October 26, 2015
I have a confession to make: I'm an addict.
Every morning I wipe the crust out of the corner of my eyes, suck down a giant cup of coffee, and then wander to my basement gym, where I commence to flip the power on my sauna. I then step inside, and sweat hard and heavy for fifteen to thirty minutes.
Sometimes I do yoga, sometimes I do kettlebell swings, sometimes I simply stare at the wall and meditate, but always I feel pangs of guilt, desire and an intense urge to go sweat if I ever miss my daily sauna session.
On the rare morning that I can’t find time to sauna, I carve out time in the afternoon or evening (usually after my workout, for reasons you’re about to read). As a matter of fact, aside from when I'm traveling to speak at conferences or attending events, it’s been nearly forty-five days since I’ve missed a single sauna session.
So yes, there, I admit it: I am a sauna addict. Knowing that I can venture downstairs and enter into a private chamber that gives my body a myriad of benefits simply makes a sauna sit a daily must for me.
Why the sauna? Am I a heat masochist? Addicted to sweating? An introverted loner who thrives on staring at wooden wall slats as my heart races faster and faster to rapidly pump blood through my body in desperate attempts to keep me cool?
Frankly, there are many reasons I “sauna”. Ten scientifically proven reasons, in fact (yes, I promise not to throw out a bunch of unverified, woo-woo reasons). In no particular order of importance here they are.
Heart Health & Longevity
A new report in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that regularly spending time in a sauna may help keep the heart healthy and extend life. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland tracked 2,300 middle-aged men for an average of 20 years. They found that the more sessions per week men spent in the sauna, the lower their risk of sudden cardiac death and fatal coronary heart disease. The sauna also extended the life of participants with other illnesses, including cancer.
According to the study, participants who had two or three sauna sessions a week had a 22% reduced chance of suffering sudden cardiac death. Men who had four to seven sauna sessions of at least 20 minutes each, had the greatest benefits. Compared with those who had just one sauna session a week, they had a 63% lower risk of sudden cardiac death, 50% lower risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) death, 48% lower risk of CHD (coronary heart disease) death and were 40% less likely to die from all causes.
Researchers reported that the benefit to cardiovascular health was likely due to the decrease in blood pressure and an increase in blood vessel diameter that both infrared exposure and heat exposure can provide.
Having spent time last month in Finland sitting buck-naked in a traditional Finnish smoke sauna, surrounded by old guys who definitely seemed more ripped and vibrant than their fat Western counterparts, I can certainly attest to the fact that there’s something special going on with this Finnish tradition.
Detoxification Of Chemicals And Heavy Metals
The skin is a major detox organ, and sweating through the skin is a critical human detox function, yet most people don’t sweat regularly or enough. Think detoxing is a woo-woo, airy-fairy, pushing-giant-shopping-carts-full-of-kale-through-Whole-Foods myth? Think again. You may want to read this.
As you’ll see if you read that article above, the body is very effective at eliminating toxins via the skin (and the liver, and the poo), but the skin side of things only really works if you make your body sweat. But many of us sit in air-conditioned indoor environments all day, and even gyms with temperature control can be a tough place to work up a serious sweat. So in these type of situations, you completely miss out on a major source of toxin elimination: the skin.
To combat these effects, a sauna can purify the body from the inside out, eliminating compounds such as PCB’s, metals and toxins that are stored in fat cells, which can undergo lipolysis and release toxins upon exposure to infrared-based heat. Yep, you read that right: you are going to battle against and killing little screaming fat cells to death when you sweat in a sauna. They don’t shrink: they die (especially when combined with niacin, which research has some interesting findings on and which I talk about in more detail here).
Growth hormone is crucial for repair and recovery of muscles, and research has shown that two 20-minute sauna sessions separated by a 30-minute cooling period elevated growth hormone levels two-fold over baseline. Two 15-minute sauna sessions at an even warmer temperature separated by a 30-minute cooling period resulted in a five-fold increase in growth hormone.
Perhaps even more nifty is that repeated exposure to whole-body, intermittent hyperthermia through sauna use boosts growth hormone immediately afterward, and two one-hour sauna sessions for 7 days has been shown to increase growth hormone by 16-fold. Yeah, that’s right: you don’t need to go buy fancy supplements or creams to increase growth hormone. You can just make your body hot instead and get a growth hormone increase
It is also important to note that when hyperthermia and exercise are combined, they induce a synergistic increase in growth hormone, which is why I do yoga, push-ups and squats in my infrared sauna. For an additional recovery benefit, sauna also increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles, which helps to keep them fueled with glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and oxygen, while removing by-products of metabolic processes such as lactic acid and calcium ions.
Arthritic & Muscular Pain Relief
In a report in The Annals of Clinical Research Volume 20, Dr. H. Isomäki discusses research results that show benefits of sauna for relief of pain and increased mobility. In the study, the pain relief induced by a sauna was attributed to an increase in the release of anti-inflammatory compounds such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, cortisol and growth hormones, as well as an increase in positive stress on the body, causing it to releases natural pain-killing endorphins. More than 50% of participants reported temporary relief of pain and an increase in mobility, most likely due to the fact that tissues comprised of collagen, such as tendons, fascia, and joint articular capsules, become more flexible when exposed to increased temperatures.
