The good news is that FIR Saunas have a good amount of clinical research to prove their safety and effectiveness. The bulk of the research is coming out of Japan. It turns out that controlled hyperthermia (raising the temperature of the body) through FIR Sauna therapy helps all of the body’s tissues to get activated and function better. To understand how FIR-Saunas benefit our health see the list below. Anorexia Nervosa: This condition is marked by over-activity and/or strenuous exercising. FIR sauna therapy leads to disappearance of hyperactivity and progressive recovery. Back Pain: Low level heat therapy is more effective than over-the-counter oral medications for relieving low back pain, according to the results of a nationwide study led by a sports medicine researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In the six-month study involving 371 patients, participants were given the maximum recommended non-prescription dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or low level heat therapy for two days to treat acute low back pain. The results showed that the low level heat therapy provided significantly more pain relief beginning on the first day of treatment than the oral analgesics and that the effects lasted more than 48 hours after the treatment was completed. “Confirming that this treatment is effective is important to patients because it gives them a treatment option that does not have the potential risk to the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract than can accompany inappropriate analgesic usage,” said Dr. Nadler, an associate of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the medical school. Cardiovascular Conditioning (Passive): 1. The August 7, 1981 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that regular use of a sauna may impact a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise. FIR Sauna Therapy makes it possible for people in wheelchairs, or those who have a disability that affect their ability to exercise to achieve a cardiovascular training effect. Due to the deep penetration of the infrared rays generated by the Far Infrared Sauna, there is a heating effect deep in the muscular tissues and the internal organs. The body responds to this deep-heating effect via a hypothalamic-induced increase in both heart volume and rate. This beneficial heart stress leads to a sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical researchers confirm the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning as the body works to cool itself and involves substantial increases in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate. 2. As a confirmation of the validity of this form of cardiovascular conditioning, extensive research by NASA in the early 1980′s led to the conclusion that infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flights. 3. A person using an FIR sauna will burn between 900 and 2400 calories during a 30 minute period. This is equivalent to the consumption of energy in a 6-9 mile run. For comparison, persons using a rowing machine or running a marathon burns only about 600 calories in 30 minutes. Therefore, the infrared sauna can play a pivotal role in both weight control and cardiovascular conditioning. It is valuable for those who don’t exercise and those who can’t exercise and want an effective weight control and fitness maintenance program, and the benefits regular exercise contribute to such a program. The cardiovascular demand imparted by thermoregulatory homeostasis (sweating, vasodilation, decreased afterload, increased heart rate, increased cardiac output) is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace. As such, FIR saunas might be of particular benefit to those who are sedentary due to various medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis or cardiovascular or respiratory problems. Diver Decompression Sickness (Bends): 16 divers were compressed in a high pressure chamber . Each underwent one dive in the chamber after a 30 minute far infrared sauna therapy session at 149F (65C) and one dive without the therapy. The results showed that circulating bubbles after a dive were decreased significantly in the FIR treatment group. Fibromyalgia: 1. 13 female patients with fibromyalgia received FIR sauna therapy at 140F (60C) for 15 minutes and then covered by a warm blanket for 30 more minutes . Each received 10 treatments total. All patients received about a 50% reduction in pain after the first treatment. By the 10th treatment, the pain relief became stable. Pain symptom scores remained low throughout the study. 