As the benefits of infrared become more evident and more widely known, the number of doctors who use infrared in treatments and who recommend its use also continues to grow.
The purpose of this blog post is to report to you how some of those doctors are using infrared with their medical practices.
Here are 9 examples of how different doctors are actively recommending heat therapy and infrared saunas for all kinds of reasons:
In an online article this past August, best selling author Dr. Joseph M. Mercola recommends heat therapy as a way to increase heat shock proteins to improve blood flow and to rejuvenate the brain:
“Heat stress is an important way of optimizing heat shock proteins (HSP) inside your cells that trigger mitochondrial biogenesis, thereby supporting your overall health, especially your cardiovascular, cardiac and brain health.”
“HSP are also involved in longevity, and are important for preventing muscle atrophy.”
Dr. Mercola goes on to add…
“Not surprisingly, much of the research has come from Finland, where most Finns take a sauna at least once a week, and saunas are found in most private homes and even places of work. Known as a ‘poor man's pharmacy,’ saunas offer proven health benefits virtually anyone can enjoy.” ¹
Mercola shares that a comparison of once per week sauna use versus four or more times per week led to a reduction in risks of:
-Death from heart disease by 50 percent
-High blood pressure by 47 percent
-Dementia and Alzheimer's disease by 66 percent
-Respiratory diseases and pneumonia by 41 and 37 percent respectively
-Premature death from all causes by 40 percent ²
Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D
“Hyperthermic conditioning optimizes blood flow to the heart, skeletal muscles, skin, and other tissues because it increases plasma volume. This leads to endurance enhancements in your next workout or race, when your core body temperature is once again elevated.”
“This is where hyperthermic conditioning shines: heat acclimation reduces the amount of protein degradation occurring and as a result it increases net protein synthesis and, thus muscle hypertrophy. Hyperthermic conditioning is known to increase muscle hypertrophy by increasing net protein synthesis through three important mechanisms:
-Induction of heat shock proteins.
-Robust induction of growth hormone.
-Improved insulin sensitivity.” ³
Please note that muscle hypertrophy is the term used to describe the increase in muscle mass, specifically for the growth in size of muscle cells.
Here’s more research as reported in Time Magazine to indicate how important regular weekly sauna usage is to your health:
“One long-term study of middle-aged Finnish men found those who spent time in a sauna 2-3 days a week enjoyed a 23% drop in their risk for a fatal heart disease or episode. The heart health benefits were even greater for men who sweated it out in a sauna more frequently.”
“ ‘Sauna bathing leads to a significant increase in heart rate and reduction in total vascular resistance, thereby decreasing blood pressure,’ says Dr. Ernst van der Wall, chief of cardiology at the Netherlands Leiden University Medical Centre.”
…“As infrared heat penetrates more deeply than warmed air, users develop a more vigorous sweat at a lower temperature than they would in traditional saunas,” says Dr. Richard Beever, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of British Columbia.
The Time article advises to consult your doctor first, but referring to the use of an infrared sauna, the article states that, “the evidence suggests you have little to lose and possibly something to gain by checking one out.” 4
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
“Several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, headache, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit.” 5
“According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, a licensed medical doctor and nutritional practitioner who has been effectively using infrared sauna therapy on his patients for over a decade, this type of treatment is one of the safest and most useful healing methods he’s come across when combined with other factors like a balanced diet.” 6
I have written several articles about the effectiveness of infrared induced sweating for detox. The evidence continues to mount, much to the dismay of the hot exercise critics, for sure.
“Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.”
Here is an excerpt from one of her articles:
“While most sweat is comprised of water and little salt, studies show that 15-20% of infrared sauna-induced sweat is composed of cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, sulfuric acid, and ammonia (as well as sodium and uric acid.) In other words, an infrared sauna may enable your body to eliminate environmental toxins through sweat.” 7
Functional Medicine Expert, Alejandro Junger, M.D.
“Sweating inside a heated space has transcended time and many cultures: From Roman times, to the Ancient Greeks and Russians, as well as the Native Americans who had sweat lodges, the benefits of sweating have been known to mankind. The skin is our largest organ, and sweat is one of the major elimination channels for toxins.”
“In fact, a fever is the way our body creates the conditions for the immune system to perform better. Interestingly, there are clinics in Germany that create hyperthermia during chemotherapy to reduce the dose of medications needed by making the cancer cells more susceptible. This same effect happens (on a less extreme level) during a sauna session: By sweating one activates and intensifies the elimination of toxins” 8
Andrew Weil, M.D.
“I’m a sauna (and steam room) enthusiast, and I often recommend “sweat bathing” to help cleanse the skin, soothe sore muscles, or simply relax. Sweating in a sauna can also be beneficial to patients with arthritis, asthma or respiratory infections, and is an effective way to help recover from overindulgence in food or drink. The sweating rids the body of excess sodium and other unwanted substances. It also helps eliminate drugs and some toxins and by doing so can take some of the workload off the liver and kidneys.” 9
Dr. Will Cole
“Infrared saunas are one of my go-to wellness tools that I recommend to patients in my functional medicine clinic who are wanting to take their healing to the next-level. I personally use infrared saunas to stay on top of my own wellness game.” “Almost every health problem – autoimmune conditions, digestive issues, brain problems, and hormonal imbalances included – can be traced back to inflammation gone wild. Infrared saunas naturally calm down inflammation in the body.”
“A recent study showed that after 20 days of consistent infrared sauna use, participants with chronic fatigue syndrome saw significant improvement in their symptoms.”
“Consistent sauna use has been shown to dramatically reduce the risks associated with heart disease as well as your risk of dying from other health causes. In fact, those who use saunas between four to seven times a week are 48 percent less likely to die from heart disease compared to those who only used a sauna once a week.”
“BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factors, increase with sauna use and are responsible for facilitating the growth of new brain cells to improve memory and brain function.”
“People who used saunas had an improvement in both skin hydration and overall complexion.” 10
HOTWORX, a 24 hour infrared fitness studio franchise has been featured twice on hour long episodes of The Doctors tv show. The fact that the infrared fitness franchise was invited to be on the show two years in a row is indicative that doctors, in general, are intrigued by the potential for use of infrared to treat patients, and as a recommended part of their wellness regimes.
Take a minute to view the clips from the two episodes of The Doctors below: