What are Heat Shock Proteins? Health Benefits & More

Heat shock proteins, or HSPs, are created with the use of heat therapies and can help your body experience improved health, performance, and recovery. Luckily, increasing HSP production through thermotherapy is easy to do – as easy as relaxing in an infrared sauna or layering on some clothes. Learn more about the function of HSPs and ways to incorporate heat therapy into your life.


Woman Sweating to Increase Heat Shock Protein Production


What are Heat Shock Proteins?


For anyone unfamiliar with molecular biology, heat shock proteins (HSPs) may seem a little ‘out there. In reality, however, these ‘molecular chaperones’ (as they have been nicknamed), play an enticing role in maintaining our physical, emotional, and mental health.


What HSPs Are

HSPs are within the family of macromolecular structures, despite their tiny size. They were discovered in the early 1960s and have since opened the doors in the field of genetics and have helped the scientific and medical communities view our genetic mapping in a new light. The family of heat shock proteins was initially characterized as a highly conserved battery of genes whose expression could be induced by heat shock. HSPs provide an opportunity for each organism to ‘up-regulate’ gene expression. 

There are many different classifications of HSPs, all of which are classified by their molecular weight and their specific intracellular functions. Classifications are divided into five major families, with HSP90, HSP70, HSP60, and HSP100 being the most studied. While there are many classifications, they are all referred to as ‘molecular chaperones’, because they serve to restabilize, reorganize, and rejuvenate intercellular order.


Man Sweating at Gym for Heat Shock Protein Production


What HSPs Do

HSPs play an essential role in maintaining the efficacy of any system or system of organisms. An increase in HSPs within human physiology has been 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.

When thermal stress (higher or lower temperatures than what the given species is normally habituated to) is placed on organisms, something quite extraordinary happens: All of these observed organic structures begin to produce, something medical clinicians and scientists have called heat shock proteins. When HSPs are created in response to thermal stress in the external environment, they produce great benefits to the intercellular atmosphere within both small and large organisms.


Heat Shock Protein Benefits


Increasing the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs) generates a ton of positive effects on a biological level for anyone. They may prevent disease-causing mutations, repair damaged and misfolded proteins, and also help release more natural growth hormones. In other words, HSPs help your body benefit from conditions that otherwise could be lethal if presented at a higher dosage. Some heat shock protein benefits include:

  • Reparation of misfolded and damaged proteins
  • Increased immune response
  • Reduction of free radicals
  • Faster muscle recovery and repair
  • Heart protection
  • Higher insulin production


Friends Using Infrared Sauna for HSP Heat Therapy


Types of Heat Therapy for HSP Production


Infrared Sauna Use

Infrared heat therapy penetrates deeper into the body than direct contact application. This heat is capable of reaching below the surface of the skin through near infrared heat, to the body’s soft tissue through mid infrared, and finally into fat cells through far infrared wavelengths. Using an infrared sauna is a great way to incorporate infrared heat into your health regimen for HSP production, as the temperature inside an infrared sauna is adjustable and averages a comfortable 100°F to 130°F – which allows you to tolerate a longer heat therapy session for more therapeutic benefit.



Any type of exercise where you find yourself feeling warmer or sweatier than at your rested state will kickstart the natural release of heat shock proteins. Most studies have recorded results from cardio on the body. However, studies have shown drastic changes in two types of heat shock proteins after performing eccentric contractions to create enough damage to the muscle tissue. This suggests you might get more release of these proteins hitting the squat rack rather than choosing the treadmill.


Layering Up

To get the most bang for your buck in terms of HSPs release, try layering up more than usual during your next session to help reduce any cooling of your body during resting periods. A 2017 study in the Journal of Sports Science suggests that while subjects tested showed somewhat of an increase in HSP release on an arm crank ergometer, elevating core body temperature produces a higher HSP release. So, if you’re looking for the slightest edge in muscle growth and improved recovery, take advantage of this easy adjustment the next time you try to increase HSP production. 


Hot Baths

While the degree of what you’ll get from a hot bath (or shower) might not be the same as what you’d get from a sauna, you may be able to give your body a similar response in terms of heat shock protein release. Subjects from a 2017 study proved just that – after being immersed up to their waistline in 40°C water for 1 hour, they saw a spike of HSP from 23% to 39%. The 16% variance was largely due to differences in total body mass and body fat percentage (leaner individuals saw a bigger increase than the others).


HSP production is an easy thing to stimulate for added health benefits in your daily life. While you might not see immediate or drastic results, incorporating heat therapy into your routine can help your body have a healthier foundation for lasting health. Before exposing yourself to heat for extended periods of time, be sure to speak to your doctor and take all safety precautions. And always remember to hydrate after sweating it out!

Joint Pain Causes & Treatment for Joint Pain Relief

Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help you move. Unfortunately, any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain. Joint pain can really put a strain on your everyday life. Luckily, there are a few techniques to help with joint pain relief, whether it’s finding relief in an infrared sauna or by getting medical attention from your doctor. Read on to learn more about the causes of joint pain, how using an infrared sauna can help, and other joint pain treatments are available.


Person with Joint Pain Holding Knee


What Causes Joint Pain?


Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.

Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It may go away after a few weeks (acute), or last for several weeks or months (chronic). Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments.

Your doctor will first try to diagnose and treat the condition that is causing your joint pain. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation and preserve joint function.


Friends Enjoying Sauna for Joint Pain Relief


Using an Infrared Sauna for Joint Pain Relief


Infrared heat may temporarily provide joint pain relief and ease stiffness. Increased thermal energy to the joints may promote a temporary increase in blood flow. Increased thermal energy may reduce stiffness and increase range of motion. With infrared therapy, the infrared wave penetrates 1.5” to 2” into the body stimulating a relaxation response allowing the muscles and tendons to unwind and release tension. The penetrating heat also raises the core body temperature which creates a “false fever” in the body forcing the immune system to spring into action and start increasing white blood cell production.

The result is a reduction in swelling and inflammation, two major factors in easing chronic pain. In addition, as the infrared heat elevates your core body temperature, capillaries and arteries dilate to increase blood flow allowing more oxygen-rich blood to travel to areas of tension and joint pain to help provide relief and expedite healing.

A study reported in Clinical Rheumatology showed that infrared saunas gave significant relief for patients with chronic pain (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Four weeks of 30-minute, twice-weekly sessions in an infrared sauna resulted in a 40 percent improvement in pain and stiffness. A study published in Internal Medicine showed that patients with chronic pain saw their pain levels drop by nearly 70% after their first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores remained low throughout the observation period.


Doctor Addressing Joint Pain with Patient


Additional Joint Pain Treatment Options



For moderate-to-severe joint pain with swelling, an over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen sodium (Aleve), can provide relief. If you have milder pain without any swelling, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be effective.

If your pain is so severe that NSAIDs and acetaminophen aren’t effective enough, your doctor may prescribe a stronger opioid medication. Other drugs that may help relieve pain include muscle relaxants to treat muscle spasms or some antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs, which both interfere with pain signals.


