The Finns popularized the sauna in our modern era, but they are not the only group of people to have a long history involving one form or another of sauna use. Perhaps the most well known group of people to use the sauna other than the Finns is the Native American people. Their sweat lodges were, and are, very similar to the traditional Finnish saunas used today. The modern infrared ray sauna was first pioneered in the early 1900’s in Germany, where infrared ray saunas are still heavily used today. Decades later in Japan, Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical was awarded a patent for the first ceramic infrared heater. This laid the foundation for the more efficient carbon coated ceramic infrared heaters that are used today. Infrared ray saunas have gained popularity over the years since they first exploded out of Japan in the 1980’s. Their healing properties have made them very popular among health practitioners and private users alike. Considerable research has gone into demonstrating the effectiveness of FIR (far infrared ray) saunas over the years. In Japan, infrared sauna research and usage has been going on for many years where researchers and clinicians have completed extensive research on infrared treatments. Their reports have many eye catching findings. Some of these findings are as follows: -Improves micro circulation by exerting strong rotational and vibrational effects at molecular level. – Enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the blood cell to the body’s soft tissue areas. – Promotes regeneration and fast healing. – Increases metabolism between blood and tissue. – Enhances white blood cell function, thereby increasing immune response and the elimination of foreign pathogens and cellular waste products. – Removes accumulated toxins by improving lymph circulation which are often at the core of many health problems. – Stimulate the hypothalamus, which controls the production of neurochemicals involved in such biological processes as sleep, mood, pain sensations, and blood pressure.
In Japan, there is an “infrared society” composed of medical doctors and physical therapists dedicated to further infrared research. According to their findings, the health benefits of infrared therapy support the idea that infrared saunas should be seen as a method of healing. Dr. Sasaki Kyuo, M.D., has done extensive research on the therapeutic uses of infrared therapy. She is the author of “The Scientific Basis and Therapeutic Benefits of Far Infrared Ray Therapy.” Dr. Kyuo reports successful treatments of many illnesses by using infrared therapy. The list of illnesses include: facial numbness; shoulder, back, and knee pain; weight loss; lower blood pressure. Dr. Kyuo also explained how research done in the US supports her findings. “One of the reasons FIR has beneficial results in a variety of illnesses is the ability of FIR waves to remove toxins, which are often at the core of many health problems. One study done by American researchers showed that the sweat released by users of a FIR sauna was different than the sweat of people using a conventional sauna or doing normal exercise. The non water portion of sweat released in a FIR sauna was cholesterol, fat soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid.” The sweat of people using a conventional sauna was found to be 95 to 97% water while the sweat of those using an Far-infrared thermal system was 80 to 85% water with the non-water portion principally cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals (such as mercury and aluminum), sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid. Far-Infrared, Technologies that Harness the Sun, Valerie Free, 2001. After researching infrared saunas, G. E. Poesnecker, N.D., D.C. shared his opinion that “photobiotherapy (far infrared rays) will become one of the premier healing tools of our future. It will eliminate the need for many of today’s common surgical procedures. I can see the day when every household in the country will have a (FIR) unit on hand. When used properly, it is a safe, effective, natural tool that can enhance, rather than oppose, the body’s own innate healing powers.” Just as various ancient cultures have enjoyed the health benefits of the sauna, so also do we get to enjoy the valuable results of infrared saunas. Meanwhile, additional research continues to come out of labs around the globe and show us evermore ways to improve our health and wellness by using FIR saunas.