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How Long Should You Sauna For Arthritis and Pain Relief Benefits?

Did you know that over 3.9 million adults in Australia alone suffer from some form of rheumatoid arthritis, making it one of the leading causes of chronic pain? If you’re one of them, the constant joint pain and stiffness can be unbearable. But there’s good news! A growing body of medical evidence suggests that infrared saunas could be the key to reducing arthritis pain and treating other chronic conditions like fibromyalgia. In this article, we’ll delve into the research and show you how infrared saunas can reduce inflammation, help alleviate arthritis pain, and improve your overall health and well-being.

Is Sauna Good For Arthritis?

Yes, evidence suggests that the sauna is good for arthritis symptoms, including pain management and joint stiffness. A pilot study from Clinical Rheumatology found that there was a “significant” impact on the short-term improvement of pain, and stiffness decreased clinically in sufferers of arthritis. Authors note a “trend towards long-term beneficial effects” of infrared sauna use for these patients, as well as the fact that infrared saunas have had “no adverse effects” for the users. They also pointed out that their results indicated that “fatigue also decreased” in their patients.

Another study from the University of Twente asked rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to measure and rate their pain before and after sauna bathing, with their results showing that “pain and stiffness improved significantly during treatment,” with the average improvement rate anywhere between 40-60% for arthritis pains. The authors noted that “infrared whole-body hyperthermia has statistically significant positive direct effects upon pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients.”

It’s important to note from the outset that the use of saunas, in isolation, should not be considered a cure for something like rheumatoid arthritis. Instead, as a simple, convenient, and relaxing means of treating the symptoms of arthritis, like chronic pain and joint stiffness.

Medical studies have begun to illuminate the health benefits of sauna bathing in the context of arthritis patients, which has been shown to offer legitimate signs of treating pain in those patients.

How Is A Sauna Good For Arthritis Pain?

A sauna is good for rheumatoid arthritis pain because it provides an increase in circulation and blood flow that allows nutrients to be taken to areas that are in need of repair while simultaneously removing built-up waste material.

Infrared sauna treatment is even better for arthritis pain because of the added benefits of infrared light. The infrared light spectrum penetrates approximately 5cm passed our skin tissue, into our muscles.

This infrared heat therapy promotes oxygen-rich blood throughout our circulatory system and causes our blood vessels to dilate. The safe infrared rays provide more energy to the ‘powerhouse’ of our cells, the mitochondria. The mitochondria are powered by what’s known as ATP, which receives a significant power boost from infrared energy and helps alleviate painful rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Sauna sessions can be thought of as; ‘charging up our cells’ and giving your body the tools it needs to send oxygen-rich blood to problem areas, which is what researchers have noted in the context of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Does Infrared Sauna Help With Inflammation?

Yes, infrared light waves help with inflammation, such as inflammatory arthritis symptoms and joint swelling, because the infrared light spectrum opens the door for your body’s heat stress response. The heat stress response of the body from the infrared spectrum is to produce ATP, which can be the catalyst for the production of more white blood cells that fight inflammation inside your body. A study looked at the relationship between sauna bathing and an inflammation marker in the blood called C-reactive protein. The study included 2084 men aged 42 to 60 years who did not have any acute or chronic inflammation. The results showed that participants who took a sauna bath once a week, 2-3 times per week, or 4-7 times per week had average C-reactive protein levels of 2.41, 2.00, and 1.65 mmol/L respectively. The study also found a significant inverse relationship between the frequency of sauna bathing and the levels of C-reactive protein after adjusting for factors such as age, body mass index, blood pressure, and others. In simpler terms, this study found that taking saunas regularly was linked to lower levels of inflammation in the body as measured by C-reactive protein.

As we’ve discovered, infrared saunas can help reduce inflammation, as your cells and circulatory system receive a significant boost of oxygen-rich blood. As a result, time spent sauna bathing helps to treat areas of inflammation with added blood flow and even fortifies your body’s immune system to fight future inflammation.

