Top 7 Benefits of Heat Therapy
Top 7 Benefits of Heat Therapy
January 28th, 2024 | Heat Therapy
Heat Therapy: Should You Try It?
Today, we’re all looking for ways to enhance our health and longevity. Living longer isn’t enough… Quality of life is just as important! So, how can you achieve that? Well, providing the body with teeny bits of good stressors is one way you can get there!
The body does well under stress; that is when it’s the right kind of stress (and not too much!). This is why cold showers are all the rage right now. This type of stress is good for the body, leading to various beneficial physiological responses. The benefits of an infrared sauna also provide a good kind of stress, making the body more resilient.
On top of these good stressors, heat therapy is also ultra-relaxing. It can help you find a state of calm after an exhausting day or even help you start your day on the right note. So, let’s dig into the health benefits of an infrared sauna further. What should you know? Is this the right move for your wellness routine?
What Are the Health Benefits of An Infrared Sauna?
Infrared saunas use light to heat the body. In contrast to a traditional sauna, this light penetrates the body and heats it directly, as opposed to first heating the air, then your body. And this gives way to some incredible benefits!
1. Reduced Pain
Got pain? The health benefits of an infrared sauna have got you covered.
In particular, research shows how infrared sauna usage can help reduce pain associated with arthritis1. Additionally, it can improve other symptoms of arthritis, like joint stiffness. But this isn’t all… Heat therapy is also a good option for managing various chronic pain issues2.
Studies further show infrared sauna therapy reduced chronic back pain without any adverse effects3. One study, in particular, used infrared therapy across four weeks and reported significant improvements in office workers’ quality of life who previously experienced low back pain4.
2. Improved Heart Health
We all know a happy heart is the gateway to a happy and healthy life! After all, this organ is responsible for ensuring everything in the body gets to where it needs to go. While cardiovascular activity undeniably improves our heart health, so does regular infrared sauna usage!
Research demonstrates infrared sauna sessions may reduce one’s risk of heart disease and other heart issues5. In many ways, this happens because the body (and heart) reacts to infrared sauna in the same way it reacts to exercise! Regular infrared sauna sessions can even reduce high blood pressure.
3. Reduces Stress By Helping Us Relax
Unfortunately, mental health issues are becoming more and more common in this modern era. With prescriptions also at an all-time high, many people are turning to alternative methods to boost their mood and de-stress. And infrared sauna sessions can be one of them.
Research even suggests that infrared sauna usage can reduce the risk of depression and anxiety disorders6. This is theorized to happen due to heat therapy’s ability to enhance the body’s natural antidepressants, like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, in turn lowering overall cortisol in the body, leading to less stress and a state of calm.
4. Improves Muscle Recovery
Professional and recreational athletes can also propel themselves forward toward their goals with infrared sauna usage. Studies show that infrared sauna sessions can help reduce muscle soreness7. In turn, this may just help you recover better and faster.
Other research further indicates that Infrared sauna usage may produce a favorable testosterone-to-cortisol ratio, which can accelerate recovery even further8.
5. Enhances Sleep
When we can’t sleep, it spills over into every other part of our life. We might find ourselves performing below our norm or even feeling agitated and moody. Interestingly, heat therapy may help you get a better night’s rest. This is thought to correlate with reductions in cortisol, which can prevent you from getting to sleep or cause you to wake up frequently.
Research demonstrates that far infrared can improve serotonin production in those suffering from insomnia9. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy, meaning it plays a significant role in regulating our circadian rhythm and helping us obtain a good night’s rest10.
6. Boosts Immunity
Tired of getting sick all the time? An infrared sauna might help.
Heat therapy is shown to improve white blood cell and cortisol levels, helping prevent illness11. Even a single session in a sauna is thought to have these benefits. However, a word of caution: If you feel dizzy, have headaches, or feel ill, it’s not recommended to undergo an infrared sauna session. Yet, if you’re at the end of your illness and feeling alright, it may help.
Always follow the advice of your healthcare provider before proceeding with any new health trend or regimen.
Since infrared saunas cause us to sweat (some more than others!), a wellness routine incorporating regular infrared sauna sessions can help detoxify the body. The body releases toxins via sweat, urine, and waste12. In fact, many studies support the idea that sweat help releases toxins and heavy metals13,14.
With repeated sauna usage, research also demonstrated how mercury levels normalized after perspiration, suggesting sweating is a significant detoxification pathway for the body15. From this, we can infer that sweating can decrease the toxic load on the body and even potentially detoxification organs like the liver.
So, go ahead… Sweat it out in a heat therapy session; You’re doing your body tons of good.