Is Sauna Safe in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

Is Sauna Safe in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance?

I had seen practitioner after practitioner. Some of them helped step me in the right direction. But I still had a lot of health issues left unresolved. When they didn’t know what to do next, many of them recommended sauna. 

That made sense. Sauna can be really good for some of the symptoms I was experiencing. Detoxification, joint pain, inflammation, overall fatigue and more.  

So, I tried one. And after just one use…I got hives. I itched all over. I felt worse, not better. And to top it all off, my sleep was even worse that night than it had been (and it had already been terrible.) 

I tried another type of sauna, but it didn’t work out either. 

Each sauna I used, I felt worse afterward. 

So, I figured I was done with sauna for good. 

But I’m always working on my health and on the lookout for things that can support my body with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. And not just for me, but for my clients as well. 

As it would happen, it was a client who brought something to my attention recently! 

She mentioned she had tried a specific type of sauna and felt great. She said she had done really well and had no reactions! 

Just a week later I had another client tell me that she had used the exact same sauna and also felt great afterwards.  

Now that really caught my attention.  

Then when a third client told me about the exact same sauna working for her, I decided I had to give this particular sauna a try. 

I found a local spa that had the type of sauna my clients had used. I wanted to be sure it would work for me. So, I sat in it for a full 40 minutes.   

That’s way longer than I would normally start with something like this. But I really needed to know if this was going to cause me any kind of mast cell flare.   

Much to my surprise, I felt relaxed in the sauna, and after, I didn’t have any mast cell flaring. And I slept great that night.  

I was so excited to finally find a sauna I could tolerate!   

So, I started digging into the research and details of why this particular sauna worked for my clients and for me. And also, why I reacted to all the others. 

And I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you, too! 

There are numerous health benefits with sauna that can help those of us with chronic health issues. 

Before I get into the benefits sauna can have, I want to go over some of the most common types of saunas and how they differ. 

Sauna 101 – What to Know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Saunas 101 Mast Cell 360

You are probably familiar with some types of saunas already. You may have seen or used one of these three popular types: 

  • heated rock sauna 
  • dry sauna 
  • steam sauna 

Let’s look at each one of these… 

Heated rock sauna 

In a heated rock sauna, water is poured over hot rocks to produce steam. You might have seen this type of sauna in a spa. This type of sauna requires high heat, though.  

That high heat can be a problem since many of us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance don’t do well with really high temperatures.  

Steam sauna 

Steam saunas also use steam, but instead of using hot rocks, the steam is typically generated electronically. These are common in fitness centers.  

In a steam sauna there is 100% humidity. This high humidity environment lends itself perfectly to mold growth. That is definitely not something you want if you are dealing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance!   

Dry sauna 

Dry saunas are…dry. Unlike heated rock and steam saunas, dry saunas don’t add humidity with water. While this takes care of the potential mold problem, it still has the problem of using high temperatures. And if you flare with heat, dry sauna probably won’t work for you. 

All three of those types can trigger flares for those of us with sensitivities. At best, they can leave us feeling unpleasant. At worst, they can send us into a massive flare, which is what happened for me! 

I don’t use any of those 3 types anymore.   

But there is another type of sauna: Infrared Sauna. 

Infrared saunas are very different from the other three types. Unlike steam, there is no humidity with infrared sauna. That means you don’t have to worry about mold growth.   

And unlike steam, heated rocks, and dry sauna, infrared saunas can be used effectively at lower temperatures. This can be helpful for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.  

Not all infrared saunas are the same though. I still had a lot of problems with infrared saunas until I discovered the secret to making it safe for my mast cell and histamine issues. 

But first, let’s look into what infrared sauna is in the first place and how it works. 

Infrared Sauna: How It Works to Provide Research Backed Health Benefits – What to know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Infrared Sauna How It Works to Provide Research Backed Health Benefits

It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner. 

First, you might be asking yourself: how does infrared sauna work?  

Infrared light is experienced as heat. The soothing, natural warmth from the sun is infrared heat. But unlike the sun, the infrared light here doesn’t have UV rays that can cause sunburn or aging.  

In fact, you can be exposed to infrared light for hours without any risk of burning.    

Infrared light therapy is 100% safe and healthy for all living things – it’s even used in hospitals to warm premature babies!  

I find this gentle heat so comforting. It’s just like being on the beach or by the pool on a nice summer day.  

