in the rituals of the sweat lodge, or other cultural landmarks, where heat therapy is central. However it is possible through sauna bathing alone to sublimate thought forms to access greater levels of creative processing.

Sauna bathing will give the nudge the autonomic nervous system requires to easily slip out of survival back into states of profound relaxation where creative thoughts abound.

Photobiomodulation And Cognitive Function

Photobiomodulation from infrared sauna therapy improving cognitive functions

The origins of creativity may remain somewhat mysterious as folklore links the process to more ethereal models, such as the Muse or Genius who assume a personified role of external entities communicating from outside realms to inspire the human mind.

Regardless of perspective, whether it be a strictly materialistic view on creativity or a more ethereal one, there is with certainty the need to render the brain healthy and coherent in order to perform the full process of creative endeavor.

While it is true that a variety of heat therapy modalities are effective in balancing the autonomic nervous system, it is also true that the addition of specific therapeutic light to heat therapy protocol will produce even greater results on cognitive function. Therefore, the optimization of both modalities, heat and light will demonstrate compound results on creativity.

What Is Photobiomodulation And How Does It Affect Neurological Function?

Certainly the term photobiomodulation (PBM) is quite a mouthful, and its process may appear complex at first glance. PBM is the process by which red light, near, mid, and far infrared light affect a positive change in the metabolic system of cells.

PBM is not thermal therapy, meaning it relies on the wave patterns of light as they interface with the coding of human cells to positively affect the energy manufacturing centers of the cells. When specific light frequency is applied, in therapeutic doses to diseased or malfunctioning tissues of the body, through the mitochondrial engagement with light, it is possible to produce resounding healing results to tissues, and entire systems of the body. (5)

When exposed to red, near, mid, and far infrared light brain cells, like other cells in the human body, absorb the photons emitted by this range of light frequency into the inner lining of the membrane of the mitochondria (energy conversion center of the neuron). This positively affects the cellular metabolic function. (5)

How does improved neuronal metabolic function correlate to heighten states of creativity?

An artist expresses creativity after infrared sauna use

Michael R. Hamblin’s journal published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information describes PBM in the following way:

“Photobiomodulation (PBM) describes the use of red or near-infrared light to stimulate, heal, regenerate, and protect tissue that has either been injured, is degenerating, or else is at risk of dying. One of the organ systems of the human body that is most necessary to life, and whose optimum functioning is most worried about by humankind in general, is the brain.” (6)

By increasing neuronal metabolic function, cerebral oxygenation occurs. As the brain is immersed in more oxygen, cognitive function is improved. (6) For anyone who has ever tried to solve a problem, write, paint, or invent, they know well that a foggy mind is the antithesis to creative function.

PBM fosters the health of all cells in the human body, however when it comes to creativity, the effect that this form of light therapy has on brain function is unparalleled.

The orchestra of red and infrared light beaming around and bathing the body from the inside out married with the effects of heat therapy on the autonomic nervous system may form an unrivaled recipe for tapping in and tuning into creative flow!

Infrared Sauna Bathing Ties The Two Allies Of Creativity Together

When ancient wisdom and tradition finds itself at the nexus point of technological advancement a precious gem is revealed, the infrared sauna. The process of creative insight separates humans from other creatures of the earth to create an axis point of the imagination and the material.

Rather than waiting for creativity to happen to us, we can take specific steps to foster it. The path of the creative is nothing new, and like many who came before, the modern innovator can turn to heat and light therapy at the same time to stoke the creative fire.

Broad spectrum infrared sauna therapy combines the positive effects of heat therapy on the autonomic nervous system with the power of photobiomodulation on neuronal activity. If color therapy can be integrated into the infrared sauna experience, mood may also be elevated.

Mood, Creativity, And Color Light: A Neurotransmitters Narrative

Chromotherapy, or color light therapy, positively affects neurotransmitter activity to stabilize and uplift mood. Serotonin uptake is improved with exposure to medical grade color light. The pineal and pituitary glands are strongly affected by exposure to light. A lack of light can potentially erode the mood centers of the brain. Serotonin is not only important for mood stability, it is also the precursor to melatonin production in the pineal gland. (7)

By improving serotonin uptake through color therapy, sleep, through the release of higher amounts of melatonin, will deepen and become more restorative. There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to upgrade productivity. When sleep eludes the creative individual, it can feel as the mind itself is flat and without spark.

Color light therapy may help to stabilize mood, and improve the quality of sleep.

