Person in Sauna
October 12, 2010

Dr. Mark Hyman on the Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

Holistic Wellness

Infrared saunas have proven very effective in reducing the stress response and creating balance in the autonomic nervous system. They improve circulation, help with weight loss, balance blood sugar, and improve detoxification—each of which improves your brain function.

Dr Hyman

Infrared saunas have also been shown to reduce complications and improve cardiac performance in heart disease patients. When the autonomic nervous system is in chronic stress mode, the heartbeat becomes less variable. Normally, there is a subtle variability between beats. If there is more variability in the beat-to-beat rhythm, your heart and nervous system are healthier. The least healthy heart rhythm has the least variability—a flat line. There is an infrared sauna on the market, the mPulse series from Sunlighten, with a built-in wellness program for cardiovascular health.  Regular use of saunas has been clinically shown to lower blood pressure with regular use, a key factor in heart health.

Infrared saunas also help your brain. In my book, The UltraMind Solution, the health and resilience of your brain function are directly related to the complexity and variability of your heart rate. What is good for your heart is good for you brain. And since infrared saunas increase the variability and health of your nervous system, that means they are a great way to improve brain function.

Interestingly, one study has also shown that IR saunas can actually improve the function of neurons that have been damaged by toxins.1 This is to say nothing of the relaxing effects noted above, the improvement sauna has on autonomic nervous function, and the overall increased sense of peace and well-being you experience when regularly taking saunas.

To take an infrared sauna, use the following guidelines:

• Find a local sauna to use.
• Start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes per session.
• Build up to 30 minutes with cool-down periods in between.
• Keep well hydrated during the sessions—bring a glass or bottle of water into the sauna with you.
• Be sure to take a good multi-mineral while doing the sauna treatments (if you are not doing so already) to replace the minerals lost through sweating.
• Wash thoroughly with soap after the sauna to remove toxins from your skin.
• Consider purchasing an infrared sauna ( for home use.

  1. Wong-Riley, M.T., Liang H.L.Eells J.T. et al. 2005. Photobiomodulation directly benefits primary neurons functionally inactivated by toxins: Role of cytochrome c oxidase. J Biol Chem. 280(6):4761-71.