Sauna Therapy Information
by Eileen Durfee, N.C.
I'd like to explain some differences between the different types of saunas that have evolved over the years, how ion therapy was originally in saunas, and how it has been transitioned out of most sauna designs in use today.
A Quick Note About Ion Therapy:
The baby was thrown out with the bathwater with the removal of ion therapy, because when you take a sauna, you need a way to introduce negative ions. Otherwise, there becomes an accumulation of poisonous positive ions that can cause fatigue, unless you have adequate ventilation provided for in your sauna design. However, increased ventilation in your sauna causes ambient temperatures to drop and defeats the overall purpose of the sauna session.
Finland, Germany, and Europe have conducted a significant number of sauna studies to determine which sauna designs produce enough negative ions for health benefits. That is why certain types of traditional saunas are still the most popular internationally, because ion therapy is regarded just as important as heat stress therapy.
The History and Evolution of Sauna Therapy
Sauna therapy has been around for thousands of years. Originally wood fired saunas, and later traditional saunas with a heater and rocks, have been used to increase ambient temperatures and induce heat stress. Heat stress causes sweating, increases circulation, and provides many undisputed health benefits. Various medical claims are commonly made regarding sauna therapy, so if your medical doctor says you need a sauna, in most cases you can write the cost of the purchase off on your tax return.
Saunas have evolved from the wood fired tent enclosure using stones and rocks, known as a sweat lodge, to wooden enclosures with an electric heater topped off with rocks to collect and disperse heat. Some of the traditional electric saunas produce negative ions when water is poured over the rocks, as demonstrated by some of the European sauna studies. However, the traditional electric saunas are expensive to purchase and install, consume large amounts of electricity, and require special wiring. Not to mention the fact, that the traditional electric sauna needs to be heated up for about 30 minutes prior to beginning your sauna session. For the daily sauna enthusiast, that means spending nearly $200-$300 per month, just in electricity, to integrate sauna therapy into your routine.
Because of the expense to purchase and operate the traditional electric sauna, you mostly see these types of saunas in the gym or clubs, and the far infrared sauna has become more popular for home use. The drawbacks of the traditional sauna created a new movement towards the infrared sauna. Infrared saunas are very popular and readily available, as they are made by numerous companies in a variety of sizes. Most far infrared saunas come with wall, floor and ceiling panels that screw and latch together in a matter of hours, and can run on a 110 volt dedicated circuit of 20 amps or more. Many different wood finishes are also available, due to chemically sensitive individuals who cannot tolerate the traditional cedar smells when wood gets hot.
True Story: My Personal Experience with Sauna Therapy
I personally purchased a far infrared sauna with ceramic emitting heaters back in 2006 and started taking daily saunas. I discovered that using the far infrared sauna increased my circulation and I really felt better using it. My sauna was 42" wide and had 5 heaters, with 2 located on the back wall, 1 below the bench, and 2 on the front wall. It also had a control box on top of the ceiling and a digital control panel on the front wall. It wasn't until I became a Practitioner of Nutritional Balancing Science and read Dr. Wilson's book on “Sauna Therapy for Healing and Detoxification”, that I learned about near infrared sauna therapy.
At first I thought Dr. Wilson was prejudice against other types of saunas, because after all, I was sweating a lot and feeling good in my $2,800 sauna. I didn't want to think about getting rid of it and spending more money. When I got my Gauss meter and went into my sauna, holy cow – the meter pegged out past 100 on every heater! Not only the 5 heaters, but the control box and the digital control panel used to turn the sauna on and off were also producing the harmful electromagnetic frequencies. I was trying to do something healthy for my body, but I was actually bombarding myself with harmful EMF frequencies.
When I went on a trip to California with my daughter and grandson in 2012 and didn’t want to be without a sauna, I bought a near infrared sauna. After day three of using the near infrared sauna, I had an incredibly intense feeling of well-being come over me that I had never experienced before. I never wasted my time in a far infrared sauna again, and I’ve been taking daily near infrared saunas ever since. For my parents, we removed the wooden bench and installed a stool and the Sauna Fix® (a near infrared sauna) inside. This converted their far infrared sauna into a nice enclosure for near infrared photo-therapy.
About Electromagnetic Frequencies
In more recent years, many people have become sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies, and a variety of patents have been filed for sauna heaters that emit lower levels of harmful frequencies. Dr. Mercola has a sauna for about $4000 that has safe heaters. It produces not only far infrared, but near, mid, and far infrared frequencies. There are also other manufactures with a variety of saunas designed to minimize electromagnetic frequencies.
So sauna history shows us transitions from the sweat lodge, to the traditional electric sauna, to the far infrared sauna, to the low EMF far infrared sauna, to low EMF infrared saunas with near, mid and far frequencies. It is interesting to note that all the more recent far infrared, low EMF and near, mid and far infrared saunas still don’t generate healthy ions; and most of the far infrared saunas out there have too many EMF frequencies.
The Future of Sauna Therapy
I’m going to predict another transition for the history of the sauna. I believe that since the advent of near infrared sauna therapy, more and more people are going to convert their existing saunas to near infrared for the photo-therapy and added circulation benefits. More and more people are going to learn about near infrared sauna therapy, and purchase this new type of sauna. Currently about 375,000 people per month search for “sauna” online, versus about 2,000 people searching for "near infrared sauna." People are going to stop using far infrared and switch to using near infrared saunas.
There are some differences I’d like to explain about light frequencies. Far infrared is 4000 nanometers of light or more, and the light waves are invisible. We can’t see them, but they travel at the speed of light. They biologically react with our body, just like sunlight. Sunlight has a full spectrum (near, mid and far) of all different kinds of light wave frequencies:
Far Infrared Rays Produce No Direct Biological Response.
If you google “photo therapy medicine,” or look at the University of Washington website, you see that Pre-Med students are learning about photo therapy. This is because LED diodes and lasers have FDA approval for use as a medical treatment. Other devices are approved for use to reverse skin aging and restore a youthful appearance. The reason why these medical devices work isn’t necessarily the delivery device itself, but how the cells, tissues and organs in our body biologically respond to that light. Four thousand nanometers of light and greater (far infrared) have no direct biological response with our cells or organs. These nanometers of light do heat up the water molecules in our body and create heat stress, and that is why they have been used in far infrared saunas.
Near Infrared Saunas Produce Healthier Nanometer Levels
We have more water in us than anything, but why not get all your heat stress and photo therapy benefits from taking a near infrared sauna? Near infrared frequencies are being studied, and it’s been found that certain frequencies can restore sight, such as in rats that were blinded with wood alcohol. Keep in mind that near infrared saunas produce 550-3400 nanometers of light, giving you frequencies that will reduce inflammation and pain, and speed up healing and circulation. Laser treatments using some of these same frequencies can eliminate wrinkles and lift the skin.
Medical lasers can’t be used to provide heat stress therapy. However, I wanted to explain how laser frequencies work biologically with the body, as well as their drawbacks and limitations. Lasers concentrate light frequencies in a really narrow beam, so when it hits a cell and that cell gets full of the energy that it needs, it starts to do tissue damage. This is called laser resistance, and is the reason why a lot of practitioners who are trained in laser therapy will only do a session for a limited amount of time. In addition to the limited session length, the laser emitter head is often set on an intermittent setting, and frequently moved over the skin instead of staying in one position. If you get a good laser therapy treatment where the cells aren’t damaged – it’s awesome.
Now there are also LED diodes. Even NASA is studying LED diode energies, frequencies, and how the cells biologically respond to them. With LED diodes, the light is broader than the light emitted from a laser, and it isn’t too concentrated to cause cell damage, if left on too long. The body sends out the energy from the LED diode to neighboring tissues, so the risk of cell damage has been eliminated.
Now that we have the ground work laid out for how light interacts with our bodies, we can go into near infrared therapy. Why near infrared sauna therapy? A near infrared sauna just uses heat lamp bulbs. Some people have 250 watt red heat lamp bulbs in their bathroom ceiling heat fixture. You can go to a food buffet and the red heat lamps are keeping the food warm. So what is special about these bulbs? They emit 550-3400 nanometers of near infrared light, and most of those frequencies are between about 700-1100 on the graph. It goes up sharply, curves, and goes down. The neat thing about near infrared is I could shine near infrared on my hand, and if my foot is injured, my body will send that energy through my meridian system down to my foot. The cells biologically respond to the light and it doesn’t over concentrate in one tissue, so you won’t get cell damage. Near infrared sauna therapy is awesome! If you take a Gauss meter and measure the electromagnetic frequencies of my Sauna Fix®, within 2” of the heat lamp bulb, it measures about 2 milligauss. This is unlike my old far infrared sauna that was pegged at 100 on every single heater and control panel.
Most of Today's Saunas are Bombarding You with Frequencies
Let’s first do no harm in trying to help our body function optimally. That’s one benefit near infrared has. Then why wouldn’t someone want a Dr. Mercola patented sauna, that’s got near, mid and far infrared frequencies, and doesn’t produce harmful levels of EMF? If cost isn’t a factor for you, what would be a reason not to go with his sauna? It’s because of the benefit of blood shunting exclusive to the near infrared sauna. Most of the saunas are bombarding you with frequencies from all angles and heating you up everywhere.
