Sauna & Arthritis - by Craig Lahti
"As the number one cause of disability in the United States, arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease affecting men, women and children alike-arthritis has no boundaries.”
~ Charles W. Pickering, retired Federal Judge discussing The Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2005
For those who live with arthritis, permanent relief from pain is a dream they hope to achieve some day. For many prescription is needed to help alleviate pain. However, with many medications, there is increased stress on the liver as it tries to eliminate the toxins of the medicine from the body. As a result, people are searching for other methods to help reduce pain and increase mobility. Fortunately, heat therapy in a sauna may provide temporary relief from pain, increase mobility, and may assist in the detoxification of the body, acting as a complement to traditional medicine.
To be clear, a sauna, whether traditional or far-infrared, will not cure arthritis, and the beneficial effects of sauna bathing are temporary, but when used as part of a regimen, an arthritic sauna bather will likely experience an improved quality of life. Through both a reduction in pain and increased mobility, a person may be more inclined to pursue a more active lifestyle than previously thought possible. By living a more active life, mood and mental health typically improves as well.
In a report submitted to The Annals of Clinical Research Volume 20 in 1988, Dr. H. Isomäki discussed research results related to the benefits of sauna bathing for temporary relief of pain and increased mobility. In the study, the pain relief was attributed to a temporary increase in the release of noradrenaline, adrenaline, coritsol and growth hormones (all of which have anti-inflammatory properties), as well as, an increased stress on the body which releases endorphins, the bodies natural pain killers. Of those studied, more than 50% of participants reported temporary relief of pain and an increase in mobility. The mobility was increased since tissues largely comprised of collagen (tendons, fasciae, and articular capsules) become more flexible when exposed to increased temperatures.
There is much anecdotal evidence that regular/daily sauna bathing can improve range of motion and reduce aches and pains of arthritic sufferers. An elderly man recently told us, "I am now 84 years old and have taken a daily morning sauna for decades. I use it to loosen up stiff joints before starting my day. Saunas have dramatically improved my quality of life and have allowed me to stay active much more than I would have without my daily sauna.”
While specific medical/scientific studies cannot be referenced, there is some thought that the increased circulation, caused by the elevated body temperatures while bathing in a traditional or far-infrared sauna, may help loosen and remove mineral deposits from joints, where circulation is usually lower therefore allowing mineral deposits to collect and create obstructions which can cause pain. Heat bathing promotes increased circulation when blood rushes through the body to cool the internal organs, and it is manifested in perspiration.
If you suffer from arthritis, talk to your doctor about including heat bathing as part of your health regimen. Combined with diet, exercise, and medication, a traditional or far-infrared sauna may help you recapture a more active, pain-free lifestyle in which you awake with a sense of adventure for what the day may bring.
For more information on traditional or far-infrared saunas or the combination InfraSaunas, contact your local dealer.