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Article: The Impressive Benefits of Sauna in Reducing Inflammation: Insights from Infrared Saunas

The Impressive Benefits of Sauna in Reducing Inflammation: Insights from Infrared Saunas

The Impressive Benefits of Sauna in Reducing Inflammation: Insights from Infrared Saunas

Written by Chris Lang

Using a sauna has long been connected with several health benefits, with many embracing its use. The reason why sauna sessions should be a part of wellness routines is because it stimulate blood circulation. But does sauna help with inflammation? When the oxygen-rich blood gets to all body parts, it helps reduce swelling and inflammation. This can alleviate chronic pain. If you constantly suffer from joint and muscle pain, consider getting sauna therapy.

Many people are moving towards natural inflammation remedies to reduce overreliance on medication. Sauna use is a welcome option since the sessions trigger the body to produce endorphins, which are natural painkillers that relieve pain and loosen joints.

Read on to learn more.

Understanding Saunas and Inflammation

A sauna is a small building or room designed to administer wet or dry heat. The heat and steam cause perspiration (or sweating in layman’s terms), which is purported to have numerous positive effects.

The sauna as we know it today traces its origins from Finland. The Finnish made saunas by digging pits on slopes initially meant to be used in winter. Traditional saunas had wood- or coal-fired fireplaces with stones heated at high temperatures. Water was then poured on the stones, which produced steam that gave a higher heat sensation.

Today, saunas use electric heaters, water boilers, and even infrared lamps to deliver their beneficial effects with minimal risks.

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli like radiation, toxic compounds, damaged cells, and pathogens. This is a defense mechanism that is an integral part of health. It acts by:

  • Initiating healing

  • Removing any harmful stimulus

  • Eliminating damaged tissues

  • Localizing and removing injurious factors

Inflammation results in redness, bruising, swelling, and pain. It is a critical action in various severe diseases like obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammation can either be chronic or acute. Acute inflammation is a necessary reaction that goes away once the body is healed. However, chronic inflammation triggers the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissues within the body. If it is not treated on time, it puts you at a higher risk of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Inflammation and Sauna Use

Sauna use is closely connected to reducing body inflammation. Some use sauna for cold relief, which is a type of immune response. When exposed to high temperatures, various psychological responses happen in the body. The heat causes blood vessel dilation, which means better blood flow throughout the body. Better waste removal and circulation reduce inflammation as anti-inflammatory molecules are transported to the areas affected. Saunas also stimulate the production of heat shock proteins. They regulate the immune response and are anti-inflammatory.

Cytokines are modulated in the body, where a sauna alters the anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines to reduce inflammation. Stress reduction brought about by relaxation in the sauna reduces inflammation. Chronic stress has been associated with high body inflammation.

Types of Saunas

There are different types of saunas that you can choose from today. Here are the common types of saunas:

  • Traditional sauna: Also known as a dry sauna, a traditional Finnish sauna uses heated rocks with minimal steam and humidity. The temperatures inside can rise to above 240 degrees. The rocks are typically heated with electric heaters in modern facilities.

  • Wet sauna: Also called a steam room or a Turkish bath, this type of sauna maintains high humidity through electrical heaters and steam generators. The steam is excellent for clearing out respiratory pathways and alleviating congestion, but doesn’t open up skin pores.

  • Smoke sauna: This type is rare and bears a large wood-burning stove but no chimney. The sauna has many rocks heated for a couple of hours before use. The flames from the wood heat the stones directly. The smoke enters the room, and once the heating is done, the sauna is ventilated and can now be used. Most of these saunas offer a smooth and genuine experience even though it’s time-consuming.

  • Infrared sauna: This is a heat therapy room that uses radiant heat. The infrared lamps installed in this sauna emit light invisible to the naked eye, which pierces the top layers of the skin and creates heat directly inside the body. There is no steam or water here. If you are wondering, "Is sauna good for acne?” an IR sauna can be a good choice for such a condition.

To have the ultimate experience, pick a sauna from Komowa and enjoy the benefits of high quality and reliability.

The Science Behind Saunas and Inflammation

Traditional and infrared saunas help to reduce inflammation. The energy waves and heat penetrate the skin and reduce inflammation. This is because using a sauna increases blood circulation in the body, making stiff muscles relax when oxygen-rich air is supplied. Just like the muscles, joints react in the same way. Overworking or overstimulating the joints leads to inflammation. The penetrating heat reduces stiffness and pain felt in the joints.

Saunas stimulate the flow of blood in the joints and muscles. When you use a sauna, the core temperature increases, and so does the blood circulation. This way, muscle recovery is improved after a workout. Using a sauna after intense activity decreases the inflammation and pain present.

According to a study conducted in 2018, sauna heat lowers oxidative stress markers. The markers are partly responsible for inflammation. According to the study, observational evidence supports that sauna bathing reduces acute and chronic disease conditions. With consistent sauna use over time, it could do a lot of good to the body.

