In addition to lymphatic drainage massages and exercise, IR sauna benefits can also help support the lymphatic system.

IR Sauna Benefits: How Infrared Therapy Supports the Lymphatic System

The modern beauty community has popularised lymphatic drainage, a specialised type of massage therapy, to aid in more cosmetic benefits like reductions in facial swelling. Some even consider it as a nonsurgical facelift – however, the role of the lymphatic system extends beyond facial aesthetics, being a key part of your immune system. This system removes bodily waste, protects against infection, and maintains normal body fluid levels. In this blog, we’ll discuss how infrared saunas can help maintain the health of the lymphatic system and support lymphatic drainage. 

What does the lymphatic system do?

The lymphatic system consists of a network of nodes, vessels, and ducts that circulate a fluid called lymph throughout your body. This movement serves three critical functions for your health. 

  • Boosts the immune system: When pathogens bypass the body’s primary defences (skin, acidic contents of the stomach, and friendly bacteria in the body), the lymphatic system responds. It produces white blood cells called lymphocytes that travel to the lymph nodes, small glands that are spread throughout the body. Upon encountering viruses or bacteria, these lymphocytes produce antibodies to defend the body.
  • Fluid balance: The lymphatic system recirculates excess fluid and proteins that cannot return to the bloodstream, maintaining fluid balance and filtering out toxins. A blockage in this system can result in a localised swelling known as lymphedema.
  • Fat absorption: Certain fats cannot be absorbed by blood vessels. Instead, they pass through the small intestine, where lymph capillaries transform them into a fluid called chyle. This fluid, containing lymph and emulsified fats, is then returned to the bloodstream.


How IR sauna benefits can support the lymphatic system

Your lymphatic system depends on a consistent stream of nutrients and healthy blood circulation. Therefore, maintaining a nutrient-rich diet and performing regular exercise are needed to help keep it in the best shape. Additionally, evidence suggests infrared therapy can be effective in supporting the body’s lymph structure as well. 

The deep penetrating heat of infrared saunas aids the body’s natural detoxification process, allowing it to flush out toxins such as chemicals, heavy metals, and environmental pollutants. This, in turn, prevents a buildup of excess foreign bodies in the lymphatic system. Infrared saunas also help reduce inflammation promoting healthy lymphatic flow. 

The anti-inflammatory properties of IR therapy can also be particularly beneficial if you already have a blockage in your lymphatic system. One study of subjects with lymphedema showed that after a certain period of infrared light therapy, there was a significant reduction in the swelling of the participants’ affected limbs. Their blood work and lab work also showed that a number of substances including fats and proteins related to lymphatic swelling were also reduced. 

A study has also proven that infrared therapy enhances the activation of cells in draining lymph nodes. This allows your lymph nodes to quickly produce antibodies, cytotoxic immune cells, and memory against foreign invading bodies. 

Combining this with lymphatic drainage massage at the clinic or on yourself can help you reap the full benefits of infrared for your lymphatic system. Other factors that can support the movement and health of your lymphatic system include exercise, deep breathing, and hydrotherapy. 

If you want to know more about IR sauna benefits or looking to purchase your own at-home infrared sauna, reach out to us today!