Sweat It Out: The Surprising Immune-Boosting Benefits of Infrared Saunas

Can an infrared sauna boost your immune system to help ward off viruses, prevent viral infections, and treat  cancer?

You might be thinking, “Come on, can sitting in a sauna really make that much of a difference?”

Well, let me tell you this: your immune system is a warrior, constantly fighting battles within your body. And just like any soldier, it needs the right tools to win.

An infrared sauna might be that missing piece of the puzzle, arming your immune system with the strength it needs to defend your body against viruses and chronic ailments.

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👉 See more proven benefits of infrared light therapy

infrared sauna for immune system

Key Takeaways

  • Infrared saunas offer promising benefits in strengthening the immune system. By raising core body temperature, they create a less favorable environment for viruses to thrive, enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms.
  • Regular use of infrared saunas activates heat shock proteins, helping with cellular defense mechanisms against stress and infections. These proteins play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and inhibiting virus replication.
  • Infrared sauna sessions create a rise in white blood cell production, enhancing the body’s ability to fight infections. This increase, coupled with improved blood flow and oxygenation, contributes to a stronger immune response.
  • Infrared sauna therapy helps maintain healthy cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress-induced immune suppression. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress over time, you can improve overall immune function.
  • Sweating through infrared saunas helps with detoxification and eliminating toxins from the body. This detoxification process strengthens the body’s resistance to pathogens, contributing to improved immune health.

How Does an Infrared Sauna Affect Your Immune System?

What does the body do when it confronts a virus?

You get a fever.

(👉 Related: the most accurate infrared forehead thermometers)

Your body raises its core temperature to 100.9°F (38.3°C) or higher, which results in 2 protective and healing effects:

1.  A less suitable environment for destructive viruses.

2.  An optimal environment for your immune system.

Any virus can only cause a viral infection if your immune system allows it.

That’s why it’s far better to bulletproof your immune system so that you reduce the chance of getting sick in the first place. This is where infrared sauna treatments can help – more than you can imagine.

Here are the infrared sauna immune system benefits:

1. Infrared Sauna Raises Core Body Temperature

infrared sauna for cold and flu viruses

When you have an infection, your immune system induces fever to stimulate immune function and make the body less suitable for pathogens. So does an infrared sauna. It is scientifically proven that fever decreases the replication rate of viruses and increases their vulnerability to the immune system.

Did you know?

The use of antipyretic drugs to reduce fever correlates with a 5% increase in mortality in human populations infected with the Influenza virus and negatively affects patients’ outcomes in the intensive care unit.

(All studies listed at the end of the post for your reference)

How can an infrared sauna help?

Daily infrared sauna treatments can raise your core body temperature to approximately 102 F (39 degrees Celsius).

While this is not high enough to destroy all viruses in your body, it definitely makes your body a less comfortable environment for the viruses to replicate and thrive.

👉 RELATED: The 4 Best 2-Person Home Infrared Saunas

2. Infrared Sauna Activates Heat Shock Proteins

Heat shock proteins play an important role in responding to high temperatures, and are used by your cells as a defense mechanism.

Using an infrared sauna regularly “exercises” the cell’s heat shock protein production, which makes it more robust and resistant to damage and stress.

The process is called “hormesis” – a small amount of stress (in this case heat stress and oxidative stress), which triggers the production of short-term heat shock proteins.

Also, Heat shock proteins are proven to mediate protection against infectious diseases, by raising anti-inflammatory components in the blood and reducing virus replication inside the tissues.

🙋‍♀️ Warning: You can’t use an infrared sauna if you already have a fever!

3. FIR Therapy Increases White Blood Cells Production 

When the body’s core temperature rises, the bone marrow produces a higher number of white blood cells and the thymus produces more T-cells.

The heat also expands your blood vessels, which increases blood flow and oxygenation, and helps deliver these virus-destroying white blood cells anywhere they need to go.

What does it mean?

This means that your body is better able to fight off any potential infections, giving your whole immune system a boost.

Studies have shown that people who frequently sauna bathe are more than 65% less likely to catch a cold or influenza.

So, even if you have already been exposed to a virus (such as the flu virus) – you may not experience extreme symptoms and heal much faster.

👉 RELATED: the 9 incredible infrared sauna benefits – 9 success stories

4. Infrared Sauna Reduces Stress 

You probably already know that high levels of stress (which we all suffer from, simply by watching the news these days) can suppress the immune response.


