Find Out How Regular Infrared Sauna Therapy May Help

All aspects of everyday life are affected by the pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue that accompany the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. From brushing your teeth, to stepping out of bed, food preparation, and the overall limitations of moving a body that is steeped in the ruthless symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis,this autoimmune disease is degenerative and debilitating with no known cure.

Typical treatment involves symptom management and an aggressive pharmaceutical approach to reduce joint swelling and pain. With the little known cause of rheumatoid arthritis, it is believed that prolonged states of stress response worsen symptoms and increase periods of disease activation. This ultimately speeds up the deteriorating effects that this condition has on many systems in the body including the disfigurement of extremities.

So, Can Infrared Sauna Therapy Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

When it comes to using an infrared sauna for arthritis, the treatment can be quite promising. In recent years, case studies involving individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis using broad spectrum infrared sauna treatment twice weekly have proven highly successful in finding elongated states of remission (1). These results have created the platform for the dawning of a new era in how we treat and foster the well being of individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

If you, or someone you love, is living with rheumatoid arthritis, please read on to understand how infrared sauna therapy can help manage and relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Learn how the infrared light spectrum affects the body’s systems to relieve symptoms, read about previous case studies that found symptom relief from infrared sauna therapy, and finally discover how regular infrared sauna therapy provides freedom from painful joint swelling and keep rheumatoid arthritis in remission so that life for you or your loved one can be lived free from debilitating pain.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

A man's wrist in pain caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that over time degrades and erodes many of the body’s systems including the joints, eyes, lungs, skin, and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of the body rather than an external threat. Rheumatoid arthritis damages the lining of the joints, causing severe swelling, pain, fatigue, and sometimes the deformity of the joints and limbs.

The chronic inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is the cause of the degradation of other body systems beyond the joints. It is also inflammation in the joints that causes the synovium (joint membrane) to thicken. This results in an abundance of synovial fluid leading to ligament and tendon expansion and weakening causing deformity in the joints and limbs of individuals suffering from this condition. Prolonged inflammation causes the loss of elasticity in the cartilage as ligaments stretch and weaken.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is episodic, meaning the condition flares up during certain periods of time and also finds remission at other times. Understanding the causative factors behind the ‘flare ups’ can help individuals to manage the condition. Like all autoimmune disorders remaining in stress response for prolonged periods of time appears to be a strong causative component in stages of increased uncomfortability.

Rheumatoid arthritis begins by affecting the smaller joints at first, fingers and toes in symmetrical alignment. For example, if the left big toe is affected so too is the right big toe. As the disease progresses larger joints are affected, eventually the cardiovascular system and internal organs pay the toll of prolonged inflammation.

Medical professionals refer to the ‘flare up’ stage as disease activation and periods where there are little to no signs or symptoms as states of disease remission. While there is no known cure, the goal in any treatment plan is for the patient to remain in states of remission with no experienced symptoms (2).

Understanding that inflammation throughout the body is the primary mover of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms helps to create a treatment plan that addresses this underlying culprit.

The infrared spectrum of light has a unique interaction with the cellular network of the body that results in increased circulation and therefore reduced inflammation. This is an important aspect of any rheumatoid arthritis management plan.

Who Is Affected By Rheumatoid Arthritis And What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis To Occur In Certain Individuals?

Approximately 1.5 million Americans live with rheumatoid arthritis, 70% of all cases occur in women between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Men living with rheumatoid arthritis generally are older than 60 years of age. The exact cause of this chronic condition is unknown. Medical professionals surmise that genetics, environmental factors, and chronic stress make certain individuals more susceptible to this autoimmune disease.

While the exact cause of the condition is still unknown, it appears that lifestyle plays a critical role, both in the emergence of the condition as well as affecting states of remission and disease activation. Although biomedicine has been unable to determine specific factors that lead to the development of the disease, professionals in the field do know that prolonged states of stress response keep the condition active. Inflammation is the underlying destructive factor in the degradation of ligaments, tendons, and ultimately joints. As the condition progresses inflammation will eventually take its toll on the vital organs (2).

Finding a management plan that addresses inflammation will be a positive factor in keeping the disease in remission. If you or a family member lives with rheumatoid arthritis, consider infrared sauna therapy as an excellent means of managing inflammation.

Typical Pharmaceutical Treatments Used To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis And Why They May Increase Disease Activation

Pharmaceuticals, typically an ineffective treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is often managed with an aggressive plan to decrease inflammation from occurring in the body. To manage arthritis pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are used, this includes over the counter drugs, such as ibuprofen as well as prescription pain relievers. Using painkillers may reduce pain, but they do not necessarily ‘cure’ the underlying issue of the condition.

