Far infrared therapy utilizes invisible light to create heat which heats the body directly without warming the surrounding air. Traditional saunas use heat from hot rocks to warm the air which then heats your body from the outside. Because of this, traditional saunas must get much hotter; almost to the point of being uncomfortable. You can really only sit in a traditional sauna for 15 minutes or so before your skin gets too hot and your nostrils singe from breathing in 185 degree air.
On the other hand, infrared heat is far more comfortable than steamed heat as it is not required to be as hot. Because of this, you can remain inside the sauna for 30 minutes or longer gaining all the benefits from the warm and gentle infrared heat.
In my many years in the infrared sauna industry, I have seen countless examples of how people with pain related ailments have been greatly benefitted by far infrared therapy. From Rheumatoid Arthritis to nerve pain all have found relief. Let’s dive in to see how infrared saunas help with pain relief, reduce inflammation, ease fibromyalgia pain and help sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.
How Infrared Saunas Help with Pain Relief
When infrared light is absorbed into your body pain reduction occurs due to the infrared heat penetrating joints, muscles, tissues and nerve endings. This heat literally heals your body by speeding up muscle recovery and allowing for a greater range of motion by relaxing joints, tendons and muscles through heat therapy and drawing more oxygenated blood to problem areas.
Your joints are surrounded by a network of muscles, tendons, cartilage and ligaments that all relax when heated. Let’s take a look at a knee joint:
Adding infrared heat will loosen up the surrounding muscles and draws oxygenated blood and nutrients to your joints. Every part of your joint will benefit from this warming heat–from your tendons, cartilage, ligaments and muscles. As a result you will find both short term (greater range of motion) and long term (less aches and pains) pain relief in worn out joints and muscles.
Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, a renowned sports medicine expert from the University of Southern California says,
Infrared wavelengths penetrate the body to create heat, which creates profound therapeutic benefits. They increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal.”
A NASA scientist, Dr. Harry Whelan, is determined that infrared heat allows for deep penetration of muscle and tissue, increases cell growth from the inside which allows the body to reduce pain and heal more quickly. Besides relaxing muscles, joints and tendons, there is significant research showing how infrared saunas increase blood flow which will allow for greater circulation and faster healing of wounds, muscles strains, pulls, and tears. When you combine more blood flow with faster cell growth you get faster healing and quicker recovery.
Infrared Saunas Reduce Inflammation
Infrared heat also produces additional white blood cells which alleviates inflammation. Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells (and substances they produce) protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It has currently been identified as the leading cause of most ailments and health conditions including joint pain and arthritis.
Inflammation is your body’s attempt at protecting itself from harmful stimuli so it can begin healing. We now know inflammation to be the beginning of many if not most diseases. Inflammation is also part of the body’s immune response and begins with irritation and changes into the immediate healing response. Inflammation does not mean infection, even when an infection causes inflammation. Infection is caused by a bacterium, virus or fungus, while inflammation is the body’s response to it.
Chronic inflammation can last several months and even years which can lead to certain cancers, arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis and allergies. Therefore, it’s best to heal the inflammation prior to allowing it to develop. This can be accomplished with consistent use of FIR.
Infrared sauna use increases blood flow, bringing healthy, oxygenated blood to whatever area is in need–enabling faster healing times for skin conditions and muscle and joint ailments.
The appeal of FIR in general revolves around its lowered temperature. Many cannot tolerate the heated air of a traditional sauna. Infrared light/heat produces vigorous perspiration which in turn accelerates heart rate as when involved in moderate exercise. There is serious evidence, sited by many studies, that validate these results in terms of successfully treating various painful and also silent health conditions such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis.
Infrared Saunas and Nerve Pain
Another great reason to implement the use of an infrared sauna is directly due to how it provides effective and thorough nerve pain relief. Infrared heat is not complicated. It works by simply penetrating into your millions of nerve endings. Infrared therapy aids blood circulation by increasing the oxygen in the blood along with improving the blood’s flow. Infrared is invisible to the human eye, penetrating deep into the body and it’s nerves, producing a productive and effective sweat. It is the safest form of heat which also naturally occurs in sunlight. This heat is so safe it is even used in hospital incubators to warm newborns. Far infrared sauna therapy has been around for decades and infrared is still highly recommended due to it’s proven relief for a myriad of ailments, in particular, nerve pain.
I have spoken with many happy infrared users over the years, they all agree – consistent use of an infrared sauna greatly reduces a full range of nerve pain resulting in needed relief. As the infrared heat completely warms you this healing warmth suffuses all the nerve endings in your body. Some research on this subject has been done demonstrating positive results. In a 2006 double-blind investigation, done by the Journal of Pain Research and Management, in a placebo controlled study, it was determined that infrared therapy reduced chronic nerve pain, particularly back pain, by 50% over a period of seven weeks. Side effects were zero and then the patients were asked to rate their pain prior to and after the infrared. Generally everyone’s pain had decreased by an amazing amount of half. As the infrared therapy progressed the pain relief was even greater indicating continuing infrared therapy would continue to reduce levels of nerve pain.