The brain and body’s ability to absorb the color light spectrum is magnified when done in conjunction with the infrared light spectrum. The frequency of infrared light waves becomes the giant upon which color light might ride, similar to a surfer moving gracefully with the power and momentum of the ocean’s waves. (8)

Meditation, Infrared Sauna Bathing, And The Veil Of Creativity

A woman feeling more creative after absorbing infrared light

The authors of the National Institute of Health’s 2016 journal on the correlation between the autonomic nervous system and creativity states the following:

“Meditation, for example, is known to be one method of integrative body-mind training that can improve CI (creative insight) performance and that can be linked to the interaction of the central and autonomic nervous system.” (1)

Once the stage has been set, and the oasis of an infrared sauna with color light therapy is ready for use, how individuals looking to boost creativity use their sauna can positively affect productivity in this realm.

Sauna bathing can provide an excellent space to begin or deepen a meditative practice.

Neosauna Tip For Meditation In Your Sauna:

  1. Begin your sauna lying on your back on the bench with legs up the wall. This will allow the low back to be supported entirely with the specific purpose of relaxing the psoas muscle that lines the back of the pelvis. As the psoas muscle relaxes a signal is sent to the autonomic nervous system to transfer out of sympathetic dominance back to states of relaxation.
  2. Draw both hands over the navel space, uniting the thumbs above the belly button as the two index fingers connect to form a triangle pointing toward the pubic bone. This will help to draw breath down into the depths of the belly as you feel the movement of breath below your palms.
  3. Inhale deeply through the nose, draw breath down to expand the belly.
  4. Once breath has been elongated and deepened you are ready to enter a creative meditation.
  5. If it pleases the practitioner the blue tooth speakers can be used to put on either a guided meditation or relaxing music tuned to 432 hz. This will influence brain waves to drop out of high beta, to alpha, and hopefully into theta.
  6. Linger here in this emotional and physical posture for as long as it is comfortable.

Active meditation allows brain waves to enter into a pattern that fosters creative thought (9). It can be helpful to have a pen and paper nearby in the event that an intellectual download occurs while in the sauna space.

Meditation is relaxing, but moreover, is critical for the creative mind to journey into the internal landscape where the imagination can inform the flow of thoughts.

Tune Into Your Creativity Systematically With Infrared Sauna Use

The revelatory effects of sauna bathing on the creative process was no mystery to our ancestors who walked the earth many thousands of years ago. The evolution of biology and physics can now explain why humans have turned to heat therapy since before recorded history to reconnect to creative power.

Creativity can be unleashed by follow specific protocol:

  1. Establish a heat therapy model that is readily accessible
  2. Combine heat with red and infrared light to promote photobiomodulation and ultimately harness the power of the brain and high functioning cognition
  3. Couple heat, infrared light, and color light to improve sleep and stabilize mood
  4. Complement your sauna experience with deep breathing and meditative practice.

No longer does the creative individual need to wait in vain for the creative spark to occur. By inviting sauna bathing into your daily experience, a system to induce the creative process can be found, and moreover replicated.

It is the splendid concert of light, heat, and meditation that may unlock the door to your creative flow!

Sources Cited:

  3. Breaking the Habit Of Being Yourself: How To Lose Your Mind And Create A New One, Dr. Joe Dispenza, 2015, February

Photobiomodulation: A Journey Inward To Understand How Light Can Change Cellular Expression

How our society at large understands, relates to, and uses light has changed drastically over the past forty to sixty years. Largely due to the accelerated discoveries of quantum physics coupled with progressive research into the field of bio-medicine, unprecedented findings on how light interacts with the cells, tissues, and systems of the human body have been revelatory for health, immunity, and longevity.

Photobiomodulation is an excellent example of the very practical means by which light is affecting the field of healthcare and wellness. Certainly the term photobiomodulation (PBM) is quite a mouthful, and its process may appear complex at first glance. In reality, PBM is a process that, once understood and engaged, may offer individuals an opportunity to change cellular function in a wildly impactful way.

The human body is composed of roughly 50 trillion cells, a number greater than what most of us can conceive of. Understanding the organism of the human form as the culmination of a community of cells all with a unique purpose and function lends itself to the ineffable truth that cellular health is overall wellness.

PBM is the process by which red light, near, mid, and far infrared light affect a positive change in the metabolic system of the individual cells. Most learned of photosynthesis in grade school, the process by which sunlight allows plants to transmute light energy into manufactured nourishment. In short, PBM can be considered a similar process to photosynthesis for humans engaged in red and infrared light therapy.