With near infrared sauna therapy, you sit or lay down, and hang the sauna light panel so it shines on one side of your body at a time. When you sit on a stool, stand up, or lay down, you optimally position your body about 18-24 inches away from these bulbs. Your body starts responding to the heat lamps shining on that side of your body and shunts all the available blood towards the light. This action really benefits the body and activates the function of the skin, your largest elimination organ in the body. Most people’s skin doesn’t function optimally and can’t eliminate as many toxins as the body produces. So with near infrared sauna therapy, the body begins engorging the tissues closer to the surface, which really vasculates the skin and allows water to escape from the blood stream to create sweat.
Initially when I first took a near infrared sauna, even though the ambient air temperature was lower, I began sweating on just one side of my body. When that happens, it is best to wipe down with a towel to keep the body from cooling down, and then rotate in the opposite direction. Then the side of your body that isn’t engorged with blood begins responding to the heat stress of the heat lamps. So guess what happens? Your body starts shunting blood towards the lights again, but on the opposite side of your body, creating a tremendous circulation effect.
I don’t have a medical study to tell you that the circulation effect with near infrared therapy is ten times better, but people with really under-active adrenal and thyroid glands (we call them slow oxidizers) can normally take 45 minutes to sweat in a far infrared sauna, yet sweat within 20 minutes in a near infrared sauna. It’s because the body biologically responds to the light in a different way without having too hot of ambient air temperature, or without heaters pointed at all sides of the body at the same time. Near infrared sauna therapy isn’t just heating up your water molecules like far infrared. It is heating up your cells and tissues with energy that the body transmits around to different parts of your body, and gives you better circulation and heat stress, all at the same time. I’m a true convert from far infrared sauna therapy to near infrared therapy and I can feel the difference. Near infrared sauna therapy is phenomenal!
Consequently, I’ve developed the Sauna Fix®. It is the only UL approved near infrared sauna in the United States. The fixture was sent to Underwriters Laboratory, where they rigorously tested it and approved the design. Since the original listing of the fixture, I maintain the annual licensing fee and inspection fees. Underwriter Laboratory inspectors are in the factory while the Sauna Fix® is manufactured to verify design construction and component assembly, ensuring the highest quality unit.
Originally, I hung the Sauna Fix® over the back of a door in a small bathroom to take my sauna sessions. Then I tried hanging my Sauna Fix® over the shower head and sitting inside my shower enclosure, which did increase my sweating. However, I found that shower’s typically out-gas chemicals which isn’t healthy either, so I needed to come up with an affordable enclosure for taking near infrared sauna sessions. Eighty percent of people tested have a low body temperature and, like me, would most likely not sweat enough in the typical near infrared sauna. My second thought was that light travels at the speed of light and I was wondering how I could keep all those healing frequencies in the sauna enclosure. So, after some thought and trying different materials, I found a way to make a portable tent with radiant materials to 1) eliminate the need to preheat the enclosure, 2) keep all the healing photo-therapy light inside the enclosure, and 3) to maximize sweating. The Sauna Fix® tent does eliminate preheating, maximize photo therapy, and causes sweating much faster than other enclosures, as evidenced by the many product reviews. All the other near infrared saunas on the market today have to be preheated and consume more electricity than the Sauna Fix® system. I even have clients who have made their own saunas, and used a canvas enclosure, but they didn’t sweat enough and have upgraded to the Sauna Fix® radiant tent with great success. Many people who need to stay in a sauna for 45 minutes, sweat in 15 minutes with the Sauna Fix® system.
All along, I wanted an affordable sauna that was portable with near infrared therapy. I’ve had friends with cancer and family members with health problems. When people are ill, they generally can’t afford to do the things that they really need to do for themselves. I was building saunas, putting them in friends’ homes and just giving them away. I wanted something that was portable because I know missionaries that travel a lot, are under a lot of stress and need sauna therapy.
I have a lot of dreams and see little snapshot pictures of the health products that I’ve developed. I have found good therapies and developed better features that can be integrated into our everyday lives. The bottom line is if a gizmo or gadget isn’t easy to use and affordable, people are not going to integrate the therapy into their lives, even if it’s good for them. I saw a picture of the Sauna Fix® in my mind and I started rigorously testing all kinds of materials before I came up with the right combination that wouldn’t out-gas and didn’t have any toxic metals in it. Then I came up with the radiant portable sauna tent that can easily be assembled and used anywhere. In 10 minutes, you can take the components out of the tent travel bag and sauna travel bag, assemble it, take off your clothes, and sit on the stool inside that tent. I have clients in New York, who live in really small apartments, and every single day they take the tent down when they’re done, and set it back up the next day. It enables people to be able to use this therapy anywhere. I have people with waterfalls in their backyard and an outdoor porch, so they take their saunas outside. I have people with RVs, who literally just set their sauna outside and take a sauna. It’s awesome.
