Infrared Saunas: What They Do and 6 Health Benefits

Infrared Saunas: What They Do and 6 Health Benefits

This modern twist on a traditional sauna offers a lower-temperature option

Facts are facts, so let’s get one thing straight: Infrared saunas are definitely “cooler” than more traditional saunas that date back to ancient times.

Instead of steam or flame-stoked heat, infrared saunas use infrared lamps and electromagnetic magic to create warmth. The process allows infrared saunas to operate at a lower temperature while still providing therapeutic benefits.

Consider it a modern twist on how our ancestors sweated their way to better health and wellness. To learn more about this plug-it-in approach, we turn to functional medicine specialist Melissa Young, MD.

What are infrared saunas?

Light panels do more than give infrared saunas a unique glow. They also heat things up in a completely different way than old-school saunas, which is really what sets this method apart, says Dr. Young.

The lamps in infrared saunas focus a penetrating warmth directly on your skin to bring heat-therapy benefits. Traditional methods crank up the air temperature within an entire sauna.

Those two approaches bring up vastly different readings on thermometers. Temperatures in infrared saunas typically land between 110 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 F (43.33 degrees Celsius and 57.22 C). A traditional sauna usually falls between 150 F and 195 F (65.55 C and 90.55 C).

“Infrared saunas can definitely be much more comfortable for people while delivering the same sort of benefits,” says Dr. Young.

Infrared sauna health benefits

So, why should you lounge under infrared lights in temperatures that still approach the highest ever recorded on Earth? (If you’re curious, the much-disputed world record is just above 130 F [54.44 C].)

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

Improved heart health

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

“What’s happening mimics exercise when you think of the physiology,” explains Dr. Young. “There’s 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 decrease depression, 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

There’s evidence that regular sauna use can help you avoid the common cold, says Dr. Young. Saunas also reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative diseases like dementia.

More controversial are claims that sauna use can provide a detoxification effect as you sweat out toxins such as cadmium and lead. “That research is still in its infancy,” cautions Dr. Young.

Tips for using infrared saunas

So, you want to give an infrared hot box a try? Dr. Young offers these recommendations:

  1. Start low and slow. Dial down the temperature and keep your sessions short when you begin using an infrared sauna. “Start at something like 110 degrees for five to 10 minutes,” says Dr. Young. “See how you feel, then build from there.”
  2. Max time. Even if you’re an experienced sauna user, keep sessions below 30 minutes to avoid putting too much stress on your body. It’s best to limit visits to three to four times a week, too.
  3. Stay hydrated. The sweat that pours out during a sauna session can leave your body’s fluid levels low. “Bring water in with you,” advises Dr. Young. Sports drinks with electrolytes may also be a good option. (Side note: Avoid mixing alcohol with sauna use.)
  4. Rinse off afterward. A shower after your sauna will wash off any toxins you sweated out before they can be reabsorbed through your skin.
Risks of infrared saunas

Sauna use is viewed as a safe activity, which explains why they’ve been around for thousands of years. But be aware of the potential for dehydration, says Dr. Young. If you suddenly feel dizzy or nauseated, get out of the sauna immediately.

You also may want to avoid using infrared saunas in certain situations, including if:

  • You have multiple sclerosis. “People who have MS tend to be heat intolerant and generally should not use saunas,” warns Dr. Young.
  • You’re pregnant. Sauna use, especially early in pregnancy, can be harmful to your fetus and may cause birth defects, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • You’re trying to conceive. Heat is not good for sperm health.
  • You’re sick. Wait until you feel better for your sweat session.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, check with your healthcare provider before starting an infrared sauna routine, advises Dr. Young.

Is an infrared sauna worth trying?

Absolutely, says Dr. Young. “We see so many people who come in asking how they can move towards optimal health,” she says. “With saunas in general, and especially infrared saunas, people feel better after using them. It can be an integral part of your health practices.”


Elle Sez Series-Know Your Body: The Skeletal System

Claremont Colonic Center

Elle Sez Series-Know Your Body: The Skeletal System

The skeletal system works as a support structure for your body. It gives the body its shape, allows movement, makes blood cells, provides protection for organs and stores minerals. The skeletal system is also called the musculoskeletal system.