Chronic inflammation is addressed using corticosteroids, including prednisone, which is a quick acting anti-inflammatory prescription drug. The risk of side effects in this family of drugs is strong and medical professionals prefer to use them for short periods of time. Risk of heart disease, increased stress response, and cardiovascular issues are some of the side effects from prolonged use of corticosteroids. In addition to the harmful side effects, these drugs encourage stress response in the body by activating sympathetic dominance (survival states/fight of flight) of the autonomic nervous system.

Management through drug treatment may ultimately worsen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by inducing further states of stress response. Keeping rheumatoid arthritis in remission requires aggressive treatment of inflammation and encouraging states of relaxation. Infrared sauna therapy has an astounding impact on chronic inflammation without any harmful side effects.

Additionally, infrared sauna therapy encourages parasympathetic dominance (states of relaxation) of the autonomic nervous system and gently draws individuals out of stress response so that prolonged states of disease remission becomes the norm.

How Does An Infrared Sauna Reduce Inflammation And Therefore Encourage States Of Remission In Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients?

Successful treatment of rheumatoid arthritis relies on two key components: Inflammation reduction (without harmful side effects) and finding pathways out of stress response and back into states of relaxation.

The relationship between the infrared light spectrum and the molecular structure of the body is complex, and the result of this interaction has far-reaching health benefits. Infrared sauna therapy is a preferred treatment for arthritis because of its powerful effect on the circulatory system and its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Where there is no inflammation, there are no symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

So, How Does Infrared Sauna Therapy Reduce Inflammation?

A mature man suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis walking with his wife

Infrared wavelengths exist on the invisible spectrum of light and cannot be seen with the human eye, but are experienced kinetically as heat. The infrared spectrum of light penetrates deeply into the epidermis and therefore fully engages the cellular and molecular network. As the rays of infrared light burrow into the epidermis, the largest human organ, they heat the body up from the inside out. The body responds to both infrared heat therapy and light to reduce inflammation by increasing circulation. Improved blood circulation intrinsically flushes inflammation out of the joints by creating a current of hyperoxygenated hemoglobin through the affected areas of the body.

When the body is exposed to the healing rays of the infrared spectrum, the living anatomy of the human body invites the light into its network system to create a domino effect on the cellular activity to decrease inflammation.

As the infrared light seeps beyond the initial membrane of the skin to penetrate into the soft tissue of the body, the cellular mechanism responds in excitement. The human form is comprised of 50 trillion cells, each cell in the body has what could be considered an ‘energy plant’ the mitochondria, where ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production occurs. The mitochondria are very sensitive to all light, particularly sensitive to the deeply penetrative rays of the infrared.  As soon as the body is exposed to infrared light, ATP production is exponentially stimulated.

As ATP production increases in response to infrared light exposure, this releases nitric acid, which hyperoxygenates the hemoglobin. The freshly oxygenated blood cells begin to flow throughout the body like a fast-moving river.

Inflammation occurs in rheumatoid arthritis patients as a result of the fluctuation of synovial fluid in the membrane of the joint cells. The lack of oxygen in the inflamed regions of the body causes swelling and pain. Ultimately this swelling will stretch the tendons and ligaments causing deformity in the joints of individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Within minutes of exposure to the infrared light spectrum, ATP production is heightened and increases the flow of oxygen in the blood.  This creates better and faster flowing circulation of the blood throughout the body and thus reduces inflammation (3).

In 2009 the US National Library Of Medicine published a revelatory case study using 17 individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and followed their journey through a four-week infrared sauna therapy treatment. Each individual took two infrared sauna therapy sessions per week lasting for at least 15 minutes. The study reported that there were no adverse effects but rather revealed that:

“Pain and stiffness decreased clinically, and improvements were statistically significant during and after infrared sauna sessions. Fatigue also decreased. RA patients felt comfortable during and especially after treatment.” –US National Library Of Medicine, Institute Of Health, 2009 (4)

This study reveals the positive effects of infrared sauna therapy over a short period of time with relatively infrequent infrared sauna treatments on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. One can surmise that with greater frequency of sessions over a prolonged period of time, symptom reduction would be exponential. It is conceivable that total remission of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis would occur after consistent and regular exposure to the infrared spectrum.

It is possible to find relief from inflammation without using toxic pharmaceutical medication with harmful side effects to treat cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Not only is infrared sauna therapy an excellent modality in treating the symptoms of this chronic condition, but it also has a profound impact on overall health.

In addition to addressing the issue of inflammation in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, infrared sauna therapy reduces expressions of stress response in the body by coaxing the physiological network back into states of relaxation.

Medical professionals understand that a causative factor in the active expression of this chronic condition is prolonged states of stress. Symptoms of inflammation, pain, and fatigue are addressed through infrared sauna therapy as well as the causative factors of prolonged states of stress.

