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Infrared Sauna Benefits For Individuals With Chronic Heart Failure

Clinical Data Reveals Astonishing Benefits For Patients Living With CHF 

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Chronic Heart Failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in America, and yet recent clinical studies demonstrate that with some lifestyle adjustments, including regular broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy sessions, this number could be greatly reduced (1). For individuals living with prohibitive symptoms from this condition, infrared sauna therapy may be an effortless and relaxing means to demonstrate astounding results on the quality and longevity of life.

Habitually, the thought of any heat therapy, from hot tubs to saunas seems almost synonymous with a contraindication for individuals living with heart conditions, yet the advent of extensive research into the fields of near, mid, and far infrared light in relationship to heart health, suggests quite the opposite.

As with beginning any new health program, it is always best to consult with a medical physician, if you or someone close to you, lives with any heart condition. Understanding the relationship between heart health and infrared light creates groundbreaking possibilities for a very positive future for individuals living with chronic heart failure.

Creating positive changes to the circulatory system, reducing blood pressure, and allowing the autonomic nervous system to find homeostasis while reducing stress, are just some of the cascade of health benefits afforded individuals who partake in regular broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy. These benefits ultimately impact the health of the heart in unforeseen ways!

What Is Chronic Heart Failure?: Beyond The Vernacular

Chronic heart failure, despite the label, does not mean that the heart has stopped working, but rather that it functions less efficiently. Over time this chronic condition can become lethal. There are varying causes for heart failure, and the spectrum of expression is broad, with most diagnoses being symptom-based (2).

Chronic heart failure, as it is commonly referred to, has been clinically named Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). This progressive condition deteriorates the ‘pumping’ mechanism of the heart as fluid begins to build up around the heart causing an inefficient distribution of blood throughout the body (2).

The onset of CHF can take many years to express fully. It may begin simply as hypertension (high blood pressure) and progress rapidly or slowly over the years if lifestyle measures are not taken to ensure the health of the heart and circulatory system.

The heart as an organ is divided into four primary sections: The upper portion of the heart has two atria, while the lower section has two ventricles. The ventricles are responsible for pumping blood to the body’s tissues, organs, and far extremities while the atria act as the receivers of blood from the body into the heart as it circulates back into the heart. Every hour, the heart pumps 280 liters of blood throughout the circulatory system and therefore life itself depends on the efficient functioning of the atria and ventricles (3).

CHF develops when the ventricles, in the lower half of the heart, cannot pump enough blood out to the rest of the body. This causes blood and other fluids to back up into the heart. Essentially, one can imagine that when the ventricles are not pumping efficiently the heart becomes blocked, like a great lake, eventually if the dam is not lifted, flooding will occur on the dry lands.

The treatment of Congestive Heart Failure then becomes a matter of ensuring the proper high function of the ventricles to overt blockage from blood leaving the heart to the rest of the body.

Clinical research suggests that lifestyle changes that are inclusive to models of heat therapy may help to reduce the acceleration of the progressive disorder of ‘chronic heart failure’, by improving the natural flow of circulation through the body, relaxing the central nervous system, and increasing vasodilation (widening of blood cells). Scientific data is now reflecting that the specific exposure to broad-spectrum infrared light therapy may positively impact the lives of those who suffer with CHF (3).

Congestive heart failure affects a wide spectrum of the demographic, and because of the degenerative quality of the disorder, it can be a frightening diagnosis to receive. Gratefully, there are accessible lifestyle changes that can have an immediate and significant impact on patients with this condition.

Who is affected by Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart Failure affects individuals of all ages and genders, with nearly 5 million Americans living with the condition today. The percentage of individuals living with CHF increases significantly after the age of 60, and on average 550,000 new cases are diagnosed in the US each year. Unfortunately, this degenerative condition is fatal, and nearly half of all diagnosed cases lose their life within the first five years. The rate of sudden death among individuals living with CHF is exponentially increased compared to those living free of this condition (4).

According to the New York Heart Association, medical physicians typically classify the progressive condition of CHF based on symptom expression, the early stages express little to no symptoms, but as the condition progresses patients may be short of breath even as they rest (5).

In short, CHF is a serious condition that requires immediate attention and action in order to maintain the health of the heart and overall all wellbeing. Fortunately, lifestyle is a major component in treating heart conditions from hypertension all the way through the late stages of CHF.

According to the University of California San Francisco Health Journal, individuals living with this condition now have significant options available to make necessary daily changes in habit to reverse some of, if not all damage done to the heart through excessive congestion in the lower chambers.