Because stress causes cortisol production, and this suppresses the immune system.

It’s simple when you think about it:

When you are stressed, your body believes it is in immediate danger (like a bear attack) and immediately initiates the fight or flight response.

This results in increased muscle function (so you can run away or fight) and decreased function of anything that is not needed for immediate survival.

Constant stress keeps your body in a constant state of suppressed immunity.

How can an infrared sauna help?

Scientific evidence shows that infrared sauna therapy helps the body maintain healthy cortisol levels.

While cortisol levels stay the same or rise slightly during a sauna therapy session, they drop immediately afterward.

Using your FIR sauna treatment time to practice mindful meditation can also help with mental stress reduction.

Alone time is maximized with a sauna therapy session, allowing you to reflect and move on from the stressors of the day.

And the best news?

Science has shown that regular sauna bathing helps the body adapt to stress over time, so you are less likely to suffer from the physical results of ongoing stress.

5. Infrared Sauna Removes Toxin Overload 

As the body becomes more detoxified through regular Far Infrared Sauna Therapy, the body’s resistance to common colds, flu bugs, allergens, and viruses is dramatically improved.

The infrared rays, experienced as heat, help you sweat rigorously, usually within 15 minutes.

Sweat carries out toxins through your skin.

As we decrease the amount of our toxic load, accumulated over the years, our bodies are more empowered to heal themselves, which is exactly what we need to fight off viruses, or any other bacteria.

The Best Infrared Saunas to Use at Home

infrared sauna virus and bacteria

Buying an infrared sauna that you can use 24/7 at home (preferably at least 4-5 times a week) is one of the best long-term investments you can make for your and your family’s health.

(With no knowing how long supplies will last these days, I would hurry and make a decision now)

There are 2 great choices you can choose from:

1. Wooden home infrared sauna (for 2 people or more)

2. Portable infrared sauna (for 1 person)

Which one should you use?

It depends on your budget and your preferences.

If you live alone or just with a partner, a portable infrared sauna will be enough for you.

This is our #1 recommendation for 2024 (high quality and lowest EMF):

portable infrared sauna coronavirus preparedness
Durherm low EMF portable sauna – view on Amazon

A wooden home FIR sauna is larger and can accommodate 2-4 people, depending on its size, which can all be treated at the same time. Of course, it is more expensive.

Here’s our top recommendation (best value for the price) in 2024:

dynamic santiago far infrared low emf sauna
Dynamic Santiago 2 person FIR sauna – we found the view on Wayfair


A weak immune system prevents your body from fighting infection and disease. It’s the reason that some people seemingly catch every illness going around, while others are never or rarely affected.

other factors that can influence your immune system include emotional stress, lack of sleep, chemical exposure, overworking your body, and dietary habits.

By creating an induced or artificial fever, infrared saunas can reproduce the natural healing responses our bodies use to keep us healthy.

Regular infrared sauna regimens will help you defend yourself against viruses, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and everything else.

Remember, an infrared sauna or any thermal therapy can not be used if you already have a fever.

So check your body temperature before you start any treatment, and make sure to stay hydrated before and after each session.

To your health and happiness,



Evans, Sharon S et al. “Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat.” Nature reviews. Immunology vol. 15,6 (2015): 335-49. doi:10.1038/nri3843

Front. Microbiol, Short-Term Heat Shock Affects Host–Virus Interaction in Mice Infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus H5N1

Neil M. H. Graham, et al., Adverse Effects of Aspirin, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen on Immune Function, Viral Shedding, and Clinical Status in Rhinovirus-Infected Volunteers, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 162, Issue 6, December 1990, Pages 1277–1282, https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/162.6.1277

E. Ernst, E. Pecho, P. Wirz & T. Saradeth (1990) Regular Sauna Bathing and the Incidence of Common Colds, Annals of Medicine, 22:4, 225-227, DOI: 10.3109/07853899009148930

Pilch W, Pokora I, Szyguła Z, et al. Effect of a single Finnish sauna session on white blood cell profile and cortisol levels in athletes and non-athletes. J Hum Kinet. 2013;39:127–135. Published 2013 Dec 31. doi:10.2478/hukin-2013-0075


Meital James
Founder and CEO of 4 healthy living blogs, has a background in Naturopathic medicine, research, journalism, and nutrition. Her blogs are the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings.

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