So to kick off this occasional how to heal autoimmune disease series once again, a passionate rundown of the joys of the infra-red sauna.

Image by Tierney Gearon

Nora Gedgaudas first suggested I use one. That’s all she said. Go. Use one. I’ve done it a number of times since, and it’s made a HUGE difference. I get a lot of lymphatic blockage and it bloats the right side of my body and my face. I also get joint pain from toxin build-up…and it all just… goes…. after a session in one of these. I can go in “thyroidy” and come out calm, enlivened.

I dug around a bit to see what’s been said about them and from a range of literature, this is what I found:

Is it just like a normal sauna?

Not so much. It heats objects rather than the surrounding air. Normal saunas get you sweating by sheer force of heat; infra-red saunas heat the deepest organs and tissues of the body by penetrating the infra-red band of light about 3-4cm below the skin surface. This causes the body to sweat at a temperature of only 35-45C, heating the internal tissues without overheating the skin and respiratory system as ordinary saunas do.

What will they fix and how so?

It assists with a whole bunch of auto-immuny symptoms and issues.


Infra red waves matches the frequency of the water in our cells, causing toxins to be released into the blood stream and excreted through sweat. Increased blood circulation caused by sweating stimulates the sweat glands, releasing built up toxins and waste. As the heat penetrates the deeper, denser tissues, the infra-red heat softens deposits of crystallized toxins and acid wastes in the joints, nerves, and connective tissues allowing them to be dissolved and excreted via the bloodstream, lymphatic system, and through the skin as sweat.

A lot of AI issues stem from heavy metal toxicity. This kind of heat is particularly effective for eliminating heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, zinc and nickel from the tissues as well as toxins like nicotine, alcohol and chemicals.

Immune support

Each time you take a sauna session, there is a brief increase in body temperature, which boosts the production of infection-fighting white blood cells (leukocytes) by your bone marrow and killer T-cells by your thymus. This process has a beneficial effect on your immune system.

High blood pressure

The soft heat relaxes blood vessels, helping reduce high blood pressure and not adding to it as conventional saunas can.

Water retention, lymphatic issues, bloating and weight gain

Infra-red therapy helps eliminate excess moisture, salt and subcutaneous fat from the body. Sweating is a part of the complex thermo-regulatory process of the body that increases the heart rate and improves the heart-pumping capacity of the heart. It also uses up energy to burn fat as at 43 C fat becomes water soluble and can be dissolved and disposed of by sweating. A single sauna session may burn up as many calories as a 30 minute jog, so you can lose weight at the same time as detoxifying your entire body!

Pain and joint stuff

The deep penetrating heat of infra-red saunas dilates blood vessels increasing blood flow and improving circulation which in turn allows more oxygen to reach the muscles and other body tissues. This makes infra-red sauna therapy very effective in treating arthritis, rheumatism, muscular spasms, soft tissue injuries, general pain relief and fibromyalgia-related symptoms.

Some extra reassuring stuff

Infra-red sauna therapy has been used safely for over 30 years in hospitals for premature babies, and in the United States NASA uses it in their spaceships to provide health and safety benefits to their astronauts.

what about EMFs?

Most of them have electromagnetic shielding on ALL wiring (the one at Mullum Sari does) and are perfectly safe. Check first.

where to use one?

I currently go to Alkaline, in Potts Point. If you’re a Sydney sider, check it out.

You can also buy one for at home (I’m coming across a lot of AI folk who have one in their backyard). Vitality 4 Life sell them online here.

 Hope that inspires. Feel free to post below if you can recommend a infra-red set-up in your area….

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • jewelsofthebeaches

    How often do you use them? I also have Hashimoto’s and have found one close by that I can use. Thanks!

  • jules105

    Should you shower right after an far infrared sauna? Should it be a hot or cold shower?

    Someone mentioned near infrared, are there near infrared saunas?

    I do have a FIR heater and sleep with it on in winter, I wonder if this is helpful or hurtful – people are saying it’s best to sleep in a cold environment and sleep nude because colder is better for sleeping (I can’t seem to sleep if I’m cold though)? Thank you for any responses!

  • jules105

    I was looking at the Sunlighten site, they offer FIR pads to lie on. Are those effective for healing or is a whole sauna required?

  • Newcastle now has the latest Sunlighten Infrared Sauna … at The Salt Therapy Centre. Simply Divine.

  • Hi Amy, just curious about how you are now 4 years after this post. Are you still doing Infrared therapy and if so, how often?

  • Kay

    Nicole, did you find out since if its ok to use with lymphodema? I have the same problem

  • Clara

    I cannot believe more Lupus patients do not know about Sunlighten Saunas. They have “cured” my Lupus. I have been symptom free for over a year now because of using a medical grade infrared sauna or a Sunlighten. I no longer have muscle aches/fatigue, joint pain or inflammation. I haven’t even had the flu for over a year now. Sunlighten Saunas are proven to increase your core body temperature 3 degrees and create a false fever in the body. This is what creates an effective detox from the cellular level. Many generic infrared saunas claim to help with detox but DO NOT provide third party testing to prove their heaters can do this, like Sunlighten does. Every health benefit they back by third party testing and are the world’s only medical grade infrared. Meaning if you have Lupus, this is the only way to go. I have been symptom free now for a almost two years and this was the ONLY thing I changed in my life. Please reach out to me if you have any questions as I want others to be able to experience the healing benefits as well.