For Christmas I got an Infrared Sauna from CostCo. Costco had a special with a price less than $1000.00 and was effectively my entire Christmas present (and several other occasions). I don’t know if I may be able to write it off as a medical expense, but it is good to review the reported medical benefits on PubMed.

  • FIR means Far Infra Red saunas.
  • Waon theraphy uses infrared saunas and according to Wikipedia:
    ” increases blood flow by stimulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein production (eNOS). eNOS makesnitric oxide, which is a vasodilator and increases blood flow.[4] Waon therapy also increases blood flow by stimulating the mobilization endothelial progenitor cells marked with CD34 molecules. CD34 positive cells promote angiogenesis to increase blood flow, improving cardiac perfusion and decreasing vascular resistance.[4] Nitric oxide is also a regulator of the sympathetic nervous system, and an increase of nitric oxide via endothelial nitric oxide synthase may help to controlautonomic nervous system.[5]


Some PubMed articles:

My Own Experience

The first day of trying it, was uneventful, in fact, I stayed in much longer than specified in the Waon protocol. The next morning, I found that there were digestive issues – upset, increased cough, etc of mysterious origin until the wife pointed out that I had tried the sauna on the previous day. My interpretation was that some gut bacteria was not happy with the sauna and that there was some die-off/herx.

I found several studies where gut-bacteria was impacted by heat, but nothing that was directly applicable. The best article is found here, with an interesting quote “compounds inducing heat shock response may be important for the development of new therapeutic strategies for colonic inflamatory disease” which references Role of heat shock proteins (molecular chaperones) in intestinal mucosal protection. Otaka M, Odashima M, Watanabe S. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Sep 15;348(1):1-5. summarized as:

Most studies into the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have primarily focused on the cytotoxic agents and processes involved in producing mucosal injury, including the immune system. However, less consideration has been given to the inherent mechanisms of cytoprotection and cellular repair in the intestinal mucosa. This review will focus on intestinal mucosal protection against cytotoxic agents and cellular stress mainly from the viewpoint of expression and function of heat shock proteins, in their role of “molecular chaperones,” as internal cytoprotectants. Elucidation of such stress-responses in the intestinal mucosa may provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of cytoprotection and cellular repair, and present new strategies for IBD therapy.

The bottom line appears to be with the appropriate temperature, the chemicals that the body uses to respond to the heat can impact the intestinal system positively.