Infrared Sauna for Cancer: Does it actually work?

People often go to saunas because these places can cause vigorous sweating and increased heart rate, which you can also get from modern exercise(1). Researchers have suggested that infrared saunas may also help with conditions like high blood pressure, dementia, headache, arthritis, and diabetes.

But there may also be a possibility that infrared saunas can help manage or treat cancer.

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, or someone you know has this disease, you may be curious whether infrared saunas can help treat your condition.

What does the research say about infrared saunas as a way to help treat cancer? What is the primary concern of cancer patients?

This article discusses how infrared saunas can help treat cancer among individuals with this disease and significant research backing up these claims.

This article also talks about the primary concern of individuals with cancer, which is managing their condition and getting better.

Infrared Saunas and Cancer: What Research Says

Researchers are looking into infrared saunas’ effectiveness in managing or possibly treating the symptoms and conditions of people with breast cancer(2). Because cancer cells are more sensitive to heat than normal cells, high temperature or hyperthermia may be effective in killing cancer cells.

Infrared saunas usually emit intense heat that may provide a high enough temperature to potentially kill cancer cells and help detoxify your body(3).

One of the many benefits of an infrared sauna is that it may help promote oxidative stress reduction(4). Oxidative stress is often associated with cancer and rare diseases like mesothelioma and its four stages(5).

Infrared saunas may help in the treatment of a person with cancer by managing blood oxygenation, improving cardiovascular fitness, and strengthening the immune system(6).

The use of alternative ways to deal with cancer, like infrared saunas, is worth exploring to help individuals manage their condition.

The National Cancer Institute recognizes the potential of infrared light, specifically near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, to kill cancer cells(7).

This therapy method uses a photoabsorbing chemical that combines with antibodies, forming a conjugate that attaches to cancer cells. When you apply near-infrared light, these cancer cells burst, causing their death.

This effect suggests a possibility that infrared saunas, like those using near-infrared wavelengths, may be effective in helping with cancer treatment.

Other benefits an infrared sauna can provide people with cancer include the following:

  • Improving blood oxygenation: As the heart rate rises, blood reaches your lungs faster, improving oxygenation in your blood(8). Studies showed that oxygenation in high enough doses could kill malignant cancer cells.

Researchers noted that when tumor cells are oxygen-starved, these cells are likely to have a survival advantage, causing cancer to spread(9).

This finding suggests that improving blood oxygenation may help prevent cancer proliferation and guide researchers in conducting extensive cancer treatment trials on humans.

  • Relieving pain: When your body experiences distress, your central nervous system triggers feelings of pain or general discomfort. It’s your body’s way of saying that there’s a problem, and you must prioritize that issue.

You can also experience sustained pain after cancer treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy(10).

Infrared therapy may help cancer patients enhance their pain response by removing the toxins irritating the tissues and causing discomfort(11).

Pain is also a cancer complication, and symptoms of this disease can lead to persistent and unexplained muscle or joint pain(12).

Researchers suggest that sauna therapy may be a potential treatment method for chronic pain. One study involving patients with chronic pain shows that thermal therapy using an infrared sauna may help decrease pain, depression, and anger(13).

Two years after the patients got discharged, 17 of 22 patients who received multidisciplinary treatment and repeated thermal therapy returned to work.

This outcome suggests that the treatments and thermal therapy were adequate for these patients to continue working.

  • Fighting anxiety and depression: When you have cancer, you can also experience anxiety and stress(14).

An infrared sauna appears to not only provide physical benefits. This therapy may also help lower depression, anxiety, and stress(15).

Clinical trials suggest that an infrared hyperthermia device to produce whole-body hyperthermia may have a potential non-pharmacological application for depression or major depressive disorder (MDD)(16).

You can also consider infrared sauna therapy as a meditation session in warmer temperatures.

  • Strengthening the immune system: Infrared sauna therapy may help stimulate antioxidant and white blood cell production(17).

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals to prevent damage often associated with cancer development(18).

Infrared sauna therapy can also help trigger an immune response toward non-cancerous elements like bacteria and viruses(19).

Leaving these medical issues untreated can make recovering from cancer treatments more difficult.

What Is a Cancer Patient’s Primary Concern?

The American Cancer Society estimates around 1.9 million new cases and more than 609,000 deaths due to cancer in 2022(20).

With these statistics and the significant mortality rate from cancer, it’s no surprise that cancer patients will seek alternative treatment to get cured of this disease.

But many conventional cancer treatments are usually expensive and may even cause side effects. For example, chemotherapy can cause fatigue, nausea, constipation, anemia, bladder issues, and fertility problems(21).

Because of these treatments’ risks, some individuals with cancer can opt for alternative ways to manage this disease and its symptoms. One of these options is to go to an infrared sauna.

Aside from the benefits mentioned in this article, an infrared sauna is a more affordable and noninvasive alternative than conventional but highly invasive treatments.

So if you’re thinking twice about undergoing cancer procedures like surgery or chemotherapy, you can consider booking a therapy session in an infrared sauna.

If you have cancer, ask your doctor or oncologist about the potential health benefits of infrared saunas and whether you should consider going into one, given your condition.


  1. What is an infrared sauna? Does it have health benefits?

  1. Infrared Sauna & Cryotherapy Benefits

  1. Ibid.
  2. Infrared Saunas: What They Do and 6 Health Benefits

  1. Malignant mesothelioma as an oxidative stress-induced cancer: An update.

  1. Infrared Sauna

  1. Killing Cancer Cells with the Help of Infrared Light – Photoimmunotherapy

  1. Infrared Sauna

  1. Oxygen-Starved Tumor Cells Have Survival Advantage That Promotes Cancer Spread

  1. Infrared Sauna

  1. Ibid.
  2. Cancer: Symptoms & Causes

  1. The effects of repeated thermal therapy for patients with chronic pain

  1. Alternative cancer treatments: 11 options to consider

  1. Infrared Saunas: What They Do and 6 Health Benefits

  1. Feasibility and acceptability of a Whole-Body hyperthermia (WBH) protocol

  1. Infrared Sauna

  1. Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention

  1. Infrared Sauna

  1. Cancer Facts & Figures 2022

  1. Chemotherapy Side Effects