Now here’s the deal: I don’t actually have arthritis. But I do have some pretty freaking gnarly joint pain the day after I’ve finished a typical workout of heavy squats, sandbag carries, kettlebell swings, hill sprints and tire flips. After my morning sauna session, things seem to melt away (caveat: I have not yet used myself as a N=1 control study by sitting and staring at a wooden wall in normal, non-sauna temperatures, but I’m hazarding a guess it wouldn’t work as well as a sauna, so I’ll skip that study, because it sounds boring).
Muscle Gain & Fat Loss
Bigger biceps or a more toned butt by reading a magazine while sweating profusely? It could happen. Sauna conditioning can lend itself to promoting muscle growth and fat loss by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing muscle protein catabolism. Intermittent hyperthermia has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in obese mice, and in this case insulin resistant diabetic mice were subjected to 30 minutes of heat treatment, three times a week for twelve weeks. The results were a 31% decrease in insulin levels and a significant reduction in blood glucose levels, both of which can contribute to an increase in muscle growth and an increase in weight control and fat loss.
It has also been shown that a 30-minute intermittent hyperthermic treatment can cause a significant expression of something called heat shock proteins in muscle, which is correlated with 30% more muscle regrowth than a control group during seven days subsequent to a week of immobilization. In other words, let’s say you can’t weight train, you’ve got a recovery day or you want to maintain muscle but you’re injured. Based on the research cited above, via the use of a sauna instead, you can still maintain muscle.
Immune System Boost
Sure, you may get snot in your sauna if you step in there when you’re sick, but you also may get better faster. The Journal of Human Kinetics recently investigated the effect of sauna use on the immune system, specifically white blood cell profile, cortisol levels and selected physiological indices in athletes and non-athletes. The subjects from both a sauna group and a control group participated in 15-minute sauna sessions until their core temperature rose by 1.2°C.
After the sauna session, an increased number of white blood cells, lymphocyte, neutrophil and basophil counts were reported in the white blood cell profile, showing that sauna use stimulates the immune system (and interestingly, a greater benefit to the immune system was shown in the athletes vs. the untrained subjects, indicating that an excellent one-two combo for your immune system is exercise and sauna use). German sauna medical research also shows that saunas are able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza and both Finnish and German studies show that regular sauna bathing leads to a 30% less chance of getting a cold and influenza.
While exposing yourself to ungodly amounts of time in the sun can make your skin look like Benjamin Button as a baby, the old lady in “Something About Mary”, or an elephant who spent too much time a bathtub, spending time in a sauna doesn’t submit you to the same kind of UVA and UVB rays as you get from the sun. When your body begins to produce sweat via the type deep sweating you experience in an infrared sauna, the rate at which dead skin cells are replaced an be increased. At the same time, heavy sweating helps to remove bacteria out of the epidermal layer of the skin and the sweat ducts.
This cleansing of the pores also causes increased capillary circulation, which can give the skin a softer-looking, younger appearance. When you sweat, the movement of fluid to the skin delivers more nutrient and mineral-rich fluids and also helps to fill spaces around the cells, increasing firmness and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. So by continually flushing waste through skin cells via the use of hyperthermia, you can increase skin health, tone and color, and more effectively cleanse your pores.
Not only does research show this skin rejuvenation effect to be the case, but I’ll admit that I'm quite frequently mistaken as Justin Bieber when I take a stroll down the street after my morning sauna session. So it must be working.
Next time you find yourself struggling with a bout of insomnia, try this trick: about two to three hours before bed, hunt down a gym sauna and get your sweat on for about fifteen to thirty minutes. Next, hop in a lukewarm or cool shower for five to ten minutes to bring your body temp down. If you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, you can do this two to three times through. Anytime I do this kind of hot-cold contrast in the evening, I sleep like a baby.
Researchers have found that a sauna can help provide a deeper, more relaxed sleep, and also relief of chronic tension, and relief of chronic fatigue issues, most likely due to a release of endorphins from the sauna. As endorphins are released into your body, they create a soothing, nearly tranquilizing effect that can not only help to minimize chronic pain caused by arthritis and other muscle soreness, but can also help with relaxation and sleep. For an even more enhanced effect, try deep nasal breathing while you're in there.
Increased Cardiovascular Performance
You probably know of EPO as the illegal performance-enhancing drug made famous by professional cyclists in Tour De France, but research has shown 30 minutes of sauna treatment after exercise can cause an increase in oxygen consumption and red blood cell production that parallels the use of EPO. That’s right: no needles in the right butt cheek or illegal performance enhancing drugs required. In the high temperatures of an infrared sauna, your skin heats up and core body temperature rises. Then, in response to these increased heat levels, the blood vessels near your skin dilate and cause an increase in cardiac output. This causes your heart rate to shoot up from 60-70bpm (beats per minute) to as high as over 150bpm in the sauna. So with regular sauna use, you not only train your heart muscles and improve your cardiac output, but you also help the body's regulatory system move blood around the body to areas that need cooling.
Similar to the pre-sleep protocol mentioned earlier, you can enhance this cardiovascular conditioning even more when your sauna is combined with alternating sessions into a cool shower, a quick dip into a cold pool or lake, or if you’re lazy like me, a step into your backyard to shower yourself down with a garden hose. Each time you rapidly change temperature (from hot to cool or vice-versa), your heart rate increases by as much as 60%, which is very comparable to the heart rate increase experienced during moderate exercise. And in case you’ve heard the rumors: yes, many folks find this to be a potent treatment for hangovers too.
Increased Stress Resilience
There’s a good reason that best-selling author Nassim Taleb recommends environmental stressors as a way to become more “Antifragile”. As mentioned earlier, multiple research studies have shown that hyperthermia conditioning via the use of a sauna can prevent protein degradation and muscle loss by triggering the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which are then used by your cells to counteract potentially harmful stimulus, including environmental stress from pollutants, toxins, heat, cold, exercise stress and more.
Whenever a cell is exposed to an unfriendly environment, your DNA “separates” in specific regions and begins to read the genetic code to produce new stress proteins, including these HSPs. What this means is that exposure to sauna heat can induce a hormetic response (a protective stress response), which promotes the production of HSPs that are crucial to stress resistance, prevention of free radical damage, support of cellular antioxidant capacity and repair of damaged proteins. Dr. Rhonda Patrick talks about these HSPs quite a bit in our podcast episode on heat therapy and saunas.
So, can you blame me? I'm addicted to my sauna, and knowing everything you’ve just read, I feel quite good about myself when I walk out of my daily sauna session. Nah, I'll go beyond that: once I follow up the sauna with a cold shower, I feel freaking unstoppable the rest of the day.
If you have no clue about the difference between wet saunas/steam rooms, dry sauna, infrared sauna, niacin detox, how long to spend in the sauna, etc., etc., then I'd highly recommend you read my article “Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness“.
Finally, Clearlight Saunas (the sauna I personally use is their “Sanctuary Y” yoga model) wrote to me this week and they're offering if you click here to order a sauna and use code BEN or call 800.317.5070 and mention code BEN, an extra discount on your sauna purchase. Be sure to mention code BEN.
If you are in the UK, you can also use the code BEN here, and get free shipping. Or use the same code in Germany when you go here. You can also visit either of those websites, call UK Clearlight or UK Germany, mention the name Ben Greenfield, and get the same perks: free shipping and a complementary backrest.
So, if you’re up for the challenge, I’d recommend that for the next thirty days, you try subjecting yourself to a sauna four to five times a week for twenty to thirty minutes. Let me know how this works out for you, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.
87 thoughts on “Ten Scientifically Proven Reasons I Am Addicted To A Daily Sauna.”
Thanks for sharing, it’s a great option, I love the sauna too. It’s also a way of relaxing and exercising.
Ben, you wrote an excellent post! I like your research on different saunas, and your conclusions appear to be interesting. Of course, most of us are aware of the benefits of sauna, such as enhanced physical and mental health, radiant skin, less joint discomfort, improved blood circulation, and so on. However, I’d want to direct everyone’s attention to towel warmers, which I believe are a must after a sauna session.
I started using my Clearlight Sanctuary C and Include red light unit 6 days week. I go 45-55 min in the Sauna because I start the red light right away while the sauna gets heated up. Any negatives to doing this much? According to my last blood work up, my Testosterone increased by about 80% and the only thing I’ve done different is add the red light therapy. Does this sound familiar? Thx Ben! Mike
Hi Ssjb- have you researched this any further- did you get to the bottom of your question elsewhere?
This is a great compilation of benefits. However, for the maximum detoxification, it is suggested that the session in the sauna be one of passive sweating, as the body focuses more on detox when the parasympathetic nervous system is active. If you exercise in the sauna, then the sympathetic nervous system would kick in and there would be less removal of toxins.
Dr, Mercola explains it thus:
“While there are a number of different ways to get a sweat on, if you’re working on detoxifying heavy metals and other pernicious toxins from your body, passive sweating is more effective than active sweating. Active sweating is caused by physical exertion such as during exercise. Research has shown the toxin concentration in sweat during exercise is actually quite low.
Sweat samples taken during sauna bathing, on the other hand — i.e., during passive sweating — reveal high amounts of toxins are being released in the sweat. The reason for this, Richards explains, has to do with sympathetic versus parasympathetic nervous system activation. Your autonomic nervous system has two states, commonly referred to as “fight or flight” and “rest and digest.”
When you’re exercising vigorously enough to start sweating, your body is allocating energy toward your muscles, lungs and heart. “There’s no cellular reserves or hormonal gearing for detoxification or cellular repair or anything like that,” Richards says.
During passive sweating, however, your body is heated, which helps release toxins through the sweat, and since you’re not exerting yourself in any way, your body is able to use the energy from the incandescent lights to heal and repair itself. This is also why EMF mitigation is so important, as EMFs will activate your sympathetic nervous system. Again, EMFs are a nervous system stressor, which will hamper your detox efforts.”
Thank you for this post.
What are your thoughts on the use of saunas that are not to the quality level of something like a Clearlight sauna in relation to EMF? I’ve researched other brands that claim low EMF (2-3mg), but when I reached out to them they told me these readings are taken six inches from the panels, and they were not willing to share results from the third party that did the testing. This would likely mean closer is significantly higher. Do the health benefits of sauna use out weigh the exposure to potentially higher EMF in a lower quality sauna?
Little suprised hasn’t been asked.
How do you protect against the negative heat effects on testicular health with regular sauna use? Sorry to ask
check this out https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/biohacki…
I see what you have listed there. Perhaps in the case of an infrared sauna this doesn’t happen but these provide tons of heat which I don’t think compares to lllt.
