By Dr. Larry Wilson


Disclaimer: The material presented here is for educational purposes only. We make no medical claims for sauna therapy. Dr. Wilson works as a nutrition consultant, not as a licensed medical doctor.


Always consult your doctor or other practitioner knowledgeable in sauna use before beginning a sauna therapy program. Saunas are powerful devices and monitoring your progress by a professional trained in sauna use is always advisable.





As a holistic physician, I am ever searching for better ways to heal the body that are safe, inexpensive, and powerful enough to handle today's health disasters. Over the past four years, I have incorporated infrared lamp saunas as a healing and detoxification modality. Rarely have I seen such an impressive aid for healing many diverse conditions.


The infrared lamp sauna was first used about 100 years ago. The electric light bulb had just been invented by Thomas Edison. Early units made use of 40 small regular bulbs. It was found to remove toxins faster than the traditional saunas available.


The following is an introduction to the large subject of sauna therapy. We strongly recommend a current book, Sauna Therapy. This provides much more depth, more complete plans, protocols, cautions, case histories and much more.


Infrared lamp sauna therapy is one of the least costly, safest and most powerful ways to eliminate toxic metals, toxic chemicals and chronic infections. The benefits include:


  Skin rejuvenation. Sauna use slowly restores elimination through the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and a major eliminative channel. In most people, it is inactive, congested and toxic. Sun exposure, use of synthetic clothing, bathing in chlorinated water and exposure to hundreds of chemicals damage the skin. Excessive sympathetic nervous system activity and emotions such as fear, anger and guilt cause blood to be withdrawn from the skin, contributing to inactivity of the skin.


  Enhanced sweating. Sweating in a sauna is a by-product of applying heat to the body. The sweating process gently and safely helps eliminate all heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Medical studies demonstrate that most toxins can be eliminated through the skin, relieving the burden on the kidneys and liver. Sweating increases dramatically in most people after several months of daily sauna use.


  Sweating during exercise is not nearly as effective for detoxification because exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous activity inhibits toxin elimination.


  Exercise benefits. Saunas provide many of the benefits of exercise with much less expenditure of energy. These include enhanced circulation and oxidation of the tissues. Repeated sauna use can lower elevated blood pressure and improve the elasticity of the arteries. Saunas are most helpful for cardiovascular rehabilitation, arthritis, allergies, skin conditions and chemical sensitivity.


  Decongesting the internal organs. Heating the body powerfully shunts blood toward the skin to dissipate heat. This decongests the internal organs and greatly stimulates circulation. Sinuses, joints and many other tissues benefit greatly.


  Fever therapy (hyperthermia) for infections. Raising body temperature powerfully assists the body to kill bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Many people have a low body temperature and, for this reason, cannot get rid of chronic infections. Common sites of infections are the sinuses, ears, eyes, bladder, throat and intestines.


  Tumors, radiation poisoning and mutated cells. Hyperthermia also helps kill other types of abnormal cells. Tumors, for example, tolerate heat poorly. Raising body temperature hastens their death. Though not a conventional method, hyperthermia is a well-researched therapy for cancer. Heat also disables or kills cells mutated by radiation or damaged by other toxins.



Types of Saunas


Three basic types of saunas exist.


Traditional saunas consist of a small room or space with an electric, gas or wood heater, or heated with hot rocks.


Far infrared saunas use ceramic or metallic elements for heating that mainly emit in the far infrared range.


Infrared lamp saunas use incandescent infrared heat lamps for heating. They emit mainly near infrared, some middle infrared and perhaps a tiny amount of far infrared energy. They also emit a small amount of red, orange and yellow visible light. This type also provides warming and stimulating color therapy. Red, orange and yellow assist the eliminative organs.


While traditional saunas require high temperatures for copious sweating, infrared penetrates the skin and heats from the inside as well as on the skin. This means the air temperature in the sauna can remain cooler, yet one sweats plenty at this lower, more comfortable temperature.


The infrared lamp sauna penetrates deepest, we believe, and we are waiting for formal studies to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. They may penetrate up to three inches or so, so the air temperature can stay cool est of all the types of saunas with the same effectiveness. Preheating is usually not necessary, saving time and electricity. While some people like the intense heat of the traditional sauna, many find it difficult to tolerate, especially those when feeling ill.