What is the skeletal system?

The skeletal system is your body’s central framework. It consists of bones and connective tissue, including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It’s also called the musculoskeletal system.


What does the skeletal system do?

The skeletal system has many functions. Besides giving us our human shape and features, it:

  • Allows movement: Your skeleton supports your body weight to help you stand and move. Joints, connective tissue and muscles work together to make your body parts mobile.
  • Produces blood cells: Bones contain bone marrow. Red and white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. Protects and supports organs: Your skull shields your brain, your ribs protect your heart and lungs, and your backbone protects your spine. Stores minerals: Bones hold your body’s supply of minerals like calcium and vitamin D.


What are the parts of the skeletal system?

The skeletal system is a network of many different parts that work together to help you move. The main part of your skeletal system consists of your bones, hard structures that create your body’s framework — the skeleton. There are 206 bones in an adult human skeleton. Each bone has three main layers:

  • Periosteum: The periosteum is a tough membrane that covers and protects the outside of the bone.
  • Compact bone: Below the periosteum, compact bone is white, hard, and smooth. It provides structural support and protection.
  • Spongy bone: The core, inner layer of the bone is softer than compact bone. It has small holes called pores to store marrow.

The other components of your skeletal system include:

  • Cartilage: This smooth and flexible substance covers the tips of your bones where they meet. It enables bones to move without friction (rubbing against each other). When cartilage wears away, as in arthritis, it can be painful and cause movement problems.
  • Joints: A joint is where two or more bones in the body come together. There are three different joint types. The types of joints are:    
  • Immovable joints: Immovable joints don’t let the bones move at all, like the joints between your skull bones.
  • Partly movable joints: These joints allow limited movement. The joints in your rib cage are partly movable joints.    
  • Movable joints: Movable joints allow a wide range of motion. Your elbow, shoulder, and knee are movable joints.    
  • Ligaments: Bands of strong connective tissue called ligaments hold bones together.    
  • Tendons: Tendons are bands of tissue that connect the ends of a muscle to your bone.

Conditions and Disorders

What are some common conditions that can affect the skeletal system?

Many conditions can affect the bones, joints, and tissues that make up the skeletal system. Some happen as a result of disease or injury. Others develop due to wear and tear as you get older. Conditions that may affect the skeletal system can include:

  • Arthritis: Age, injury, and medical conditions such as Lyme disease can lead to arthritis, a painful wearing down of joints.
  • Fracture: Disease, a tumor, or trauma can put stress on a bone, causing it to break.
  • Osteosarcoma: Cancer that forms in the bones can cause tumors that may weaken and break bones. Osteoporosis: Bone loss caused by not getting enough calcium can lead to fragile and brittle bones,
  • known as osteoporosis. Sprains and tears: Age, disease and trauma can cause connective tissue to overstretch and tear.


How can I keep my skeletal system healthy?

To keep your skeletal system strong and healthy, you should:

  • Get plenty of vitamin D and calcium in your diet (try milk, yogurt or almonds) to keep bones strong. Drink plenty of water to help keep tissues healthy.
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen bones and joints.
  • Stay at a healthy weight to avoid putting extra pressure on your bones and cartilage.
  • Wear protective gear during contact sports such as football and hockey.
  • Be cautious on stairs to avoid falls.

What happens when you break a bone?

Your healthcare provider will classify a fracture based on the way the bone breaks. Types of fractures include:

  • Stable (closed): The ends of the broken bones line up. Stress fracture: Overuse causes a crack in the bone.
  • Open (compound): The broken bone breaks the skin.

If you break a bone, you’ll need an imaging test called an X-ray so your doctor can identify the type of fracture. Depending on the severity of the break, you’ll need to immobilize it (prevent it from moving) in a cast or brace for three to eight weeks. Broken bones can take several months to heal completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I call my healthcare provider about an issue with my skeletal system?

Call your healthcare provider if pain, swelling, or stiffness in your bones or joints lasts more than a few days or interferes with your daily activities. Orthopedic doctors specialize in the skeletal system. These doctors can help you manage issues with:

  • Medical treatment, such as treating a fracture.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as exercise.
  • Medications like ibuprofen to relieve pain or Fosamax® (alendronic acid) to prevent bone loss.