They other suggestions all make sense.
However if your in a sauna (traditional or infrared) for 15 to 30 min you will be heating them.
I wonder if the cold water shower or pool that one usually has after is enough to counter the heat effects and bring things back to normal.
I guess one could always bring some sort of ice back with them in the sauna.
Did I misunderstand your intro? It seemed to imply you do that exercises whilst IN the sauna. e.g kettlebell swings
Is that right?
Any benefit to getting the cedar or basswood other than appearance. Also, do you have any discount codes at clearlight?
If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/healwithheat and check out the FAQs you'll find information on cedar and basswood and the benefits of both. As far as a discount code: BEN will get you a matching backrest or aromatherapy holder with a bottle of essential oil along with their lowest sale price and free shipping in the USA.
What the pluses and minuses of using basswood versus cedar in a suana? Also, do you recommend floor heater type saunas?
I’m actually not familiar with the advantages or disadvantages of certain types of wood. I would pass this question to the folks at Clearlight Saunas. They're very helpful. I do indeed like floor heaters as long as they are low EMF.
Very interesting article! We have long chosen between two different saunas for our large family and finally stopped the 4-seater corner Golden infrared sauna from the InfraredSaunaGuru for two specific reasons: first, it was cheaper than from another distributor, and second-it’s better than we expected. A must-have in any home-that’s what we think!
Hello. Why you write two times? ))
But yes. InfraredSaunaGuru is realy good company. Also have there sauna. But the Vitality line )
Yeah. You are right. It’s realy best detoxification!
We were choosing between two different saunas for our big family and finally stopped 4-Person Corner Golden Infrared Sauna from InfraredSaunaGuru for two specific reasons: first of all it came cheaper than from the other distributor, and secondly – it is better than we expected. A must have in any home – that is what we think!
I’ve been trying this out over the last few weeks. However I often sleep worse, headache, anxious style feelings which often span out into the next day. Could be due to failing to rehydrate properly afterwards? I’m getting approx 3 litres of water in a day.
Thanks for any advice.
You must minerals to your water and use a good salt.
Question: I love using a sauna, but just read that if you have silicon implants, you shouldn’t use a sauna. Had breast reconstruction surgery after BC in 2011. Any research you’ve come across on that?
Ben – I went ahead and signed up for a 12 month consult. Amber can let you know. Can we make the first one about the “Spa Spec” and then go from there on fitness? Let me know your preference. Just wanted you to have the heads up
Yep – we'll chat soon!
Hey Ben – This is an old podcast but it is apropos to my question. First of all, did the detox with you and Pompa and got some good benefit. One thing that came out of it was that I really want an in home spa – I really like doing the full spectrum infrared sauna. I also started doing the cold shower protocol that you do and now look forward to it. In any event, I am wondering if you could build a dream “spa” what pieces of equipment and what brands of things would you put in it. Happy to take this conversation private and pay you a consulting fee.
Also, glad you spoke to Zack Bush this week. I went in to see him just after you taped. Tried the Gainswave for fun. Needless to say, Zack know me personally now. Hah
Look forward to you thoughts
Shannon in Charlotte,NC
Let's totally chat on a consult. I have plenty of ideas here re: a spa. I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one session. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching. and then choose a 20 or 60 minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.
Ben – Sorry to go silent on you. Was busy traveling. Going to do this now and hope we can find a time next week. I will pick an hour as if we have time, I would like to discuss cyclic ketosis with you. Cheers
hey Ben fantastic article… I noticed your comment on sunlighten full spectrum .. any experience or expanded comments on their 3 in 1 line? seem to find conflicting reviews on their mpulse model and whether the high cost is justified in terms of health benefits compared to other companies…
The Sunlighten mPulse sauna has a very small, single, near infrared heater in the back wall that's designed for topical use, ranging between 10 to 40 watts (depending on the sauna model.) The front wall of my Clearlight Sanctuary sauna has (2) 500 watt Full Spectrum heaters emitting near, mid and far infrared, designed for whole body therapy. There's no comparison in the power of these heaters. Also, Clearlight has ultra low EMF and ELF exposure, and the Sunlighten mPulse has considerably higher EMF and ELF. I like Clearlight's lifetime warranty – the sauna's 100% covered as long as you own it. Sunlighten has a "limited" lifetime warranty – if you check Sunlighten's fine print, it says lifetime is "defined as 7 years." Listen to my latest sauna podcast <a href="http:// (https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/low-emf-saunas/)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/low-emf-saunas/)” target=”_blank”>(https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/low-emf-saunas/) for more info.
Yet a previous guest, alex Tarris recommends Sunlighten pretty adamantly over clearlight. I believe Dr Mercola also has discussed Sunlighten by name. Stinks I purchased a sunlighten based off your previous guests that you present as the “experts” then you have company reps from competition that swear theirs is the best. Very confusing.
This is great information. I appreciate your research behind each model. JNH appears to have really stepped up their saunas. Can you please share your thoughts on their company. I am looking at their full spectrum sauna. I really like Clearlight; however, the depth of them do not fit in our bathroom:( . I appreciate your feedback. Thanks, Molly
Hi Molly, I’m looking into the JNH as well, what did you find out? Any wisdom you could share?
