Combatting Depression with Clearlight Saunas and CBT – A New Study

June 16, 2024
New Clearlight Curve Dome Sauna

A New Hope

Depression affects millions of people worldwide, and finding effective treatments can be challenging. Traditional methods often have limitations, prompting researchers to explore new, innovative approaches. One such promising combination is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Whole-Body Hyperthermia (WBH) using infrared sauna technology- specifically the Clearlight Curve Dome Sauna. Let’s dive into the fascinating results of a recent study that explored this integrated treatment for depression.

What is the Study About?

The study aimed to see if combining CBT with WBH, specifically using infrared saunas, could be a feasible and effective treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The researchers wanted to know if this combination would be practical for patients to complete and if it would significantly improve their depression symptoms.

How Was the Study Conducted?

Sixteen adults diagnosed with MDD participated in the study. They received eight weekly CBT sessions. Initially, they were also scheduled for eight weekly infrared sessions, but this was later changed to four bi-weekly sessions to make it easier for participants to manage.

Key Findings

Improvement in Depression Symptoms:

  • On average, participants showed a significant reduction in their depression symptoms, with scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) dropping by 15.8 points.
  • Remarkably, 91.7% of those who completed the study no longer met the criteria for being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

Mood and Cognitive Benefits:

  • Participants experienced significant improvements in negative automatic thinking, a key focus of CBT.
  • The mood boost from the first sauna session was a strong predictor of overall treatment success, suggesting that feeling better quickly can set the stage for lasting improvement.

Why Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas, like those from Clearlight Saunas, are becoming increasingly popular for their numerous health benefits, including their potential to improve mental health. Unlike traditional saunas that heat the air around you, infrared saunas use infrared light to directly heat your body. This method of heating penetrates deeper into the skin, providing a more intense and beneficial experience.

How Infrared Saunas Work

Infrared saunas utilize infrared light waves to create heat. These waves penetrate the skin and raise the body’s core temperature, inducing a deep sweat. This process helps to detoxify the body by flushing out toxins through sweat. The deep-penetrating heat also promotes better circulation, which can improve oxygen flow to muscles and tissues, aiding in healing and recovery.

Mood-Boosting Benefits

The use of infrared saunas has roots in traditional practices like sweat lodges and hot yoga, which have long been associated with improved mood and well-being. The heat from the sauna stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Regular use of infrared saunas can lead to improved relaxation, better sleep, and an overall sense of well-being.

Scientific Support for Infrared Sauna in Treating Depression

Studies have shown that raising the body’s core temperature through methods like WBH can have a positive effect on mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. This is because heat exposure can help regulate the body’s stress response, reduce inflammation, and improve neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize itself. These physiological changes can contribute to better mental health and reduced symptoms of depression.

Targeting Thermoregulatory Processes

Infrared sauna therapy targets the body’s thermoregulatory processes, which are often dysregulated in individuals with depression. People with depression often have higher core body temperatures and altered responses to heat. By using infrared sauna therapy to gently raise and then allow the body to cool down, these processes can become more balanced, potentially leading to improvements in mood and depressive symptoms.

Accessibility and Convenience

Clearlight Saunas offer a convenient way to incorporate WBH into a regular wellness routine. These saunas are designed for home use, making it easier for individuals to regularly engage in this therapeutic practice without needing to visit a spa or wellness center. This accessibility is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules or those who prefer the privacy of their own home.

Incorporating infrared sauna therapy into your routine could be a game-changer for your mental health. The combination of physical relaxation, detoxification, and mood enhancement makes it a holistic approach to well-being. With ongoing research supporting its benefits, infrared sauna therapy is an exciting and promising tool in the fight against depression.


Combining infrared sauna therapy with CBT appears to be a promising new approach to treating depression. This integrated method not only proved to be feasible and acceptable but also led to significant improvements in depression symptoms for most participants. As a natural, non-pharmacologic treatment option, it offers hope for those looking for alternatives to traditional antidepressant medications.

Final Thoughts

If you’re exploring new ways to manage depression, consider the potential benefits of infrared sauna therapy combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. The results of this study are encouraging and suggest that this combination could offer a new path to better mental health. With technologies like Clearlight Saunas, we’re seeing how innovative approaches can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Mason, A. E., Chowdhary, A., Hartogensis, W., Siwik, C. J., Lupesko-Persky, O., Pandya, L. S., … Hecht, F. M. (2024). Feasibility and acceptability of an integrated mind-body intervention for depression: whole-body hyperthermia (WBH) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). International Journal of Hyperthermia, 41(1).

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