This article will explain the process of PBM, who and what conditions it may help, and how infrared sauna therapy is a means by which to engage PBM.

What Is Photobiomodulation And How Does It Work:

Photobiomodulation is a therapy that uses non-ionizing light, including, but not limited to, the broad ban of red, near, mid, and far infrared light to effect a positive change in the energy centers of mammal cells.

Neosauna Tip – Non- ionizing light as defined by the United States Department Of Labor is this:

“Non-ionizing radiation is described as a series of energy waves composed of oscillating electric and magnetic fields traveling at the speed of light. Non-ionizing radiation includes the spectrum of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), microwave (MW), radio frequency (RF), and extremely low frequency (ELF). Lasers commonly operate in the UV, visible, and IR frequencies.” (1)

PBM is not thermal therapy, meaning it relies on the wave patterns of light as they interface with the coding of human cells to positively affect the energy manufacturing centers of the cells. When specific light frequency is applied, in therapeutic doses to diseased or malfunctioning tissues of the body, through the mitochondrial engagement with light, it may be possible to produce resounding healing results to cells, tissues, and entire systems of the body. (2)

When damaged tissues are exposed to red, near, mid, and far infrared light, cellular metabolism is positively induced. This creates a chain response of biological changes to decrease inflammation, pain, and injury. (2)

Specifically it is the cytochrome C complex that lines the inner membrane of the mitochondria (the cell’s energy plant) that responds to the absorption of light. Cytochrome C is involved in the chain of electron transport that is the engine behind metabolic functions of the cell. (2)

Through exposure to the broad ban of red and infrared light, absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (the production of adenosine triphsophate), the molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (2) By enhancing nitric oxide production, oxygenation of the intracellular communities is augmented. As described by the authors of ‘Lite Cure’ in their article on PBM:

“Outside the cell, nitric oxide signaling drives vasodilation which improves microcirculation in the damaged tissue, delivering oxygen, vital sugars, proteins, and salts while removing wastes.” (2)

Neosauna Tip: Vasodilation is the widening of blood cells and is a necessary process to improve circulation at a micro and macro level within the body’s system. It is crucial in treating cases of chronic inflammation, hypertension, as well as improving overall vitality. (3)

The acceleration of the natural healing mechanism of the body may be increased through exposure to the broad ban of red and infrared light as measured in nanometers, this includes: 650 nm – 1200 nm. (3)

Mitochondrial response to light photons emitted from infrared light paneling may dramatically affect energy conversion to increase oxygen levels in the body, improve circulation, and overall cellular health.

From the National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health article on PBM and Transcranial Photobiomodulation:

“In conclusion, the studies reviewed here provide strong evidence for the mechanism of t-PBM (increasing mitochondrial energy production and increasing regional blood flow). The downstream effects of increased ATP production include not only increased cellular energy but also potentially increases in intercellular signaling.” (5)

When the human body is perceived as a community of cells, it makes sense that as individual cell health is improved, so too will the overall vitality of the human organism as a whole.

Photobiomodulation: Who Is It For And What Conditions Are Positively Affected?

Happy couple having conditions positively affected by infrared sauna, having fun outside
  • Neurological Health: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Metabolic Conditions, Chronic Inflammation
  • Mood Disorders (Depression, Anxiety & Seasonal Affective Disorder)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive Enhancement For The Healthy Brain

It may seem odd at first glance, that so many seemingly distinct diseases and conditions would be positively affected with a similar light treatment model. From The National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health’s journal on PBM and Brain Health, states the following to answer this query:

“Light in the visible and near-infrared spectrum makes up the major part of solar radiation and is also provided by artificial light sources. Since light is widely present throughout our world, approaches that harness it for the purposes of medical treatment is hardly a new phenomenon. Photobiomodulation (PBM) involves the utilization of light from the visible and near infrared portions of the spectrum at a relatively low power density that is insufficient to heat or burn tissue… Rather, the photons themselves stimulate chemical changes within the cells, provoking biological reactions that benefit the body in a variety of ways – including the triggering of neuroprotective responses, improvements in metabolism, blood flow, and neurogenesis, and decreases in inflammation and oxidative stress.” (6)

The Brain and PBM:

Michael R. Hamblin’s journal published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information describes PBM in the following way:

“Photobiomodulation (PBM) describes the use of red or near-infrared light to stimulate, heal, regenerate, and protect tissue that has either been injured, is degenerating, or else is at risk of dying. One of the organ systems of the human body that is most necessary to life, and whose optimum functioning is most worried about by humankind in general, is the brain.” (3)

Brain health is critical for the well being of the entire body. Neurological conditions have a wide range of expression from dementia, to mood disorders, to simple clouded thinking.