If you suspect you may have broken a bone, go to the emergency room or see your healthcare provider. You’ll need treatment to make sure it heals properly


Is Your Job Ruining Your Sleep? If So, This May Be Why

Is Your Job Ruining Your Sleep? If So, This May Be Why

Claremont Colonic Center
Sleeping poorly due to job stress? That may be due to a lack of support from coworkers and higher-ups, a new study found.
However, receiving improved psychological and social support at your job allows you to more easily shut off from the workday, thus giving you precious downtime to de-stress and improve sleep, according to the study.

“This study highlights the important role that workplace environment and stress have beyond the setting of work on overall well-being,” said Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Zee was not involved in the study.

“Initiatives to improve well-being in the workplace can improve sleep, but at a personal level, what we can optimize is our sleep quality — which in turn can help to handle stress and ultimately increase resilience to daily challenges we face,” Zee said.

Leadership counts

The study, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, analyzed data on nearly 115,000 participants in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, the Work Environment and Health in Denmark study, and the Finnish Public Sector Study, who were followed for up to six years.

Researchers looked at top-down resources — leadership qualities, such as appreciation and the ability to listen, and procedural justice, which is the perception of fairness in the workplace — and horizontal resources, such as support from coworkers and a collaborative culture. Collaboration was defined as working closely with others to achieve the best available results or to develop or apply new ideas.

Sleep problems included initiating or maintaining sleep, poor-quality sleep and daytime tiredness two to four times a week that lasted one month to three months. Confounding factors, such as age and preexisting physical or mental disorders, were factored out.

Within a two-year period of time, over half of the participants (53%) reported changes in their workplace environment. If changes were positive in either of the two categories — leadership and fairness or coworker support and collaboration — the odds of persistent sleep problems declined. The biggest decline occurred when a person saw improvements in all four areas at the workplace.

However, if the changes at work were negative, sleep issues increased — in fact 1 in 4 people in the study with a worse job environment developed problems getting enough rest.

“Our findings justify future intervention studies to examine the extent to which improvements in workplace psychosocial resources could facilitate remission or recovery from sleep disturbances and prevent development, deterioration, or prolongation of sleep disturbances among employees,” wrote corresponding author Tianwei Xu, a postdoctoral student in epidemiology at Stockholm University in Sweden.

Having negative changes in the leadership and fairness sector was associated with the greatest long-term impact on sleep, more than negative changes in coworker relationships or collaboration, the study found.

“This finding is plausible, considering the greater power of leaders to affect a positive working environment,” Xu and her coauthors wrote.

How to fix the issue

Once the bed and bedroom have become associated with bad slumber, anxiety can increase just by entering the room where sleep is elusive, experts say. Bad sleep habits, such as eating, working, watching TV and worrying in bed can solidify that negative association.

Stimulus control therapy can help overcome the connection between wakefulness and the bedroom by training the mind to see the bed and bedroom as a place for good sleep, while eliminating cues for activities that interfere with falling asleep.

Can’t fall asleep? One of the first things to do: Get up if you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 or 20 minutes, experts say. Keep the lights dim and stay away from blue light emitted by electronics — watching TV or using a smartphone or computer will only send the brain a signal that it’s time to wake up. Do something mindless, like folding socks, until you feel sleepy. Only then can you go back to bed. Mind racing from work worries? Whatever you do, don’t worry in bed, said sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

“Schedule a ‘worry time’ — a period of time outside of the bedroom, outside of sleep, to worry about the things that naturally creep in your mind at night,” said Dasgupta, who was not involved in the study.

Sleep researcher Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, vice chair for research in the George Washington University department of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, gave CNN this advice in a previous interview: “Write down a list of things you need to do tomorrow. You can even email it to yourself.”

Deep breathing is a science-backed way to calm both body and mind. By changing the rhythm of your breath you slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and stimulate your body’s parasympathetic “rest and digest” system. One of the most popular deep breathing techniques, the 4-7-8 technique, can easily be done before you turn out the light. Try the relaxation exercise again if you wake during the middle of the night.

