Updated: Mar 10
From the moment I stepped foot into an infrared sauna, I was in love.
Well, i didn't necessarily fall in love with the heated box itself, but the way it made my fluid retention and joint pain disappear for the days following. It felt like my autoimmune disease; rheumatoid arthritis and breast implant illness almost didn't exist when i walked out.
Here are a few reasons why you want to get yourself to one of these saunas now if you have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, breast implant illness or thyroid issues.
So, is there a difference between infrared and traditional saunas? There sure is.
Infrared saunas heat objects rather than the surrounding air. Normal saunas get you sweating by sheer force of heat; infra-red saunas penetrate the deepest organs and tissues of the body by sending the infra-red band of light about 3-4cm below the skin surface. This causes the body to sweat at a temperature of only 35-45C, heating the internal tissues without overheating the skin and respiratory system as ordinary saunas do. Basically, they heat you from the inside out rather than the outside in.
Next to the health of your gut, one of the biggest battles your body has to fight to maintain optimal health is against chronic inflammation. Systemic inflammation, commonly seen in autoimmune conditions is linked to everything from heart disease, gut dysfunction, hormonal problems, and more. Infrared saunas help to alleviate this inflammation throughout the entire body.
When it comes to autoimmune, there is usually an underlying toxicity component contributing to your illness. This kind of heat is particularly effective for eliminating heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and nickel from the tissues as well as toxins like nicotine, alcohol and chemicals. Infra red waves match the frequency of the water in our cells, causing toxins to be released into the blood stream and excreted through sweat. Increased blood circulation caused by sweating stimulates the sweat glands, releasing built up toxins and waste. As the heat penetrates the deeper, denser tissues, the infra-red heat softens deposits of crystallised toxins and acid wastes in the joints, nerves, and connective tissues allowing them to be dissolved and excreted via the bloodstream, lymphatic system, and through the skin as sweat.
3. Stress reduction
You could be eating the diet of a clean eating millennial poster child and yet this will have little impact if you are feeding your body an extra large slice of stress on the daily. Science has proven stress to be linked to health issues such as gut dysfunction, anxiety, memory issues, triggers autoimmune disease and hormonal imbalances. We now know that infrared sauna helps the body maintain healthy levels of cortisol. High cortisol has an impact on breaking down the integrity of our digestive lining causing leaky gut. Gut dysfunction is another key contributor to autoimmunity.
4. Boost Immune function
Infrared sauna sessions stimulate white blood cells which boost your immune system. Each time you take a sauna session, there is a brief increase in body temperature, which boosts the production of infection-fighting white blood cells (leukocytes) produced by your bone marrow and killer T-cells by your thymus. When I feel I may be coming down with a cold, I book myself in for a sauna session and notice how an ‘induced fever’ helps me fight off those nasty invaders (along with a fantastic immune herbal mix too, of course!).
5. Pain management
Studies have shown that infrared saunas are able to reduce pain even for those suffering from severe conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Infrared wavelengths are able to promote circulation which helps to combat stiff joints and achy muscles. This makes an infrared sauna a perfect solution for those with chronic pain.
What should you do for those 45 minutes you're sitting inside working up a sweat? I personally love to meditate, practice yogic breathing and dry skin brush to help calm my body + mind and assist my lymphatic system in detoxification. This is one of my self care rituals.
Pollution and toxicity is something all of us are inevitable exposed to on a daily basis but, if we can find a way to mitigate this burden, before it manifests into poor health, we may be able to avoid chronic health conditions. I always say prevention is better than a cure!
Weekly saunas form part of the autoimmune protocol I provide to my patients, it definitely played a role in assisting my detoxification process and healing my own autoimmune condition.
So tell me, have you tried an infrared sauna? Did you notice an improvement in your health or symptoms?
Would you like to learn more about healing your autoimmune condition? We offer personalised autoimmune protocols, in person and online consultations, click here to find out more.