Like other cells of the body, neuro cells also host mitochondria, and the systems of photo reception within brain cells are also activated through exposure to red, near, mid, and infrared light.

As the function of neuroglial cells does differ from other cells, their basic mechanism remains the same as any other cell in the body.

It is for this reason, that a diverse array of brain conditions respond positively to doses of red and infrared light.

Michael R. Hamblin goes on to write in his journal on PBM and brain function the following:

“ A wide variety of processes can occur that can benefit a correspondingly wide range of brain disorders. These processes can be divided into short-term stimulation (ATP, blood flow, lymphatic flow, cerebral oxygenation, less edema). Another group of processes center around neuroprotection (upregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins, less excitotoxicity, more antioxidants, less inflammation). Finally a group of processes that can be grouped under “help the brain to repair itself” (neurotrophins, neurogenesis and synaptogenesis).” (3)

Hormesis is the adaption of systems of the body to external influences to improve biological function. In short, it is possible to train neurological function through exposure to light to improve brain health and cognitive processes.

Therefore, it is through regular exposure to certain wavelengths that a long lasting positive change can occur in the brain.

Originally, it was thought that PBM required the use of lasers to affect change, it is now understood that the broad ban of light emitted by infrared sauna panels is effective in producing metabolic changes in brain cells. (3)

Heightened metabolic function at the level of individual cellular energy conversion positively affects the entire mechanism of tissues, and systems within the body. Improving the quality of metabolic function in brain cells may greatly improve existing conditions within the emotional centers of the brain.

Mood Stability With PBM: An Alternative Treatment For Depression And Anxiety That Is Not Based In Chemistry

A woman suffering from depression would benefit from Infrared Sauna therapy

With 16.2 % of the American population suffering from Major Depression Disorder (MDD), there is a compelling need to find solutions for mood disorders that do rely on the introduction of chemicals into the body that comes neatly packaged with a heavy dose of intolerable side effects (5).

Dr Paula Askalysky from the Department of Psychiatry at NYU’s Langone School Of Medicine clearly draws attention to the profundity of need to find effective alternative means of treating mood disorders:

“Current treatments for MDD have significant limitations in efficacy and side effect burden. FDA-approved devices for MDD are burdensome (due to repeated in-office procedures) and are most suitable for severely ill subjects. There is a critical need for device-based treatments in MDD that are efficacious, well-tolerated, and easy to use.” (5)

So, does PBM have positive correlative affects on individuals living with depression and other mood related disorders?

Individuals living with depression demonstrate lower levels of mitochondrial function, less ATP, and therefore significantly less NO in the bloodstream. (5) Studies performed on both animals and humans suggest that as mitochondrial activity is stimulated with the use of red and near-infrared light subjects experienced improved stability of mood. (5) The same study described by Dr. Paula Akalosky goes on to describe very compelling results for individuals living with mood disorders after exposure to red and near-infrared light:

“Transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) is a novel form of neuromodulation, based on non-retinal exposure to light at specific wavelengths. t-PBM with near-infrared radiation (NIR) has yielded promising early results for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.5 t-PBM has a low cost, good safety profile, and it is easy to self-administer. Therefore, it has the potential to become widely accessible.”

Further, not only does exposure to red and infrared light stoke mitochondrial activity to improve oxygenation of the blood, it also stimulates neurotransmitter activity to increase serotonin uptake. Serotonin is necessary for mood stability, but also is the precursor to melatonin. Regulating sleep is a fundamental building block that leads toward more stable moods. (6)

It may be possible that the simple exposure to the red and infrared light spectrum in monitored quantities could produce compelling results on mood for a minimal cost, and without the sometimes devastating side effects of more traditional pharmaceutical treatments.

The Goldilocks Of Light:

Can Photobiomodulation Be Activated With Broad Band Red and Infrared Light As Found In Saunas? Or Is The Use Of Therapeutic Lasers Necessary To Stoke The Chain Reaction Of PBM?

All photobiological responses depend upon absorption photoreceptor molecules. (7) For light to positively affect biology it needs to be administered in a dosage that is both impactful, but not too intense so as to erode health.