Increase Collagen Production Through Infrared Sauna Therapy: Repair The Cellular Damage Incurred From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exposure to near-infrared light increases collagen production (5). Collagen is responsible for the elasticity in the skin and bones. By augmenting collagen production, bone marrow regenerates at faster rates to reduce damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Inflammation in the joints over prolonged periods of time stretches and weakens the ligaments and tendons around the joint and produces bone deformity in the outlining areas. This occurs in the later stages of rheumatoid arthritis. By increasing collagen, joint tonus is also increased; this means that any inflammation that is occurring in the joints will not have the same damaging effects.

Further, heightening collagen production will stimulate cellular regeneration in the bone marrow of the body and will heal damage incurred from prolonged inflammation.

Exposure to the infrared light spectrum will not only reduce inflammation, but it will also increase collagen production; and therefore,  begin to heal the damaged bones, tendons, and ligaments that have been incurred after years of living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Infrared Sauna Therapy Provides Relief From Stress Response: A Causative Factor In Rheumatoid Arthritis

While medical professionals have been unable to find a direct cause of rheumatoid arthritis, it is well understood that a stressful lifestyle is a contributing factor both in the onset of the condition as well as a trigger for phases of ‘flare ups’. If individuals suffering from this disease were able to maintain greater states of relaxation or have the tools to easily exit stress response, then remission would remain the constant.

The warm rays of the infrared light spectrum open and expand the cellular membrane to induce states of relaxation. When relaxation occurs, projected energy outward is drawn back into the body’s network for nourishment and healing. Prolonged states of stress response will create a myriad of diseases within the body. Infrared sauna therapy is a pleasurable tool that will draw the body out of stress response back into states of rest and relaxation where healing can occur.

Individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis must find states of relaxation in order to obtain remission from the disease. Relaxation for these individuals is not a luxury but a necessity. For this reason, the infrared sauna can be a lifeline out disease activation back into remission for rheumatoid arthritis patients (6).

How To Use An Infrared Sauna For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Man looking in mirror after infrared sauna therapy

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive condition and usually affects the smaller joints in the early stages. Individuals who have found complete remission from the disease have testified that while they were using infrared sauna therapy they would raise the inflamed joints upwards and draw these parts of the body closer to the heating units within the infrared sauna. For example, if arthritis is affecting the ankle joints then it is advised that you lay down on the bench in your infrared sauna with the legs up the wall and ankles resting close to the heat emitters.

Reversing the flow of circulation by having affected joints raised above the head, inflammation is reduced and penetration of the infrared rays are able to move more directly into the painful areas of the body.

Infrared saunas do not rely on high external heat, but rather raise the internal core temperature from the inside out. It is therefore comfortable to sit in the unit for anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes. The more exposure time to the infrared spectrum the greater the ATP production becomes and therefore an internal climate of fluid circulation of hyperoxygenated blood cells occurs.

The temperature in the infrared sauna does not need to be set high to reap the health benefits of improved circulation. Finding a physical posture in the infrared sauna that promotes proximity of the painful areas of the body to the heat emitters will increase symptom relief without adding the stress of high temperatures.

If you or someone you love is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis then infrared sauna treatment could be the solution to finding remission, especially when particular postures are assumed during the sauna session to promote circulation to painful parts of the body.

Is Remission From Rheumatoid Arthritis With Infrared Sauna Therapy Possible?

Receiving the diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder is fear-inducing, particularly when there is no known cure. In addition to the pain and limited mobility associated with rheumatoid arthritis, individuals are left anticipating the worst. Living in dread of the ultimate demise of the body as a result of this degenerative disease is stressful unto itself. Medical studies now suggest that there is an opportunity for the cessation of symptoms and possibly the complete remission of the condition including a stunting of the progression of the disease.

Infrared sauna therapy for rheumatoid arthritis is a treatment method that can provide greater states of comfort, free from painful symptoms within the first four weeks. This treatment will also induce states of relaxation and release its patients from states of stress response that are responsible for disease activation.

Although rheumatoid arthritis is a painful and potentially lethal condition, there is hope for patients suffering at the merciless grip of this condition. Stepping into the infrared light spectrum opens up to the possibility of the dawning of a new future, one where pain relief from rheumatoid arthritis is possible without any harmful side effects and where, perhaps, even full remission can be found.

***** Contraindication: If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and are currently on a management program created by your medical practitioner, please consult with him or her before proceeding with infrared sauna therapy.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112279/
  2. https://www.arthritis.org/better-living-toolkit/rheumatoid-arthritis
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/infrared-sauna-benefits#1
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18685882
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/

Additional Reading:

https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/what-is-rheumatoid-arthritis.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648

https://www.medicinenet.com/living_with_rheumatoid_arthritis/views.htm