Topical Agents

Capsaicin, a substance found in chili peppers, may relieve joint pain from arthritis and other conditions. Capsaicin blocks substance P, which helps transmit pain signals, and it triggers the release of chemicals in the body called endorphins, which block pain. Another topical option is an arthritis cream containing the ingredient methyl salicylate, such as Bengay. CBD topicals can also help by providing localized relief when applied to sore or irritated areas via the skin, which contains endocannabinoid receptors.



For people who don’t find joint pain relief from oral or topical medications, the doctor can inject a steroid medication directly into the joint every three months to four months. Steroid injections are most commonly used in patients with arthritis or tendinitis. The procedure is sometimes done in conjunction with removing fluid from the joint. Alternatively, your doctor might recommend injections of hyaluronan, a synthetic version of the natural joint fluid used to treat osteoarthritis.


Patient in Physical Therapy for Joint Pain Treatment


Physical Therapy

You can work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the joint, stabilize the joint, and improve your range of motion. The therapist will use techniques such as ultrasound, heat or cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation, and manipulation.

If you are overweight, losing weight can relieve some of the pressure on your painful joints. Exercise is one effective way to lose weight (along with diet), but be careful to stick with low-impact exercises that won’t further irritate the joint. Swimming and bicycling are among the best exercises because both allow you to exercise your joints without putting impact on them. Because water is buoyant, swimming also relieves some of the pressure on your joints.


Home Care

You can relieve short-term joint pain with a few simple techniques at home. One method to follow is the PRICE method:

  • Protect the joint with a brace or wrap
  • Rest the joint, avoiding any activities that cause you pain
  • Ice the joint for about 15 minutes, several times each day
  • Compress the joint using an elastic wrap
  • Elevate the joint above the level of your heart

Applying ice to your painful joints can relieve the pain and inflammation. For muscle spasms around joints, try using a heating pad or wrap several times a day. Your doctor may recommend that you tape or splint the joint to minimize movement or reduce pain, but avoid keeping the joint still for too long because it can eventually become stiff and lose function.



Some research has indicated that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help with joint pain and improve function. Both of these substances are components of normal cartilage, which helps cushion the bones and protect joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are available in capsule, tablet, powder, or liquid form. Although these supplements don’t work for everyone, they are generally safe to try because they don’t have any significant side effects, but be sure to check with your doctor to ensure they are safe for you.


You should see your doctor if you have any unexplained joint pain, especially if it doesn’t go away on its own after a few days. No matter what treatment your doctor recommends, get medical help right away if the pain gets intense, your joint suddenly becomes inflamed or deformed, or you can no longer use the joint at all. Early detection and diagnosis can allow for effective treatment of the underlying cause of your discomfort.

Not Just an Infrared Sauna, it’s a Clearlight Sauna®

When you buy a Clearlight Sauna®, you’re buying more than just an infrared sauna, you are buying an entire health and wellness experience. There are specific aesthetic, technical, and service advantages that make a Clearlight a Clearlight. From expert design to unique features, we take great pride in providing more than just an average sauna experience. Read on to learn more about what makes a Clearlight Sauna® stand out against the rest.

Doctor-Designed and Recommended


All Clearlight Sauna® models are not just made with high quality and craftsmanship, but with the knowledge and experience brought by Dr. Raleigh Duncan. With many years of experience as a Doctor of Chiropractic and research into infrared therapy, Dr. Duncan’s knowledge and expertise can be felt in every model. Our proprietary True Wave™ far infrared and full spectrum infrared sauna heaters were designed, tested and approved by Dr. Duncan.

In addition to the design and endorsement from Dr. Raleigh Duncan, Clearlight Infrared Saunas are also recommended by a number of trusted doctors and experts, including Deepak Chopra, Dr. Sara Gottfried, Dr. Brian Clement, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and many more. Clearlight Saunas also have Class I Medical Device Licensing in Canada


True Wave™ Carbon/Ceramic Heating Technology


As a leader and innovator in the infrared sauna industry for over 20 years, we have been manufacturing infrared saunas that are both luxurious and effective. While our cabins are exceptional quality, the therapeutic benefits of infrared heat are our main focus. Our research and development department has developed the ONLY combination Carbon/Ceramic far infrared heater to ensure you have the best infrared sauna experience on the market. Clearlight True Wave™ Far Infrared Heaters combine carbon and ceramic to produce healing infrared heat that is unmatched.

The carbon in our heaters allows the heater to produce long wave far infrared heat. This long wave infrared heat penetrates deeper into your body and the infrared heat is more readily absorbed. The ceramic in our heaters gives them a very high infrared output when compared to traditional carbon heaters so we can concentrate the heat directly onto your body.


Strategic Infrared Heat Emitter Placement


Heater placement in an infrared sauna can make or break a sauna experience. Many saunas on the market have poorly-placed heaters, which causes uneven heat distribution, hot spots, wasted heat, and lost health benefits. Clearlight Saunas® change the game with the positioning of our infrared heating emitters completely “Surround You in Wellness” with healing infrared heat from all angles.

Our infrared heat emitters aim directly at your core for maximum infrared penetration and absorption – to raise your core body and give you a wellness experience second to none. Heaters are aimed directly at the back, sides, behind the claves, front, as placement above the head is unnecessary. The strategic placement of infrared heat allows for optimal heat distribution and comfort.

Low EMF/ELF Emitters


Our True Wave™ far infrared and full spectrum infrared heaters are the best in the industry and are the most effective and safest infrared heaters available. Jacuzzi® saunas are one of the only infrared saunas with the electrical wiring run through metal conduit. This shields both the ELF and EMF to ensure that your sauna is the safest available. Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second.  Extremely low frequency (ELF) are the electric fields with frequencies from 3 to 30 hertz.

As the pioneer of low EMF carbon infrared sauna heaters, our patent-pending infrared heater technology reduces EMF levels where you are sitting in the sauna to virtually zero. Our exclusive manufacturing process allows us to cancel out EMF to levels that are virtually undetectable. In addition, when testing Clearlight Saunas® with our low-ELF technology, users test as low as 200 mV – five times below the threshold of concern.


High-Quality Construction and Craftsmanship


From the wood press in our factory to the final stages of packaging, Jacuzzi® infrared saunas are beautifully crafted and built to last. We start with the highest-grade materials and adhere to the highest standards of design, manufacturing, and assembly. Each cabin is engineered proportionately with the right amount of eco-certified wood – either Grade “A” Clear Western Red Canadian Cedar or hypoallergenic Basswood.

We ensure that nothing goes to waste and reinforce each cabin structure with light-weight metal in the wood walls to add rigidity, rather than excess weight. Additionally, each sauna is rigorously tested and certified for product safety. Clearlight Saunas® are stronger. Not Heavier. Given today’s advancements in manufacturing, smaller amounts of material evenly distributed can yield stronger structures by applying smarter design processes:


Applied Engineering

  • Material measurements
  • 3-D structural analysis
  • Computer modelling to test loads and forces


Quality Construction

  • Material selection
  • Refined craftsmanship
  • 4-stage quality control


Practical Benefits

  • Less environmental impact
  • Easier cabins to lift and install
  • Safer structure

Unique Add-Ons and Features


Clearlight Sauna® Chromotherapy

Your home sauna from Clearlight has chromotherapy lights built in to help you reap all the benefits of color therapy. Chromotherapy, also called color light therapy, is the process of restoring balance to the body by applying color. Color light therapy relies on the premise that each color is associated with a different bodily response. For example, red is typically associated with stimulation, while blue is considered a mentally relaxing color.