Sauna Therapy for Inflammation

Most people who suffer from inflammation actively seek lasting solutions to help with the condition. To that end, infrared sauna use can alleviate some of the symptoms. The sauna is beneficial to the body and has a lower operating temperature, creating a milder and more controlled effect. This makes it more accessible to a broader part of the population.

Some common benefits closely associated with sauna use include detoxing, weight loss, and inflammation relief. Inflammation can be debilitating, and alleviating it should be prioritized to restore normal function.

Parts of the body suffer from inflammation mainly when they don’t get adequate oxygen to function well. The infrared rays penetrate the skin and reach the body cells and systems. The heat causes vasodilation, increasing blood flow to the affected areas.

With sauna’s heat, toxins are flushed from the body via sweat and improved kidney function, lowering the amount of toxins that can trigger an inflammatory response.

Additionally, stress is closely associated as one of the possible inflammation causes. When under stress, the body goes into survival mode, and some areas don’t operate as they should. Spending time in a sauna helps revitalize the body and encourages relaxation, reducing stress as another indirect inflammation relief method.

Sauna use also has a positive impact on conditions like type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diseases. Upon exposure to infrared rays, endorphins are released. These are molecules that are opioid-like and are natural painkillers. This is why sauna use has such a significant impact on patients with fibromyalgia, headaches, and arthritis.

If you want to try out sauna use for various conditions, don’t stop medicating. It’s essential to speak to your doctor first before trying any alternative treatments.

Cardiovascular Health and Saunas

According to studies, there is evidence of potential benefits associated with sauna use and cardiovascular health. Regular use of saunas improves cardiovascular health and lowers heart disease risks. Using a sauna for heart health reduces the risk of death from stroke and heart disease. Some of the benefits include:

  • Dilating the blood vessels, improving blood flow

  • Lowering resting blood pressure

  • Increasing the amount of blood pumped by the heart

  • Modulating the autonomic nervous issues

  • Reducing arterial stiffness

  • Flushing our cholesterol

Pain Relief and Endorphin Release

Using the sauna is closely associated with pain relief and the release of endorphins and dopamine. These are mood-enhancing and pain-relieving chemicals that the body produces. Sauna use improves blood circulation, which means more oxygen and nutrients get to the tissues, even in the areas affected by pain. This alleviates discomfort and promotes healing.

When exposed to sauna heat, muscles relax, and tension is relieved. This is a good thing for anyone suffering from muscle stiffness and soreness. This way, saunas contribute to pain relief.

The relaxation and heat stimulate endorphins, which help reduce pain and promote great relaxation and well-being. The calming environment within the sauna alleviates stress and can positively impact pain relief.

Sauna Therapy in Practice

If you plan to start using sauna therapy for inflammation management, there are several practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Talk to a healthcare provider before starting therapy. This is especially important for those with various medical conditions and concerts. The doctor should assess and guide you on whether sauna use is ideal.

  • Begin gradually: For those new to this type of therapy, shorter sessions at lower temperatures make sense. This can increase gradually as the body gets accustomed to heat. Restrict yourself to 4 sessions per week for 15 minutes per session.

  • Hydrate: sauna therapy induces swearing, which means a lot of dehydration in the process. Before, during, and after sauna exposure, take a lot of water to remain hydrated. This helps replenish the body’s fluids. Don’t take caffeinated beverages. Limit alcohol consumption.

  • Choose a well-maintained and safe sauna: A sauna should be properly ventilated, clean, and capable of humidity and temperature regulation. Consider getting a personal sauna from Komowa.

  • Be attentive to your body: If you feel fatigued, dizzy, lightheaded, or feel any discomfort during a session, get out of the sauna and take time to cool down.

  • Cool down slowly: Allow the body to adjust slowly. Take a lukewarm shower, then rest in a cool room. Abrupt temperature changes may strain the cardiovascular system.

Potential Risks and Precautions

Sauna use has many potential benefits for different body functions and conditions. However, it’s important to know potential risks and precautions to take.

  • Dehydration: Saunas induce sweating, which means fluid loss and possible dehydration. Take plenty of water and get medical advice if you are on medications that affect body fluid balance.

  • Prolonged heat exposure can cause heat-related illnesses. Don’t stay too long in the sauna and exit immediately if you feel sick during use.

  • Saunas increase blood pressure and heart rate. Consult a doctor if you have arrhythmias, heart disease, or hypertension before using a sauna.

  • Health conditions and medications affect how the body reacts to heat and may make you more sensitive to heat. Talk to your doctor first before getting into a sauna.

  • Heat can cause skin irritation and make some skin conditions worse. Cover the sensitive areas when using the sauna. Stop using the sauna if discomfort or irritation is experienced, and talk to a dermatologist.

  •  It’s not recommended for pregnant women to use a sauna.

Conclusion

Saunas can significantly impact wellness and overall health. When used correctly, it can be one of the best ways of dealing with inflammation and reducing pain. With the right approach, sauna use can help with better blood flow, cardiovascular health, stress relief, detoxification, improved skin health, and relaxation.

With all these benefits, sauna therapy is an appealing option and should be considered an addition to self-care routines. Done right, sauna use contributes to a more balanced and healthier life.

 

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