Arthritis is a name we give to pain or disease in the joints. There are over 100 types. The two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune response, in which your immune system attacks the linings of your joints. There are plenty of treatments for both types, and you can find many of them described at the Arthritis Foundation. But I think the best approach may be strategic pain relief, and that’s where “infrared sauna for arthritis” comes in.
Strategic Pain Relief
When I suggest relieving pain strategically, I’m being deliberate. It is obvious that pain relief is worth pursuing for its own sake. But I think it is even more valuable than that. Pain relief can allow you to be more physically active. The Mayo Clinic points out, “Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Of course, when stiff and painful joints are already bogging you down, the thought of walking around the block or swimming a few laps might seem overwhelming.”
Your doctor can probably recommend pain relief techniques that might get you moving. But note that the Arthritis Foundation also devotes a whole page of its website to warming techniques, saying, “When you turn up the heat, pain dials down to soothe stiff and painful joints.” Strangely enough, the Arthritis Foundation doesn’t mention sauna among its warming techniques, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from considering it. In addition to pain relief, infrared sauna provides relaxation. And relaxation helps to break the pain-tension-pain cycle that can make pain chronic.
A study published in 2009 found infrared sauna useful in treating both rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis affecting the cartilage in the joints between the vertebrae of the spine — ouch. Seventeen of each type of patient got eight infrared treatments over four weeks, which comes out to twice a week. The researchers found that “pain and stiffness decreased clinically, and improvements were statistically significant” during the sauna sessions. Furthermore, patients on average reported even more pain alleviation after treatments than during. The researchers found no ill effects, and no exacerbation of disease.
What this means is that infrared sauna may make you feel well enough to exercise immediately. And, as I noted above, exercise itself can further mitigate your pain. And once you’ve broken the pain cycle, you can be altogether more active. Even one sauna session might make you comfortable enough to do aerobics, swim some laps, or even walk a mile or two.
Infrared Sauna for Arthritis
At Peak Recovery & Health Care, we can’t cure your arthritis. It’s likely no one can. But we may be able to help your pain enough for you to exercise, and that is probably the best way to manage the condition. Book an infrared sauna visit at Peak Recovery and Health Center today. Come in and spend 30-40 minutes in the sauna, then go for a walk, or maybe even a run.
Photo: the infrared sauna at Peak Recovery & Health Center