Color light therapy has been reported to temporarily reduce swelling, relieve pain, decrease inflammation, accelerate open wound healing and greatly reduce overall recovery after medical and surgical procedures. When paired with a healthy lifestyle, chromotherapy patients have demonstrated increased range of motion, decreased muscle tension and spasm, and improved circulation.


Jacuzzi® Light Therapy

Clearlight Saunas® use powerful dual-optic technology that combines red light and near infrared technology. Red light therapy works by using red low-level wavelengths of light to produce a biochemical effect in cells by penetrating approximately 5 millimeters below the skin’s surface. This effect helps strengthen the mitochondria and increase cell energy to improve performance of cells. Red light is considered “low level” because it works at an energy density that’s low compared to other forms of laser therapies.

The light from near infrared LEDs has been shown to bring energy to cells, reduce pain, increase collagen and elastin production in skin cells, speed up the wound healing process, reduce inflammation and provide numerous anti-aging benefits. To use red light therapy with your sauna at home, you can attach a Jacuzzi® Light Therapy tower to the door of your sauna.


Vibration Resonance Therapy (VRT)

This additional therapy combines the healing effects of sound and vibration to soothe all systems of the body to bring you to a deeper state of relaxation. In your sauna, the vibration resonance therapy (VRT) modules attach to the bottom of the sauna bench and use an amplified audio signal to resonate sound waves to the surface of the sauna.

Clearlight Saunas® use VRT to allow the sounds and vibrations resonate throughout the body and stimulate the body’s natural relaxation response. Including vibration resonance therapy in your home sauna sessions enhances the rejuvenating properties of infrared therapy. Think of it as a light touch massage for your body and mind during your sauna session.

Award-winning HALOONE™ Halotherapy

The HALOONE™ is a halotherapy device designed to provide salt therapy in many areas, including use in Clearlight infrared saunas. Its portability enables use by both home users as well as wellness clinic owners by removing the need for investment in large infrastructure like salt rooms. The HALOONE™ is the only halotherapy device that offers a vapor salt therapy system with the full spectrum of salt particle sizes from 1-10 microns. This combined with intuitive usage and smart design designate it as a superior salt therapy solution.

The HALOONE™ has won the Good Design Award 2020, which recognizes various products, including industrial goods, architecture, software, systems, and services, and evaluates design and quality. It has also won the German Design Award, where expert committees on the German Design Council honor products that stand out from the competition in regard to design excellence.


Jacuzzi® UV Disinfectant Wand

Harmful germs and bacteria are everywhere. Now more than ever it’s important to ensure that the space around us is healthy and safe. Sterilizing hand gels, disinfectant sprays and sanitizing wipes are not enough to ensure a healthy environment. Many bacteria and viruses are heat, cold and drug resistant, but they are not resistant to Ultraviolet light (UV). It is widely accepted that it is not necessary to kill pathogens with UV light, but rather apply enough UV light to prevent the organism from replicating.

Emitting both UV-C and UV-A, the Jacuzzi® UV Wand damages the DNA and RNA in bacteria and viruses rendering them harmless. Using high powered LEDs, the UV Wand allows you to disinfect up to 10x faster than most fluorescent UV devices and the Jacuzzi® UV Wand is up to 2x more powerful than other LED UV devices.


Exclusive Clearlight Sauna® Lifetime Warranty for Home Use 


Your Jacuzzi® sauna comes with another exclusive – the Clearlight Infrared® Limited Lifetime Warranty for residential use. Few other companies can offer this type of warranty because no one builds saunas like Clearlight Infrared®. Our True Wave™ infrared emitters have an estimated operational life of 30,000 hours. Using your sauna 5 times per week your True Wave­­™ heaters can last up to 125 years.

In the rare event that you might have an issue with your sauna, our limited lifetime warranty covers the entire sauna – heaters, controls, electrical, and wood. Even the included audio system is included. You will never have to worry if anything should go wrong with your Jacuzzi® sauna. If you are using your sauna in a commercial location, you are still covered under our 5-year warranty.


The Advantages of Buying a Clearlight Sauna®


Buying a Clearlight Sauna® is more than just purchasing a sauna – it’s an investment in your health and wellness. Over the years, we have dedicated an immense amount of research and care to design the best infrared technology available. Each element is strategically planned to help you surround you in wellness. Join the Jacuzzi® sauna family today and see for yourself what makes a Clearlight a Clearlight!

Learn How to Get the Most Out of a Sauna at Home

Sure, you know how to sit in a sauna, but do you know how to do it like a pro? There are plenty of opportunities to take your home sauna to the next level and truly create a sanctuary at home. From using enhancements like aromatherapy and halotherapy to general sauna safety tips, read on to learn how to get the most of a sauna at home by making it a truly incredible sauna experience.

How to Get the Most Out a Sauna with Enhancements


Chromotherapy, also called color light therapy, is the process of restoring balance to the body by applying color. Color light therapy relies on the premise that each color is associated with a different bodily response. For example, red is typically associated with stimulation, while blue is considered a mentally relaxing color.

Color light therapy has been reported to temporarily reduce swelling, relieve pain, decrease inflammation, accelerate open wound healing and greatly reduce overall recovery after medical and surgical procedures. When paired with a healthy lifestyle, chromotherapy patients have demonstrated increased range of motion, decreased muscle tension and spasm, and improved circulation. Your home sauna from Clearlight has chromotherapy lights built in to help you reap all the benefits of color therapy.



The practice of salt therapy, or halotherapy, uses microsalt to promote a range of health benefits once inhaled. Many believe that when people inhale this salty air, it can help stimulate their respiratory system, reduce inflammation, fight infection, clear blockages and reduce discomfort.

The treatment is intended to recreate the atmosphere of salt caves with a high concentration of micronized salt in the air. One of the best solutions on the market is the Microsalt Halotherapy Generator that can be incorporated into your sauna and used to crush salt into microparticles that are easily inhaled. Creating your own salt sauna experience allows you to combine the powerful detoxifying properties of infrared therapy with the healing benefits of halotherapy.


Spending time in an infrared sauna is relaxing on its own, but you can enhance the experience even further by incorporating essential oils. It is important to note that essential oils are very strong and should be diluted or used with a carrier oil to avoid too much exposure. Ten of the best essential oils for sauna aromatherapy include birch, cinnamon, citrus, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, peppermint, pine, sandalwood, and tea tree oils.

Depending on your desired results, try mixing different essential oil combinations. Some simple combination ideas include citrus + peppermint for an energizing experience, pine + birch to go woodsy, and lavender + sandalwood for mental clarity and relaxation. Simply place a few drops of your favorite oil in a small container and place it in your home sauna to be heated and enjoy.


Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, LED light therapy, and low level light therapy, works by using red low-level wavelengths of light to produce a biochemical effect in cells by penetrating approximately 5 millimeters below the skin’s surface. This effect helps strengthen the mitochondria and increase cell energy to improve performance of cells. Red light is considered “low level” because it works at an energy density that’s low compared to other forms of laser therapies.

