infrared sauna

Infrared Sauna Therapy For Cancer

By Lawrence Wilson, M.D.

The infrared lamp sauna combines more than one dozen therapeutic methods to fight cancer including:

Inhibiting the Sympathetic Nervous System Relaxes and Heals the Body

The sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system in our bodies activates the brain, muscles, thyroid and adrenal glands in response to stress.  However, it strongly inhibits digestion, the immune response and eliminative organ function as well. Cancer patients desperately need more immune, digestive and eliminative activity.

Saunas have the ability to powerfully reduce the activity of the sympathetic system.  William Donald Kelley, DDS, shortly before he recently passed on, endorsed the use of only the near infrared sauna for the cancer patients.

Saunas powerfully inhibit the sympathetic system in several ways

*Heating the body greatly slows normal heat production, a sympathetic activity. (See

Guyton, A., Textbook of Medical Physiology, 6th ed, p. 892). Saunas draw blood from the center to the periphery of the body to dissipate the heat. This also opposes an important sympathetic nervous activity, which is to draw blood to the central part of the body as a protection against attack.

Saunas cause the body to eliminate toxic substances of many kinds that irritate the tissues, keeping the body in a sympathetic state. These toxins include most pesticides, hundreds of other toxic chemicals and a number of extremely toxic metals as well, such as mercury.

Hyperthermia Damages and Even Kills Cancer Tissue

Hyperthermia is a well-known method of disabling weaker and more heat-sensitive cancers. While saunas are not nearly as potent as hyperthermia at 106-108 degrees E, infrared saunas can heat the body a few degrees, causing a fever. This is a much gentler method, much slower, but safer method and easier to tolerate and control.

Infrared lamp saunas are much better for this purpose than traditional saunas because near infrared saunas penetrate the skin and heat the tissues several inches inside the’body. Also, the lligts can be directed right at the cancer, which cannot be done with any other sauna, including far infrared or traditional types of saunas. This is another powerful advantage of the near infrared lamp sauna.

Improving Circulation Powerfully Removes Dead Cancer Tissue and Greatly Supports Nutrition and Oxygenation of the Body

Cancer often grows in tissues with poor circulation. This is unfortunately a cause of cancer all by itself. Saunas powerfully shunt the blood from the internal organs to the periphery of the body in an attempt to get rid of the heat. They also increase circulation to the lungs, improving oxygenation. This combination has a powerful stimulating effect on circulation. This can be an incalculable benefit for cancer patients, many of whom cannot or should not exercise much, and is particularly good for older patients as well for this same reason.

Decongesting The Liver And Other Internal Organs

Congestion of the liver, kidneys and other internal organs inhibits the detoxification of all toxic substances in our bodies. This is a very critical problem for cancer patients. For this reason, Dr. Max Gerson, MD, recommended coffee enemas, juices and other methods to assist liver and colon elimination.

Sauna therapy with near infrared, in particular, assists detoxification of these organs in two ways. We have already mentioned improved circulation to the entire body.

However, even more important is that saunas move blood away from the center of the body toward the extremities to get rid of the heat. This helps decongest the internal organs in a wonderful way. This is a key to their proper use as well. The sauna must be used several times daily for the best results, unless the patient cannot tolerate it well, then one session daily is okay. This is one reason we want patients to have their own inexpensive sauna unit at home.

Near and Far Infrared Rays Are Healthful For Most Everyone in Correct

Amounts Infrared is a facinating subject that is attracting more attention due to its health benefits. The army uses infraredon wounded soldiers, according to a recent news story.  Veterinarians use it on animals postsurgery, and infrared clothing and heating pads are now on the market. According to Japanese research, infrared may also enhance oxygen production within the cells (Jap J Inflammation, November 1996, 16(6):9). Infrared has numerous other benefits that are too numerous to mention here. See the references for more details.

Enhancing Oxygenation Is Lifesaving

Although mentioned above, this deserves its own paragraph. Oxygen therapies are one promising new area of low-toxicity cancer therapy research. However, the near infrared sauna easily improves oxygenation of the body. It is also much less costly and has fewer risks associated with it in most cases.


Normalizing Enzyme Systems Can Save a Life

This point deserves an entire book. Our bodies must have the proper temperature to function correctly. However, Max Gerson, MD, and other cancer reearchers found that many cancer patients suffer from low glandular activity that causes a low body temperature. Eighty percent or more of cancer patients have low thyroid activity, for example: The sauna, by raising the body temperature several degrees in a short period of time, helps remove this critical problem, even if the correction is short-lived.

Over time, the body will eliminate the toxins that are causing the low thyroid activity or low adrenal activity in many cases. In the meantime, repeated sauna use can correct the condition enough to give the body an added advantage against the cancer.  There are many added benefits to heating the body, of course, but this one needs more research and will be found to be a very basic one.

Saunas Help Balance the pH

Saunas can help balance both acid and excessively alkaline body chemistry. Some of the reasons have been touched upon, such as improved circulation and far better elimination of toxins. Another reason was briefly mentioned. The infrared, particularly near infrared sauna, helps correct a sluggish metabolic rate, which can cause both acidic and alkaline imbalances.

Improving oxygenation does far more than just nourish the cells. It also eliminates dead cancer tissue, which otherwise is an added acidic burden to the patient. These and other reasons beyond the scope of this article also help to balance the body pH. The sauna is a safe method of balancing the pH, unlike many methods used today. A doctor who knew all about this was Max Gerson, MD, who used fresh raw vegetable and fruit juices for this purpose. This used to work perfectly. In our experience, however, many patients do not tolerate juices as well today. This may be due to the fact that their mineral content may be lower or the sugar content may be higher and they are quite “yin” today.  Saunas, by contrast, are a hot or “yang” therapy that seems to balance the body, while at the same time getting rid of the acidic wastes and nourishing the cells with oxygen and more blood flow.

Eliminating Secondary Infections Is Another Great Benefit

Heating the body a few degrees is like having a fever, a well-known way the body rallies against infections. Improving the circulation and oxygenation can also help to kill many microorganisms.

Balancing the pH, improving the nutrition of the cells and inhibiting the sympathetic system are other powerful infection-fighting methods used in sauna therapy. In fact, the sauna will save anyone from a toxic condition due to infection better than some antibiotics or other methods, either medical or natural ones.

For the greatest effect, including the maximum heating of the body, we suggest that all heat lamps be on one wall of the sauna. This is a common mistake that patients, who are building their own sauna, often make. We encourage anyone to view the free plans for your sauna at our web site, www.

Genetic Effects Are Also Possible With Saunas

Genetics is the rage today in cancer therapy circles. However, many forget that toxins block genetic expression. Saunas can help restore and maintain your DNA in the following ways, among many others. It can help remove radioactive particles. These are usually bound to minerals in the body.

It helps remove hundreds or even thousands of DNA damaging toxic chemicals.  *The sauna’s heat may disable or kill weaker cells that have mutated due to radiation poisoning that everyone has today. Otherwise, these cells would reproduce, causing even more mutated cells to be present in the body. These cells more easily can become cancerous.

*By the mechanisms described above, sauna therapy enhances the absorption and utilization of many nutrients needed for proper genetic expression.

Heat Shock Proteins Can be Produced in Saunas

Heat shock proteins are a discovery of the past 30 or 40 years (Kukreja, 2000 Verlag 1991). These interesting substances are produced naturally by the body when it is subjected to stressors, among them heat.

Heat shock proteins can actually renature or repair cell structures, thus regenerating the cells. They are being studied in cancer research as they have been found to be potent immune system boosters.

Near infrared sauna therapy may be a simple, costeffective and safe way to induce natural production of heat shock proteins (HSPs).

“When HSPs encounter tumor fragments, they pack them up for processing by the immune system’s defensive macrophage cells, setting in motion a chain of events that results in the recognition of the tumor. The body’s cytotoxic T-Iymphocytes (also known as killer T-cells) then attack the cancer cells that produced the material sponged up by the HSPs. The tumor is thus killed even without the ability to recognize individual epitopes (surface characteristics of cancer cells that allow the immune system to identify it as dangerous). This natural process has been used successfully in vaccination of mice and rats with experimental tumors.” (see Heat Shock Proteins: New Avenues to Cancer Vaccines).

Color Therapy is Helpful, too

Color therapy is greatly underrated. Red, yellow and orange light, produced by an infrared lamp sauna, nourishes the lower centers or chakras. This is where our organs of digestion and elimination are located, such as liver, kidneys, and large intestine (Dinshaw, 2005). In fact, one can add colored light to any sauna.

Saunas Help the Mental State

Maintaining a positive attitude is very important for cancer patients. Many people report that sauna therapy feels good, is relaxing and leaves them refreshed. Some report that the quiet and privacy of the sauna is like a gift to themselves that they cherish.  Inside a sauna, one can easily shut out the cares of the day. One can meditate or pray easily, without interruptions or even thoughts of the outside world intruding. This simple benefit of temporary peace and solitude is not a feature of so many costly, complicated cancer cures used by modern medicine. The peacefulness of a sauna can have many benefits, such as helping the cancer patients see themselves and their situation clearly and constructively.

Cautions With Saunas: Children under five years old must be closely supervised or should not use saunas. This is more because they are small and do not sweat as well than for any other reason.

Those over 65 should also be supervised more closely, although we have no reports of problems when the sauna is used in an intelligent and rational manner. A friend or partner should be present, however, whenever someone ill is using a sauna for the best protection against any unforeseen event.


1.   Sauna Therapy by L. Wilson, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc. 2003. Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree, but preferred to work for the past 29 years as an unlicensed nutrition consultant. He does not diagnose, prescribe for or treat any disease or condition.

[Editor’s note] Although Dr. Wilson discusses the merits of saunas, it is important to know

he has developed a portable near infrared sauna so that patients can have saunas at home. He will also provide instructions for the do-it-yourselfers who feel capable of constructing the sauna themselves.

4 Celebrities that use Infrared Saunas

Need one more reason to try out infrared sauna therapy?  It’s one of the biggest anti-aging trends in the celebrity world! Health-focused celebs are touting the benefits of infrared saunas – from detox to weight loss to improved sleep – as a key component of their health and wellness regimes. Some even claim infrared saunas as a secret to their beauty! Just check out these four superstars who use an infrared sauna on a regular basis.

Jennifer Anniston

When it comes to beauty, Jennifer Anniston is all about the natural methods, including infrared sauna use. During an interview this summer about her fitness and beauty tips, Anniston shared her love of infrared saunas, citing their detoxification, relaxation, weight loss and skin rejuvenation properties. Anniston cites the cell generation benefits of infrared sauna use in particular as a secret behind her flawless skin. (Her other big secret to healthy skin? Hydration! We’re on board with both those things, Jennifer!)

Lady Gaga

Pop music queen Lady Gaga is a frequent infrared sauna user. She recently shared a post on her Instagram of an infrared sauna therapy session with her friend, who is suffering from stage four cancer. The singer uses infrared saunas for her own health needs, too. In an Instagram post from early June, Gaga said she frequently uses an infrared sauna for pain control.

“I still deal with bone inflammation from my hip injury two years ago. But I keep control of pain with infrared sauna. A great investment for everyone, I use mine everyday. Getting my body ready for the show tonight!”

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford might be closing in on 50, but she certainly doesn’t look it. Thanks no doubt in part to her strict beauty regime, the supermodel has maintained flawless hair and skin for decades. In an interview with Into the Gloss, Cindy dished her best beauty secrets – one of which is spending at least 20 minutes once a week in an infrared sauna. Cindy praises infrared saunas for many different health benefits: detoxification, relaxation and improved circulation, as well as its many benefits for the skin, including collage reduction and improved skin tone. Cindy also says that regular sauna use helps improve her sleep – and gives her 20 minutes of uninterrupted reading time!

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow is really into the detox lifestyle. No, really. She talks about it often on her website, Gwyneth’s detox strategy is many-pronged, with at least one of those prongs being infrared sauna use. In “The Annual goop Detox” that the site publishes post-holiday season, goop recommends infrared saunas as an effective way to get the lymphatic system moving and produce a healthy, detoxifying sweat. In the past Gwyneth has also shared a post on the power of infrared saunas, as well as a roundup of the staff’s favorite places to find an infrared sauna, from L.A. to London.

6 Reasons to Put Infrared Saunas On Your Must-Do List

 6 Reasons to Put Infrared Saunas On Your Must-Do List

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by Dr. Frank Lipman, physician and author specializing in the field of integrative medicine Saunas. They’re relaxing, rejuvenating and can even feel a little indulgent. But did you know a regular sauna routine is also a very pleasurable way to enhance health? As you’re probably aware, I’m a big believer in engaging in as many good-for-you activities as possible, and saunas, particularly infrared saunas, are high on the good-for-you-to-do list. Why infrared? Because its radiant heat is known to penetrate the skin more deeply than traditional saunas, better aiding in a number of restorative body processes. Here are just a few ways infrared saunas can benefit your body — and why I encourage many of my patients to make them part of their health-supporting routines:
1. You’ll flush out toxins
Saunas, infrared or otherwise, make you sweat. Sweating helps flush out toxins from the body and in so doing reduces its toxic load. With infrared saunas, the sweating is deeper and more profuse, enabling your body to excrete a higher percentage of toxins than with a conventional sauna. Infrared saunas are also a great alternative for those who don’t like high temperatures or need to avoid them for medical reasons. The gentler heat of infrared saunas runs roughly 20 – 60 degrees lower, making them easier to tolerate. But no matter which type you choose, remember to get the OK from your doctor first before diving into a regular sauna routine.
2. Blood pressure will lower and muscles will unwind, without a pharmaceutical assist.
You don’t have to sit in an infrared sauna for hours on end to reap the benefits. For most people, all that’s needed are a few 15 – 20 minute sessions a week. During your sauna, as you sweat, you’ll be stimulating better blood flow and circulation throughout your body. That increased circulation will help lower blood pressure, and make you feel good all over, relaxing tight muscles and easing minor aches and pains to boot. If you’re troubled by muscle or joint pain, or more chronic condi­tions like arthritis, infrared heat from the sauna can provide drug-free pain relief, reducing stiffness and inflammation.
3. Cut a cold or flu off at the pass
Feeling like you’re on the verge of getting sick? Then head to the nearest infrared sauna as early as possible. Why? Because the infrared’s radiant heat will stimulate circulation, rev up the production of white blood cells and rally your immune system’s response to invaders. All that action will make your body a much less hospitable environment for germs to grow – and a great place for them to die. Even if you’re not on the verge of coming down with something, remember that infrared saunas, and the increased circulation that comes with regular use, are also great for speeding muscle recovery too.
4. Look younger, no “beauty” creams required
Infrared saunas offer a wonderful bonus for the skin: they help improve skin tone and reduce signs of aging by stimu­lating better circulation, blood flow and increased collagen production – all of which improve the look of your skin. The increased circulation, elimination of toxins and flushing out of cellular debris enhance overall skin health, giving it a more radiant appearance, without a trip to Sephora!
5. Drop a little weight effortlessly
The plentiful sweating you’ll do during a sauna session will register immediately on the scale as weight loss. However, most of the weight loss will be “water weight” which will return when you re-hydrate. However, there is evidence that infrared saunas, because of their ability to penetrate the skin more deeply, increase metabolic rate and can help the body burn off anywhere from 200 – 600 calories in a half hour session. Keep in mind though, while a regular infrared sauna routine won’t melt off a spare tire, it can support a sensible diet and exercise plan by giving your metabolism a little extra boost while you literally sit and relax. And remember, hydra­tion is essential if you’re using infrared (or conventional) sau­nas, so never skimp on liquids just for the sake of seeing lower numbers on the scale. Drink up before, during and after — no exceptions! 6. An infrared sauna is an investment in your health
Infrared saunas could be seen as an indulgence, with top-quality units starting at about $1,800. But I see them as a great investment in your health. Infrared saunas tend to be compact, and require little maintenance and no water or plumbing. Not only do infrareds offer more body benefits than conventional saunas, but also they’re less of a drain on resources. Many are made with sustainable materials and most run on normal household current and cost just a few pennies per hour to run.

Because I am such a big believer in them, I recently got a Clearlight Infrared Sauna and I am absolutely thrilled with it — I look forward to using it every chance I get. If installing your own isn’t an option, consider joining a gym or visiting day spas, specialized yoga studios and/or resorts with infrared sauna facilities. For more information and to have your questions answered by a Sauna Specialist please call (800) 317-5070 or visit Clearlight Saunas are used at Hippocrates Health Institute and are available for purchase from the Hippocrates Store at (561) 471-8876, ext. 2171 or