LLLT (Low-level light therapy) from infrared sauna use can be helpful for acute pain by reducing inflammation, and with the near epidemic rates of individuals suffering low back pain, a therapy such as this may be worth considering.
According to one study, increased frequency of sauna bathing is associated with a decreased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), fatal coronary heart disease, fatal cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality, likely in part due to it’s ability to boost circulation. It has also been shown to show provide benefit for those with atherosclerosis by improving vascular endothelial function.
Nothing beats the feeling of being cozy warm on a chilly day! Warm fuzzy socks, a hot cup of tea in hand… Doesn’t the thought itself provide instant relaxation?
It’s no wonder sauna use can be so helpful in bringing the nervous system into a parasympathetic, “rest-and-digest” state. Both the heat and the quiet really relaxes me on both a physical and an emotional level. Find stillness in the sauna unlike anywhere else, and consider it to be an excellent space to get quiet, tune in, and focus on your breath.
One study even assessed mood states of cancer patients, with a significant decrease in depressive states lasting upwards of 72 hours following sauna use.
Infrared light been shown to accelerate wound healing while also showing promise in reversal of sun damaged skin in some cases.
Promising results are being seen in using sauna as an adjunct to chemotherapy, likely because it helps to activate the immune system. The thermal stress causes cells to produce heat shock proteins, which are a repair mechanism for the body that naturally declines as we age.In some cases, hyperthermia in itself is used as a treatment for cancer, and may be of particular benefit to those with metastasis of the liver .
The research on sauna use for both the herpes virus and lyme disease is also promising.
If you’re looking to increase your flexibility and range-of-motion, consider adding infrared sauna time to your weekly regime! Interestingly enough, external heating from something like sauna usage may also boost our natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that naturally decreases as we age. It tends to have a beneficial effect on insulin levels, and can be helpful in maintaining a healthy body mass and muscle tissue. It may also help to speed up recovery. Whole body hyperthermia even improves obesity-induced insulin resistance in diabetic mice. (BUT with that being said, it’s important to know that sauna use doesn’t compensate for the power of living healthfully across the board. Eating well and moving the body is still essential!)