From: Alex Tarris [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, May 29, 2017 1:45 AM
Subject: Re: FW: Sunlighten: Sales Order #109066912313
Alex Tarris on Clearlight and Sunlighten Saunas
Confused? Well that’s good, it means you’re sane. How about this…What Clearlight is saying about their TrueWave emitters producing 1/3rd this 1/3rd that is a complete lie. They love lying about their emitters. Go to their heater emitter page itself and read about how often they talk about their patented heaters. Then scroll to the bottom of that webpage and look at their Patent numbers and you’ll see that all of them save for one are applications that were never approved and all the patent apps have nothing to do with their emitters. If anyone ever took up a law case against them it would be so easy to win.
A Carbon emitter’s surface temperature is directly correlated to it’s micron or wavelength output. So their carbon emitters just likee everyone else’s get to around 160-190 and that temp is correlated to producing 90% of the energy in the 7-8 micron spectrum. you can easily look up a chart like that showing surface temp of an infrared object and micron range. So literally you can take a laser thermometer and go in these various saunas and shoot the emitters and know what micron range it’s producing to pretty good accuracy citing a chart. For example in the Mpulse when I set the emitters to produce MIR on I have a video showing it’s 360 degrees in the laser thermometer. This proves MIR is being produced without even needing a fancy expensive Spectroscopy test. Go shoot with a laser thermometer a Clearlight carbon TrueWave emitter and you’ll get the 160-180 kind of range so that proves it’s impossible for them to produce MIR or NIR. Ok well let me be perfectly accurate…I don’t want to get into Physics but imagine a bell curve and what you’ll find is that these carbon and even ceramic emitters out there are producing 90+% of their energy in the FIR range and you’ll get a tiny fraction in the MIR and NIR. To say 1/3 1/3 1/3 is ridiculous for so many reasons.
Regardless of all this it’s easy to figure out what’s true and what’s not true by simply asking Clearlight to show you the Spectroscopy analysis that proves the 1/3 statement and that their Truewave emitters are producing that. “halogen full spectrum heater” Riiiiight….so let me guess they reinvented halogen technology and didn’t get a patent? To even Say HALOGEN implies the technology is Halogen you get it? If a Halogen was producing some full spectrum infrared then it would be literally called something else and it would be brand new and I would be excited about it. Again you simply say ok Clearlight that sounds great would love to learn more about how you have a full spectrum halogen technology. But the reality is they have nothing to show people who request such information because it doesn’t exist.
BTW the low EMF double backing emitter thing was NOT created by them and factories in China started doing it a while back and they joined along. It was just Clearlight that made the claim they created it and marketed the design heavily and threatened any other sauna company in US from marketing that they were doing the same thing.
Is the Clearlight the lowest EMF sauna? I believe so. Low EMF carbon saunas are actually easy to find a Sunlighten Signature or Sun Stream Sauna for example are great options. Will you get some spots around the edges of just some parts of the emitters where the wires are exposed more where you get a 1-3mg spike? Yes and Clearlight has worked more on those wire connector points to reduce those spots as well so that is the main difference. Across the 99% of the emitter walls in other carbon brands you can find the same low levels Clearlight produces.
All in all I think Clearlight is a good sauna but they lie about a lot of stuff to try to portray higher value and at the end of the day I might not dislike them so much if they sold their saunas for $1000-2000 less depending on the model. Then the price would be more closely correlated with the value and efficacy. For sure I don’t think their “full spectrum” sauna is worth it. Premier or Essential series makes more sense
The NIR production in the Mpulse I still believe is the best. They took a technology from another industry where it has been used for 25 years and heavily clinically studied. They built it to spec with Dr. Whalen who is well known in that photobiomodulation industry and has run tons of studies. You absorb 100% of the NIR energy with that technology. If you want to talk more about the LED tech we can.
I take this stuff seriously, so sorry for the delay.
I reached out to Clearlight. Here’s the response from Andy Kaps, the COO,
Alex Taris is a Sunlighten distributor. This is not an unbiased response about Clearlight Saunas. In fact, the videos Alex shoots for Sunlighten are done at the Sunlighten facility in Kansas, so he works closely with them.
When Alex refers to “1/3 this” and “1/3 that” he is referring to our True Wave™ full spectrum infrared emitters. We have the spectral analysis posted on our website on the following page: http://www.healwithheat.com/true-wave-infrared-he…
We have never claimed to invent halogen infrared heaters. In fact, we freely mention that we designed our full spectrum heaters after a high quality full spectrum emitter manufactured by Philips specifically for saunas. You can see their brochure here: http://bit.ly/philipsPDF. Philips is one of the largest technology manufacturers in the world. Philips markets these heaters worldwide – they’re not making this up about full spectrum halogen heaters.
In the brochure, they say, “Philips infrared lamps deliver the optimum balance across the infrared emission spectrum.” Dr. Raleigh Duncan, the founder of Clearlight Saunas, made some modifications in the wavelength, as compared to the Philips heaters, as we thought they would be more effective for our use in our saunas.
Regarding our patents and patents pending, we clearly list our patents and pending patents on our website. The patent process is long and can involve many twists and turns, as we find the best route to protect our intellectual property for use in our saunas. We still are the only company that makes our heaters in our same sauna factory. We do not have a third party making them. Our heaters are designed by us specifically to heat the human body. The companies that Alex represents have their far infrared heaters made from companies that make industrial and commercial heating applications, not for wellness purposes. I have visited the company in China that makes the Sunlighten “Solo Carbon” heaters for their Signature line. They are the same heaters that this company uses to make decorative hanging wall heaters. They are not unique.
