Heat Therapy: Natural Remedies for Stress and Anxiety

Heat Therapy: Natural Remedies for Stress and Anxiety

January 6th, 2023 | Mental Health, Infrared

Calm Your Body & Mind With This Natural Remedy for Anxiety

Feeling stressed out? Anxious? You aren’t alone.

Stress has quickly become a global epidemic—impacting physical and mental health across the globe. From the news and social media to the modern work-hard-play-hard lifestyle, there are numerous reasons why you might feel more stressed or anxious than usual these days.

However, heat therapy offers a natural remedy for stress, helping you soothe your body and mind without really having to do too much at all.

So, if the idea of taking on more to calm your stress and anxiety freaks you out, keep reading. We’re going to outline exactly how you can relax with an ultra-easy and natural remedy for your anxiety and stress.

What Are Common Symptoms of Excessive Stress?

The funny thing about stress is that it is both good and bad for you. Small amounts of “good” stress help the body adapt and become more resilient.

Excessive amounts of stress, on the other hand, can have serious negative health consequences1. Chronic stress can increase your risk of developing chronic and life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions, anxiety disorders, depression, and more.

So, how can you identify whether or not you’re experiencing too much stress? Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:

  • Decreased energy/fatigue2
  • Reduced sex drive3
  • Feeling depressed4
  • Skin issues5
  • Headaches6
  • Chronic pai7
  • Frequent illness8
  • Gastrointestinal issues9
  • Frequent sweating

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, keep reading! Below, we explore a natural remedy for stress to help you relax and thwart any health issues or repercussions.

How Can I Get Rid of Anxiety and Stress Naturally?

Reducing anxiety and stress all comes down to calming the sympathetic nervous system (your fight-or-flight system) and activating your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest-and-digest system).

Here’s the thing: The sympathetic nervous system contains an innate survival mechanism that turns on when your brain perceives a threat. And this used to be a really good thing!

For instance, our ancestors needed this mechanism to run away or fight a bear or tiger. They would see the threat. Their sympathetic nervous system would activate, pumping adrenaline throughout their body and giving them the strength, energy, and stamina to flee or fight (or so they would hope).

This stress mechanism would only last as long as the threat itself. Yet, today, we don’t exactly encounter the same threats that our ancestors once did, but this mechanism still exists.

When we begin to worry about what someone thought of us or feel overwhelmed by work and life, our stress skyrockets. If we continue to cycle through these thoughts or pile on more, the stress doesn’t go away. This can lead to chronic stress and anxiety disorders.

However, heat therapy, such as infrared saunas and sauna blankets, can help soothe the sympathetic nervous system and activate the calming parasympathetic nervous system instead.

The Benefits of Heat Therapy for Anxiety and Stress

As a natural remedy for stress and anxiety, infrared saunas and sauna blankets can help you fully relax. In fact, various studies show how infrared saunas decrease stress and promote relaxation10.  And it does this in a few ways, including by:

1. Releasing Muscle Tension

Heat relaxes your muscles11. In many ways, heat therapy works similarly to progressive relaxation techniques as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.

In progressive relaxation techniques, an individual must actively contract and relax their muscles. Yet, with heat therapy, the heat does all the work for you, releasing tension and reducing pain.

2. Improving Sleep

A bad sleep can increase your stress levels. Meanwhile, stress can lead to a bad sleep. This means that you might end up in a vicious cycle where you become more and more stressed while continually struggling to obtain a good night’s rest.

However, research shows that heat therapy can help improve sleep by decreasing stress and promoting relaxation12. As a result, you can finally break this cycle!

3. Increasing Mood

Heat therapy, including infrared sauna sessions, can enhance your mood and even reduce your risk of depression or other mental health disorders13. Improved blood flow to various organs helps in this regard. For instance, increased circulation to the gut boosts serotonin production, which can contribute to an improved mood14. In turn, you feel more relaxed and less stressed or anxious.

Using an Infrared Sauna as a Natural Remedy for Stress

When using an infrared sauna or an infrared sauna blanket, there are a few things you should keep in mind, including:

  • Staying hydrated before, during, and after your sauna session
  • Allowing time for your body to adapt (start with 20-30 minutes, then slowly build to 25-60 minute sessions)
  • Avoiding alcohol before your infrared sauna session
  • Giving yourself a minute to sit and re-hydrate if you feel lightheaded afterward
  • Not using your infrared sauna or sauna blanket when you feel unwell