Health Benefits of Thermal and Light Therapy

Hello health seekers!


Many of you are looking for ways to continuously improve your health. Healthy habits (or maybe the trendy term is “hacks”) are synergistic and they are the focus of our approach to health. I have had a lot of questions recently about thermal & light therapy. Here’s why we invested in adding sauna services to our Vitality Rochester location:


Long before “self-care” was a thing (and it’s a good thing!), humans have used sweating and heat as a method of improving well-being...think Japanese and Turkish baths, Scandinavian sauna, Native American and First Nation sweat lodges.


In Finland, to this day, saunas are a large part of the culture with an estimated 2-3 million saunas with a population of 5.3 million people!


Let me also a person who tends to be chilly during the colder months, I personally love the regular dose of heat! It forces me to take time to listen to my favorite podcasts and relax. My husband also lives with autoimmune tendencies so tamping down inflammation is always on our minds.


The radiant energy of the infrared spectrum penetrates the skin but doesn’t excessively heat the air around you. Sunlighten has done studies that show a 2-3 degree increase in core body temperature, creating a “false fever” (which means increased metabolic function) that lasts even after sauna session is complete. Because the ambient air gets less hot than a steam room or typical sauna, many people can tolerate them better.


Does quality matter?


It always does!

After researching a number of sauna companies we chose Sunlighten. It was endorsed by numerous functional medicine practitioners including renowned author Mark Hyman, MD; as well as Joel Kahn, MD and Amy Myers, MD, experts on cardiac health and autoimmunity, respectively.


Many saunas on the market deliver high EMF and, to err on the side of safety, we sought out a sauna that had mitigated EMF so you aren’t being bathed in electromagnetic radiation while you sauna.


Their patented panels are designed to maximize infrared vs heat alone, so while many saunas heat you up, they aren’t always high in actual infrared emission. Infrared is what creates the deep heating effect from within. High emissivity means you get what you paid for!


The sauna is constructed with non-toxic basswood and has no plywood components.


Is there research backing sauna use?


A literature review of sauna use pointed to positive results with the following conditions: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, all-cause mortality, chronic pain, headaches. The research on this modality is ongoing and growing.


“If you analyzed the peer-reviewed data, full spectrum infrared sauna would be a multibillion dollar drug if it came in a pill.” Joel Kahn, MD, holistic cardiologist and founder of Kahn Longevity Center.


Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna (FIR) include:


  • Ridding the body of toxins

  • Reducing inflammation

  • Anti-aging

  • Joint and muscle support

  • Relaxation

  • Burning additional calories

  • Increased blood flow

  • Improvement of respiratory and sinus issues

  • Improvement of many skin issues and improved skin tone

  • Reduced blood pressure with regular use


Detoxification was one of the main reasons we chose our Sunlighten sauna. My perspective on health tends to be geared toward finding the root cause. When poor health manifests, I like to ask if it is the result of deficiency (not enough of something we need) or toxicity (too much of something we don’t). We are currently in the process of upgrading our supported detoxification and gut healing protocols and we knew sauna would be a synergistic therapy to incorporate. Our body’s ability to rid itself of the many toxic agents we are exposed to is crucial to our health and affects ALL of our systems.


Additionally, we see a number of clients with fibromyalgia or chronic joint pain--having an option for pain relief for these challenges was a high priority. In chiropractic, we talk about the “upward spiral” meaning that making small positive changes can often lead to slow but steady improvement. If someone has chronic pain, they often feel limited in their good choices, they may not be able to exercise regularly due to their challenges. Infrared sauna affords an option that has cardiovascular benefits, the potential for weight loss and pain relief--it’s another tool to help clients in this situation.


What to expect:


Although there is minimal risk in the use of saunas, there are certain contraindications for sauna bathing and we require a screening process for our clients. It is important to be well-hydrated before and after sauna bathing. We recommend using a Greens drink or high-quality trace mineral supplement to help replace minerals that are lost with sweating.

The use of alcohol while using a sauna is one of the biggest risks for adverse effects, therefore alcohol should be avoided in the days around sauna sessions. In other words, don’t use the sauna to “burn off” a hangover!


To avoid detoxification symptoms (mild nausea, fatigue) we recommend starting slowly with 15-20 minute sessions to begin. A full session is up to 40 minutes.


Consider adding sauna to your wellness routine! We offer a limited number of in-office sauna sessions and have also negotiated pricing on home units by Sunlighten. If you are curious to know more and live in the Rochester area, feel free to contact us at Vitality Chiropractic.


In Health,

Stacy LeQuire, DC




Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Suana Bathing: A Systematic Review; Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018. PMID: 29849692

UHN Staff. “New Hope for Chronic Pain Sufferers: Infrared Sauna Therapy Shows Impressive Pain-Reducing Results.” University Health News.

Pizzorna, Joseph ND. The Toxin Solution. Harper Collins, New York, NY, 2017