“Although heart failure is a serious condition that progressively gets worse over time, certain cases can be reversed with treatment. Even when the heart muscle is impaired, there are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms and stop or slow the gradual worsening of the condition.” (6)

Infrared Sauna Benefits For Individuals With Chronic Heart Failure

infrared sauna chronic heart failure

Treatment options vary significantly depending on the stage of development and cause of CHF, ranging from, lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. The goal of any treatment plan is to:

  • Relieve Symptoms
  • Improve Quality Of Life
  • Reduce Rates Of Hospitalization
  • Increase Longevity

If you or someone you love is suffering from CHF, you will need to establish a treatment plan with your medical physician based on the specific factors involved with individual cases. You and your doctor will determine whether surgery or medication is necessary.

With respect to lifestyle changes, the goal with making these daily adjustments is to improve the health of the heart by means of the following subsidiary goals:

  • Stabilize Weight
  • Improve Circulation
  • Increase Oxygenation Of The Blood Stream
  • Moderate Exercise
  • Stress Reduction
  • Detoxification Of The Body (From Harmful substances, pathogens, and metals)

To achieve these goals there are many options available to individuals. Some changes in lifestyle are prohibitive to individuals living with CHF, however recent studies demonstrate conclusive evidence that exposure to infrared light therapy within the chamber of a sauna can render the achievement of the above stated goals possible (4).

Infrared Sauna Benefits For Individuals With Chronic Heart Failure

Daily stress reduction has a resounding and positive impact on the health of the heart. The stability of the central nervous system directly impacts the health of the heart.

The autonomic nervous system can be divided into two distinct states of being: Sympathetic dominance, associated with survival and stress response, increased blood pressure, while releasing a variety of ‘stress’ hormones from the endocrine system. Ideally, stress response is an adaptive mechanism that ensures the survival of the species. When our ancestors were faced with a very real threat to life, the entire body was harnessed into states of stress response to fight or flee the situation. Once safety from the external threat was found the autonomic nervous system would naturally flow back into parasympathetic dominance where growth, cellular rejuvenation, and nourishment could occur.

A significant causative contributing factor in the development of CHF is the body’s inability to successfully achieve homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system. When individuals find themselves in states of survival more often than not through modern living, an enormous amount of stress is placed on the heart. Ultimately, blood pressure is increased and patients can become progressively ill with chronic heart failure (7).

So, what can be done to foster the health of the autonomic nervous system and ensure that individuals can drop back into states of intentional relaxation where heart rate can resume a healthy cadence?

From breathing exercises to meditation, the holistic field of health care is ripe with opportunity. If, however, time is limited, and patients suffering from CHF are looking for ways to reduce stress quickly and effectively without learning the ways of the yogi or the monk, then regular infrared sauna therapy is a powerful option to explore.

Unlike other modalities of heat therapy such as steam rooms, traditional saunas, and hot springs, which can be prohibitive to individuals suffering with heart issues, infrared saunas do not rely on a high external temperature to produce positive results.

As the body relaxes under the rays of the infrared spectrum the autonomic nervous system effortlessly retracts away from stress response back into states of regeneration and nourishment. When the body is relaxed, the health benefits to the heart are exceptional: Broadening the entryways of blood flowing in and out of the heart and therefore healing congestion in the lower chambers of the heart, known as the ventricles.

Relaxation is not a luxury for individuals living with CHF, but rather an imperative means to heal the heart. Regular exposure to broad-spectrum infrared light reduces the expression of symptoms, and maintains the life expectancy for patients living with CHF.

Broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy is a safe and effective means to reduce stress, and not only does the autonomic nervous system benefit, but all portions of cardiac and circulatory health are enhanced with regular sessions!

Infrared Sauna Benefits For Individuals With Chronic Heart Failure

doctor recommends infrared sauna

The elephant in the room – Typical contraindication surrounding any model of heat therapy suggests that individuals suffering with heart conditions should consult a medical professional before partaking in the activity. It may seem surprising that recent studies suggest that regular exposure to broad-spectrum infrared light will actually assist in symptom reduction for individuals living with CHF.

Dr. Richard Beever from the Canadian College Of Family Physicians Official Publication has written extensively on the health benefits afforded patients living with CHF with regular infrared sauna therapy.

The publication by Dr. Beever tells of several case studies performed on subjects living with CHF. The results are considered to be clinically relevant.

