SaunaSpace: Detoxification With Near-Infrared Light: A Special Interview With Brian Richards

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

JM = Dr. Joseph Mercola BR = Brian Richards

JM: Welcome, everyone. This is Dr. Mercola helping you take control of your health. I am veryexcited today that we’re going to be discussing an issue that is near and dear to my heart. That is not infrared, but near-infrared sauna detoxification. Because I am of the belief, as are many other experts in detoxification, that it is an essential, integral component of that. But not only for detox, but so many other biological benefits.

Today, we are joined by Brian Richards, who is also equally passionate about this modality. Hedoesn’t really have any formal health training, but has provided a resource that I think many could benefit from. Welcome and thank you for joining us today, Brian.

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How to Achieve Superior Detoxification and Health Benefits With Near-Infrared Light


  • The typical infrared sauna sold in the U.S. is far-infrared. These low-energy wavelengths provide virtually no photobiomodulation health benefits; they only heat your body superficially
  • The near-infrared wavelengths can penetrate up to 4 inches into your body’s tissues. The incandescent light bulb is the most efficient way to heat tissue because it is mostly near-infrared
  • Only a few percent of solar radiation are far-infrared. About 40 percent of the sunlight spectrum is near-infrared
  • Sunlight and incandescent light interacts with light receptor proteins called chromophores in your body. When light hits the chromophores, they activate a variety of biological processes. Near-infrared also activates the mitochondrial chelating systems in the cells
  • Near-infrared light therapy stimulates your mitochondria to release nitric oxide and boost ATP production which, together, promote healing effects such as DNA repair and cellular regeneration.

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To further support detoxification during your fast, I recommend using a near-infrared sauna, which will help eliminate toxins through your sweat. An entire chapter of KetoFast is dedicated to the use of sauna, with specific do’s and don’ts.

For more details on the science of near-infrared saunas, see “How to Achieve Superior Detoxification and Health Benefits With Near-Infrared Light,” which features my interview with Brian Richards, founder of SaunaSpace. A near-infrared sauna with low electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cost several thousand dollars. However, you can make one inexpensively yourself.

Aside from the fact that near-infrared bulbs heat you up more effectively than far-infrared saunas do, near-infrared light (660 and 850 nanometers) also stimulates nitric oxide release and ATP production. I do a 30-minute sauna just about every day that I’m home, followed by cryotherapy (cold thermogenesis) — essentially, I just jump directly into my unheated pool. An alternative would simply to rinse off in a cold shower. If you’re brave, you could do an ice bath.

Supporting Your Fasting Protocol With Sauna Bathing