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Infrared Sauna for Cancer

There is a lot of flaky stuff on the web about infrared sauna, like the often-quoted study that found infrared saunas make you sweat five times as much toxins as regular saunas. Although I have found at least a dozen references to this study (mostly on websites promoting infrared saunas), I have been unable to find the study itself or any links to it. If it actually exists, I would expect it to place high enough in the search engine rankings to be more visible.

Even if you overlook the flaky stuff, however, you can still find good evidence on the web of at least six ways in which infrared sauna may fight cancer.

1. Weight Loss

According to the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the U.S. Last September, I posted this overview of infrared sauna and weight loss. To put it briefly, infrared sauna increases your metabolism, and increased metabolism — other things being equal — means weight reduction.

2. Immune System

In a 1990 study, researchers followed 50 volunteers for six months, half of whom took regular sauna baths while the other half refrained from using sauna. The researchers found the sauna bathers had significantly fewer colds during the period of the study, which strongly suggests that sauna strengthens your immune system.

3. Circulation

The association between cardiovascular disease and cancer is so well known that the American College of Cardiology is in the process of establishing a discipline of cardio-oncology. The relationship between the two disease types is complex and not entirely understood. But infrared sauna, which lowers blood pressure and elevates heart rate, obviously improves blood flow, and that helps to oxygenate organs and tissues as well as discharge cellular waste products, both of which make it more difficult for cancer to take hold and thrive.

4. Flushing Toxins

Although I could not find the study I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this post, the question of whether sweat can rid the body of toxins is long settled. A 2012 review article in the Journal of Environmental Public Health summarized a decade’s worth of work in measuring the arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in human sweat, saying in part, “Sweating deserves consideration for toxic element detoxification.” Note that those elements are often implicated in cancer. If there’s one thing we know about infrared sauna, it’s that it makes you sweat.

5. Stress Management

There is no scientific evidence that stress causes cancer, but nearly everybody who has studied it says there is a relationship there. As long as there is an association between stress and cancer, it makes sense to reduce your stress. And there are few relaxation techniques more effective than sauna. It is almost impossible to hold on to your stress in a sauna.

6. Weakening Cancer Cells

Oncologists use chemotherapy and radiation against cancer because they are poisonous to cells. But healthy cells are generally strong enough to resist the poison, while cancer cells succumb. The same is true for heat, and hyperthermia is one of the most promising new treatments for cancer. Infrared sauna lacks the precision and intensity to be considered hyperthermia. But it also has no undesirable side effects. If it may help to weaken and kill early-stage cancer cells, the risk of trying it is very small. 

I will not say that infrared sauna prevents or cures cancer. But there is considerable evidence that it can contribute to a bodily environment that is not conducive to cancer, and in today’s world, that counts for a lot. Book an infrared sauna session today.