Another proven technique is progressive muscle relaxation, experts say. Tightly tense muscles in various areas of the body for 10 seconds while breathing in. Strive to squeeze each muscle hard, but not to the point of cramping or pain. Then, as you breathe out, relax the muscle suddenly and all at once. University of Michigan Health recommends you do the exercises in a systematic order of the body from head to toe.

Contributor: Sandee LaMotte, CNN Health

WH0 Says Coivid-19 is No Longer a Global Health Emergency.

WH0 Says Coivid-19 is No Longer a Global Health Emergency.

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
The World Health Organization declares an end to the Covid-19 global health emergency.

Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee discussed the pandemic on Thursday at its 15th meeting on Covid-19, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concurred that the public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, declaration should end.

“For more than a year the pandemic has been on a downward trend,” Tedros said at a news conference Friday.

Doctor Scott Harris, Alabama’s State Health Officer, discusses his state’s vaccination data in his office on June 29, 2021, in Montgomery, Alabama.

“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before Covid-19,” Tedros said. “Yesterday, the emergency committee met for the 15th time and recommended to me that I declare an end to the public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice.”

The organization declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020, about six weeks before characterizing it as a pandemic.

A PHEIC creates an agreement between countries to abide by WHO’s recommendations for managing the emergency. Each country, in turn, declares its own public health emergency – declarations that carry legal weight. Countries use them to marshal resources and waive rules in order to ease a crisis.

The United States is set to let its Covid-19 public health emergency end on May 11.

Covid-19 continues to spread, the virus is evolving and remains a global health threat, but at a lower level of concern, according to WHO officials.

“There’s still a public health threat out there, and we all see that every day in terms of the evolution of this virus, in terms of its global presence, its continued evolution and continued vulnerabilities in our communities, both societal vulnerabilities, age vulnerabilities, protection vulnerabilities, and many other things,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

“So, we fully expect that this virus will continue to transmit, but this is the history of pandemics,” Ryan said. “In most cases, pandemics truly end when the next pandemic begins. I know that’s a terrible thought but that is the history of pandemics.”

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on how the Bipartisan Infratructure Law will provide funding to replace the 150 year old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel North Portal in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 30.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead and head of its program on emerging disease, said that the emergency phase of the Covid-19 crisis is over but the disease is “here to stay” and the coronavirus that causes the disease is not going away any time soon.

“While we’re not in the crisis mode, we can’t let our guard down,” Van Kerkhove said. “Epidemiologically, this virus will continue to cause waves. What we are hopeful of is that we have the tools in place to ensure that the future waves do not result in more severe disease, don’t result in waves of death and we can do that with the tools we have at hand. We just need to make sure that we are tracking the virus because it will continue to evolve.”

There have been more than 765 million confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to WHO data. Nearly 7 million people have died. Europe has had the most confirmed cases overall, but the Americas have reported the most deaths. About 1 in 6 total deaths have been in the US.

Cases peaked in December 2022 as Omicron swept the globe, hitting the Western Pacific particularly hard. But billions of vaccine doses have been administered globally, and deaths have remained far below previous peaks.

Now, Covid-19 cases and deaths are about the lowest they’ve been in three years. Still, more than 3,500 people died in the last week of April and billions remain unvaccinated.

Tedros said that, if needed, he would not hesitate to convene another emergency committee meeting and declare a global health emergency again if there is a significant rise in Covid-19 cases or deaths in the future.

“Covid-19 has left and continues to leave deep scars on our world. Those scars must serve as a permanent reminder of the potential for new viruses to emerge with devastating consequences,” Tedros said.

“One of the greatest tragedies of Covid-19 is that it didn’t have to be this way. We have the tools and technologies to prepare for pandemics better, detect them earlier, respond to them faster, and communicate their impact. But globally, a lack of coordination, a lack of equity, and lack of solidarity meant that those tools were not used as effectively as they could have been,” Tedros said. “We must promise ourselves and our children and grandchildren that we will never make those mistakes again.”

Contributors: Jamie Gumbrecht, Jacqueline Howard and Deidre McPhillips, CNN Heath