The light from near infrared LEDs has been shown to bring energy to cells, reduce pain, increase collagen and elastin production in skin cells, speed up the wound healing process, reduce inflammation and provide numerous anti-aging benefits. To use red light therapy with your sauna at home, you can attach a Jacuzzi® Light Therapy tower to the door of your sauna.


Vibration Resonance Therapy

This additional therapy combines the healing effects of sound and vibration to soothe all systems of the body to bring you to a deeper state of relaxation. In your sauna, the vibration resonance therapy (VRT) modules attach to the bottom of the sauna bench and use an amplified audio signal to resonate sound waves to the surface of the sauna.

Listen to some soothing music while using VRT to really let the sounds and vibrations resonate throughout the body and stimulate the body’s natural relaxation response. Including vibration resonance therapy in your home sauna sessions enhances the rejuvenating properties of infrared therapy. Think of it as a light touch massage for your body and mind during your sauna session.

How to Get the Most Out a Sauna with Activities


Hot Yoga

As the name implies, hot yoga is the practice of yoga in a heated setting. Hot yoga sessions are typically more vigorous and intense than the average yoga practice. Many use hot yoga as a way to connect with their body physically, mentally, or spiritually. Both infrared saunas and hot yoga offer the health benefits of detoxification, weight loss, flexibility, and reduced stress. Doing hot yoga in a sauna is the perfect scenario!



A home sauna creates the perfect environment for you to disconnect from everyday life and connect with yourself instead. Taking just 10 minutes of your day to meditate in your sauna can help significantly reduce your stress. On top of meditation, breathing exercises can help bring you to a state of mindfulness and concentration, which can help you push through the heat sauna session and get comfortable.


How to Use a Home Sauna: Tips & Safety


Home Sauna Tips

  • Place your sauna near a shower or pool for easy access.
  • Bring a towel to sit on for comfort and cleanliness.
  • Take a shower before and after your sauna session.
  • Block off uninterrupted sauna time so you can fully relax.


Home Sauna Safety

  • Limit your sessions to approximately 20 minutes.
  • Don’t use a sauna before working out.
  • Keep water nearby to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t use a sauna if pregnant.
  • End your sauna session if you begin to feel lightheaded.


If you have a sauna at home, you are already on the right path toward wellness! But now that you’ve learned how to get the most out of a sauna, you are about to experience a whole new approach to your sauna sessions with increased health benefits. If you are considering buying a sauna, take these tips into consideration so you can design your ultimate sauna experience.

What is Heat Therapy? Heat Therapy Benefits and Types

Summer can get pretty hot, but thermotherapy (also known as heat therapy) can get even hotter. While sweating even more than usual in the summer heat may not sound very appealing, heat therapy can be a great tool in managing certain pain and offering relaxation. Read on to learn more about heat therapy, its benefits, and which devices you can use to try it out at home.


What is Heat Therapy?


Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, is the practice of applying heat to the body for therapeutic benefits. Heat therapy can be as simple as taking a warm bath, but can also be more intensive with practices such as infrared sauna use. Unlike cold therapy, heat can safely be applied for prolonged amounts of time to provide extended relief.


What Heat is For

Heat is primarily for non-inflammatory body pain, relaxation, comfort, and reassurance, and taking the edge off of several kinds of body pain. Thermotherapy helps with mostly duller and persistent pains associated with stiffness, cramping, and/or sensitivity, which can be loosely categorized:


  • Acute soreness from over-exertion, or the pain you get after trying a new workout for the first time. Interestingly, not only is heat likely helpful for this kind of pain, it’s almost the only thing that is.
  • Stiffness and pain in specific areas related to osteoarthritis, muscle “knots” or trigger points, and most kinds of cramping/spasm (menstrual, neuropathic, restless leg syndrome, for example, or even just stiffness from postural stress). But not, of course, cramps from heat exhaustion.
  • “Hurts all over” pain and sensitivity. There are many kinds, but primarily: fibromyalgia, rheumatic diseases, drug side effects, vitamin D deficiency, and sleep deprivation.


What Heat is Not For

Heat will make some conditions much worse. Never apply heat to an infection or fresh injury where the superficial tissue is sensitive to the touch, the skin is hot and red, or if there is swelling. Or any other acute inflammation, like a flare-up of arthritis. That’s what ice is for: soothing inflamed tissue. If there’s no obvious/severe injury or infection, it’s okay to try a heat treatment.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell if pain is due to an injury. This is the puzzle at the centre of many chronic pain problems: the distinction between feeling damaged and being damaged. Fortunately, if the pain is mild enough that you can’t tell if it’s a fresh injury, just try some heat and see what happens. But there are many situations where this kind of ambiguity is a challenge, like lower back pain.

Heat therapy should not be used if the afflicted area is bruised or swollen, and open wounds should be avoided. Those with conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, dermatitis, heart disease, and deep vein thrombosis are at higher risk of injury when using thermotherapy, so discuss with your doctor before attempting.


Heat Therapy Benefits


One of the most prominent benefits of heat therapy is the treatment of muscle tension. If you have ever suffered from a sore back or a pulled muscle, you know just how effective heat therapy for back pain is and how much relief can come from a hot pad or a soak in the tub. This is because the application of heat helps your muscles stretch by increasing tissue extensibility, causing any stiff or tense muscles to relax.

Heat also triggers the body’s response to heal by increasing blood flow to affected areas. This is helpful in speeding up the recovery time of an acute injury, decreasing the discomfort from migraines and headaches, and simply helping the body relax for general stress relief or help with sleep.

More intensive thermotherapy practices create a sudden increase in the body’s core temperature and trigger the production of heat shock proteins, or HSPs, to protect your body from perceived stress. As this happens, muscles reach proper function while the heat shock proteins begin to guard muscles from potential trauma. This helps your body repair and rebuild any damaged areas.

Heat shock proteins are especially helpful in reducing recovery time and enhancing muscle mass for those who are active. You can activate heat shock proteins by spending some time in an infrared sauna or going all-out at the gym.


Types of Heat Therapy


Direct Contact

Direct contact heat therapy, also known as localized heat therapy, is the easiest method to do at home. This method requires you to apply either moist or dry heat directly to the afflicted area to deeply heat the muscles in the area. Heating methods include heating pads, hot baths, and even warming topicals. While there is debate whether dry or moist heat is more effective, clinical studies have not noted a significant difference.


Infrared Heat

Infrared heat therapy penetrates deeper into the body than direct contact application. Infrared heat is capable of reaching below the surface of the skin through near infrared, to the body’s soft tissue through mid infrared, and finally into fat cells through far infrared wavelengths. Using an infrared sauna is a great way to incorporate infrared heat into your thermotherapy application, as the temperature inside an infrared sauna is adjustable and averages a comfortable 100°F to 130 °F – which allows you to tolerate a longer heat therapy session for more therapeutic benefit.


Systemic Heat

Systemic heating means raising the entire body temperature with a bath or hot tub, steam bath, or hot shower – basically creating an artificial fever. Infrared heat mentioned above can also be classified as systemic heat, as it heats the body through. This application is often a helpful factor with conditions where emotional stress, knots in your muscles, or a significant complicating factor such as lower back pain is an issue.