And there are some infrared saunas that can be used effectively at lower temperatures, you get the warm feeling and health benefits without the mast cell flares.  

I’ll be covering more about this below.  

Research on infrared saunas has shown these health benefits: 

  • inflammation-lowering effects 
  • acts similarly to antioxidant nutrients 
  • activates the cell healing cycles 
  • helps with wound healing 
  • boosts metabolism 
  • helps remove toxins from the body – i.e. mold toxins, chemicals, metals. 

The best infrared saunas provide 3 different bands of infrared wavelengths:  

  • Near Infrared 
  • Mid Infrared 
  • Far Infrared 

Each of these wavelengths provides different benefits.  

Near Infrared reaches the skin’s outermost layer. It energizes and regenerates cells. Benefits include:  

  • Cell Health/Immunity Boost 
  • Faster Wound Healing 
  • Skin Rejuvenation 
  • Muscle Recovery 

Mid Infrared wavelengths reach the body’s soft tissue. This is where inflammation occurs. Benefits include:  

  • Pain Relief 
  • Improved Circulation 
  • Muscle Recovery  

Far Infrared reaches deepest into the body. It can reach deep into the tissues where toxins are often stored. Benefits include:  

  • Weight Loss 
  • Detoxification 
  • Relaxation 
  • Immunity Boost 

These are a lot of great health benefits!   

But if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you’re probably wondering whether sauna can help mast cells or histamine levels, specifically.  

Let’s look at that next. 

Sauna, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, and Histamine Intolerance – Info for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Sauna Info for People with MCAS

Research on mast cells and sauna is minimal so far. But these 2 studies hold a lot of promise.  

A 2013 study concluded that repeated sauna may help people with allergic rhinitis. This is a kind of nasal swelling and congestion often associated with mast cell activation. 

A case study that was published in 2014 showed that sauna was helpful for severe chronic itching that didn’t respond to antihistamines. We know that this kind of chronic itching is often associated with mast cell activation and out-of-control histamine levels. 

Further, there are studies showing how sauna can support the nervous system and relaxation. And if you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know by now how important nervous system support is for Mast Cell Activation.  

Quite a few studies have also shown sauna to aid in improvements in immune system functioning. While these studies didn’t look specifically at the mast cells, we know the mast cells are connected to the entire immune system. 

This means an improvement in one part of the immune system can help the mast cells as well. 

Interestingly, a 2013 study looked at the effects of just a single 15-minute sauna session. The study showed that sauna improved the white blood cell profiles. While the study didn’t look specifically at mast cells, it did measure white blood cells that are similar to mast cells. 

Sauna has also been shown in studies to help the skin in people with psoriasis and eczema. And research has shown that these skin conditions are highly correlated with Mast Cell Activation. 

Finally, you also have probably learned by now that Mold Toxicity is the #1 root trigger for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. 

There are numerous studies showing how sauna supports removal of toxins in the body. This includes mold toxins.  

And now that I’ve found a safe sauna option, it’s one of the key steps I recommend for many of my clients with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome as a part of safe, gentle mold detoxification support. 

Before starting sauna, though, it can be helpful to have a few supporting steps on board first. 

Let’s explore these next and see if you might be ready for infrared sauna. 

Who Might Consider Sauna? – What to know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Who Might Consider Sauna

So, how do you know if you should consider sauna? 

If you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, I recommend that you do some preparation steps before starting with sauna. 

For my clients, I generally recommend that they have some mast cell supporting supplements on board before starting with sauna – anything that works for you.  

I also often recommend they have some binders on board. For example, I suggest they be able to take at least one of these at a minimum: 1/8 capsule of charcoal, 1/8 capsule of chlorella, or 1/16 tsp bentonite clay or other binders.  

This is because sauna will help your body move toxins out. Binders help to “catch” the toxins and help you eliminate them through bowel movements. This way those toxins move out of the body instead of recirculating through your blood stream. 

It can also help if you can handle some lower-level heat. 

If you can say yes to all 3 of the following, you may want to read on to learn more about the Infrared Sauna that can be safer for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.

Infrared Sauna
  • Can you can tolerate being outside for 20 minutes in 80 to 90-degree weather without flaring? 
  • Are you able to take at least a small amount of a couple mast cell supporting supplements? 
  • Can you tolerate at least a little bit of binders?  

If you said yes to all 3 questions above, keep reading… 

For those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, I recommend starting with just 5 minutes one time per week. Then, as tolerated, you can see if your body is ready to build very slowly to 10-20 minutes 2 or 3 times per week.  

