On the subject of infrared sauna for cancer, in August I posted a piece about an Ohio fire department that is using an infrared sauna and an exercise bike. They believe that getting fire fighters to sweat profusely after a fire engagement will help them rid their bodies of the toxins they encounter on the job. But flushing toxins by sweating isn’t the only way that infrared sauna fights cancer, and in this post, I want to describe five other ways it may prevent or help in the management of cancer.
1. Reducing Stress. The exact nature of the relationship between stress and cancer remains unclear, but the relationship certainly exists. Stress tends to reduce your immunity to cancer, and it also inhibits your ability to fight and survive it. Accordingly, practices that promote relaxation — such as regularly using an infrared sauna — can confer some protection from cancer.
2. Helping with Weight Loss. According to the American Cancer Society, excess weight and obesity is associated with cancer. The Society even pins this relationship down: excess body weight is responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the U.S. In September, I posted this overview of infrared sauna and weight loss. Infrared sauna increases your metabolism, and increased metabolism — other things being equal — means weight reduction. Sauna probably won’t work very well as a weight reduction strategy on its own, but it definitely supports any other weight loss strategy, and when it comes to cancer, which attacks you at a cellular level, even the smallest contributions can mean a great deal.
3. Improving Cardiovascular Health. A 2016 paper in the journal Circulation pointed to the connection between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer: “CVD and cancer possess various similarities and possible interactions, including a number of similar risk factors (eg, obesity, diabetes mellitus), suggesting a shared biology for which there is emerging evidence.” It stands to reason that whatever improves cardiovascular health will probably fight cancer. I have written a couple times about how infrared sauna promotes cardiovascular health: here and here. I don’t need to restate those arguments here. There is widespread agreement that infrared sauna promotes cardiovascular health.
4. Boosting the Immune System. A 2013 article in the Journal of Human Kinetics measured the effect of sauna on white blood cell count as well as various enzymes and proteins associated with the immune system. As it happens, the effect was greater in athletes than in untrained individuals. So you’ll get the biggest boost if you combine sauna with exercise. In addition, a study that is now nearly 30 years old showed that regular sauna use led to a lower incidence of colds, suggesting that sauna boosts immunity. The immune system is such a powerful cancer fighter that it is the centerpiece of the most advanced cancer treatment techniques: immunotherapy.
5. Actually Killing Cancer Cells. The classical treatments for cancer — chemotherapy and radiation — are based on the weakness of cancer cells in comparison to healthy cells. Healthy cells can survive them while cancer cells are much more likely to succumb to them. The same is true for heat. In fact, the effect was demonstrated a few years ago and was reported in a 2011 issue of a publication called The Scientist. At the time, the excitement centered on the use of heat as a supplement for traditional therapies. But at the cellular level, it likely works on its own as well.
Concerned about cancer? Book an infrared sauna session today.
Image: “Human Colon Cancer Cells” by NCI Center for Cancer Research. The colors in the image are due to staining: the nuclei of the cancer cells are stained red and the protein E-cadherin stained green. Public Domain.