2. Fibromyalgia sufferers are universally found to be malnourished, have lowered immune function, have one or more viral, fungal, or bacterial infections (almost always not detectable by orthodox means), and cannot detoxify their heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, aluminum etc. Therefore, FIR Therapy provides a safe, natural form of detoxification which is so very crucial for fibromyalgia patients. Studies have shown that heat therapy is more effective than analgesics for fibromyalgia pain relief. In a randomized controlled trial , 30 subjects with congestive heart failure were randomized into control (10 subjects) and intervention (20 subjects) groups. Treatment consisted of 10 15-minute infrared sauna sessions over a 2 week period. Clinical symptoms improved in 17 (85%) out of 20 of the treatment group. Average systolic blood pressure in the treatment group decreased 9% from 107 mmHg to 97 mm Hg. Average brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels decreased in the treatment group decreased 34% (441 pg/ml vs. 293 pg/ml). The control group did not improve clinically. Inflammation: The increased peripheral circulation occurring with FIR sauna therapy provides the transportation needed to help evacuate the edema, which can help stop inflammation, decrease pain and help speed healing. Researchers have observed high success rates when applying FIR therapy to resolve post surgical infection, pelvic infection and frostbite with inflammation. Pain (Chronic): 1. New clinical research on pain offers evidence to establish a novel class of pain — “heat responsive pain” or HRP — which encompasses several common pain conditions that can be treated with the use of heat therapy. Researchers studying HRP have observed remarkable therapeutic benefits by using continuous low-level heat therapy for treating lower-back, upper-body and menstrual pain, all conditions that fall under the new HRP classification. “For centuries, health-care providers have used topical heat to relieve minor aches and pains, but today, we are just beginning to understand the full range of therapeutic benefits that heat offers,” said pain expert Peter Vicente, Ph.D., Past-President of the American Pain Society and Clinical Health Psychologist, Riverhills Health-care, Cincinnati, OH. “Through new clinical research, we have found that heat activates complex neurological, vascular and metabolic mechanisms to mediate the transmission of pain signals and effectively provide relief for a variety of pain conditions.” The deep heat of the FIR sauna helps peripheral blood vessels dilate, bringing relief and healing to muscle and soft tissue injuries. Increased blood circulation carries off metabolic waste products and delivers oxygen-rich blood to oxygen-depleted muscle, so they recover faster. Muscles relax most readily when tissues are warm, for greater flexibility and range of motion. 2. In a randomized controlled trial , 46 patients with chronic pain received 4 weeks of multidisciplinary treatment; 22 of the subjects also had 15-minute daily FIR sauna sessions during those 4 weeks. After two years, those in the sauna group were more likely to have returned to work (77% vs. 50%) and to have improved sleep scores and tended toward greater improvement in pain behavior scores and anger scores. The reason for the pain relief may be the reduction of muscle spasms which cause pain or the relaxing of myofascial trigger points (irritable tight tissues). In one dental study, repeated heat applications eventually led to abolishment of the whole nerve response responsible for pain arising from dental pulp (center soft part of the tooth). 3. Persons undergoing FIR Sauna Therapy have received relief from a variety of painful conditions: a. Adhesions (scarring) from athletic injuries, trauma or repetitive stress syndromes. b. Arthritis: gouty, rheumatoid or degenerative joint disease. c. Brain Injury (The effects of acceleration-deceleration injury or brain contusions). d. Compression fracture. For example, in one person, pain stopped for three days of after only a single treatment. e. TMJ (arthritis and muscle spasms have been reduced or eliminated). f. Low Back Pain. g. Muscle Pain (notably post exercise muscle pain). h. Muscle Tension. i. Neuralgia (related to disc protrusion). j. Pain which prevented sleep or limited usable sleeping positions. k. Shoulder Pain. l. Spinal Cord Shock. Post traumatic shock has been reversed. Skin/Beauty: 1. The profuse sweating achieved after just a few minutes in far infrared sauna unclogs the skin pores and carries off deeply embedded impurities and dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing, youthful, baby smooth, soft, immaculately clean and free of accumulated dirt and dry skin cells. Increased circulation and dilation of the body’s capillary network draws the skin’s own natural nutrients to the surface. It improves complexion, tone, elasticity, texture and fresh color of the skin. 2. Increased blood circulation has also been shown to relieve acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, lesions and cuts. In addition, open wounds may heal more quickly, reducing scarring and even burns. There is always more information showing up about the health benefits of FIR saunas. I hope this brief list will suffice for the time being.