Diabetes Patients Support Health Efforts with Infrared Sauna

November 15 world diabetes day logo November is already upon us! In just about a week and a half, we will recognize World Diabetes Day (November 14). This chronic condition is making the news (for all the wrong reasons) more and more every day. Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050.

Did you know that many people with diabetes or at risk for diabetes use infrared therapy to support their health?

Help with Chronic Pain, Fatigue and Depression

In a study published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dr. Richard Beever, professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia, found that infrared saunas help diabetics. Dr. Beever knew that data showed far-infrared sauna treatments improve the quality of life for those with chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and congestive heart failure. He went further to test his hypothesis that far-infrared saunas have a beneficial effect on quality of life in those with type II diabetes as well.

Dr. Beever invited patients with type II diabetes to participate in a study consisting of 20-minute infrared sauna sessions three times a week for three months. The study used Sunlighten infrared saunas.

“Far-infrared sauna use may be associated with improved quality of life in people with type II diabetes mellitus,” the research concluded. “Uptake of infrared saunas use is greater than the uptake of other lifestyle interventions.”

Dr. Beever later told an interviewer, “Generally, I would feel comfortable in recommending infrared saunas, but I am comfortable more particularly with Sunlighten, as I have done subsequent research examining the effects of their specific sauna and heating technology on quality of life, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, sugar levels and in those with type 2 diabetes (another publication is pending).”

Additional Research

In the April 2010 issue of Acta Medica Okayama, doctors from the Department of Physical Therapy at KIBI International University, in Takahashi, Okayama, Japan, studied the effect of infrared therapy on patients with type 2 diabetes. They examined the effect of leg hyperthermia on oxidative stress in bedridden subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus using 15-minute sessions of infrared rays over a two-week period. (Oxidative stress is a measurement of physiological stress.)

Results showed that markers for total oxidative stress levels “were decreased significantly.”

Some of the most far-reaching benefits of infrared therapy are for people who are pre-diabetic with a constellation of symptoms known as Syndrome X, which reflects a number of dysfunctions involving cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and obesity. These underlying conditions all indicate a person who is at high risk for developing diabetes, yet all respond remarkably well to infrared sauna therapy.

An October 2001 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology sought to determine whether sauna therapy improves endothelial (blood vessel) function in patients with coronary risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking. Researchers found that two weeks of sauna therapy significantly improved vasodilation, circulation and nourishment to all the tissues.

Color Therapy

Recently, studies have also suggested that color therapy – like that used in Sunlighten’s chromotherapy package – may be useful in the fight against diabetes. According to a study out of Zurich, Switzerland, burst of blue light may be helpful to trigger a genetic response to make more insulin.

The scientists in Switzerland believe they have developed a way of turning on individual genes with bursts of light. Blue light in particular sets of a chemical chain reaction in the bodies of test mice switches on the GLP-1 gene. The pancreas responds by making more insulin, the body’s cells are more insulin-sensitive and the diabetic person feels full.

While the genetic component of this study goes beyond the chromotherapy currently offered by Sunlighten as an accessory to your infrared sauna, it is extremely exciting to watch modern science begin to investigate popular and useful Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices. We are confident that the scientific community will continue to see substantial benefits from color therapy in a variety of areas.

It is important to note that infrared sauna is not a cure or treatment for diabetes but simply supports your body’s own efforts at maintaining healthy function. You can read more about the benefits of infrared sauna therapy on the Sunlighten website.


  1. Beever R. The effects of repeated thermal therapy on quality of life in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):677-81.
  2. Kawaura A, Tanida N, Kamitani M, et al. The effect of leg hyperthermia using far infrared rays in bedridden subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Acta Med Okayama. 2010 Apr;64(2):143-7.
  3. Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, et al. Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1083-8
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