How Common Is Arthritis?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 54 million people in America – around 23% of the adult population – suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Of that number, more than 24 million adults have limited mobility due to their arthritis, with one in four reporting some form of severe pain in the joints. The CDC estimates that reduced mobility and disabilities stemming from arthritis come at a cost of $303 billion each year to the U.S. economy.

In Australia, more than four million people live with rheumatoid arthritis, which is expected to grow to 5.4 million by 2030. Arthritis is the second most common cause of early retirement in Australia and is expected to come at a cost of $1.5 billion to the economy by 2030.

How Long Should You Sauna For Arthritis, Joint Pain And Chronic Pain Relief?

According to the studies present, you should sauna 4-7 times a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes a session over a 4-week period at temperatures of 55ºC and higher for rheumatoid arthritis, pain in joints, and chronic pain symptoms. The time spent in a sauna should be comfortable, relaxing and enjoyable to achieve the most benefit for pain relief. A cabin sauna in a clinical study was used to demonstrate the practical applications of sauna use and the outcomes observed. It is objectively important to recognise that the benefits are not derived solely from the temperature of the sauna cabin, but rather from an increase in core body temperature that the cabin temperature facilitates in a controlled setting. Let’s take a closer look at the sauna protocols used in some of these studies.

How to Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis with Infrared Sauna

This study, published in Clinical Rheumatology, looked at the effects of infrared saunas on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. The patients underwent 8 infrared sauna sessions over 4 weeks, lasting 30 minutes each time. Before and after the 4-week treatment period, the patients were assessed and reported no negative side effects and felt comfortable during and after the sessions. The results showed that the patients experienced improved pain, stiffness, and fatigue, but these improvements didn’t reach statistical significance. Additionally, there were no changes in disease activity scores, meaning the treatment didn’t worsen their conditions. The study concluded that saunas have short-term benefits, are well tolerated by patients, and don’t increase disease activity.

How to Alleviate Painful Symptoms with Saunas

In this study, researchers at the University of Twente treated 57 participants, including those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and healthy volunteers, with infrared light in a heated cabin. During the 30-minute session, the participants sat naked on a bench without drinking fluids, and the results showed an increase in heart rate, skin and core temperature, and a decrease in blood pressure. All groups showed a decrease in body weight, with healthy participants losing the most weight. The majority of participants felt comfortable during and after the treatment and reported an improvement in well-being 30 minutes after the session. The treatment also led to a statistically significant improvement in pain and stiffness in those with RA and AS. The study concluded that there are no known contraindications for infrared whole-body hyperthermia and it provides immediate relief without any negative impact on the inflammatory disease activity.

Many people with pain in their joints have reported that using an infrared sauna has helped them find relief. Some have said that heat therapy has reduced the pain and stiffness in their joints, allowing them to move more freely. Others have reported that regular use of an infrared sauna has helped to reduce their dependence on pain medication.

FAQs on Saunas for Arthritis:

This post has explored the benefits of infrared sauna therapy for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and pain in joints. We’ve looked at the evidence behind this therapy, as well as its potential benefits and risks. Regular use of an infrared sauna can help alleviate arthritis symptoms, reduce joint pain, and improve overall health and well-being.

  1. What type of sauna is good for rheumatoid arthritis? Infrared sauna therapy is a type of sauna that has been shown to have a positive impact on arthritis symptoms and pain in joints.
  2. Do saunas help the pain in joints? Yes, saunas can help to relieve pain from joints and improve circulation.
  3. Is sauna good for joint inflammation? Yes, there is evidence to suggest that sauna therapy, including infrared sauna therapy, can help to reduce joint inflammation and relieve symptoms of arthritis.
  4. Can heat make rheumatoid arthritis worse? In some cases, heat can make arthritis symptoms worse. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
  5. Can infrared saunas help with joint pain? Yes, saunas have been shown to have a positive impact on pain from joints and arthritis symptoms.

Who Should Avoid Infrared Sauna Therapy?