Typically PBM is associated with laser treatments, however, this is not the only available therapeutic modality to induce the cascade cellular metabolic changes necessary to positively alter cellular function. (7) In fact, the marriage of red light therapy as found in chromotherapy coupled with near, mid, and far broadband light may be just the recipe to induce PBM.

The journal, ‘Biological Effects and Medical Applications of Infrared Radiation’, authored by Shang-Ru Tsai, PHD and Michael R. Hamblin PHD, describes in intricate detail how and why the dose of light as available in infrared saunas, without raising temperatures too high positively impacts cellular function:

“A form of light therapy that utilizes non-ionizing forms of light sources, including lasers, LEDs, and broadband light, in the visible and infrared spectrum. It is a nonthermal process involving endogenous chromophores eliciting photophysical (i.e., linear and nonlinear) and photochemical events at various biological scales. This process results in beneficial therapeutic outcomes including but not limited to the alleviation of pain or inflammation, immunomodulation, and promotion of wound healing and tissue regeneration.” as defined in Anders et al. [10]. It is now agreed that “PBM therapy” is a more accurate and specific term for the therapeutic application of low-level light compared with “LLLT”. (7)

It is now absolutely feasible to induce PBM from home with either an infrared sauna for your home, or a light panel that combines red light with near infrared light. Many conditions, ranging from mood disorders, to neurological, to autoimmune can be treated on your own time, and from home.

To benefit from the effects of PBM it is not necessary to be in a clinic with laser practitioners, but rather it is now possible to engage this method of photobiology from home.

Broad band infrared light coupled with color light therapy that uses the visible frequency of ‘red’ is relatively accessible. This is exciting news in terms of optimizing health, wellness, and even longevity.

Whether individuals are looking to optimize health, both of the body and brain, or are in the midst of a health crisis, there is compelling evidence that PBM can potentially heighten cellular function to induce positive overall transformation of the physical body.

A Compelling Therapeutic Model For Individuals For Whom Heat Therapy Is Prohibitive: Photobiomodulation Does Not Rely On Elevated Temperatures:

A couple able who utilize PBM therapy

Certain health issues prohibit individuals from engaging in heat therapy, but because PBM is a light based non thermal therapy, it becomes a viable option for individuals in the midst of a health crisis. Whether a panel of red and near-infrared light is used or an infrared sauna, there is no need to increase temperatures to reap all the benefits of this spectrum of light.

Mere exposure to the frequency of red and infrared light wavelengths will stoke the absorption of photons to produce powerful cellular metabolic change.

Without adding chemical compounds to the body through pharmaceutical drugs, PBM augments the natural function of cellular activity to produce positive results. This is excellent for individuals looking for a natural means by which to improve health and find remission from specific conditions.

Where To Find Photobiomodulation Devices? And How Is It Administered?

Infrared saunas that come equipped with near infrared light and medical grade color light therapy is a comfortable way to soak up the appropriate light frequencies to induce PBM. Remember, the temperature can be kept low during PBM sessions as this process is not dependent on heat.

Red light and near infrared light panels are also a convenient and simple option. A simple two foot by one foot device that can plug into any home outlet is another great way to access appropriate light frequencies. This means that while at home or the office as you go about your normal routine you can benefit from just by having the lights turned on.

Photobiomodulation is an impactful, easy to use mechanism to improve the metabolic function of individual cells. The cumulative effect of increasing cellular health may ultimately render the entire physical body into states of radiant well being.

Sources Cited:


Enhance Immunity With Sauna Therapy: A Detailed Account on How Sauna Use Can Improve Your Immune Response

A viral epidemic of global proportions summons each of us to take a closer look at our personal immune response. If there was ever a need to discuss what we can do at an individual level to protect ourselves, our families, and our community from invading viral infections, now is that time.

Although there is little anyone can do to stop the spread of viruses and their evolution into increasing new strains, it is possible to adapt and improve personal immune response.

Preventative care therefore, becomes the focused action of improving the biological response at the individual level to threatening viruses, particularly as there is often little that can be done to stop the global spread of new strains of viral pathogens.

When the world around us feels out of control and kaotic what can we do at the individual level to boost our immunity?

This article will provide the opportunity to explore the nature of human immune response as a system, correlative and causative factors that may deplete personal immunity, and how sauna use can potentially improve your overall response to foreign pathogens.