Heat therapy can be a great tool for pain management and relaxation as long as it is applied correctly and safely. If you have any questions regarding thermotherapy, reach out to your doctor to ensure heat therapy benefits apply to you and can be done safely for your health.

Do Saunas Help Remove Toxins from the Body?

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com


We are constantly being exposed to environment toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, plastics, flame retardants, phthalates, and more. Many chemicals are sprayed on our food, arsenic can be found in rice, aluminum in deodorants, over the counter and prescription medications and cookware, and heavy metals like mercury and cadmium accumulate in fish and shellfish/bivalves, respectively. The list goes on and on. The very air we breathe is filled with pollution such as automobile exhaust. Thus, we are now living in a toxic environment and these toxins accumulate in our bodies; but is there anything we can do about it?


Evidence suggests that human fat tissue is widely contaminated with numerous man-made chemicals including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which can stay in the body for decades.1 Examples of POPs include organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins. POPs accumulate in the food chain, particularly in animal fat (fish, meat and milk).

If you were breastfed you would have received a hefty dose of these POPs during your most vulnerable years. Even decades later these POPs can still remain in your fat tissue slowly being released into the bloodstream. In fact, it can take decades to completely eliminate POPs from the body and in the meantime, they can cause numerous negative health consequences. Even low-level exposure to these POPs can adversely affect the endocrine, immune, nervous and reproductive systems. And we need a healthy immune system especially nowadays!

Since our own fat tissue serves as a storage reservoir for these POPs – and since they remain with us for several months but up to decades – strategies that can help mobilize and eliminate these toxins from our bodies may help support our health. One such strategy for helping to remove these toxins from the body is through sauna-induced sweating.


Since the 1980s, the Hubbard protocol, which utilizes sauna as well as exercise, niacin, and supplemental oils, has been tested in numerous studies showing beneficial effects for reducing body stores of POPs and improving clinical symptoms in those with environmental POP exposure.2 Typically, these studies find a 25-30% reduction in POP levels in fat and blood thought to be caused by the increase in their elimination in the skin through sweat.2

Clinical benefits with the Hubbard protocol have included improvements in IQ, neurocognitive function, ability to work, pain, fatigue and quality of life. Even respiratory symptoms in first responders at the World Trade Center and Gulf War veterans exposed to oil-well fires have found improvements with this protocol.2 But is the use of a sauna in the Hubbard protocol driving the benefit?

It has been known for a while that enhanced sweat production plays a major role in the benefits of the Hubbard protocol as it coincides with an increased turnover of these toxins in fat tissue. In fact, sweating alone has been used to help improve uremia, which is a build-up of toxins in the blood in patients with kidney disease. Since sweat contains POPs and heavy metals, and sweat volume can reach two liters per hour in those who are acclimated;3 this suggests that sweating in a sauna may be a good way to eliminate these toxins.2


However, don’t just take my word for it. Let’s have a look at the clinical studies testing sauna therapy for its potential to eliminate toxins through sweat.

A research group led by Stephen Genuis from the University of Alberta in Edmonton sought to test this idea. Since 2010, they have published at least half a dozen studies looking at the elimination of toxins from the body through blood, urine, and sweat, referred to by the acronym BUS. However, what we are interested in is their data on the elimination of toxins through sweat.

In their first paper, published in 2010, they collected blood, urine and sweat from 20 individuals, half in good health and half with numerous health issues. The authors noted that many toxic heavy metals were preferentially excreted through sweat. They concluded, “Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for elimination of many toxic elements from the human body.”4  In the study, all but three of the twenty participants used sauna (e.g., steam or infrared) as the method to induce sweating; exercise was used for the other three participants. In particular, using a sauna was a very good way to help eliminate the heavy metals cadmium, lead, and aluminum from the body; heavy metals which are now commonly found in the environment.

Since then this group has gone on to show that infrared/steam sauna sessions help to eliminate phthalates5, flame retardants6, Bisphenol A7, pesticides3 and PCBs8. Considering that infrared and steam saunas were used in these studies, these results do not necessarily apply to your traditional convection heat saunas. Additionally, the use of a sauna may even help individuals exposed to mold and mycotoxins.9

In summary, numerous clinical studies have shown that utilizing an infrared/steam sauna is able to remove many toxins through sweat; these include but are not limited to, heavy metals, phthalates, flame retardants, Bisphenol A, pesticides and PCBs. Furthermore, the use of a sauna may improve clinical symptoms in patients exposed to mold. Thus, sauna bathing may be a potential strategy to help eliminate toxins from the body. Something that all of us could use living in this toxic world.



1      Lee YM, Kim KS, Jacobs DR, Jr., et al. Persistent organic pollutants in adipose tissue should be considered in obesity research. Obes Rev 2017;18:129-39.

2      Kerr K, Morse G, Graves D, et al. A Detoxification Intervention for Gulf War Illness: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019;16.

3      Genuis SJ, Lane K, Birkholz D. Human Elimination of Organochlorine Pesticides: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. BioMed research international 2016;2016:1624643.

4      Genuis SJ, Birkholz D, Rodushkin I, et al. Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2011;61:344-57.

5      Genuis SJ, Beesoon S, Lobo RA, et al. Human elimination of phthalate compounds: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study. TheScientificWorldJournal 2012;2012:615068.

6      Genuis SK, Birkholz D, Genuis SJ. Human Excretion of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Flame Retardants: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. BioMed research international 2017;2017:3676089.

7      Genuis SJ, Beesoon S, Birkholz D, et al. Human excretion of bisphenol A: blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study. J Environ Public Health 2012;2012:185731.

8      Genuis SJ, Beesoon S, Birkholz D. Biomonitoring and Elimination of Perfluorinated Compounds and Polychlorinated Biphenyls through Perspiration: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study. ISRN toxicology 2013;2013:483832.

9      Rea WJ. A Large Case-series of Successful Treatment of Patients Exposed to Mold and Mycotoxin. Clin Ther 2018;40:889-93.

Sauna Bathing for Peaceful Minds and Healthy Hearts

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com


Most people use saunas for relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, and socializing. 1 The most commonly reported benefits with sauna use include improvements in pain, mental issues, and sleep 1 – something all of us could benefit from right now. However, emerging evidence suggests that sauna is not only beneficial for our mental health but also our heart health.