The main difference with our True Wave Far Infrared heaters is that we add a ceramic compound to the heater to increase the output. Alex leaves that out. We have always stated that all carbon heaters produce a similar size wavelength. It’s the amount of infrared heat that is lacking in a regular carbon heater. Regular carbon heaters tend to be weak. We add a ceramic compound to our heaters to increase the infrared output so they are high output heaters. You can feel the difference when you sit in a Clearlight Sauna.
When Alex refers to the testing for MIR (mid infrared) we clearly state that the front heaters in our Sanctuary Saunas are our Full Spectrum heaters. The other heaters in our Sanctuary Saunas are our True Wave far infrared heaters. This is by choice. We believe the majority of the benefits received in an infrared sauna are in the far infrared band. We believe that adding Full Spectrum infrared in the front of the sauna adds the appropriate benefit. We use high output Full Spectrum heaters that emit 1000 watts of full spectrum infrared. Compare that to a maximum of 40 watts of near infrared LED lights, designed for topical use, that Sunlighten uses. There is a substantial difference between 40 watts and 1000 watts.
Alex states, “BTW the low EMF double backing emitter thing was NOT created by them and factories in China started doing it a while back and they joined along.” In 2008, we were working with a Korean heater manufacturer to find a way to make a low EMF carbon heater. After months of trial and error, we developed our current technology and filed a patent for this in Korea in 2009. That was several years before the Chinese manufacturers began introducing low EMF heaters. We continue to use that technology today and have a patent pending on this technology in the US.
Alex is just flat out wrong in his assumptions and accusations. He says “we have nothing to show” yet we have the information displayed on our website. He can have an opinion, but he can’t make up his own facts.
Thank you for the response from Andy Kaps. I purchased the Sunlighten Mpulse in November 2016 after listening to your podcast with Alex Tarris, doing some research and also Dave Asprey has an Mpulse. I was shocked when the EMF readings on the panels ranged from 6mG to 22mG. Sunlighten then sold me a new power control box that cut the EMF by half and Alex said that a user would not lean against the panel anyway. The EMF is about 3mG or lower when sitting 3 inches away from the back panel. I have not tested the EMF levels with the new power control box. I will report on those levels later. It is very confusing for consumers and I only trust independent third party information. That kind of impartial information is hard to get.
Alex Tarris advised the following:
Regarding the emitters:
The statements made by Clearlight and just in general the full spectrum talk in the industry today is very confusing. Technically a regular old carbon heater is a full spectrum heater so let’s start off with that point. Throwing around the word full spectrum doesn’t actually differentiate emitters from one another.
The LED array that Sunlighten has in their sauna is a space heater that produces mainly NIR and MIR. They then put a glass lens that has what is called a glare or tint basically that blocks out any visible light and in fact is blocking out about 90% of the spectrum that the filaments are producing leaving a very small spectrum in the lower NIR range. By it’s very design it’s not supposed to be full spectrum and yet here they are calling it that. If they didn’t put that glare on it actually have a greater spectrum range and put out more MIR like you can see in Vital Health Saunas Full Spectrum model. As far as carbon saunas if you look at your standard spectroscopy test you will note that 85% of the energy is in the FIR range and 10% is MIR and the remainder is NIR. For carbons we know that they make great heaters for FIR range even though technically we could say they are full spectrum. Radiant heaters using tungesten filaments like Clearlight is using are like the opposite of carbons putting out the majority of their energy in the NIR MIR range. By design these are excellent heaters for warming the air. They get very hot and that 500W is converted mostly into radiant heat and are perfect for heating spaces…not for absorbing and converting that infrared into the body as energy. If it was good for that those heaters would be right next to your body but since they can cause skin damage due to the rays poorly absorbing they need to be a distance from the body. At 2-3 feet away there is a whole lot of air in between and most of that energy is just going to warm the air.
500W of power is efficient for warming the air of small rooms and poorly efficient for conversion in the body. Clearlight’s argument instead of talking physics and resorting to studies and science is throwing all of that out the window and telling consumers it all boils down to more power is better. Just think about that statement as a standalone..it’s illogical it’s out of context. Think about other equipment or things in the world is more power better always? Talking about tungesten filaments vs LEDS now- you cannot compare these two technologies by power alone. How are these types of emitters remotely similar. So how could they just look at one specification being Wattage and make a comparison. That is like you going to compare cars to purchase and you’re looking between brands and I tell you oh this car over here has 500 more RPM than that other brand so you should buy this one. What about miles per gallon? What about safety? What about what about? It’s silly.
And here Clearlight is criticizing Sunlighten’s LEDs when out of the thousands of photobiomodulation clinical research studies done in the last 25 years a large bulk of those studies were using LEDs. Where tungesten space heaters tested therapeutically ever? NO. In fact if you look up what the manufacturers say about their own production of those they say don’t put closer than two feet at head level may irritate or damage eyes. Don’t get closer than 2 feet to the skin it can cause skin damage…furthermore they have done the actual testing on skin and know that those heaters poorly absorb in tissues. Those studies were done for safety purposes they weren’t clinical research studies focusing on health benefits. Sunlighten partnered with Dr. Whalen who is well known in the photobiomodulation industry who has conducted tons of studies and had him build those LED arrays to specification. Clearlight essentially took an industrial space heater which you can pretty much get from home depot and put it in a sauna and carefully followed those manufacturer directions….so they wouldn’t skin damage people and get sued en masse. Am I painting you a better picture here?