How Does The Immune System Function: A Basic Rundown Of The Body’s Defense Mechanism

The immune system operates primarily at the involuntary level, in fact, when all is going well, most will seldom notice its functions at all. The reality is that this integrated network of cells, tissues, and organs is working around the clock to protect the body from foregin invasion stemming from harmful bacteria, environmental factors, viruses, and even internal cellular mutiny. (1)

According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information’s journal on immune response, this system performs three basic tasks to protect the body:

  1. To fight disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria,viruses, parasites or fungi, and to remove them from the body
  2. To recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and
  3. To fight disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells. (1)

The immune system itself has two primary sub categories called the Adaptive and Innate. Both portions work together to ensure proper defenses for the body, and both are necessary. The adaptive branch of the immune system plays a critical role as we begin to ‘train’ our immunity through a variety of practices. (1)

Essentially, by micro-dosing controlled external positive stress on the body, similar to exercise, sauna therapy begins, like an athlete, to train our immune response into higher levels of performance. The technical term for this adaptive process undergone by any cell or organism is called hormesis. (2)

The process of hormesis demonstrates that through specific protocol it is possible to train immunity into higher levels of achievement!

Understanding the purpose behind the function of the immune system brings us to the threshold of learning the critical role that sauna bathing may play in boosting immunity.

Sauna Therapy May Enhance Immunity In Athletes: Study Reveals That White Blood Cell Count In Athletes Is Higher After a Single Sauna Session

For individuals looking to be performance ready on the day of athletic competition it is critical that immunity be high so as not to be rendered ill or depleted when it matters. The nature of competitive sports means that those individuals who are both well trained, and also healthy the day of the event are in significantly more advantageous position then their counterparts with lower immune system capabilities.

A study published by the Journal of Human Kinetics (3) followed two groups of healthy men: the first group were non-athletes and the second elite level middle-distance runners. A traditional Finnish sauna was used for the study. In addition to the heat of the sauna, participants also engaged immediately in cool down protocol by taking a room temperature shower for two minutes after sauna bathing.

After the sauna session a sample of blood was taken from both study groups. The results were groundbreaking in terms of sauna bathing and white blood cell count.

While both the athletes and non-athletes had higher levels of white blood cell counts after a sauna session, the results were significantly more drastic for the athletes. (4)

Sauna bathing for the athletes, not only produced measurably higher white blood cell count in general after sauna use, but also demonstrated remarkable improvement in monocyte levels (a particular type of white blood cell involved in the adaptive branch of immune response). (4)

Neosauna Tip:

What Are White Blood Cells And How Do They Affect The Efficacy of Immunity?

For those interested in developing better immunity without a background in medicine or science, here is a quick rundown on what White Blood Cells are, and why they matter:

  • There are many different types of white blood cells: Neutrophils (make up about 50% of all white blood cells.
  • Eosinophils (particularly important for fighting bacteria and parasites
  • Basophils (only accounting for 1% of white blood cells)
  • Lymphocytes (B & T Cells) (T cells are responsible for directly combating foreign invaders, while the B cells hold ‘memory’ for the immune system)
  • Monocytes (Migrate into tissues to remove dead cells, accounting for about 12% of all white blood cells) (5)

As individuals begin to develop an appropriate protocol to augment immune response, white blood cell count (in its plethora of forms) becomes a crucial component.

How Does Sauna Bathing Affect Overall Immunity: Can Detoxification Protocol Enhance The Body’s Defense Mechanism?

“No person is without some level of toxic metals in their bodies, circulating and accumulating with acute and chronic lifetime exposures…An often overlooked route of excretion of toxicants is via the process of sweating” (6)

The stark reality is that, without exception, all of us absorb potentially harmful pathogens through the food we eat, air we breathe, and water we drink. As a result of these circumstances we find ourselves in on a regular basis, the immune system is summoned to respond by not only threatening foreign pathogens from outside the body, but also to potentially harmful substances inside the body.

A 2013 journal published by the National Institute of Health describes how compounds such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, demonstrate toxic effects on a variety of physiological systems, including the immune system (6). Furthermore, all of these harmful substances are easily and measurably extracted from the body through the process of sweating.

Regular sauna bathing may systematically detoxify the body through the mechanism of perspiration (6). To reach the ideal threshold where sweating becomes profuse takes around 15 minutes in most people. By relieving the body of harmful pathogens through the detoxification protocol found as a result of sauna bathing, significant burden is removed from the immune system. This means that more available energy can be directed toward protecting the body from outside viral and bacterial threats.

For anyone working or living in known toxic environments, sauna bathing may increase overall wellbeing as sweat glands are mobilized to excrete harmful chemicals and metals from the body (7).

Fevers And Immunology: Saunas Capitalize On The Body’s Natural Mechanism To Heal Itself

“Give me a fever and I can cure any disease”


A fever raises the body’s internal temperature to activate white blood cells to line the walls of blood vessels. Like summoning a march of soldiers, once white blood cells are positioned along the frontier of blood vessel membranes they begin their attack against invading pathogens.

The act of increasing the core temperature increases the production of T-cells, which is why fevers are so effective in health preservation (8).

What if we didn’t need to actually get sick in order to reap the benefits of a fever? Well, sauna therapy has the potential to do just this. The creation of an artificial fever through the elevated temperatures found in a sauna may activate the immune system’s response. In response to heat, T-cells increase and begin generating heat shock proteins (HSPs), which are crucial to the maintenance of a healthy intracellular community (8).

Heat Shock Proteins: Why They Matter For Enhanced Immunity

Small, but mighty, protein ‘chaperones’ referred to as Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are essential to maintain the health of the intracellular environment. HSPs work in partnership with T-cells to activate the body’s defense mechanism.

Without HSPs, humans could not fight against viruses, bacteria, and even autoimmune disorders (9). From fatal illnesses and diseases to the common cold, HSPs play a vital role in protecting the body.

Dr. Gabriel Multhoff from the University Hospital in Regensburg Germany in the oncology department writes the following:

“They (HSPs)have been found to elicit a potent anti-cancer immune response mediated by the adoptive and innate immune system” (9)

The necessity of summoning more HSPs is crucial to the health of every human.

So, how can we get more HSPs?

Any thermal therapy, including sauna bathing, raises internal temperatures to cause the necessary chain of biochemical reaction to create more heat shock proteins. Whether the need to create greater immunity is to simply stay healthy through the cold and flu season or to fight very serious conditions, HSPs are a necessary ally in any health campaign.

You cannot get a prescription for them, buy them, or ingest them, however, HSPs can be increased through thermal therapy. In fact, they can be increased by exposing the body to extreme temperatures in either direction. For most, plunging themselves into icy water is less than tantalizing, but sauna bathing is often viewed as both pleasurable and relaxing – an enjoyable and potent means to creating more HSPs, which may translate in to a greater abundance of health and vitality!

Factors That May Contribute To Weakened Immunity:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety (Mood Related Disorders)
  • Lack Of Sleep

Depression & Anxiety

Can our mood affect our immune response? Yes, both anxiety and depression can trigger the autonomic nervous system into modes of ‘fight or flight’, and the activation of this response is the antithesis of the immune system’s response. In fact, as the autonomic nervous system transfers into sympathetic dominance (fight or flight), the immune response is suppressed (10). Individuals living with mood disorders experience weakened immunity as the autonomic nervous system is stuck in overdrive producing adrenaline and cortisol in response to signals from the emotional control center of the brain to protect against a threat.

Research led by Dr. Charles Raison of the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that individuals living with major depression experience remarkable relief from symptoms after engaging in heat therapy. Here is what the results from this experiment demonstrated:

“Raising the body temperature of depressed volunteers to the equivalent of a mild fever improved their symptoms of major depression for as long as six weeks after a single treatment” (11)

Sauna bathing may relieve symptoms of depression. This is crucial not only for mental health, but also for immunity. Regular sauna use may help restore immune function for individuals living with major depression.

This study also revealed that anxiety, as well as other mood disorders, were stabilized with regular heat therapy. Remember that as mood is enhanced, the autonomic nervous system is able to transfer out of ‘fight or flight’ back into parasympathetic dominance where immune response is no longer suppressed.

A study conducted by Japanese researchers reveals the following result on individuals living with a variety of mood disorders, including anxiety:

“All mood scales and both manifest anxiety measure were improved after sauna bathing” (12)

Regular sauna use may both directly and indirectly improve immunity in individuals living with depression and anxiety. This two fold mechanism is effective in reversing the body out of stress response, and also by navigating physiology into an artificial fever where T-cells and HSPs become more numerous.

Sleep & Immunity

Obtaining deep and restful states of sleep is vital to the quality of individual immune response. This is largely due to the healing that occurs while brain waves slow down and the mind rests. Energy is redirected from accomplishing tasks in the contextual life back inward toward repair and nourishment.

The American Sleep Foundation writes the following on sleep and immunity:

“Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.” (13)

How can saunas help sleep?