Infrared is an antioxidant nutrient, activates the cells, supports metabolic processes and decouples toxins from water molecules. Near infrared is helpful for wound healing and cellular regeneration as well.



Supervision and Safety


Supervision during a sauna therapy program is always needed. The presence of an attendant or friend close by is also most needed if you have any type of health condition.


Removing drugs from tissue storage may cause flashbacks or temporary drug effects, the same as when you took the drug. If you have used LSD or other psychotropic drugs, have an attendant near by, as a few have experienced flashbacks or even full-blown LSD trips.


In addition, follow the basic safety procedures below:


  Begin with only 20 minutes in the sauna. After a few weeks, only if you feel well enough to do so, you may increase to 30 or even 40 minutes. Never begin with sessions longer than 20-minutes once a day because this can cause massive healing reactions that are unpleasant and even dangerous.


  If debilitated or very heat sensitive, begin with 15 minutes or less in the sauna.


  Always rest for 15 minutes after a sauna session. Shower off and then relax after a sauna session to allow the body to readjust. Do not go right back to daily activities. It is best to use a sauna first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. These are the times one is most relaxed and it will be most effective. The more one relaxes, the more one will sweat.


  Always consult a health professional if one has a chronic illness.


  Pregnant women and children under five should avoid saunas. Young children must be accompanied by an adult


  Continue prescribed medication while taking saunas, unless directed otherwise.


  Use a sauna twice a week to twice a day. However, always begin with a maximum of one session daily for no more than one-half hour. If one is very debilitated, begin with once a week. Work up to daily use as you are able to do so.


  Healing reactions are temporary symptoms that occur as toxic substances are eliminated and chronic infections heal. Symptoms vary from mild odors, tastes or rashes are very common and usually pass quickly. Some people feel great fatigue after sessions and this is normal. Some people have bowel changes, aches, pains or headaches.


  Old infections may flare up as they are healed due to repeated sauna use. Usually only rest and natural remedies are needed to help infections resolve faster.


   Almost all healing symptoms are benign and will pass quickly. Consult a knowledgeable practitioner if any cause concern.



Converting a Traditional of Far Infrared Sauna to a Near Infrared Sauna


A lamp sauna offers wonderful benefits not available in a traditional or far infrared type of sauna including color therapy, near-infrared healing energy and other beneficial frequencies.


If you already own a traditional sauna or a far infrared sauna and wish to convert it by adding the infrared heat lamps, this can be done in most cases. There are a few requirements and a few cautions.


  Your sauna needs to be close to or greater than 48 inches long in one dimension. This way you will be sure to be able to sit far enough away from the lamps for comfort. You could make a hole in the wall of the sauna and recess the lamps, but this is much harder and may not work well.


  We recommend modifying the bench arrangement in a traditional or far infrared sauna. Thus, the bench must be removable for the best conversion although this is not absolutely necessary.


Since one needs to rotate in the electric light sauna, it is best to remove the bench and place a small bench in the middle of the sauna so you can rotate in all directions most easily.


You may still use the original heating system that came with your sauna to help preheat your sauna. Once it has warmed up, you can leave it on or perhaps just use the lamps for heating.



Notes on the Difference Between Infrared Heat Lamps and Simple Red Light Bulbs


It is the infrared range, not the red color that is important. Red light, in fact, is harmful, but not infrared. There is a little red in the infrared heat lamps, but not much, in fact. It is mostly orange and yellow with a little red and mostly infrared coming from the lamps. This is subtle but important to point out.


I spoke with a woman who experienced this. She shined a red heat lamp on her puppies and noticed how calm and happy they became. Them she used just a red lamp from the store. Then animals did not like it at all. She concluded there was a difference in the heat lamp but did not know what it was.


Here is the difference. Infrared looks like red to the eye. It is different, however, and the heat lamp is "tuned" to produce a lot of it with a special filament design. The red light is just an incandescent lamp with a red filter. They are quite opposite in their effects.


Infrared is healing, while red is highly irritating and stimulating. If we used a red light with people, they would hate the sauna. Instead, they are calmed by the infrare d frequencies and the little bit of red light does not bother them. The filter used as a coating keeps most of the red out, in fact. There is more to lamp design than one might imagine!


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