LEDs are superior because they can be close to the skin and do not require getting to 1000 degrees to produce infrared. Furthermore LED emitters can be built to produce a single wavelength exclusively 100% of all wattage producing just that. That wavelength used it what was used most commonly in all the studies. Conversely you can’t really study space heaters well because they are a mix of wavelengths. The absorption into hemoglobin is through the roof in comparison to a space heater because no heat is needed by the LEDs and they can be close to the body and furthermore there are some NIR wavelengths that absorb very superior to others (that is what was learned over the last 25 years in studies) and that is what those LEDs are using in the Mpulse.
To clarify another thing you said the LEDs are not Full spectrum they are NIR. The larger emitter in the Mpulse is what can do MIR and FIR. Additionally remember that the Clearlight space heater produces 95% of it’s energy in the NIR and MIR range but then Clearlight cuts out most of that range with a glare lens in front of the coils. The statement “a 10Watt heater is not strong enough to have any effect”. This statement doesn’t actually mean anything. comparing a tungsten filament space heater to a LED array is comparing apples to oranges. So apples won’t taste as good because they aren’t orange colored enough. That is what he is saying essentially. The reality is there is tons of physics that really is a part of these conversations that no one is having because consumers can’t or have no interest in wrapping their heads around it and that is why everyone is going in circles and marketing masters can get away with convincing people that oranges are apples and everything is apples.
Below is the link to the EMF test of the emitters on the Clearlight Sanctuary 1 person sauna. The back and sides are low emf, but not the front NIR emitters. 12.9, 5.5, 11.4, 9.3, 14.3 17.8, 13.3 mG are the readings
I’ve been spending 20-25 hours a week in saunas for the last 4 years, I know about the topic more than anybody I know, and I’ve never heard about any advantages of infra red light vs heat.
I have been trying (3 times in 6 days) saunas – old school style dry heat, not infra red, for about 30 mins after noticing the impact on my sleep. (great impact) I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I’ve noticed the 2 times i did 30 mins, my general pain levels have gone through the roof. – do you have any thoughts or insight? I’m looking at getting an infra red sauna, as i know this is better than the ones i’m using (gym and pool) I wonder I’ve gone too long too quickly…
Best to book a consult at <a href="https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/ben” target=”_blank”>www.greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/ben and choose 20 or 60 minutes, there could be a bunch of things going on.
Hi Ben. Just wondering on whether you think binding agents are necessary in order to help prevent re-absorption of toxins and if so, which type and when to take?
I have read some conflicting online views and thought I’d ask you!
1. Does FIR sauna PWO inhibit the detox pathway? Best to delay for an hour or two?
2. Drinking plenty of water/sole both before and after is pretty clear but what about during your sauna? I have come across some which suggest it lessens the detox effect? Personally, I would prefer to drink water whilst in the sauna!
3. Morning or before bed…. or both?! I do daily IF (19:5) and finish my eating window at 9pm, after consuming a hefty amount of calories! Would you suggest waiting an hour or even longer before taking the sauna before bed?
4. Finally, I have read some reports of some people ‘bruising’ after IR saunas. Any ideas?
Your views would be appreciated as you’re the man to trust! Respect.
Yes, I do indeed use binding agents and my favorite is chlorella. I discuss here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/09/how-t…
the sauna will not inhibit your detox pathway. I prefer the morning because if you do it before bed the high temperature can inhibit sleep quality. And I have never heard of that bruising issue…
Hi! I went searching the internet for any info on the bruising-sauna correlation, and this was all I found. I joined a new gym this week and have been taking advantage of the sauna, have gone 3 days, with 3x10min sessions with cold showers in between. Today I noticed the backs of my legs covered in small bruises. Some are really small, so I don’t think they could be from getting hit with something, and there are just too many to be explained by anything else… That is of course unless I have some horrible disease… : / Sounds like more research is needed on this topic
Did you run a Gauss meter in that clear light sauna on the near emitters in front ? If not I would. YouTube it.
I did, and it is still low EMF.
For those without access to a sauna (like when I’m deployed), how many/how much of these benefits could come with simply overdressing?
If you can get pretty darn hot while exercising, then you can definitely reap the benefits of heat shock protein production, blood flow, nitric oxide production, etc., but here's the issue (and why I choose the sauna): that can be far more stressful and conducive to overtraining than a relaxing (albeit hot) sauna session.
Relative to the question about whether a hot sauna should be taken BEFORE or AFTER a workout, I believe that a published study done in Poland in 1990 provides some guidance for anyone trying to burn more calories to lose weight. The study- entitled "Effect of physical exercise and heat on energy expenditure in obesity". The study concluded that the results (in terms of energy expenditure/calorie burning) are significantly better when you take the sauna FIRST. The test subjects burned TRIPLE the number of calories during the test when they preceded their cardio workout with a 30-minute sauna.We would love to know WHY this is the case. Rhonda?
Normal sauna and steam room – which offers the best results?
