by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© March 2013, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc. 


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


The answer is it is due to a combination of factors about the sauna that combine very powerfully.  Alone, none would be so potent, but together they are awesome.  The factors are:


1. Sweating.  Sweating is generally considered to be a parasympathetic nervous system effect.  It occur during exercise, a sympathetic activity.  However, sweating itself tends to be parasympathetic, meaning it requires activation of parasympathetic nerves for it to take place.


2. Moving blood from the center to the periphery of the body.  The sympathetic nervous system moves and keeps theblood congested in the internal organs.  The sauna powerfully moves blood to the periphery of the body, so that the body can release some heat at the skin.  This is a parasympathetic effect.


3. Adding heat.  The sympathetic system heats the body.  When heat is supplied from outside the body, it tends to shut down the sympathetic nervous system so that the body will produce less heat.


4. Hot on top, cold on bottom.  This is interesting.  When sitting in a sauna, the top of the sauna tends to be hotter, while the bottom is cooler.  Heating the head while cooling the feet seems to have a powerful parasympathetic effect.  This may be because it sends blood flowing out of the head and into the feet, which relaxes the nervous system.

Hot on top and cooler on bottom has another effect, that of moving energy downward.  See #6 below.


5. Infrared (or IR) effects.  While red light is stimulating, the near infrared with the colored lamps has a powerful parasympathetic effect.  I do not know why this is so, but it must have something to do with the particular frequencies.  Perhaps it has something to do with the penetrating effect of the IR, but I am not sure.

In one experiment, a lady reported to me that she shined a plain red light on her puppies and they became more agitated.  Then she switched the bulb and shined a red Ōheat lampÕ on the puppies and they calmed down.


6. Down energy effects.  Moving energy downward from head to feet has a very calming, healing and parasympathetic effect.  The near infrared sauna has this effect very powerfully.  Partly this is due to the use of the heat lamps, partly it is just the warmth and relaxation of the sauna and part is an IR effect.


7. Removing clothing.  Any time you remove all or most of your clothing, there is some parasympathetic effect, providing the environment is warm and comfortable.  I am not sure why this is so, except that clothing is somewhat unnatural and one may actually relax when wearing less of it.


8. Sitting or lying down, compared to standing up, has a parasympathetic effect.  Sitting or lying down are simply more relaxing.  I do not usually recommend lying down in a near infrared sauna.  It is not needed, though it is relaxing.  However, please never stand up and use the sauna, as it wonÕt work nearly as well. 

9. Sitting quietly has a parasympathetic effect.  For this reason, do not exercise during your sauna. 


10. Praying, meditating or listening to quiet music has a parasympathetic effect.  While this is not a feature of the sauna itself, many people pray, meditate or listen to quiet music in the sauna, and this has a parasympathetic effect, as well.


11. Improving oxygenation, circulation and hydration.  These occur with sauna use and have a generally parasympathetic effect in most cases.



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