In fact, regular sauna bathing is associated with reductions in hypertension, fatal cardiovascular events, sudden cardiac death, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and all-cause mortality. 2, 3 Sauna bathing 2-3 times per week, versus 1 time per week or less, is also associated with a 33% reduction in the risk of venous thromboembolism. 4 Epidemiological studies find greater reductions in cardiovascular risk with frequent and regular sauna sessions of at least 20 minutes in duration. 2 ,3 , 5


For most saunas, in order to elevate heart rate above 100 beats per minute the session needs to be longer than 10-15 minutes. The real magic with sauna bathing likely occurs somewhere around the 25 to 30-minute mark (when the heart rate reaches around 120 beats per minute or higher). 5

Two clinical trials in patients with at least 1 cardiovascular risk factor found that 30 minutes in the sauna improves systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 6, 7 One of them noting improvements in arterial stiffness.6  In heart failure patients, sauna sessions also significantly reduce blood pressure 8 and also increase cardiac and stroke indexes, reduce systemic vascular resistance and increase ejection fraction. 9 These benefits may have to do with improvements in oxidative stress and increases in the production of nitric oxide leading to better vascular relaxation and blood flow. 10

Two weeks of far infrared sauna sessions significantly improves systolic and diastolic blood pressure, flow-mediated dilation, fasting glucose, body weight, and body fat. 11 Far infrared sauna therapy also improves ventricular arrhythmias, heart rate variability and brain natriuretic peptide in patients with chronic heart failure 12 and vascular health in patients with at least one coronary risk factor. 13


Combining aerobic exercise with frequent sauna bathing may confer the greatest heart health benefits. Indeed, 15 minutes of aerobic exercise followed by 15 minutes in the sauna improves mean arterial pressure, arterial stiffness and pulse pressure, benefits that were retained even after a 30-minute recovery period. 14 Sauna bathing also lowers heart rate. Indeed, one study noted a 9 beat per minute reduction in resting heart rate after a 30 minute sauna session. 5 And another study found similar benefits with a 25-minute sauna session finding reductions in blood pressure and heart rate. 15

During a sauna session there is an acute increase in heart rate and blood pressure but afterwards there is a reduction. 15 An effect similar to what occurs with moderate exercise. Additionally, after sauna bathing there is a significant increase in parasympathetic activity but a reduction in sympathetic activity leading to an increase in heart rate variability.  5 Considering that hypertension, fatal arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and acute myocardial infarction are associated with reductions in heart rate variability 5 an improvement in this parameter with sauna therapy may lead to significant cardiovascular benefits.

In summary, sauna bathing is safe for most individuals and appears to lower blood pressure, improve artery health, heart rate variability, and resting heart rate. Sauna therapy also increases nitric oxide dilating blood vessels and reducing oxidative stress. All of these effects are likely why regular sauna use is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease.



1      Hussain JN, Greaves RF, Cohen MM. A hot topic for health: Results of the Global Sauna Survey. Complement Ther Med 2019;44:223-34.

2      Laukkanen JA, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK. Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clin Proc 2018;93:1111-21.

3      Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, et al. Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. JAMA internal medicine 2015;175:542-8.

4      Kunutsor SK, Makikallio TH, Khan H, et al. Sauna bathing reduces the risk of venous thromboembolism: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol 2019;34:983-6.

5      Laukkanen T, Lipponen J, Kunutsor SK, et al. Recovery from sauna bathing favorably modulates cardiac autonomic nervous system. Complement Ther Med 2019;45:190-7.

6      Lee E, Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, et al. Sauna exposure leads to improved arterial compliance: Findings from a non-randomised experimental study. European journal of preventive cardiology 2018;25:130-8.

7      Laukkanen T, Kunutsor SK, Zaccardi F, et al. Acute effects of sauna bathing on cardiovascular function. J Hum Hypertens 2018;32:129-38.

8      Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, et al. [Effects of hot water bath or sauna on patients with congestive heart failure: acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation]. J Cardiol 1994;24:175-83.

9      Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, et al. Acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation in congestive heart failure. Circulation 1995;91:2582-90.

10    Gryka D, Pilch WB, Czerwinska-Ledwig OM, et al. The influence of Finnish sauna treatments on the concentrations of nitric oxide, 3-nitrotyrosine and selected markers of oxidative status in training and non-training men. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2020;33:173-85.

11    Biro S, Masuda A, Kihara T, et al. Clinical implications of thermal therapy in lifestyle-related diseases. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003;228:1245-9.

12    Kihara T, Biro S, Ikeda Y, et al. Effects of repeated sauna treatment on ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic heart failure. Circ J 2004;68:1146-51.

13    Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, et al. Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol 2001;38:1083-8.

14    Lee E, Willeit P, Laukkanen T, et al. Acute effects of exercise and sauna as a single intervention on arterial compliance. European journal of preventive cardiology 2019:2047487319855454.

15    Ketelhut S, Ketelhut RG. The blood pressure and heart rate during sauna bath correspond to cardiac responses during submaximal dynamic exercise. Complement Ther Med 2019;44:218-22.

Using Saunas for a Natural Substance Abuse Detox Treatment

Detoxification from substances can be an unpleasant experience, but there are many tools, therapies, techniques, and resources available to help make it a little easier. From alcohol to nicotine, the body at times may need help with the detoxification process when ridding the body of substances. Read below to learn what to expect when going through a detox, and how an infrared sauna can help with detoxification both during and after treatment.


Function & Benefits of Detoxification


Directly or indirectly, toxic residues find their way into our air, food and water supplies. The net effect of this ecological overload is to alter the body’s balance, or homeostasis. This interference with our natural biological tendencies to restore internal balance results in disease in one form or another. These illnesses include cancers of virtually every organ system of the body, as well as leukemia, liver disease, pulmonary damage, anemia and blood changes, nervous system disease, immune system damage, psychological damage, reproductive and fertility impairment, and kidney dysfunction.

With that being said, it is obvious that detoxification is an important function to keep the body safe and healthy. When toxins are properly removed, there are many health benefits:

  • Improved Immune System
  • Healthier Internal Organs
  • Weight Loss and Management
  • More Energy
  • Improved Mental Clarity

At a basic level, detox is a perfectly natural process. Drugs enter the body, and the body’s systems work to process the chemicals. Cells in the liver purify the blood. Cells in the digestive system process alcohol. Cells in the kidneys move waste out of the body altogether. It’s an efficient and perfectly natural system that the body uses in order to heal. But drugs can wreak havoc on those natural systems, as some drugs are just so powerful that the body can’t handle a typical cleaning protocol.

The body can be capable of performing its own drug detox, but it takes time and the withdrawal symptoms that occur in the meantime are uncomfortable at best. Sometimes, drugs are so powerful that people who attempt natural methods put their lives at risk. That is why experts agree that a medical detox program is the safest choice for people with an addiction history.


Why to Use Natural Therapies for Treatment


When detoxing for substance abuse, no treatment should be done without medical supervision. Depending on the substance and the level of use, the detoxification process may become more or less dangerous. When seeking treatment, you and your doctor will discuss the options best suited for you, which may include a combination of medications and other therapies to help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal.

Though natural therapies will likely not be the only form of treatment, they are a great addition to substance abuse treatment to help bring the body feeling back to normal. Many detox centers offer natural therapies, such as massage and infrared sauna use, to patients both during and post-treatment to provide comfort as the body is transitioning.


Doing a Substance Abuse Detox with a Sauna


Including infrared sauna use in a substance abuse detox can help with three main things: improved circulation, enhanced detoxification, and reduction of negative withdrawal symptoms.

Long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol can cause problems in the heart and areas of the nervous system depending on the drug of choice and the severity of the addiction. The heat in an infrared sauna helps repair circulation, sending blood flow to all the necessary areas. This also moves blood closer to the surface of the skin. A process known as lipolysis begins to break down fat tissues in the body that contain toxins that are then released into the bloodstream.

Though some of these toxins are excreted through the skin, others are sent to the kidneys and liver. Sauna therapy raises the level of toxins through increased sweating, and therefore, pushes toxins out through human waste and urine.