Sauna bathing improves the quality of sleep in two primary ways:

A) Relaxation occurs as the body heats up in the sauna, this serves to alter the state of the autonomic nervous system back into rest and relaxation. When the body is relaxed, the mind slows down and sleep comes easily. Excess amounts of adrenaline and cortisol keep the body active, sauna bathing will reverse the mechanisms that release these substances.

B) A decreasing internal temperature is necessary in the sleep process. This can be enhanced by actively elevated core temperature through a sauna session before bed, thereby rendering sleep more accessible(15).

The Common Cold And Sauna Therapy

The common cold impacts economic productivity to a greater scale than any other illness (15). While it can be difficult to avoid the virus that causes the cold while at work and school, it is possible to boost individual resiliency against it through regular sauna bathing. A study conducted by the University of Vienna in the Department of Physical Medicine concluded that: “…Sauna bathing probably reduces the incidence of the common cold.” (15)

Understanding the mechanism of white blood cells and HSPs in response to elevated temperatures suggests that regular exposure to increased temperatures, such as found in the sauna, will likely increase resiliency against the common cold.

Stress, Immunity, And Sauna Bathing

It is no secret that prolonged states of stress response renders the body more susceptible to illness and disease.

The amygdala, essentially the emotional center of the brain, in conjunction with the autonomic nervous system, can alter the entire state of physical being. If the emotional center of the brain senses a threat, real or imagined, signals are sent to the autonomic nervous system, and the entire body enters a state of survival.

This means that it is possible, through thought alone, to alter states of being. In states of survival, immune response is suppressed, as healing the body becomes less of a priority. If the body remains in stress response for prolonged periods of time, illness and disease have a higher likelihood of taking hold.

Critical to establishing a strong immune response is the ability to transfer out of stress response. There are a variety of tools that can help leave stress behind, and one of these is heat therapy. As the body is bathed in the warmth of the sauna, the autonomic nervous system begins to ease back into states of parasympathetic dominance (rest, digest, and relaxation). (16)

The Power To Enhance Immunity May Be Found In Sauna Bathing

It can be scary when bacterial and viral invaders threaten our way of life, often leaving us feeling disenfranchised and powerless. The scope of potentially harmful pathogens that exist in the world around us is daunting. One simple measure we can take to enhance our personal immunity to counteract these elements that lie outside of our immediate control, is sauna bathing.

Saunas are therapeutic, and may help to boost your immunity. The coupling of white blood cells and HSPs in response to elevated temperatures, is nothing short of miraculous. Further, the power of the sauna to invite relaxation into the body’s systems is necessary for the autonomic nervous system to establish correct states of being where the immune response can flourish.

Regular sauna use may reduce the incidents of colds, symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve sleep.

An enjoyable means of enhancing immunity could be a simple sauna session away!

Works Cited:

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Medical Grade Chromatherapy Lights for Your Sauna

All Neosauna Home Saunas Come Standard with Medical Grade Chromatherapy Lighting

Whether you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder or just want to boost your mood a bit, chromatherapy is a powerful tool to help stimulate your body in to a different state.


The color red has been shown to increase energy and get the body in to a more excited state. If you are looking to be invigorated, this would be an excellent choice alongside your sauna session. Red can also help promote faster healing by stimulating collagen cells.


Yellow is associated with increased optimism in the context of light medicine. This color is generally associated with more spritual work, and many looking for a more ‘connected’ feeling will use yellow for its grounding properties.


The color green is well-known to be a healing, calming and relaxing color. Again, for SAD sufferers, this can be a very powerful color in the spectrum to use as a treatment protocol. If you are looking to calm your nervous system and tap in to more clarity, try incorporating green in your next sauna session.


By combining combines the calming properties of green and healing properties of blue, turquoise can be a very powerful color for chromatherapy. Some ancient traditions believe the use and adornment of the color turquoise can enhance your courage and strength – why not give it a try!


When we think of ‘the blues’ we tend to think of depression, however, the good news is that the color blue is actually known to help relieve depression. The use of blue in light therapy is also being explored in more depth to assist with inflammation, blood pressure, headaches and more! If you’re unsure what to try for your first chromatherapy session, blue is an excellent choice.


Individuals suffering from chronic pain tend to find they have the most relief with the use of purple light when compared to other colors in the spectrum of healing chromatherapy lighting. Personally, I find purple to be the most calming and soothing of all of the colors, and it is my go-to for most sauna sessions.