We tend to hear a common question from many potential sauna owners: “Are saunas good for arthritis?”
A new infrared sauna can bring you more benefits than you think. You might be feeling some joint pains here and there, wondering where it comes from and how you can relieve it without the hassle. This is the perfect time to learn more about arthritis and how you can use an infrared sauna to alleviate those bothersome symptoms.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the benefits of infrared sauna for arthritis and how it can help manage the symptoms of this condition.
Meanwhile, 300,000 children are living with arthritis. This contrasts with the myth that only older people experience the said disease. Even young adults and middle-aged people suffer from this immobilizing condition.
It is not easy to put arthritis in one box, as more than 100 types of it have been observed. However, it may be generally described as joint pain or joint swelling, with “arthr-” meaning joint, and “-itis” meaning inflammation.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Some of the most common symptoms of arthritis include:
Stiffness around the joint
Reduced range of motion around the joint
Pain upon movement and rest
Redness and swelling
People with arthritis might notice that they may have more and more difficulty completing daily tasks such as climbing the stairs or standing up from a chair. This is because chronic pain is characteristic of this diagnosis.
Arthritis symptoms may be mild to severe. Those who have it may feel it gets worse over time, depending on the type of arthritis they have.
What are the Different Types of Arthritis?
There are many different types of arthritis, each with its own causes and symptoms. Knowing the type you suffer from may help you find the best infrared sauna for your arthritis.
Degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. It happens when the cartilage and synovial fluid starts to thin so much that bone moves against bone during movement. This is it’s also called “wear and tear” arthritis.
Degenerative arthritis is common in older women after menopause. Since estrogen is highly related to calcium regulation, its lower levels cause the bones and joints to be more brittle and less flexible. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and joint weakness.
It is usually followed by other chronic illnesses and is found in the older population. Someone’s family history, an old injury, and being overweight are risk factors that could cause osteoarthritis. Age, gender, and race may also be significant to its development.
Inflammatory arthritis happens when the immune system is flawed, attacks the person’s own joints, and erodes them. It can also cause damage to the internal organs, causing them to malfunction over time.
Because of the nature of this process, inflammatory arthritis falls under the classification of “autoimmune disease,” where the immune system sees its own tissues as foreign invaders, therefore attacking them to protect the body.
Organs usually attacked by inflammatory arthritis include the heart, eyes, skin, and other organs. Therefore, early diagnosis and the start of treatment are essential to prevent any severe damage.
Examples of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout. In addition, the development of inflammatory arthritis may be influenced by genetics and environmental factors that trigger autoimmunity, like smoking.
Too much uric acid in the body from purines can cause the formation of crystals around the joint areas, causing joint pain during what we call “gout attacks.” Uric acid levels must be lowered to prevent this type of arthritis from becoming chronic.
A person with metabolic arthritis can be subject to a disability, limited mobility, and repeated spells of pain from gout. Overgrown crystals may even penetrate the skin and cause ulcerations which may be a route of infection.
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How Does Arthritis Affect Daily Life?
There are a lot of ways arthritis can affect one’s daily life beyond just the pain. Since health is holistic, anything that may deteriorate it also has holistic effects.
Arthritis affects a person’s mobility and limits the range of movement during pain spells. This can include simple things like opening a jar, getting dressed, or walking upstairs.
It can also affect a person's ability to work and participate in their favorite activities. In severe cases, arthritis can even make it difficult to hold a pencil or grip a steering wheel. The specific effects of arthritis will vary depending on the type of arthritis a person has and the severity of their condition.
A person is advised to have around 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Not meeting this may cause them to gain weight or get weaker. Moreover, if a person chooses to stay in bed in fear that they will experience a flare, they may also have muscle atrophy due to a lack of resistance activities.
Persons with arthritis must try to resume adequate physical activity when the pain subsides to retain their physical health, including strength, agility, and endurance.
Physical pain can affect a person’s emotions more than we think. This is because the mood depends on the overall state of our body and mind, and if we constantly feel pain, it may make us feel inadequate, causing attacks on body image and self-esteem.
It is no surprise that many people with chronic pain also develop depression. Pain prevents us from doing things we love, so it is only natural to feel sad and down when you have arthritis, especially during flares. This may even be accompanied by lots of anger and frustration.
People with arthritis must be encouraged to express their feelings and emotions about having this condition. It would also help to have company during arthritis flares as they can help manage strong emotional episodes.
Since physical and emotional health are both involved, how we interact with other people inevitably will be affected. Arthritis pain may prevent us from doing our usual activities with family and friends.
Having arthritis may also make us apprehensive about going and trying new things with the fear of a flare-up. This lessens the chances of meeting new people, exchanging life stories, and having meaningful conversations.
Persons with arthritis must be given avenues where they can still interact with their loved ones despite being unable to move the way they did before. It would also help to find people with similar conditions, like a support group with whom they can relate.
Seeing as though arthritis affects so many aspects of our life, an infrared saunas would not only relieve inflammation, they may also improve our physical, emotional, and social health by lessening arthritis symptoms.
If you are suffering from arthritis, a hybrid sauna like the Almost Heaven Newport 4 Person Sauna (pictured above) may be especially helpful. Since it has a bigger capacity than most saunas, you can enjoy a sauna session with friends or family while while lessening your painful symptoms. It also has audio speakers for your entertainment needs.
How Does Using an Infrared Sauna for Arthritis Work?
Studies suggest that infrared saunas can be a good alternative therapy for people with arthritis.
Using an infrared sauna for arthritis works by using light to heat the body. This type of sauna is different from a traditional one because it heats the body directly rather than heating the air around it.
The heat from an infrared sauna can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, which may help to alleviate pain and stiffness in people with arthritis. The heat can also relax the muscles, which may help to improve flexibility and range of motion. Thus, arthritis patients report less fatigue and soreness after every sauna session.
During an infrared sauna treatment, a person will typically sit or lie down in the sauna for 15-30 minutes. So, it's important to drink plenty of water before and after the treatment to stay hydrated.
Synovial fluid in the joints is what keeps the bones cushioned during movement. Inflammation may ensue due to friction if the synovial fluid fails to do its job and lets bones bump against each other. Joint deformation may follow if the inflammation ends up stretching the tendons and ligaments.
The heat from a sauna can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation in the joints, which can help to alleviate pain and stiffness in people with arthritis.
Although we can’t see the heat waves themselves because they are on the invisible spectrum of light, they penetrate the skin deeply enough to increase the core temperature. As a result, blood circulation increases and lessens joint inflammation through a rush of hemoglobin.
Once the inflammation is gone, infrared then causes the cell’s mitochondria to produce more ATP. ATP is a unit of energy in the body that allows the cells to do more.
2. Improved flexibility and range of motion
The heat from a sauna can help to relax the muscles, which may help to improve flexibility and range of motion.
Collagen is what makes the joints stretchy and flexible. It also speeds up the activity of the bone marrow. The body starts to create more of this when surrounded by infrared light waves, resulting in improved flexibility of the joints and faster healing because of cell regeneration.
4. Stress Relief
Spending time in a sauna can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, which can help to reduce stress and improve overall mental health and well-being. And because an infrared sauna induces physical relaxation, arthritis pain may be less frequent upon its use.
The heat from a sauna can also help increase sweating, which can help to remove toxins from the body.
While there is no cure for arthritis, infrared sauna treatment can provide relief from the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those living with the condition.
However, it's important to keep in mind that the benefits of sauna therapy for arthritis will vary depending on the individual and the type of arthritis they have. Therefore, it's always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new treatment for arthritis, including infrared sauna therapy.