Note: It may take you a few weeks or even several months to build your time up. Be patient with your body and always listen to what your body needs.  

Remember, though, not all infrared saunas are the same. And this is very important to know if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance and are interested in sauna.  

Now, if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, you want to make sure the sauna you choose is effective at lower temperatures (because most saunas require high heat to work). 

The really nice thing about the type of sauna I’m going to share with you below is that you don’t have to heat it very hot to get the benefits. In fact, you can start with fairly low temperatures.   

You don’t even have to sweat to be able to get the benefits from the sauna I picked. This is really nice for people who are still having trouble sweating or can’t do high heat.  

Let’s look at this next. 

My Recommendation for Safe Infrared Sauna– What to Know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

When I recommend something, I do a lot of reading on that product. I take a lot into consideration. And I try it for myself. But it’s not enough that I do well with it.   

I also want to make sure it’s something our clients and others in our community might benefit from as well.  

In the research I did, I learned that not all infrared saunas are equal. In fact, they can be very different in terms of EMFs, chemical off-gassing, and need for high heat temperatures.   

This is why I had trouble with other saunas. I didn’t understand the differences. 

But, the one my clients reported doing well with and the one I tried at the spa worked great for me! And I’m seeing it work for others in our Mast Cell 360 community as well. 

So, which sauna was it that has worked so well for myself and many of my clients? 

The sauna I really love is from Sunlighten. 

Here is what allowed me to tolerate Sunlighten Sauna when I couldn’t tolerate other saunas. 

These are the 5 major reasons why I went with Sunlighten Sauna: 

  • Has all 3 infrared wavelengths: near, mid, and far 
  • Can get the health benefits at lower temperatures for shorter times 
  • Low EMF (with 3rd party testing validation) 
  • No chemical off-gassing 
  • Sustainable materials used (better for the environment) 

Let’s go into these in depth…  

To start with, all saunas get hot. And you might sweat if you get hot, but getting hot can flare those of us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance.  

Sweating can help move some toxins out of your body. But there is actually a better way to detox with sauna without high heat temperatures. 

You learned before how the best infrared saunas have all 3 infrared wavelengths: near, mid and far.  

My favorite of Sunlighten’s saunas has a patented infrared technology with all 3 wavelengths. These wavelengths deliver those gentle, warming infrared waves directly into the body.  

Delivering the infrared waves directly into your body is what can allow you to detox without high temperatures and in a shorter period of time than other saunas.  

With some saunas, only the air is heated. That means only your outer skin is getting hot which can make mast cells flare. And you still won’t get much detox happening – so what’s the point?  

But infrared waves penetrate your body deeper. These waves reach those deeper tissues where toxins are stored. Particularly reaching the fat-soluble toxins like mold toxins. 

Another reason I like Sunlighten is the low EMF factor. 

One of the reasons I had trouble with so many saunas is that most emit a lot of EMFs. And there is clear, solid evidence showing how EMFs trigger mast cells. 
 
So, you don’t want a sauna with high EMFs, look for 3rd party testing for EMFs by an independent testing company.  

You don’t want to just go by the company’s own evaluation, though. It’s too easy for a company to skew their own results if it’s not 3rd party tested. 

Sunlighten Saunas were 3rd party EMF tested in 2020 and 2021. This testing showed EMF levels in Sunlighten Saunas were lower than 95 percent of common household devices like hair dryers or vacuum cleaners!   

Of course, I still tested with my own EMF meter as well. And I found the EMF levels in my sauna to be very low.  

And some people (like me) who have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, can be triggered by off-gassing of toxic chemicals. This is another reason I had trouble with other saunas in the past. 

Sunlighten doesn’t purchase saunas from a large, mass-production sauna factory. They source all raw materials from PEFC-certified and FSC-certified woods. These are certifications for socially and environmentally responsible wood sourcing.  

They have also done extensive third-party testing to ensure their saunas are made with safe, non-toxic materials. So, no weird chemical smell, and no off-gassing! 

The sauna I picked is made with hypoallergenic basswood. This is the wood I’d recommend if you have any chemical sensitivities.  

Mine did have a mild wood smell in the beginning. I just ran it a few times and left the door open after running the sauna. The wood smell was soon gone completely. 

With Sunlighten, I’m finally able to get all the benefits of a sauna without experiencing any flares!  