Additionally, individuals may find saunas soothing in the same way that some find massages soothing during the drug detox period. Some drugs cause joint and muscle pain as withdrawal symptoms, and the high heat of a sauna can relieve some of this pain. Infrared sauna therapy can help improve withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, stress, anxiety, muscle cramps, inflammation, pain, rapid heart rate, drug cravings, sleep disturbances, low energy, and reduced cognitive function by increasing blood circulation and decreasing blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

The use of infrared saunas can also become part of a self-care routine post-treatment for those who are undergoing substance abuse recovery. If anything, visiting an infrared sauna can help to relax, soothe the body and mind, and make you feel rejuvenated.


What to Expect with a Substance Detox


On average, the detox process typically lasts for between 7 and 10 days. When the amount of alcohol or drugs in a patient’s system is gradually reduced, they will typically begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The type of withdrawal symptoms that are experienced, as well as how severe these are, depend on how long a person has been addicted to alcohol or drugs, the type of substance that they are addicted to, how much they have been consuming, and their general mental and physical health.

Withdrawal can result in a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, shaking, sweating, high temperature and/or chills, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, abdominal cramps, muscle and bone pain, exhaustion, and vivid and unpleasant dreams. Psychological symptoms include, irritability, anxiety, confusion, paranoia, insomnia, depression, inability to concentrate, mood swings.

In the most severe cases, withdrawal during a substance detox may result in hallucinations, delirium, and seizures.

Thankfully, with the help of medical support, medications, and natural treatments available to those in need to properly and safely detox from substance abuse. Medications and infrared sauna therapy both help manage the negative side effects of withdrawal and create a more comfortable recovery and return to normal.


Resources for Substance Abuse


If you or a loved one is facing issues with substance abuse, there are many resources available to help you take the next step toward recovery. Speak to your doctor about potential treatment and recovery options, and use the resources below for hotlines, information, and programs to help you through your journey:

Can Sitting in a Sauna Help Fight Infections?

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com

Did you know that since 1957 sauna therapy has been used as a potential way to prevent the flu? 1 It’s true! During World War II, sauna therapy was even noted to prevent the spread of typhus fever in Finnish troops, “The main method of typhus prevention in Finland consisted of regular sauna bathing, which was culturally acceptable and very efficient.” 2 Since then, numerous studies have been published confirming that sauna therapy is indeed beneficial for fighting infections. 3, 4

For example, a clinical study divided 50 patients into two groups, one group of patients were assigned to sauna sessions over several months and the other group did not receive sauna therapy; can you guess what happened? The group that received sauna sessions had their incidence of the common cold cut in half. 4 And the benefits of sauna therapy don’t stop at the common cold. People who use saunas at least 4 times per week, compared to those who use the sauna once per week or less, have approximately half the risk of developing pneumonia or respiratory diseases. 5, 6


So how does going into a sauna help fight against infections? For one, our body’s first defense against an infection is a fever. By boosting core body temperature and mimicking a fever, sauna therapy may help our bodies fight off infections before they take hold. It’s not recommended to go into a sauna once you have a fever because at that point your body is doing sauna therapy on its own. However, consistent use of a sauna may help reduce the ability of viruses to replicate in the body. 4-6  And this is important, especially early on in an infection, prior to it causing a fever, spreading to the lungs and taking a firm hold.

Going into the sauna causes hyperthermia or a rise in core body temperature. Essentially, sauna therapy is “heat shock” therapy. It shocks the body with heat and induces a short-term stress on the body. However, once the body has recovered from a sauna session it is more resilient to other stressors. This is known as hormesis. Basically, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (think of sunlight, exercise, or cold therapy). And in the case of sauna therapy we are talking about the immune system getting stronger.

We didn’t know exactly how saunas worked against viruses until recently. For example, when we go into a sauna our body increases the production of something called heat shock proteins (HSPs). 7 HSPs are released to prevent proteins from degenerating from heat shock or other stress. 8 They also help stimulate both our innate and adaptive immune system.  9 Thus, making our overall immune system more robust. Additionally, heat shock proteins can directly inhibit influenza viral replication  10,12  and make our cells more resistant to death from external stressors. 13, 14 In other words, the release of heat shock proteins with sauna therapy may, 1.) boost our immune system, 2.) inhibit viral replication and 3.) protect our immune and lung cells during cytokine storms. Talk about a triple combination punch!


The benefits of HSPs and sauna therapy on our immune system don’t stop there. Heat shock protein-70 can stimulate the release of nitric oxide from monocytes. 15 And nitric oxide can inhibit the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). 16,17,18 Additionally, sauna therapy boosts nitric oxide, 19 as it increases the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), which is the enzyme that makes nitric oxide in the body. 20,21 Infrared sauna therapy stimulates eNOS above and beyond any thermal effect, suggesting that infrared saunas may have an advantage over traditional saunas. 20,22,23

A 15-minute sauna session can also stimulate the immune system, increasing the number of white blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils and basophil counts. 24 Hyperthermia, as found with sauna therapy, also increases the antiviral effect of interferons. 25,26 Interferons are produced by our body to increase antiviral antibodies and to stimulate our immune system. Thus, there are many pathways for how sauna therapy may help us fight against infections.

Overall, sitting in a sauna for approximately 15-30 minutes per day, for 4 or more days per week, is a great way to increase heat shock proteins, activate the immune system, and potentially inhibit viral replication. Clinical evidence in humans suggests that sauna therapy reduces the incidence of the common cold and may reduce the incidence of influenza, pneumonia, and respiratory diseases.



1      Hartmann A. [Asiatic flu in 1957; sauna baths as prophylactic measure]. Hippokrates 1958;29:153-4.

2      Laurent H. Control of typhus fever in Finland during World War II. Vesalius 2009;15:71-9.

3      Brenke R. Das Potenzial der Sauna im Rahmen der Prävention – eine Übersicht neuerer Erkenntnisse. Forschende Komplementarmedizin (2006) 2015;22:320-5.

4      Ernst E, Pecho E, Wirz P, et al. Regular sauna bathing and the incidence of common colds. Ann Med 1990;22:225-7.

5      Kunutsor SK, Laukkanen T, Laukkanen JA. Frequent sauna bathing may reduce the risk of pneumonia in middle-aged Caucasian men: The KIHD prospective cohort study. Respir Med 2017;132:161-3.

6      Kunutsor SK, Laukkanen T, Laukkanen JA. Sauna bathing reduces the risk of respiratory diseases: a long-term prospective cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol 2017;32:1107-11.

7      Iguchi M, Littmann AE, Chang SH, et al. Heat stress and cardiovascular, hormonal, and heat shock proteins in humans. Journal of athletic training 2012;47:184-90.

8      Xue J, Fan X, Yu J, et al. Short-Term Heat Shock Affects Host-Virus Interaction in Mice Infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus H5N1. Frontiers in microbiology 2016;7:924.

9      Wang Y, Whittall T, McGowan E, et al. Identification of stimulating and inhibitory epitopes within the heat shock protein 70 molecule that modulate cytokine production and maturation of dendritic cells. J Immunol 2005;174:3306-16.

