Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Infrared Sauna For Anxiety And Depression

Lesson : Whole Body Hyperthermia Studies Do Show That Using A Sauna Benefits Depression In Some Individuals

How To Relax with the Far Infrared Sauna

In a classical study of 2016, WBH was compared to a sham treatment to see whether . Intervention participants were subsumed into a tent that caused extreme heat, while the control group went into that same tent but the infrared lights were not fully turned on.

So even the control participants got infrared light exposure and psychologically thought they were treated even though they were not. In fact, 71% of control participants actually believed they received the real WBH treatment.

Even after treatment, the sauna was turned off and participants stayed in the sauna for another hour, which further increased their body temperature.

In the study, just as with our Clearlight Saunas, the head didn’t get exposed due to the tent only overlapping the shoulders of both the control group and participants.

The study outcome? Just a single WBH session improved their depression score on a clinician-rated questionnaire up to a 6-week period. The WBH group did much better than the control group, implying that reaching higher internal temperatures does have potential benefits.

One other benefit is that the effects of the treatment came on very quickly, after a week. Let’s explore why that link matters:

Do People With Medical Conditions Mentioned Above Need Supervision When Using Saunas For Anxiety

There are numerous types of saunas, all with varying temperatures. But it will be dependent on ones health condition if this is safe enough to do without the aid of a professional who knows your history well, particularly important when dealing with high blood pressure or any other heart problems.

You may want to speak to your doctor before using them regularly if youre not sure.

Dr Ashley Mason’s On Why Whole

Below I’ve listed several lessons from listening to the Dr. Ashley Mason podcast episode, where she was interviewed on the “Found My Fitness” podcast #67 by Dr. Patrick.

Before digging deeper into the theory, let’s consider some definitions. Whole Body Hyperthermia is different from sauna use in one regard, in that the former uses very intense heat to exhaustion, while the latter may not necessarily do so.

You can use an infrared sauna in a very relaxing way, such as with 15 minutes sessions alternated with cold showering that prevents you from truly overheating. With WBH, you won’t get the spa-like relaxing feeling of alternating the sauna with some cold showers, but instead, inducing fatigue and moving towards your absolute maximum heat tolerance is the goal.

As an analogy, you could think about the difference between walking and an intense workout. The former is relaxing, the latter is not. And while sauna use can be relaxing, when you’re engaging in WBH you’ll experience some uncomfortable sensations and feelings!

Also, in studies with WBH the parameters are usually very well controlled.

Now I’ve got the definition of WBH out of the way, I’ll first start by explaining the underlying theory that Dr. Mason works with. Next up, I explain more about the lessons learned from the podcast. Here’s the first thing I learned about the theory:

Also Check: I Am Fat And Depressed

Does Sauna Use Relieve Of Anxiety And Stress

How sauna helps against anxiety

Using a sauna such as infrared could help relieve anxiety. There are psychological and physiological reasons for it.

Anxiety can be defined as a feeling of worry, often about something one has no control over, it can also mean restlessness and unease. Generally anxiety is caused by an individual’s response to uncertainty over something. Anxiety may interfere with an individual’s life and can lead to further stress.

This feeling of anxiety is familiar to almost everyone but there are conditions where this feeling is constant. Some people experience anxiety daily, others barely know the meaning of it at all. In any case, saunas may be a suitable intervention to the feeling of anxiety for several reasons:

Overall, anxiety is a reasonable reaction to something troubling, but it may get out of hand. A trip to the sauna may be the intervention you need. As an opportunity to escape from the thought loop that causes worry. Therefore sauna can relieve some anxiety.

Does infrared sauna help overcome stress?

Stress is similar to anxiety in the way that it is also a feeling of emotional strain, the feeling of anxiety and stress obviously overlap. However, stress is also a state of mental and physical strain from demanding or exhausting circumstances.

Common physiological symptoms of stress: chronic fatigue, headaches, digestion problems, frequent colds and infections, decrease in sexual performance and eating disorders.

Lesson : Infra Red Saunas For Depression Might Support Health Through Lowering Inflammation In Some People

Chiropractic Infared Sauna in Rolling Meadows, IL

Let me take a step back first:

In no way are the proponents of the pathogen-host defence theory of depression claiming that all depression is characterised by inflammation. Some types of depression aren’t paired with higher inflammatory levels. Increasing inflammation does also not always cause depression.

Rather, the claims is that some types of depression are paired with high inflammation, and that high inflammation can help some parts of the immune system while lowering the effectiveness of others .

But how do you use an infra red sauna for depression?

Simple: a sauna and depression are related because the former can lower inflammation dramatically in some people. If you’re a person where high levels of inflammation and depression are linked, then “whole body hyperthermia” – through an infrared sauna – can entail a working therapy works for your depression.

