Table 6: Repeat sauna therapy and detoxification.

Study characteristics Study sample Intervention ComparatorsHealth effectsAdverse side effects
Author & yearLevel of evidenceDesignPop/countrySauna typeDurationComparators/
controls
Outcome measuresPositive/negative/
negligible
None/mild/
moderate/
severe

2009-
Hüppe et al. [68]
IRCTSymptomatic patients with elevated serum levels of lipophilic toxicants (PCBs, DDT, DDE)/
Germany
36Two types:
Sauna I (65°C, 70% RH) and
Sauna II (50°C, 30% RH)
4 weeks3 groups:
(I) - Steam sauna + physiotherapy + oral and intravenous detox supplements
(II) - Dry sauna + physiotherapy + placebo oral and placebo intravenous supplements
(III) - No sauna or oral/IV treatment
Psychologist (blinded)-assessed and self-assessed scoring using validated tools: somatic symptom complaint list scoring, Beschwerden-Liste 24-item questionnaire; general depression scoring using ADS-L/CES-D 20-item questionnaire; SF-36 quality of life questionnaire; neuropsychological processing speed with GT-MT/ZVT scoring; concentration with “attention test d2”; memory power and speed with WL-N and
WL-G scoring; serum levels of PCB congeners × 3, HCB, DDT, DDE.
Positive, improvements in several somatic well-being scores in both treatment groups (I) & (II), as compared to group (III) with Duncan post hoc test suggesting differences between Group (I) and Group (III) () and between Group (I) and (II) () but no difference between Group (II) and (III) (); No significant changes in neuropsychological testing scores between the groups (); No significant changes in serum concentrations of selected organochlorides between the groups ().None

2012-
Ross and Sternquist [69]
IIIRetrospective chart review and follow-up surveysSymptomatic police officers with employment-related drug and toxicant exposures/
U.S.A.
69Sauna with full-spectrum infrared  
(160°F)
4−6 weeksNo control groupRAND© SF-36 (36-item quality of health survey); FASE 50-item survey of symptoms and sleep;
13-item neurotoxicity questionnaire; MMSE; and review of daily medical records during therapy.
Positive, improved post treatment SF-36 scores compared to pre-treatment scores (with 2-tailed student -test paired scores + Wilcoxon matched pairs test and sign test, ), across all subscales; Comparing pre and post completion of program: fewer “poor physical health” days (9.3 vs 1.8 days, ); fewer “sick days” (2.0 vs 0.3 days, ); more sleep hours (5.8 vs 7.6 h, ); lessened neurotoxicity scoring (65.5 ± 24.8 vs 14/6 ± 11/5 points, ); no changes in MMSE (29.3 vs 29.1 points, ).Mild,
heat discomfort

FASE = Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education; MMSE = Mini-Mental State Examination; ADS-L/CES-D = Allgemeine Depressions Skala/Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale; GT-MT/ZVT = German Trail-Making Test/Zahlenverbindungstest; WL-N = Wortliste Niveau memory power test; WL-G = Wortliste Geschwindigkeit memory speed test; PCB = polychlorinated biphenyls; HCB = hexachlorobenzene; DDT = Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; DDE = p-dichlorodiphenylethylene.