Infrared sauna can be used to effectively treat the symptoms of arthritis. Research has shown that infrared sauna can relieve pain, stiffness, and fatigue associated with arthritis. Infrared sauna is an exciting new treatment option for the symptoms of arthritis.
CAN INFRARED SAUNA TREAT ARTHRITIS?
Infrared sauna heat therapy can relieve the symptoms associated with arthritis.
A study from the Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands found that infrared sauna therapy reduced pain and stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The positive effects were observed during the 4-week clinical trial period and offer great hope to many suffering from the chronic long term effects of arthritis.
They concluded that infrared sauna heat therapy was a clinically effective method of relieving the symptoms of arthritis.
The team found that infrared sauna significantly relieves pain and stiffness in the short-term and shows a trend towards long-term beneficial effects.
They also concluded that infrared sauna was well tolerated by the patients in the study – and no adverse effects were reported.
HOW DOES SAUNA RELIEVE ARTHRITIS SYMPTOMS?
Infrared sauna heats the body gently. It operates at much lower temperatures than a traditional Finnish sauna. It does not heat the air inside the cabin, and instead gently heats the body directly. This creates a more comfortable environment inside the sauna without the oppressive heat of super-hot air.
The infrared light energy is absorbed through the skin and begins raising body temperature from the inside. As this happens heart rate increases and cardiovascular function is stimulated.
Blood is pumped through the vessels at an increased rate, carrying oxygen and nutrients through the body. This helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain in affected areas. Infrared sauna therapy offers a real ray of hope for patients suffering the effects of arthritis.
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WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is a condition that causes tenderness and swelling in the joints. The condition usually worsens with age and the main symptoms are pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joints. There are two types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is the protective tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. It is a very common condition and usually affects people aged 40 and older.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is often referred to as “wear-and-tear” arthritis. It is more commonly seen in women and people with a family history of the condition.
It can also develop through injury, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. Joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine are most commonly affected. It is much more common than rheumatoid arthritis – with almost nine-time as many cases worldwide.
The early stages of osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of the cartilage in a joint leading to pain and stiffness. This puts a strain on the ligaments and tendons as the cartilage wears out. This can lead to swelling and inflammation and eventually cause bone-on-bone rubbing.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder caused by the immune system attacking a joint. It begins with an attack on the lining of a joint – called the synovium.
This can lead to a breakdown of the cartilage of the joints causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It is a long-term condition and usually affects the hands, wrists, and feet.
Typically it is characterized by periods of flare-ups where the disease becomes more intense. Problems can also appear in other parts of the body other than the joints – such as the eyes, skin, lungs, heart, blood, and nerves.
Rheumatoid arthritis usually appears for the first time in people aged 40-50 years old. It is much more common in women than in men.
Unlike osteoarthritis, it attacks the lining of a joint which results in painful inflammation that can lead to bone damage and joint deformity.
SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS
Pain in the movement of the joint
At its worst after exercise or early in the morning
Joint feels tender to touch
Tissue inflammation in the joint area
Loss of range of motion
Small pieces of bone form around the joint
Popping sound when moving the joint
SYMPTOMS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
SWOLLEN TENDER JOINTS
Swollen joints, tender to touch
Throbbing aching pain of the joints
At its worst early in the morning and after inactivity
SMALLER JOINTS FIRST
Arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first, hands, fingers, feet, and toes
It is a symmetrical disease, it will affect both sides of the body
FATIGUE, FEVER & LOSS OF APPETITE
Loss of energy and appetite, weight loss.
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SAUNA SAFETY TIPS FOR ARTHRITIS
As with any underlying health condition, like arthritis, you should first consult with a doctor to determine if infrared sauna is safe for you personally.
If you feel infrared sauna therapy is a good fit for you – see below for some general safety sauna tips to keep in mind at all times.
Starting out you should for a low frequency when it comes to your infrared heat sessions. Beginners should start with just 1 to 2 sessions per week before slowly increasing frequency. More experienced users can aim for 3-4 sessions every seven days.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY IN?
Smilar to above, beginners should start with short sessions. This way the body gets time to adjust and become comfortable with the IR heat session.
New users should stay in for no longer than 5 minutes, to begin with, and work their way up gradually as they become more comfortable. Experienced users can aim for sessions of 15 minutes.
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine a suitable session duration that is safe for you. For more see How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?
Drink plenty of fluids to make sure you do not become dehydrated. Your body will lose a lot of fluids through sweat and these need to be replaced as quickly as possible to ensure you stay hydrated. Sip a drink during the session and continue to so once the session is complete.
DO NOT WEAR JEWELRY
Do not wear any jewellery inside the sauna. Jewelry can become super hot inside a sauna and this could result in painful burns or irritations to skin. Make sure all jewelry is removed before getting into the sauna.
COOL DOWN AFTERWARDS
Your core body temperature will increase during an infrared sauna session. Allow plenty of time afterwards for your body temperature to fall back to its natural level. Do not plan any activity during this period. A cold shower can assist the cooling down process.
HOW SAUNA CAN HEAL MIND & BODY
Infrared sauna can be used to help treat the symptoms of many other conditions. See below for additional therapeutic effects of infrared sauna.
Infrared sauna can help relieve the symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation of not just arthritis – but also with Lyme disease and can help detox the body – Read More Here
ECZEMA & PSORIASIS
Infrared heat therapy is showing welcome promise in the treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
The sweating, cleansing of the skin and increased cardiovascular activity help heal damage to the skin – Read More Here
Infrared sauna helps slow the progression of the disease when used in the early stages. It can help protect the neurons that get damaged by Parkinson’s.
Infrared therapy can help reduce chronic inflammation and ease the associated pain in joints and tissues.
It is believed it relaxes the immune response that triggers inflammation and increases blood supply to the affected areas.
An infrared sauna session stimulates the cardiovascular system and increases heart rate, similar to levels of moderate exercise.
This gets the blood pumped through the body at an increased rate, carrying with it oxygen and nutrients.
The heat of a sauna session can help relieve the pain associated with not just arthritis – but also tight muscles, general inflammation and joint stiffness.
One of the greatest benefits of a sauna session is the soothing and relaxing effect it has on the mind. It is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
RECOVERY AFTER A WORKOUT
Heat therapy is an excellent way to recover after an intense workout. The heat of an infrared sauna loosens and relaxes tight muscles and tissues – Read More Here.
Sauna is an excellent way to help detox the body and remove toxins and harmful chemicals from the body.
Sweat droplets carry with them toxins and byproducts as they pass through the pores of the skin and cleanse the system – Read More Here
Improved sleep can be achieved by enjoying the stress-relieving effects of an infrared sauna in the evening. Relaxing the mind before bedtime and help induce deep and restful sleep.
Research has shown that sauna heat therapy can boost the immune system and increase the number of white blood cells and monocytes in circulation.
The sweating process enjoyed during heat therapy helps clean the skin as sweat droplets pass through the pores and form an oily protective layer on the surface of the skin. Sweat droplets contain a natural antibiotic that kills harmful microbes.
PROMOTE MENTAL HEALTH
The relaxing effects of a sauna help reduce anxiety and stress levels. And as mentioned above promote better sleep. These soothing qualities promote better mental health and an overall ‘feel-good’ factor.
For further reading on the health benefits of infrared sauna see – GUIDE TO HEALTH BENEFITS OF INFRARED SAUNA