I’ve been noticing my sauna is helping me with: 

  • Detoxifying mold toxins better 
  • Deeper sleep 
  • Increased relaxation 
  • Improved complexion 
  • Better lymphatic drainage 
  • Metabolic boost (I lost some extra pounds – probably water weight!) 
  • Physical stamina (I’m able to exercise more since the sauna aids in muscle recovery) 
  • My immune system is stronger  

I even discovered a great benefit I didn’t expect. If I feel like I’m coming down with something, I get in the sauna. Then I get extra sleep that night. So far, I haven’t caught anything as long as I did this routine! 

Sunlighten saunas have good research behind them and have been proven to 95-99% effective.  

And as a bonus, it’s super easy to use.   

Let’s look at their different models. 

Different Sunlighten Sauna Model Options

Compare Models

Adding an infrared sauna to your home is affordable and easier than you may think. 

When I first tried the Sunlighten Sauna at the spa, I felt so great, I knew I’d want to come back again and again. I just felt so good afterward. 

Even beyond detoxing, I already knew the research on infrared sauna use and longevity was solid. So, I figured now that I’d found a sauna I could use, I’d want it to become part of my regular health routine for the long term. 

I looked at some numbers, next. The cost of going to this spa 2-3 times a week for the long term was going to get expensive quickly.  

When I added what it would cost me to get 3 sauna sessions per week for a year, it was going to cost me more than just buying a home sauna!  

Since I knew I’d use it frequently…and because it was a great investment in my health…it just made sense to get a sauna I could use at home. 

It certainly isn’t the cheapest thing I’ve done for my health. But, they had financing options, a great warranty, and a return period. I knew if it could help me through my mold detox and with my muscle and joint pain, it would definitely be worth it. 

Plus, I knew I also wouldn’t have all that driving time to get to a spa. And even better, I wouldn’t have to worry about other people’s germs and sweat. 

If you are thinking about getting a home sauna for yourself, you’ll want to know about the different model options. This can save you some time. 

Sunlighten has 4 models: 

  • mPulse 
  • Solo 
  • Amplify 
  • Signature 

My top recommendations if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance are either the mPulse or the Solo models. 

Let’s start with the mPulse. This is the model I got.  

mPulse Sauna Model 

The mPulse offers all 3 infrared wavelengths: near, mid, and far.  

I’m always thinking about long term health. And I wanted the near infrared because it has been shown to be very helpful for cell rejuvenation and anti-aging.  

And the construction has something called an emissive coating. This allows the sauna to produce more infrared per square inch than any other heater on the market. That translates to more health benefits with lower temperatures and shorter amounts of time in the sauna. 

I also found it really easy to use. It comes with a built-in Android control panel. The control panel can be used in airplane mode to keep the EMFs down. 

I also liked the 6 preset Wellness Programs. Each program uses a different combination of wavelengths: 

  • Cardio 
  • Anti-Aging 
  • Relaxation 
  • Pain Relief 
  • Weight loss 
  • Detox 
  • Custom program options – this is where you can create your own programs. 

The mPulse does need a little space in your home. We put ours in the corner of the basement. It also needs a dedicated outlet (meaning nothing else runs off that circuit). 

We happened to have an outlet in the basement that wasn’t in use, so that was easy. If you don’t have one, though, it’s usually not hard for an electrician to add a dedicated circuit for you. 

But what if you don’t have the space or budget for a walk-in unit?  

Solo Sauna Model 

For those that don’t have the space for the larger sauna or don’t want to spend the money on the walk-in options, Sunlighten also has a portable infrared sauna called the Solo System.   

The Solo can be a great option if you don’t have space for a larger sauna or need a more budget-friendly option.   

It differs from the mPulse because it isn’t a walk-in model.  

Instead, you recline and are cocooned in it, but your head remains outside the unit. This can be good for some people who are extremely heat sensitive for any reason. 

The Solo model doesn’t have all 3 infrared wavelengths. It just has far infrared, but this is still great for detoxifying.  

The Solo model doesn’t need a dedicated circuit, either.  

What about the other 2 units? 

Amplify Sauna Model 

The Amplify Sauna has 2 ceramic heaters at the front for people who like a hotter sauna. It uses far infrared only.  

But I don’t think it’s the best choice for most of our audience because of the higher temperatures.  

Signature Sauna Model 

The Signature Sauna also offers far infrared only. It can be a good choice if you want a cabin unit and are only interested in the detoxification benefits. 

