Christine W asks: I read this transcript (from Mercola.com) of an interview about Near Infrared Light Sauna. I’ve never heard of it, and I am curious what you think of that kind of therapy?
Answer: There are several different types of saunas that one can experience, the idea with saunas being they provide health benefits such as increasing detoxification increased metabolism, weight loss, increased blood circulation, pain reduction, antiaging, skin rejuvenation, improved cardiovascular function, improved immune function, improved sleep, stress management, and relaxation. Saunas have been around since Roman times and many health spas today have them in various forms. Most often they are a dry or wet/steam sauna that heats the skin and causes one to sweat, the idea being that sweating eliminates toxins and increases circulation. More recently infrared saunas have become popular, there being both far-infrared and near-infrared saunas. The difference lies in the wavelength with the near-infrared having higher energy than the lower energy far-infrared wavelength. In theory far-infrared heats the body similar to other forms of sauna such as dry and steam from outward in, while near-infrared travels deeper into the body and thus causes a greater heating and therapeutic benefit. This benefit is thought to be due to photobiomodulation (PBM) that affects the bodies light receptors termed chromophores. Every biological system in the body contains chromophores, especially the mitochondria which provides cellular energy. The question becomes however, does the near-infrared sauna provide any greater therapeutic benefit than other saunas? As there are few if any studies other than testimonials, the jury is still out for me as to an increase in benefits. But I do encourage you all to consider utilizing saunas as it has been my experience that there is a health benefit experienced by most people, myself included.
Thomas A. Kruzel, N D