3 Health Benefits of Infrared Sauna Bathing

Here are three health benefits that are the result of regular infrared sauna bathing.

Lexy Rose
 min read
September 20, 2023
Here are three health benefits that are the result of regular infrared sauna bathing.

With winter on the horizon, our attention is quickly turned to the realities of the seasonal shift. As we move indoors and away from cold temperatures we inevitably fall victim to more illness, a drop in mood with less sunlight, and stiffer, more painful bodies.

Enter the infrared sauna.

Infrared saunas use technology similar to that found in neonatal beds, with heat wavelengths that penetrate through body fat and raise the body's internal core temperature.

Research shows that consistent infrared sauna bathing can bolster the immune system, lighten depressive moods, and relax stiff and painful muscles.

At Upswell, infrared saunas are our thing! 

If you are looking for reasons to book your next sweat session, here are three health benefits that are the result of regular infrared sauna bathing.

Stimulating the Immune System

A 2015 study looked at the effect that repeated infrared sauna sessions had on the immune system. 

After 7 days of consecutive sauna sessions, participants' blood levels of cortisol and catecholamines had decreased — these are stress hormones that typically cause the nervous system to be in fight or flight mode, and suppress the immune system. When the immune system is suppressed the body is more susceptible to viruses and infections.

With the decrease in stress hormones the participants had a subsequent increase in disease fighting immune cells, inferring a strong and robust immune system ready to withstand germs and pathogens.

Lessening Depressive Symptoms

A double-blind 2016 study used subjective data from depressed volunteers after participating in one infrared sauna session that raised their body temperature to that of a mild fever. 

Approximately 60 percent of the volunteers reported a reduction in depressive symptoms a week after sauna bathing, and continued to report a reduction in symptoms up to 6 weeks after the initial treatment.

Researchers theorize that the heat from the sauna stimulates the skin, which in turn activates serotonin production in the midbrain — a reaction similar to that of taking antidepressants.

Another going theory on why sauna treatment might lessen depressive symptoms has to do with the area of the brain that is stimulated. The medial orbitofrontal cortex is activated when a person is receiving pleasant sensory information (i.e. good smells, tastes, sensations). This area is also responsible for mood regulation.

Infrared sauna bathing can redirect brain activity to the medial orbitofrontal cortex, lessening rumination on unpleasant thoughts by bringing awareness to the pleasant sensation of heat.

Enhancing Muscle Pliability & Pain Relief

When it comes to saunas and muscles, studies have shown that because infrared heat can permeate through subcutaneous fat, it can effectively penetrate to the level of the muscle. 

In general, heat creates vasodilation in the body — a process in which the blood vessels expand, enhancing blood circulation throughout the entire hemodynamic system. When heat enhances blood flow to muscles, this increases the pliability of the muscles, effectively decreasing stiffness.

While stiffness may cause some aches and discomfort, inflammation can also be a source of muscular pain. Infrared heat decreases inflammatory cytokines within muscles, quieting the nerves that run to that region so they no longer send pain signals back to the brain. 

A warm and pliable muscular system with low inflammation is a happy home to live in.

The Sunlighten Infrared Solo Pods at Upswell are the ideal setting for rejuvenating the mind and body. These single body saunas are perfect for personalizing the heat experience — the temperature and chromotherapy light are easily adjustable to accommodate each users’ desired environment.

While the approach of winter is inevitable, we don’t have to suffer from sickness, sadness, and stiffness.

Combat the winter woes with regular infrared sauna bathing at Upswell.

Lexy Rose is a Colorado native who began teaching exercise and personal training in 2008.