Sauna – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/10/scien… https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/08/how-t… https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/06/how-t…
Have you noticed an increase in your energy bill with daily sauna use? Just curious as to how much energy these use. Thanks!
Hmm…good question. I haven't checked. I will look into that…Doesn't seem like much though…
Awesome to find scientific explanations and references – thanks!
Question: How can a sauna NOT be infrared?
Another question: what temperature (range?) are you using with these facts and figures? The barely warm public sauna and the piping hot neighborhood one must have different effectiveness. And what about steam vs (dry) sauna, or dry vs moist sauna?
I answer almost all these questions at https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/hackedsauna – and my temp range is 150-160.
I am looking at the curve sauna clear light produce . What is your take on it. ? Is it as effective as the other models.
Thanks for all your good work you do .
I'll vouch for *any* of the clear light saunas, but I haven't personally used the curve.
Since you're detoxing not just through sweat and the skin but also through liposis do you have any insights into what kind of beverage (or food) to drink after a sauna session? What helps the body facilitate waste removal from the liposis? As always, thanks!
I don’t use a sauna but do attend hot yoga classes about 3+ times a week. Would doing this produce the same benefits as using the sauna? I definitely sweat profusely and usually enjoy a cold shower afterwards!
Yes, EXCEPT you don't get the infrared…
I’ve been using a traditional dry heat sauna after lifting workouts for a few weeks and enjoy it. The only disadvantages of safely using a sauna I suppose (which for some might be an advantage) is that I imagine this might reduce sperm count. Only an issue for those looking to become parents.
Remember to read Ben's article on how to improve your sauna and your sauna detox. https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/08/how-t…
I'm sorry, Ben, but on behalf of whole of Finland trust me when I say that that infrared crap can barely be called sauna. Make a trip to Finland and experience a real sauna. The difference is massive!
I've done both Christian. I must say I still like infrared…
I attended a certain bio hacking conference this weekend and even more controversial than people putting butter in their coffee ;) was the far vs near infrared debate. One guy was extolling the virtues of his NEAR infrared set up (claiming NEAR penetrates deeper), then across the hall the guy selling the FAR infrared sauna said FAR penetrates deeper. I thought about trying to get these guys to meet in the back of the room to throw down but then I decided "Naw, I'll just ask Ben." …So which is it?
Have a listen to this! https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/08/329-i…
Near infrared heat penetrates the deepest.
This being said, there are numerous research studies that have been published over the years proving the many benefits of far infrared heat. The answer is that both will give therapeutic results that will make you healthier. The best of both worlds is to have a sauna with Full Spectrum heaters such as our Sanctuary series which has (2) 500 watt Full Spectrum emitters in each sauna. (Beware of companies like Sunlighten who market their saunas based on having Full Spectrum heaters, yet their Full Spectrum saunas have only a single 10 watt full spectrum heater, hardly strong enough to have any effect.)
Although near infrared is the one that penetrates the deepest, far infrared heat is the more tested of the two if you're interested in science to validate the boatloads of anecdotal evidence for increased heart health, detoxing heavy metals and chemicals, immune boosting, and muscle and joint pain relief.
Hi Ben, I read articles that near infrared causes collagen deterioration or have other adverse health affects. To your point on FIR (far infrared) being more heavily tested, are there no risks with the sanctuary since you’re in a box with NIR? Here is the specific article I read on the dangers of NIR: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1011134415300713
I don't have a sauna but i have a spa, will the hot water have the same benefit, thanks
No, it will not. The water would have to be so hot it would cause dry skin, etc. You also don't get infrared from water.
Ben, water absorbs and emits in the infra-red at a wide range of frequencies. Because it has a high heat capacity it doesn’t need to be much hotter than skin to effectively raise body temperatures. So a spa at 40C will lift core temperatures in humans very fast. Just like saunas, hot spas raise heart rate, and bodies sweat in an attempt to lose that heat.
I would like to see studies, but have found none, so it’s hard to compare.
One of the biggest differences would be the mode of sanitization. Obviously repeat exposure to chlorine, bromine etc are undesirable. Some use Cu Ag and peroxymonosulphate, others use ozone. These may be tolerable on a regular basis.
But 100% absolutely hot spa water would be radiating infra red and human bodies would be heating and activating some benefits. It may increase more serotonin. Who knows?
In the end the choice may depend on what’s available. Hot spa’s are undoubtedly a lot better than a non-existent sauna.
I just got a Biomat (through your affiliate link ;)), and was wondering if one can derive some of the same benefits from the mat as one can through a sauna? I just didn't have room for a sauna so a Biomat seemed like the next best thing, plus thirty pounds of amethyst crystal's pretty nifty. Thx!
Yep. You get most of the infrared benefits. You do NOT get all the heat acclimation benefits, however. It's just hard to get very, very hot on a biomat.
I am able to sweat bucket on the biomat by doing this: Turn your biomat on the highest setting, put a layer of towels down you will lay on, put another layer of towels that you will lay under, put a space blanket on top of the towels you lay under (google it, it is cheap), then put the thickest blanket you own on top of the space blanket. Let the biomat heat up for 45 min. Slip under the towels on your back set your timer for 30 min. After 30 min flip onto your stomach and set your timer for another 30 min (I had mine on a massage table so it was easy to be on my stomach). My face would be beet red and I would be drenched.