Infrared Sauna as a complementary treatment for chronic pain

 
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Written by Bec Farah, Naturopath

At The Health Lodge we actively seek innovative ways to better improve our patient outcomes; we’re excited to introduce our new Sun Stream infrared sauna and share the many benefits, particularly for chronic pain. 

The uses of saunas have been around for a long time and are deeply engrained into the Finland and German culture - they were onto something back then! 

Infrared saunas have gained an interest in the alternative health world in recent years because of its numerous health benefits including helping your body rid itself of toxins, reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. With these benefits, it’s no wonder it will assist in an array of conditions.

Plus, it’s a great time to pause, relax, read a book and feel amazing after each session!  

While it’s easy just to pop a paracetamol or ibuprofen when in pain, pain is our body communicating and alerting us that something isn’t right. A holistic approach to treating pain consists of taking a step back to find the underlying cause of this pain response and treat symptoms safely and naturally. As opioids are currently prescribed more than ever with the potential for it being addictive and even claiming more and more lives, it is critical that non-pharmaceutical pain relief options are explored.

Chronic pain can be driven by several factors such as inflammation, accumulative toxins, long term stress, lack of sleep, over-exercise, dehydration, hormonal imbalances or gut imbalances. Regardless of the drivers, infrared saunas have been scientifically proven to help lower pain associated with various health conditions. 

Unlike a traditional heated sauna, where the air is heated so you warm from the inside out, infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate almost four centimetres deep into your skin’s barrier, heating you from the inside out. By heating these tissues, we experience a vasodilatation of peripheral blood vessels which not only sweats out toxins but brings down inflammation throughout the whole body. Infrared saunas have also been shown to induce the release of endorphins (yes, not just exercise), an important pain reliever. Both of these actions can be beneficial in reducing chronic pain, muscle spasms and joint stiffness due to conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

While there are many infrared saunas currently on the market, after much research into the different options, Sun Stream stood out to us by being the safest for emitting virtually no Electromagnetic fields. Infrared saunas also allow you to withstand the heating effects longer than a traditional sauna would (try holding a conversation in one), allowing you to spend more time reaping the many benefits, and are also a good option if you’re sensitive to heat. We researched some conditions and their outcomes using the Sun Stream infrared sauna:  

Fibromyalgia

An estimated 2-10% of Australians are affected with Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and stiffness in muscles, joints and tendons, accompanied with fatigue. A Japanese study found that just 15 minute daily infrared saunas two or five times a week at 60 degrees reduced pain by half. All patients found even after one session their pain reduced by 50% and the effect became lasting after 10 treatments. 

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance and low grade-fever dramatically improved in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome after 15 to 25 infrared sessions for 15 minutes at 60 degrees. Interestingly, although steroid administration was discontinued, symptoms either didn’t return or worsen during the first year after discharge. 

Arthritis

Research has shown that infrared saunas can help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, a progressive inflammatory auto-immune condition where the immune system attacks the joints, resulting in extreme pain and stiffness, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles. As infrared saunas work to stimulate circulation to bring down inflammation throughout the whole body, they can help relieve stiff joints and sore muscles. 

What about chronic pain related to other conditions? Infrared sauna sessions appear to improve pain caused by just about any source. Because of this, infrared sauna can be used in conjunction with acupuncture, physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractic treatments to optimise pain relief and management. Consult with our practitioners whether infrared saunas are appropriate for you. 

These results show that regular short infrared sessions are a safe and promising method for the treatment of chronic pain conditions. 

For additional information on our Sun Stream sauna, go to - www.infraredsaunasau.com.au/ultra-low-emf.html