Besides using the best near infrared sauna therapy, I want to get the ion component back into the sauna session. When I was flying back from Arizona, I was kind of in a dreamy state. I saw all these people coughing and hacking on the airplane, and I looked down and saw this little device on my tray table. I immediately got a hold of my engineers and said – we’ve got to come up with the most portable, powerful, plasma ion generator that can run on any voltage in the world! My big plasma generator, the RE-ION, turned into the Breathe Safe®, a really small portable ion generator that produces 23,500,000 ions per cubic centimeter. It’s a blend of mostly negative ions – 19,100,000 negative ions and 4,400,000 positive ions, to create an unstable invisible electron cloud that breaks down contaminates and leaves large amounts of negative ions to be inhaled and absorbed into our bodies.
Most people are familiar with ionizers. Negative ions grab hold of particulates and throw them down to the floor, but those ions are consumed in that process. The Los Angeles Airport has giant plasma machines in the concourses that actually eliminate the jet fumes. So, comparing an ion generator to a plasma generator is like comparing the 20th century to the 21st century. Pretty soon people won’t have ion generators; they’ll have plasma generators, because the small ratio of positive ions to the large amount of negative ions creates an amazing electron exchange. Plasma is an invisible cloud of electrons that repeatedly rob hydrogen molecules off of the protein surface of bacteria and other pathogens. You never have to worry about pathogens mutating and becoming resistant to plasma air purification.
So, back to adding negative ions into your sauna sessions and why it is so important. There’s a sauna study showing that if you inhale at least 20,000 ions per cubic centimeter, your sweat volume will double and your rectal temperature will not go down in response to heat stress. The rectal temperature will actually continue to rise when you are out of the sauna, as well. You’d think if you were almost twice as hot, you’d be uncomfortable. But heck no, the people in the study felt great and invigorated! The scientists said it’s because they were inhaling ions. So I recommend everyone use the Breathe Safe® during their far or near infrared sauna session and inhale nearly three times the amount of negative ions, as was done in the European sauna study. The Breathe Safe® can be plugged into an external battery pack that you might already have for your laptop or other electrical devices. It can plug into your cigarette lighter, your USB, American voltage outlet, or a European 240 Volt outlet, so you can use the Breathe Safe® anywhere in the world! I’ve taken it through TSA and used in on airplanes. I was at my cousin’s house and the basement had mold, which I could immediately feel in my respiratory system. I laid the Breathe Safe® on its side next to me on my pillow, inhaled ions all night, and didn’t have any reactions from the mold.
It’s called the Breathe Safe. If you’re breathing…. take it with you! The University of Arizona says your desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Lab tests show the Breathe Safe® gets rid of 46.1% of bacteria, 99.68% of particulates, 86.4% of volatile organic compounds, all the formaldehydes, the benzenes, and everything else from the carpet, chairs, paint, and so on. This little device is absolutely amazing.
Read reviews from some of the people who have the Breathe Safe® and what it’s done for them. I’d love to have some venture capital money to do a 510(k) registration. I’d like to test how this does for asthmatics and people with bronchial attacks. Is it going to reduce the need for inhalers or medication? We know that this particular blend of ions causes the lungs to be able to extract more oxygen.
The Breathe Safe® is brand new, has a worldwide patent pending on it, and the trademark has been officially registered. I’m hoping to take the near infrared sauna bundle with the Breathe Safe® to big box retailers to spread the healing power of near infrared sauna, photo therapy, and ion therapy to as many people as possible. If you compare the prices that I have, they’re very inexpensive and are just barely over cost. The reason is I’d rather pray for someone and have them instantaneously healed, than having them be a slave to therapies, diets and supplements. I’m trying to make sauna and ion therapy as affordable as I can for people. If big box retailers were to make this Sauna Fix® system available, more people could be made aware of the photo therapy benefits, doing no harm, and adding in negative ions. Using economies of scale, we could manufacture more units and further reduce prices so more people could afford these wonderful devices.
My heart is to come up with the things that not only protect us from absorbing more toxins, but encourage our bodies to eliminate the toxins we do have. I recommend hair analysis instead of chelating toxins and good minerals out of the body, because in Nutritional Balancing Science we can fix the biochemical reasons why the body will use heavy metals as junkyard parts. Hair analysis, near infrared sauna therapy, ion therapy, drinking ozonated water, skin brushing, coffee enemas, and eating a more yang diet, all come into play for a shotgun approach to optimize health.
My website is Go Healthy Next because I’ve tried everything else. I’ve been sick my whole life and finally came across nutritional balancing science, which utilizes hair analysis and a variety of detoxification procedures to re-mineralize the body and reverse biological aging. At age 54, after 5+ years on the program, I feel better than I did when I was in my 20’s. I’ve had many health issues that have been resolved by detoxifying and restoring mineral levels, and now I just want to educate as many people as possible. You can go to my YouTube channel, Eileen Durfee, for lots of different videos. There are audio files on the website, including Rense Radio archives, that you can listen to as well.