Do Saunas Actually Help the Body Detoxify?

June 24, 2024
Using a Sauna for Detoxification

Saunas have been used for centuries across various cultures for their perceived health benefits. One of the most commonly touted advantages is their ability to detoxify the body. But do saunas actually help in detoxification, or is this just a myth? Let’s delve into the science and explore what the evidence says about saunas and detoxification.

Understanding Detoxification

Detoxification is the body’s natural process of removing toxins through organs like the liver, kidneys, and lungs. The skin, being the largest organ, also plays a role in detoxification through sweating. Toxins can come from various sources, including pollution, food, and personal care products.

How Saunas Work

Saunas, whether traditional or infrared, work by increasing the body’s temperature, which induces sweating. Traditional saunas use a heater with rocks to warm the air, which then warms your body, while infrared saunas use infrared light to directly heat your body without warming the air around you as much.

The Role of Sweating

Sweating is a natural process that helps regulate body temperature. When you sweat, your body releases water, salts, and small amounts of toxins like heavy metals, DDT and BPA (Bisphenol A). This has led to the belief that saunas can aid in detoxification by promoting sweat.

Infrared Saunas: A Deeper Dive

Infrared saunas use infrared light waves to penetrate the skin and heat the body directly. This method of heating offers several unique benefits:

  • Deeper Heat Penetration: Infrared light penetrates deeper into the skin compared to traditional sauna heat. This deeper penetration allows for more effective detoxification as it can reach tissues at a cellular level, promoting the release of toxins stored in fat cells.
  • Lower Temperature Comfort: Infrared saunas operate at lower temperatures (typically between 120°F and 150°F) compared to traditional saunas (which can reach up to 200°F). This makes them more comfortable for longer sessions, allowing for increased sweating and more extended detoxification periods.
  • Enhanced Circulation and Oxygenation: The heat from infrared saunas improves blood circulation and oxygen delivery to tissues. Enhanced circulation helps transport toxins to the skin’s surface for elimination through sweat.
  • Increased Sweating: Infrared saunas can induce sweating at a lower temperature, which can be more comfortable for users and may result in a prolonged detoxification process.

Scientific Evidence

Heavy Metals: Some studies suggest that sweating can help remove certain heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury from the body. A study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that sweating through regular sauna use could reduce the levels of these metals in the body.

BPA: Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastics, can also be excreted through sweat. The same study from the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that BPA levels in sweat were significantly higher than in blood or urine, indicating that sweating can help eliminate this toxin. BPA is unhealthy because it can mimic estrogen in the body, potentially leading to hormonal imbalances and health issues such as reproductive disorders, heart disease, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): A notable study found that 100% of participants had detectable levels of DDT, DDE, and DDD in their sweat. DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and its metabolites DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) and DDD (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane) are persistent organic pollutants that have long been banned in many countries due to their environmental and health impacts. The study indicated that sweating, such as that induced by sauna use, can help eliminate these harmful chemicals from the body, highlighting the potential of saunas in supporting detoxification efforts.

General Toxin Removal: Although our body has the liver and kidneys to handle detoxification, our systems are now burdened by far more toxins than our ancestors ever experienced. Modern life exposes us to a variety of pollutants, chemicals, and synthetic compounds through air, water, food, and consumer products. This increased toxic load makes it essential to actively incorporate detoxification methodologies such as sauna use to support and enhance our body’s natural detoxification processes.

Additional Benefits of Saunas

While the detoxification benefits of saunas are significant, there are several other well-documented health benefits, including:

  • Improved Circulation: The heat from saunas causes blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation and promoting cardiovascular health.
  • Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief: Saunas can help relax muscles and relieve pain from conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • Stress Reduction: The calming environment of a sauna can help reduce stress and promote mental well-being.
  • Enhanced Skin Health: Sweating can help cleanse the skin, unclog pores, and promote a healthy complexion.


Infrared saunas, with their deeper heat penetration and enhanced comfort, can be particularly effective for detoxification. They offer unique benefits that make them a valuable addition to a wellness routine focused on supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes.

As always, it’s essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your health regimen.

By incorporating saunas into a holistic approach to health and wellness, you can enjoy their benefits while supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes.

If you’re interested in incorporating a Clearlight Infrared sauna into your home, contact us for concierge help by emailing us at or calling 800-317-5070, available 7 days a week.


Hindawi Publishing Corporation, BioMed Research International, Volume 2016, Article ID 1624643, 10 pages. “Human Elimination of Organochlorine Pesticides: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study” by Stephen J. Genuis, Kevin Lane, and Detlef Birkholz. Available at:

Sears, M. E., Kerr, K. J., & Bray, R. I. (2012). Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, Article ID 184745.

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