10    Hirayama E, Atagi H, Hiraki A, et al. Heat shock protein 70 is related to thermal inhibition of nuclear export of the influenza virus ribonucleoprotein complex. J Virol 2004;78:1263-70.

11    Li G, Zhang J, Tong X, et al. Heat shock protein 70 inhibits the activity of Influenza A virus ribonucleoprotein and blocks the replication of virus in vitro and in vivo. PLoS One 2011;6:e16546.

12    Conti C, De Marco A, Mastromarino P, et al. Antiviral effect of hyperthermic treatment in rhinovirus infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1999;43:822-9.

13    Novoselova TV, Margulis BA, Novoselov SS, et al. Treatment with extracellular HSP70/HSC70 protein can reduce polyglutamine toxicity and aggregation. J Neurochem 2005;94:597-606.

14    Guzhova IV, Arnholdt AC, Darieva ZA, et al. Effects of exogenous stress protein 70 on the functional properties of human promonocytes through binding to cell surface and internalization. Cell Stress Chaperones 1998;3:67-77.

15    Wang Y, Kelly CG, Singh M, et al. Stimulation of Th1-polarizing cytokines, C-C chemokines, maturation of dendritic cells, and adjuvant function by the peptide binding fragment of heat shock protein 70. J Immunol 2002;169:2422-9.

16    Akerstrom S, Mousavi-Jazi M, Klingstrom J, et al. Nitric oxide inhibits the replication cycle of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Virol 2005;79:1966-9.

17    Akerstrom S, Gunalan V, Keng CT, et al. Dual effect of nitric oxide on SARS-CoV replication: viral RNA production and palmitoylation of the S protein are affected. Virology 2009;395:1-9.

18    Chen L, Liu P, Gao H, et al. Inhalation of nitric oxide in the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome: a rescue trial in Beijing. Clin Infect Dis 2004;39:1531-5.

19    Gryka D, Pilch WB, Czerwinska-Ledwig OM, et al. The influence of Finnish sauna treatments on the concentrations of nitric oxide, 3-nitrotyrosine and selected markers of oxidative status in training and non-training men. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2020;33:173-85.

20    Huang PH, Chen JW, Lin CP, et al. Far infra-red therapy promotes ischemia-induced angiogenesis in diabetic mice and restores high glucose-suppressed endothelial progenitor cell functions. Cardiovasc Diabetol 2012;11:99.

21    Ikeda Y, Biro S, Kamogawa Y, et al. Repeated sauna therapy increases arterial endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression and nitric oxide production in cardiomyopathic hamsters. Circ J 2005;69:722-9.

22    Akasaki Y, Miyata M, Eto H, et al. Repeated thermal therapy up-regulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase and augments angiogenesis in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia. Circ J 2006;70:463-70.

23    Yu SY, Chiu JH, Yang SD, et al. Biological effect of far-infrared therapy on increasing skin microcirculation in rats. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2006;22:78-86.

24    Pilch W, Pokora I, Szygula Z, et al. Effect of a single finnish sauna session on white blood cell profile and cortisol levels in athletes and non-athletes. Journal of human kinetics 2013;39:127-35.

25    Chang CC, Wu JM. Modulation of antiviral activity of interferon and 2′,5′-oligoadenylate synthetase gene expression by mild hyperthermia (39.5 degrees C) in cultured human cells. J Biol Chem 1991;266:4605-12.

26    Payne J, Nair MP, Ambrus JL, et al. Mild hyperthermia modulates biological activities of interferons. Int J Hyperthermia 2000;16:492-507.

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

At a time like this, taking every precaution to stay healthy is imperative. Strengthening your immune system can help prepare your body to fight off sickness. But what exactly does the immune system do, and what steps can you take to help it perform properly? Learn more about your body’s process of protecting from sickness and discover how to boost your immune system naturally below.


What Does the Immune System Do?


The immune system is designed to detect and destroy foreign invaders inside the body like bacteria and viruses. When working optimally, the immune system can prevent sickness when we’re exposed to germs. Several factors like sleep, diet, stress and hygiene can affect the immune system’s performance, and any offsets in these behaviors can decrease immune function. Our bodies have two immune subsystems: innate, which fights harmful substances and germs that enter the body, and adaptive, which fights certain germs that the body has previously come into contact with.

The adaptive immune system can be activated by things the body doesn’t recognize as its own, called antigens. These are called antigens. When these antigens attach to special receptors on the immune cells (immune system cells), a series of processes is triggered in the body. Once the body has come into contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, it usually stores information about the germ and how to fight it through antibodies. Then, if it comes into contact with the germ again, it recognizes the germ straight away and can start fighting it faster. Because the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.


What Affects the Immune System



As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions. While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases. This is likely due to the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection



Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from harmful environmental factors and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as eating a healthy diet, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, exercising, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and taking general steps to avoid infection.



Increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, makes it difficult for the immune system to function properly. The American Psychological Association reports that 75% of Americans experience moderate to high levels of stress. In addition to the direct impact of stress on immune function, unmanaged stress can influence our sleep patterns, our mood, our dietary intake and our physical activity levels. All of these factors are associated with immune system function.


How to Improve Your Immune System Naturally


Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas have many health benefits that play in to helping boost your immune system naturally, including:

  • Increasing White Blood Cell Production: The heat generated by an infrared sauna stimulates energy at a cellular level which, in turn, increases the body’s production of white blood cells. These cells form a component of your blood and act as your immune system’s first line of defense when infection strikes. When a harmful substance enters your body, white blood cells detect it and control the immune system’s response.
  • Creating an Artificial Fever: Fevers help your body to fight off infection by allowing certain immune cells to work more efficiently and effectively, and increased temperatures trigger the body’s immune system response. Hyperthermia, or the exposure of the body to high temperatures, gives these cells the ability to destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells.
  • Releasing Impurities: When your body does not sweat enough, it holds onto potentially harmful toxins, chemicals, and impurities that were meant to be eliminated through sweat. A typical 20-minute session in an infrared sauna allows your body to flush out these impurities from the inside out so your immune system has less to fight off.
  • Reducing Stress: Since high stress levels often result in a weakened immune system and, as a result, illness, reducing your stress levels is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Regular use of an infrared sauna balances cortisol levels and relaxes the body and mind. This allows your immune system to work efficiently, without the hindrance of high cortisol levels.
  • Improving Blood Circulation: The deeply penetrating heat of an infrared sauna promotes blood circulation throughout your entire body, providing oxygen-rich nutrients to your extremities. The increase in circulation pumps the blood towards the outside surface of your body, taking with it any bacteria or other illness-causing substances.


Healthy Diet

Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition’s effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans.



There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals. While there is no one magical natural immune system booster, supplying your body with the necessary nutrients and vitamins can help set it up for success when it needs to fight something off.



Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.


Stress Reduction

Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely decreases our immunity at the same time. Try things such as relaxation exercises, positive thinking, behavior modification, meditation, and finding social support to help reduce stress.


Your immune system is an incredibly powerful and useful system in your body that helps it fight disease and learn how to protect from future illness. Luckily, the most effective way to boost the immune system naturally is through a generally healthy lifestyle. There are no miracle pills to take or special treatments to do, just steps you can take to help support your body in being strong and able to fight off what comes its way.