So far my treatment of the “pathogen-host defence theory of depression”. Below I’ve laid out the argument in Dr. Patrick’s #67 Podcast, adding in my perspective and scientific references wherever necessary:

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Study Design And Participants

The study population comprised a randomly selected representative sample of middle-aged men aged 4261 years who were recruited into the Finnish Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease risk factor study. Details of recruitment methods, ethical permissions, and assessment of risk markers and sauna bathing have been described in a previous report . Briefly, subjects were a randomly selected sample of 3,433 men who resided in the town of Kuopio or its surrounding rural communities. Of those invited, 2,682 volunteered to participate in the study and those with complete information on sauna bathing were included . Baseline examinations were conducted between March 1984 and December 1989. Only 12 men did not use sauna at all and were excluded from the analysis. Men with a history of use of antipsychotic medication were excluded at baseline . The final dataset analyzed comprised 2,138 men with complete information on sauna exposure, relevant covariates, and psychosis outcome. The investigation was concordant with the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki and its future amendments. The study protocol was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Eastern Finland and each participant gave written informed consent.

How Infrared Saunas Can Help With Depression

Our generation has a better understanding of depression, and experts have identified dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin as the neurochemicals that give us a sense of contentment, optimism, and the ability to experience happiness. Infrared saunas have been shown to optimize the production and reception of these natural antidepressants. The infrared light produced by an infrared sauna may penetrate several inches below the surface of the skin. This warming effect encourages the production of serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. During periods of depression, individuals will often experience nervous tension and persistent agitation, making it difficult to truly experience a relaxed, zen-like state. Infrared saunas stimulate endorphin and oxytocin release. These are the chemicals we most often associate with peace and contentment.

Read Also: How Can I Treat My Depression

Infrared Saunas Help You Sleep Well

You know, how important sleep is for your mental health. With infrared saunas, you can overcome problems related to sleep, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Several studies have found that infrared sauna sessions can significantly lower the fatigue level in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, which can further improve sleep. The intensity and duration of headaches can also be minimised with the help of infrared light therapy.

The Best Time To Use This Form Of Therapy Is Before Bed So You Don’t Feel Too Energised When It’s Time For Sleep

Infrared Sauna Therapy – Sweating for Detoxification

Excessive worrying or overthinking can lead to depression and anxiety and you will find yourself having a hard time trying to get to sleep. We have a hard enough time to put down the personal mini black mirror!

This type of therapy will help you get the sleep that you need. Using this before your bedtime might be the best time.

After a hot and sweaty sauna, you will feel more relaxed. The more relaxed you feel, the easier itll be to fall asleep.

It might seem like magic!

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Sauna Therapy Alleviates Depression And Anxiety

Studies have found that sauna therapy and other forms of whole body heating boost mood and alleviate depression and anxiety . One study treated subjects with major depressive disorder with a single session of whole body heating and followed them for 6 weeks after the heat therapy. Even 6 weeks after treatment, subjects showed a small but significant improvement in scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale . Another study showed that whole body heating with infrared light five times a week for four weeks alleviated appetite loss associated with depression, as well as other somatic symptoms, and significantly improved relaxation .

Additional Mental And Mood Benefits Of Saunas

Infrared sauna heat calms your body and your mind. Sitting by yourself for 20 minutes every day in a sauna facilitates achieving a meditative state by giving you the time and space to organize chaotic thoughts, ponder possible solutions to problems and de-stress your body and mind.

Infrared saunas stimulate blood flow throughout your body as heat penetrates your soft tissues and muscles. Your brain needs a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to function properly. While sauna breathing, inhale deeply to enjoy the benefits of saunas on cognition and the brain.

Getting a good night’s sleep every night is essential to your physical and mental well-being. Research indicates that infrared sauna therapy may induce sleep-modulating effects caused by disruptions in the circadian cycle.

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What Does Medicine Say About Infrared Saunas Treating Stress And Anxiety

Harvard Medical Schools Department of Psychiatry published research in 2009 that aimed to answer the question of whether or not the psychological status of a patient could be improved with near-infrared light treatment, which is remarkably similar to the conditions that youll find inside a sauna.

Those researchers also wanted to plot out the relationship between the treatment and the psychological improvements, map out the increased blood flow to the front of the brain, and make sure there were no side effects noted in the process.

Their results were staggering. Of the ten patients that took part in the study, after a period of two weeks, the authors noted that the patients had experienced highly significant reductions in both HAM-D and HAM-A scores following treatment, with the greatest reductions occurring at 2 weeks. Six out of the ten patients saw their level of measured depression decrease, while seven out of the ten saw their anxiety levels decrease. These figures led the authors to write in their conclusion that the treatment may have utility for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders, while noting that we observed no side effects.

Authors of that trial wrote that serotonin increased and MDA decreased after the introduction of FIR, adding that these observations indicate that the serotonin pathway is involved in the pathophysiological mechanism responsible for the damaging effects of MDA on depressed patients with insomnia.

How Do Infrared Saunas Help

Chiropractic Infared Sauna in Rolling Meadows, IL

Infrared saunas utilize infrared radiation, which is invisible to the human eye but still tangible in the heat it produces. This warms your body much more efficiently than traditional saunas. Infrared light can penetrate through your skin and immediately warm your bodys deeper tissues. This heating method can provide several significant benefits for anyone suffering from anxiety and depression.