While infrared sauna therapy is generally safe for most individuals, there are some people who should avoid it. These individuals include:

  1. Pregnant women: Infrared sauna therapy is not recommended for pregnant women as the heat generated by the sauna can be harmful to the developing fetus.
  2. Individuals with heart conditions: Infrared sauna therapy can cause an increase in heart rate, which can be dangerous for individuals with certain heart conditions.
  3. Individuals with certain medical conditions: Infrared sauna therapy may not be appropriate for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as severe skin disorders or severe dehydration. It is important to consult with a doctor before undergoing infrared sauna therapy if you have any medical concerns.
  4. The Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy for Arthritis Sufferers

    1. Symptom Relief from Pain: Infrared saunas have been shown to provide significant pain relief for individuals with pain and rheumatoid arthritis. The heat generated by the sauna helps to reduce inflammation and decrease pain.
    2. Increased Mobility and Reduce Joint Swelling: By reducing inflammation, infrared sauna therapy can also help to increase mobility in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. This increased mobility can help to improve the quality of life for those suffering from this condition.
    3. Improved Sleep: Infrared sauna therapy has been shown to improve sleep quality for individuals with arthritis. This is due to the fact that the heat generated by the sauna can help to reduce pain and promote relaxation, allowing individuals to sleep better at night.
    4. Reduced Stress: The heat generated by the infrared sauna can also help to reduce stress, which is a common issue for individuals with arthritis. This reduction in stress can lead to improved overall health and well-being.
    5. Improved Blood Circulation: Infrared sauna therapy can help to improve blood circulation, which can be beneficial for individuals with arthritis. Improved circulation can help to reduce pain and swelling, and can also promote healing in the affected joints.

    Other Sauna Types and Sauna Benefits

    With the rise of chronic conditions such as arthritis and inflammation, many people are curious about the benefits of saunas for these specific issues. In this section, we’ll explore different types of saunas and the benefits they offer for arthritis and inflammation. Whether you’re wondering if saunas are good for arthritis, which type of sauna is best for reducing inflammation, or if a steam room is good for your joints, you’ll find all the information you need here. So let’s dive in and discover the many benefits of saunas for arthritis and inflammation!

    Other Sauna Types

    Each type of sauna offers its own unique benefits, so it is important to research and understand the different options available. For example, traditional saunas can help to improve circulation and promote relaxation, while steam rooms can help to open up airways and improve breathing. Far-infrared light saunas are specifically designed to target deep tissues and relieve pain and inflammation. In addition to traditional saunas, steam rooms, and far-infrared saunas, there are several other types of saunas available.

    Some of these include:

    1. Electric saunas: Electric saunas are similar to traditional saunas but use electric heaters to heat the room.
    2. Wood-burning saunas: Wood-burning saunas are heated using a wood-burning stove
    3. Smoke saunas: smoke saunas use smoke to heat the room. Each type of sauna has its own unique characteristics and benefits.

    Explanation of Other Sauna Type Benefits

    Electric saunas are known for their energy efficiency and convenience. Wood-burning saunas provide a traditional and authentic experience while also offering natural aromatherapy benefits. Smoke saunas are also traditional and offer a unique experience with the scent of smoke. All of these types of saunas provide similar benefits to traditional saunas, such as improved circulation and relaxation.

    When it comes to steam rooms, the primary benefit is the ability to open up airways and improve breathing. Steam rooms also provide similar benefits to traditional saunas, such as improved circulation and relaxation. However, the high humidity in steam rooms may not be ideal for those with certain health conditions.

    Far-infrared saunas, on the other hand, are specifically designed to target deep tissues and provide relief from pain and inflammation. This type of sauna uses infrared heaters to emit infrared radiation that penetrates the skin and heats the body from within. This can help to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve circulation.

    Final Thoughts

    Sauna bathing is a natural, non-invasive treatment option for individuals struggling with arthritis. By harnessing the power of heat, it can help to reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve overall health and well-being. However, it is important to remember that sauna therapy is not a cure for arthritis and should not be used as a substitute for traditional medical treatments.

    Before starting a sauna session, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine if it is the right option for you. It can be a valuable tool for individuals with arthritis, offering a range of sauna health benefits and helping to improve the quality of life for those who struggle with this condition. So, if you are looking for a natural, non-invasive way to manage arthritis, consider incorporating a sauna into your treatment plan today.

Adapted from a post from Clearlight Saunas