A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infrared-sauna/AN02154
- With Mayo Clinic internist
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.read biographyclose window
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Brent Bauer, M.D., is board certified in internal medicine. He is a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Department of Internal Medicine's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Bauer, a native of Madison, Wis., is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and a graduate of Mayo Medical School.
He serves on the editorial board of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and is medical editor for EmbodyHealth Newsletter. He has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1992, first practicing at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 1996.
Dr. Bauer's principal research focus is the scientific evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that patients and consumers are using with increasing frequency. He has authored several book chapters and papers on this topic, and is the medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine." Dr. Bauer also spearheaded collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Gaiam in the creation of a series of 10 DVDs (Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions). These DVDs address common health problems (for example, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure) with integrative medicine approaches that empower people to take charge of their health. His work is at the forefront of the emerging field of integrative medicine which combines the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based complementary therapies.
Dr. Bauer has served on the NIH-NCCAM study section and is currently collaborating on over 20 studies being conducted at Mayo Clinic evaluating CAM therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the American Federation for Medical Research; the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and other professional organizations.
Consumer health basics (5)
- Osteopathic medicine: What kind of doctor is a D.O.?
- What is compassionate use of experimental drugs?
- After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
- see all in Consumer health basics
Alternative medicine (28)
- Kombucha tea: Does it have health benefits?
- Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?
- Aromatherapy: Is it worthwhile?
- see all in Alternative medicine
- Antibiotics and alcohol: Should I avoid mixing them?
- Grapefruit juice: Beware of dangerous medication interactions
- Bioidentical hormones: Are they safer?
- see all in Medications
Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?
What is a far-infrared sauna? Does it have health benefits?
from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
A far-infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses light to create heat. "Far" describes where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum. A traditional sauna uses heat to warm the air, which in turns warms your body. An infrared sauna heats your body directly without warming the air around you.
The appeal of saunas in general is that they cause reactions, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate, similar to those elicited by moderate exercise. An infrared sauna produces these results at lower temperatures than does a regular sauna, which makes it accessible to people who can't tolerate the heat of a conventional sauna. But does that translate into tangible health benefits? Perhaps.
Several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit. However, larger and more-rigorous studies are needed to confirm these results.
On the other hand, no adverse effects have been reported with infrared saunas. So if you're considering trying a sauna for relaxation, an infrared sauna might be an option.Next question
Aromatherapy: Is it worthwhile?
- Beever R. Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors: Summary of published evidence. Canadian Family Physician. 2009;55:691.
- Hanlon T. Does thermal therapy benefit patients with chronic heart failure? Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010;85:693.
- Beever R. Do Far-infrared saunas have cardiovascular benefits in people with type 2 diabetes? Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2010;34:113.
- Takashi K, et al. Waon therapy improves the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure. Journal of Cardiology. 2009;53:214.
- Oosterveld FG, et al. Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Clinical Rheumatology. 2009;28:29.