Read Also: How Do You Get Over Depression Without Medication

Saunas Promote Deep Sleep

As your core heats, muscles loosen, your body begins to release more endorphins and detox from toxic overload, the body is able to reach a heightened sense of relaxation. Along with this, in the evenings, our core temperature drops stimulating our brain it is time to sleep. Sauna use before bed will intensify this signal to your brain as your body begins to cool drastically from the heat of the sauna.

I hope this article has been encouraging and plants a few seeds that lead you to continue your own research on this topic! This article in no way should replace the advice of a medical professional, but rather provide insight into a more natural method of healing and supporting the body that many health professionals fail to mention.

I always welcome more information so please feel free to comment below with your knowledge and/or links to other research articles!

Other articles & Resources:


Hussain, Joy, Cohen, & Marc. . Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/1857413/

Pilch, W., Pokora, I., Szygua, Z., Paka, T., Pilch, P., Ciso, T., . . . Wiecha, S. . Effect of a single finnish sauna session on white blood cell profile and cortisol levels in athletes and non-athletes. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916915/

The Science of Saunas. . Retrieved from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/biohacking-articles/science-of-sauna/

Latest Podcast Episode

Infrared Sauna Therapy Is A Safe Way Of Treating Mild Depression Or Anxiety Without Any Side Effects

An infrared sauna is a great way to treat mild depression and anxiety. While it can’t cure more serious disorders, it may make them more manageable, they are also good for detoxing the body of toxins that may be causing the physical symptoms of any condition.

All of this is done while you relax in a warm environment to soothing music in the background. The best part is that it only takes 20 minutes a day to try.

Read Also: Genetic Testing For Depression Meds

What Happens To Our Body When We Sleep

Youd be amazed just how much happens inside our body when were asleep. As you doze off, your brain begins to process information – and stress – gained throughout the day, and an array of hormones make their way through your body.

The pituitary gland begins to release important growth hormones that help your brain and body heal, and repair important areas of your health. Your stress levels drop as your body releases less cortisol as you fall asleep, and your immune system gets to work reducing inflammation with special proteins.

In short, while you’re sleeping, your body is constantly working away at processing information, reducing your stress levels and healing itself.

As youre about to discover, with the help of an infrared sauna, you can give your brain a helping hand with that overwhelming workload!

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Podcast 192: How infrared heat can help reduce depression & anxiety

So, why should you lounge under infrared lights in temperatures that still approach the highest ever recorded on Earth?

Here are a few reasons to get sweaty under the lights.

Improved heart health

Within minutes of sitting in an infrared sauna, your bodys natural response begins. Beads of sweat appear on your skin. Your blood vessels widen and increase blood flow. Your heart rate ticks up.

Whats happening mimics exercise when you think of the physiology, explains Dr. Young. Theres a benefit to that.

Studies show that infrared saunas can help boost heart health and reduce blood pressure. Researchers equated the physical response of an infrared sauna session to walking at a moderate pace.

Soothing sore muscles

The improved blood circulation brought on by an infrared sauna session can help speed up muscle recovery following physical activity, says Dr. Young. Regular use may even help athletes improve performance.

Pain relief

Researchers found that infrared sauna therapy may be a promising method for treatment of chronic pain. The determination followed a two-year study where people showed improved outcomes with the treatment.


Warming your body seems to warm your soul, too. Setting aside some sauna time may help , anxiety and stress. Basically, think of it as a meditation session in warmer temperatures.

Catching ZZZs

A bonus benefit to being more relaxed? Better sleep, which has also been linked to sauna use.

Fighting off illness

Read Also: What Is A Good Antidepressant For Anxiety And Depression

Lesson : Depression And Temperature Dysregulation Can Be Interrelated

Dr. Mason also notes that some common antidepressants – which takes weeks or months to have an effect – have excess sweating as a side-effect. My double-check of the science confirms that claim .

Next up, Dr. Mason claims that there’s a link between depression and temperature dysregulation. Some of the studies I looked at – while they may overlap with Dr. Mason’s citations – show the same .

The significance of these findings? The quick effect of WBH together with the slower effect of antidepressants and the links between depression and temperature dysregulation entails that the WBH treatment avenue is very promising to explore!

Dr. Mason remarks that temperature dysregulation also subsides once the depression ends, in some people, which entails an even stronger link. Let’s explore how you can use this therapy through a sauna:

Side Effects/risks Of Using An Infrared Sauna

You can expect hardly any negative side effects with using this type of therapy, aside from feeling better and cleansed. It’s recommended to experiment with incremental time durations in the sauna.

So that you allow your body to adjust at a natural pace. These sessions will detoxify your body, giving you visibly healthier skin radiance.

The infrared heat penetrates deep into the tissue with no risk of a searing heat as you might expect from a traditional sauna. Weight loss is reported with regular sweating in an infrared sauna.

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