Google “ozone therapy”, and one of the top results will be for Ozone Saunas. There are several ways to effectively administer ozone therapy, and we have explanations and protocols for most of them. But what about ozone saunas? If they're popular enough to be one of the top hits on Google, they're worth evaluating.
What are ozone saunas?
An ozone sauna can be either a hard chamber or a “tent” made of PVC and nylon. The sauna is designed in such a way that the user’s head sticks out to avoid any chance of ozone inhalation. Ozone is pumped into the sauna via an ozone generator while the sauna is filled with hot steam between 103-112° Fahrenheit. Once the sauna chamber or tent reaches the optimal temperature, the user enters the sauna. A typical session would last between 20-30 minutes. Technically ozone is unable to penetrate the skin layer unless it’s already opened with a wound, burn or something similar (which is how ozone limb bagging and ozone cupping work). This is one of the arguments against ozone saunas. But proponents of ozone saunas make the claim that the heat and humidity from the steam opens the pores of the user’s skin, thereby allowing the skin to absorb the beneficial power of ozone into the body. There is some validity to the claim that heat and humidity open pores, but there are also some issues with how that relates to ozone itself. We'll address both here.
The benefits of regular steam saunas
There are many well-documented benefits of regular steam saunas, a fact that has been observed and proven for centuries. If done in controlled increments of time, and with sufficient hydration, the benefits of saunas include: muscle relaxation and recovery, stress reduction, improved cardiovascular performance, deeper sleep, flushed toxins (albeit minor ones) and cleansed skin (via the pores and sweat glands). Saunas are a time tested way to heal, relax and just feel good overall.
The benefits of ozone
If you’ve spent any amount of time on this website, hopefully we’ve done our job of explaining how ozone works. But here’s a refresher: the third oxygen atom in ozone molecules, when correctly administered, has the ability to bond with your body’s cells and essentially modify the way they work. It’s not a drug that forces something to happen in your body. Instead, it works with your body’s natural functions to:
improve oxygen efficiency,
regulate the immune system,
optimize blood circulation
encourage the body’s natural detoxification ability.
But here’s the thing: ozone is only beneficial if used correctly. There are a host of studies and research to demonstrate the efficacy of ozone therapy for the body, but there is an unfortunate lack of conclusive research on ozone saunas in particular. That being said, there is a great amount of anecdotal evidence that they work. Proponents of ozone saunas say that when the ozone is absorbed through the skin, it has as much potential to address diseases and ailments as does IV or rectal ozone.But the trouble with anecdotes is that they can be neither proven nor disproved. Even the clinics that offer ozone steam sauna therapy will say that the results completely vary for each individual. For that reason, we aren’t able to definitively say “ozone saunas work” or “ozone saunas don’t work”. But what we can do is compare claims with science.
Ozone saunas and scientific fact
Ozone breaks down in temperatures higher than mid-90s Fahrenheit, and ozone production is reduced when the humidity is more than 60%. In order for a steam sauna (or any sauna) to be effective, it needs to be well over 100° Fahrenheit. We did an unofficial study with a group of doctors to determine whether any ozone actually did make it to the skin level in an ozone sauna. Unfortunately the we weren't surprised to discover that actually no ozone made it to the skin. This could be due to the high temperature, the high humidity, the small amount of ozone in the large chamber, or a combination of all these factors.Saunas are excellent for your health, and ozone therapy is also an excellent supplement to a healthy lifestyle. But aside from anecdotal evidence, it seems the two can’t coincide. It’s essentially our opinion versus “their” opinion on this one, but these are the facts as we know them.