As performed by the New York Heart Association (NYHA), 30 subjects living with CHF were divided into two separate groups. The control group took 10-15 minute far infrared saunas over a two-week period. In contrast, the other group was asked to simply ‘relax’ for the same duration and episodic frequency as the first group.

The results from this study were astounding. The control group partaking in regular infrared sauna therapy demonstrated symptom reduction, as well as measurable lab results suggesting a significant decrease in the blockage of the lower chamber of the heart space. In greater detail, Dr. Richard Beever tells of the results of this study:

“The authors concluded that FIRS (*far infrared sauna) treatment improved cardiac function and clinical symptoms in those with CHF and that this improvement was the result of improved vascular endothelial function. Further, before study entry all subjects were in stable clinical condition for at least 1 month, medications had not been changed for at least 2 weeks, and adverse events were defined (dyspnea, angina pectoris, palpitations, hypotension, or dehydration). (8)

Several other studies have also demonstrated clinically relevant results for individuals living with Level I and II CHF and the reduction of their symptom demonstration.

(Please note, that these studies were not conducted on individuals living with the later stages of the condition.)

Why does regular infrared sauna therapy have such a profound effect on individuals living with CHF?

To answer this question it requires taking a look at the frequency of the light emitted by the wavelengths of near, mid, and far infrared light and the effect that exposure has on the cellular health of the body. The infrared light frequency is just beyond the visible color red on the spectrum of light waves, and before the ‘microwave’ wavelengths of light. Although invisible to the eye, the near, mid, and far infrared light is experienced as heat.

The healing benefits of intentional exposure to the infrared light spectrum lies primarily in the relationship between the mitochondria (essentially an energy plant contained within each cell), and the penetrative rays of infrared light beyond the soft tissue of the body. As the body is exposed to the infrared light spectrum, the mitochondria becomes excited by the frequency of these wavelengths. As this occurs the mitochondria begin producing greater amounts of nitric acid, which is released into the bloodstream and converted to oxygen. The result of the increased mitochondrial activity is higher levels of oxygen in the blood, as well as an increase in positive circulation throughout the entire body, including both the upper and lower chambers of the heart.

By oxygenating the blood stream, and increasing the internal temperature of the body, nutrient rich blood flows inward to the vital organs, including the heart. Steeped in rich and rapid moving blood, the ventricle pathways of the heart release congestion, and ultimately for individuals suffering with the earlier stages of CHF, will find great symptom relief (8).

The warm glow of infrared light bathes the body as individuals rest encased in a cabin like chamber, where the wavelengths are captivated. Naturally occurring within the sun’s rays, infrared light surrounds us always, but the intensity afforded by the sauna structure, coupled with the absence of potentially harmful UV rays, creates a perfect concoction of health benefits for individuals living with CHF.

So, why does regular infrared sauna therapy have such a profound effect on individuals living with CHF?

Regular broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy (10-15 minutes/3 Times Per Week) may help individuals achieve and maintain an ideal weight, detoxify the body from harmful substances, improve heart rate variability and reduce stress.

Individuals living CHF, in addition to the recommendation of their medical practitioner, will need to make some lifestyle changes that will accommodate the following goals:

  • Stabilize Weight
  • Improve Circulation
  • Increase Oxygenation Of The Blood Stream
  • Moderate Exercise
  • Stress Reduction
  • Detoxification Of The Body (From Harmful substances, pathogens, and metals

As demonstrated through extensive clinical research, regular infrared sauna use will allow individuals to effortlessly achieve those objectives listed above.

Living with CHF can render certain exercise options prohibitive, conversely the high temperatures of the traditional sauna and steam rooms can also be restricted from this same group of patients. Infrared sauna therapy provides similar cardiovascular benefits for individuals as a brisk jog, as well as the same detoxification protocol available through high temperature traditional saunas.

Broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy supports the health and longevity of individuals living with CHF, without any of the prohibitive factors found from exercise and high temperature heat therapy.

Broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy is both an effective and safe means of improving heart health, actualizing ideal weight, reducing stress, and increasing cardiovascular activity for those living with CHF.


CHF is a serious and progressive illness. Please be mindful that the rate of sudden death is much higher in this demographic, therefore proceeding with any new treatment measures must be done with great care. While clinical data suggests that broad-spectrum infrared sauna therapy can be advantageous for individuals living with CHF, it is always important to check in with your medical professional ensuring that the disease has not progressed to a stage that would prohibit infrared sauna bathing.



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