Infrared Sauna Use in UCSF Clinical Trial Shows Promise in Combating Depression

11 of 12 Participants No Longer Met Criteria for Depression after Combined Heat Treatment Using The Clearlight ® Curve™ Far Infrared Sauna Domes and an 8-Session Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Protocol

Berkeley, California, May 20, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In conjunction with May as Mental Health Awareness Month, preliminary results from a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) clinical trial combining heat exposure with psychotherapy sessions showed reductions in depression. The study, led by Ashley E. Mason, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, tested an integrated mind-body treatment combining whole-body hyperthermia (WBH), a type of whole-body heat treatment, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The study, which was the first trial to integrate sauna sessions with psychotherapy sessions for the treatment of MDD, was published on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in The International Journal of Hyperthermia and is accessible here. The study used the The Curve™ Far Infrared Sauna Dome, manufactured by Clearlight®, the industry leader in infrared sauna and pioneer in innovative health and wellness solutions.

In brief, the study enrolled 16 adults with MDD who received eight weekly sessions of cognitive behavior therapy and weekly or biweekly sauna sessions, conducted in a Curve Dome. Dr. Mason began the clinical trial after being inspired by prior work showing that infrared heat treatment caused rapid reductions in depression. Preliminary results from prior studies and Dr. Mason’s most recent study suggests that infrared heat treatment may help significantly reduce depression symptoms. While Dr. Mason’s future clinical trial testing efficacy will take several years, early results from her feasibility studies are showing that whole-body hyperthermia may reduce depression symptoms. In this most recent trial, Mason also found that sauna sessions acutely improved mood, and found that these improvements predicted overall response to the treatment.

“This is exciting work, and it is early days,” said Dr. Mason. “That 11 of 12 participants who completed treatment no longer met criteria for major depressive disorder sends a positive message – we need to continue researching this treatment package.”

“This groundbreaking study on depression from UCSF aligns with what we have been hearing from our customers for the past 25 years. People have been telling us how using our infrared saunas has changed their lives by reducing stress and lifting their spirits. Thanks to Dr. Ashley Mason and all the people at UCSF who have worked tirelessly to bring these facts to light so that people can find new ways to heal,” said Clearlight® Founder and CEO, Dr. Raleigh Duncan. Dr. Duncan is widely recognized for his expertise in infrared therapy as one of the most significant contributors to technologies for healing the human body and as a leader in advancing the industry over the past three decades.

About Clearlight®:
Founded by a Chiropractic Physician, Dr. Raleigh Duncan, Clearlight is the industry leader in infrared sauna and pioneer in innovative health and wellness solutions for more than 25 years. Clearlight was the first company to develop Carbon/Ceramic infrared heaters capable of delivering a deeper, more penetrating infrared wavelength, while also offering the lowest EMF (electromagnetic fields) and ELF (extremely low frequency) available on the market. Dr. Duncan is widely considered one of the early pioneers in infrared sauna technologies and has patents/patents-pending for much of the technology Clearlight uses. The Berkeley, CA-based company offers best-in-class wellness products for home and business use including: Infrared Saunas, Sanctuary Full Spectrum Saunas, Outdoor Saunas, Premier Infrared Saunas, FDA approved Red Light Therapy—The PERSONAL Tower, and The CORE Tower; HALO ONE Salt Therapy, AROMA ONE Aromatherapy Diffuser, The Curve Sauna Dome, Amethyst Infrared PEMF Mat, and Custom Sauna Heater Kits (Build Your Own Sauna). For every sauna purchase, Clearlight plants two trees with The National Forest Foundation’s Sapling Program.  To learn more and/or enhance your existing Clearlight sauna experience, visit and; and follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and YouTube. #Clearlight #Health #Wellness #infrared #Depression #MentalHealth

Author details:
Ashley E. Mason, PhD (PSY 26991)
Faculty | Osher Center for Integrative Health
Associate Professor In Residence | Weill Institute for Neurosciences
University of California, San Francisco
Lab Website

The study was published in International Journal of Hypothermia, Volume 41, 2024 - Issue 1;


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