It doesn’t have the near and mid infrared that support all the other health benefits, though.  

Now, let’s look at how to get a discount! 

Sauna Discount for Our Community – What to know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Excited! Mast Cell 360

If you’re ready for a sauna, it can be a great investment in your health. I get in my sauna 3-4 times per week! 

I tend to feel cold a lot. And when the weather turns cooler, it feels so good to hop in there to warm up! 

While these aren’t the least expensive sauna units, they are, in my opinion, the best on the market for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. 

I’ve tried cheaper sauna units, and like I said, I didn’t get to experience any benefits. I only got hives, bad sleep, and month-long flares! 

That’s why I wanted to make sure you knew about the sauna that is finally working for me and many of my clients. 

I love being able to share new products with you that I’ve found helpful. But I know cost can be a concern for those of us with so many health expenses.  

So, I reached out to Sunlighten and asked if they could help out our community with a discount.  

And they said yes!  

In fact, they gave us a great special, but they said they could only offer this much of a discount for a few weeks. 

Sunlighten is offering our Mast Cell 360 community: 

$600 off any cabin Sauna unit
or
$250 off a solo unit 

To get the discount:
Call Sunlighten at
877.292.0020 x1 

and tell them you’d like the
Mast Cell 360 Community Discount.

You can also learn more about Sunlighten Sauna here:

>>> Learn more about Sunlighten Sauna

As passionate as I am about this sauna, there are those who might not be ready for it, though.  

Let’s look at that next. 

Who Shouldn’t Use Sauna – What to Know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Wait Mast Cell 360

Not everyone is ready for sauna. 

If these statements describe you, you may not be ready for sauna yet:

  • You can’t tolerate being outside for 20 minutes in 80-90 degree weather without flaring 
  • You’re unable to take at least a small amount of 2-3 mast cell supporting supplements 
  • You aren’t tolerating even a little bit of binders yet 

If that describes you, you probably want to wait to get a Sunlighten Sauna. But don’t worry! Our Mast Cell Nervous System RebootTop 8 Mast Cell Supporting Supplements Master Class, and MC360 Precision Mold Master Class can help you move forward.   

When considering if sauna is safe for you, there are a few other situations where you should definitely talk to your licensed medical provider first: 

  • Pregnancy 
  • Metal implants 
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Central Nervous System Tumors, and Diabetes with Neuropathy 
  • Hemophilia 
  • Recovering from surgery 
  • Pacemakers  

If none of the above describes you though, then you can do further reading and exploration on sauna and you might consider giving Sunlighten Sauna a try! My body thanks me every time I use mine! 

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References on Sauna - What to know with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

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Genuis, S. J., Birkholz, D., Rodushkin, I., & Beesoon, S. (2011). Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology, 61(2), 344–357. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-010-9611-5 

Genuis, S. J. (2011a, December 27). Human Excretion of Bisphenol A: Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study. Hindawi. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/185731/ 

Hohnadel, D. C. (1973). [PDF] Atomic absorption spectrometry of nickel, copper, zinc, and lead in sweat collected from healthy subjects during sauna bathing. | Semantic Scholar. Semantic Scholar. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Atomic-absorption-spectrometry-of-nickel%2C-copper%2C-Hohnadel-Sunderman
/6b45e199b8720aa23b09d1537e6bd7d8469a601d?p2df
 

Imamura, M., Biro, S., Kihara, T., Yoshifuku, S., Takasaki, K., Otsuji, Y., Minagoe, S., Toyama, Y., & Tei, C. (2001). Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 38(4), 1083–1088. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0735-1097(01)01467-x 

Ketelhut, S., & Ketelhut, R. G. (2019). The blood pressure and heart rate during sauna bath correspond to cardiac responses during submaximal dynamic exercise. Complementary therapies in medicine, 44, 218–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.05.002 

Kunbootsri, N., Janyacharoen, T., Arrayawichanon, P., Chainansamit, S., Kanpittaya, J., Auvichayapat, P., & Sawanyawisuth, K. (2013, February 31). The effect of six-weeks of sauna on treatment autonomic nervous system, peak nasal inspiratory flow and lung functions of allergic rhinitis Thai patients. APJAI Journal. http://apjai-journal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/9Theeffectofsixweeks
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Laukkanen, T. (2015). Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25705824/

Laukkanen, T. (2017, March 1). Sauna bathing is inversely associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in middle-aged Finnish men. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27932366/ 

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