One of the mechanisms found most effective, when utilizing infrared sauna heat, is the distinct pain reduction on many levels. When nerve pain diminishes there is an increase in the body’s endorphin release. B-endorphin levels are raised and plasma ACTH levels are reduced. The dividend is these endorphins also promote positive feelings thereby increasing pain reduction. By reducing pain on the nerve endings the far infrared heat from a sauna will diminish nerve pain even as it decreases the common muscle spasms found when nerve pain is present. This then allows your body to relax, repair and heal itself naturally.
Infrared Saunas Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain Significantly
The pain from Fibromyalgia is constant, exhausting and disruptive. One of the greatest benefits from the use of far infrared sauna therapy is a great deal of pain relief from this debilitating condition. Fibromyalgia is a disorder distinguished by widespread musculoskeletal pain. This can be accompanied by fatigue, sleepiness, foggy memory and mood disorders. Research indicates that Fibromyalgia intensifies painful sensations when it interrupts the way the brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms generally begin after a physical trauma. This can include surgery, a common infection or possibly even a significant psychological stress event such as being fired, or the death of a friend or family member. Contrarily, symptoms are also able to build over time with no specific triggering event. Frequently women are a great deal more susceptible to Fibromyalgia than men. Also those experiencing Fibromyalgia also can suffer from tension headaches, TMJ jaw pain, IBS, anxiety and even depression.
At this time there is no actual cure for Fibromyalgia, yet there are many medications available that can control it’s symptoms. When exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures are employed symptoms are reduced. Enter far infrared sauna therapy. The myriad symptoms of Fibromyalgia sufferers are lowered by the soothing heat from the far infrared as it naturally reduces the pain and inflammation they experience. Infrared sauna heat penetrates joints, muscles and tissues, as it increases the blood’s circulation and boosts the oxygen’s flow to the body’s tissues. By reducing soreness on painful nerve endings, infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and pain associated with Fibromyalgia..
Many in the medical mainstream believe those who suffer from Fibromyalgia must learn to live with the pain and discomfort of this condition. If suffering with this disease, add far infrared sauna therapy into your daily routine and pain will dissipate. Along with feeling relaxation and sleeping better those suffering with Fibromyalgia can enjoy an almost normal return to a better quality of life.
Infrared Saunas and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Far infrared saunas have long been recognized for their deep, penetrating and healing heat. Their unparalleled detoxification properties they have been successfully used for decades to relieve many types of temporary and chronic pain. One of the most serious health issues assisted by far infrared heat is all types of Arthritis, particularly Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA.
Many who suffer from chronic ailments, specifically RA, truly benefit from the penetrating heat produced by far infrared sauna therapy. There is much to be said for traditional pain reduction techniques however, infrared is heat therapy in its newest version; far infrared therapy. Infrared provides many solutions to problems unique to those suffering from RA. Far infrared light is the frequency of invisible light generated naturally by the sun. It is a type of low energy therapy that takes advantage of the heat generated by waves of energy from the far end of the infrared spectrum.
Far infrared sauna therapy assists in pain relief from RA as it promotes increased circulation. When blood rushes through the body to cool the internal organs it produces a detoxifying, heavy sweat. According to a study in the Netherlands, by Saxion University of Applied Sciences, “infrared treatment has statistically significant short-term beneficial effects and clinically relevant period effects during treatment in RA patients without enhancing disease activity.” In this study, seventeen patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis received eight far infrared sauna treatments over the course of four weeks. Pain, stiffness and fatigue were all shown to decrease during these treatments.
This safe and natural alternative therapy, far infrared heat, can be used in the treatment of a variety of health problems such as RA, but also aids in circulation problems, high blood pressure, heart issues, skin eruptions from thinned skin, all types of pain relief from muscle pain and spasms to shoulder or joint stiffness caused by a variety of chronic conditions. Far infrared heat also benefits those suffering with RA by boosting the immune system, detoxing through perspiration, allowing for lymph system flow, healing by increased circulation of warm, oxygenated blood and by reducing tension and stress and aiding in a great nights sleep.
Far infrared heat penetrates tissues in RA patient’s, muscles, organs and blood up to two inches in depth, stimulating their body’s cells in the detoxification process. This warm heat also enhances circulation, speeds metabolism and oxygenates the tissues. Due to the healing rays from infrared range of motion is also improved. Far infrared sauna therapy not only provides temporary relief from pain but with consistent use can actually relieve chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, so that those afflicted can begin to live a more normal, balanced and healthy life.