Far Infrared Saunas Cardiovascular Benefits
by Jenna Greenfield MD
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in high income countries, including the United States. Literally every adult has some degree of CVD, and in the United States, the first stages of CVD are often seen as early as the teen years. High blood pressure is usually the earliest sign of cardiovascular disease. When the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels, stops working properly, the arteries fail to dilate in response to increased flow, and they become “stiff.” The resulting increased pressure further damages the endothelium, causing inflammation and plaque and clot formation. Eventually the vessels narrow to the point that blood flow is cut off to the brain or the heart, causing a stroke or a heart attack.
Far Infrared Saunas and Heart Disease
Far infrared therapy, such as in an infrared sauna, has been found in many studies to benefit vascular endothelial function, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve markers of heart disease. In fact, long term regular sauna use has been correlated with an up to 50% lower incidence of death from heart disease compared with non-sauna users(1)!
Far infrared sauna therapy benefits cardiovascular function by improving vascular endothelial function, improving blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and promoting new blood vessel formation (2-5). One study found that after just two weeks of regular infrared sauna use, blood vessel dilation improved by about 50% in study subjects (6). Another study found that after two weeks of regular sauna use, the frequency of premature ventricular contractions, PVC’s, significantly decreased in subjects with heart disease (7).
Far Infrared Saunas Provide Cardiovascular Conditioning
Infrared sauna use also improves cardiovascular conditioning and exercise tolerance in patients with heart and lung disease, as well as in healthy subjects. Patients with heart disease showed improved stress test performance and increased treadmill exercise time after a study period of far infrared sauna use (8-9). In a study of heat therapy in sedentary young adults, eight weeks of treatment reduced blood pressure and improved vascular heath on a par or even greater than did eight weeks of an exercise program (10).
Regular Sauna Use Correlated with a Lower Incidence of Death from Heart Disease!
In a large, long term study, regular sauna use was associated with a significantly lower risk of death from heart disease and from all causes. A study followed up with long term regular sauna users (at least four times a week) after a median time of 20 years. Compared to a control group who did not use a sauna regularly, the sauna users had half the incidence of sudden cardiac death, 43% lower incidence of fatal coronary heart disease, and 39% lower all cause mortality (1).
Why Our Saunas are the Only Saunas Optimized for Cardiovascular Health
Here at High Tech Health, we do not just claim that our saunas are the best you can get for your health, we back it up with research, as we do with every claim we make.
The above studies, and many others, have shown amazing cardiovascular benefits of far infrared sauna therapy. We think it is important to note that these studies looked at far infrared therapy, and that there have never been any peer reviewed studies on near infrared therapy in a sauna. The only studies on near infrared therapy are studies treating localized areas with lasers or LEDs. See our article on near infrared to read about these studies and the potential harmful effects of near infrared light.
It is also important for heart health that your sauna has the lowest EMF possible, as our saunas at High Tech Health do. EMFs have been shown in numerous studies to promote inflammation and damage the heart. See our article on the dangers of EMFs for more info and references. Also see our third party EMF report, showing that our saunas have the lowest EMF levels of any sauna, guaranteed.
- Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA, Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Apr;175(4):542-8
- Sobajima M, Nozawa T, Ihori H, Shida T, Ohori T, Suzuki T, Matsuki A, Yasumura S, Inoue H, Repeated sauna therapy improves myocardial perfusion in patients with chronically occluded coronary artery-related ischemia. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Jul 15;167(1):237-43
- Shui S, Wang X, Chiang JY, Zheng L. Far infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2015 Oct; 240(10): 1257-1265
- Lin CC, Liu XM, Peyton K, Wang H, Yang WC, Lin SJ, Durante W, Far Infrared Therapy Inhibits Vascular Endothelial Inflammation via the Induction of Heme Oxygenase-1. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2008 Jan 17; 28(4): 739-745
- Akasaki Y, Miyata M, Eto H, Shirasawa T, Hamada N, Ikeda Y, Biro S, Otsuji Y, Tei C, Repeated thermal therapy up-regulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase and augments angiogenesis in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia. Circ J. 2006 Apr;70(4):463-70
- Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, Yoshifuku S, Takasaki K, Otsuji Y, Minagoe S, Toyama Y, Tei C, Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1083-8
- Kihara T, Biro S, Ikeda Y, Fukudome T, Shinsato T, Masuda A, Miyata M, Hamasaki S, Otsuji Y, Minagoe S, Akiba S, Tei C, Effects of repeated sauna treatment on ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic heart failure. Circ J. 2004 Dec;68(12):1146-51
- Ohori T et al, Effect of repeated sauna treatment on exercise tolerance and endothelial function in patients with chronic heart failure. Am J Cardiol. 2012 Jan 1;109(1):100-4 1083-8.
- Kihara T, Biro S, Imamura M, Yoshifuku S, Takasaki K, Ikeda Y, Otuji Y, Minagoe S, Toyama Y, Tei C, Repeated sauna treatment improves vascular endothelial and cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Mar 6;39(5):754-9
- Brunt VE, Howard MJ, Francisco MA, Ely BR, Minson CT, Passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in sedentary humans. J Physiol. 2016 Sep 15;594(18)