by Dr. Will Cole
Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that something isn’t right. When you get a cut or a bruise from a fall, pain is a notification to attend to the injury. However, pain that never subsides is something else entirely.
When in pain, it is tempting to just pop an aspirin or ibuprofen – which come with their own list of long-term side effects – and go on with your day. As a functional medicine practitioner, I try to not only work to find the underlying cause behind chronic pain but also treat symptoms naturally. Infrared saunas are one of my go-to tools for relieving pain and I have seen them do wonders for many of my patients suffering from various health problems, chronic pain in particular.
Infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate your body’s skin barrier to raise your core temperature. This is different from a traditional sauna that has to heat the air before it actually heats you. Because of these differences, infrared saunas get less hot, allowing you to spend more time inside reaping the benefits.
Infrared saunas typically emit far infrared, but the infrared spectrum consists of three different wavelengths – each with their own healing capabilities. Near infrared (NIR) penetrates the least past the skin barrier to help more on a surface level by fighting against signs of aging and helping to heal wounds. Mid infrared (MIR) goes a little deeper to help reduce inflammation and chronic pain and far infrared (FIR) goes the deepest into the body to help with chronic pain as well as draw out toxins. I always recommend Sunlighten to anyone looking for an infrared sauna as they are the only brand to offer three separate heating elements to deliver all three at peak wavelengths. The mPulse line has preset wellness programs, including one for pain relief.
Chronic pain can originate from many different factors including hormone imbalances, lack of sleep, over-exercise, an overload of toxins, or underlying gut dysfunctions. Regardless of where your pain originates from, infrared saunas have been scientifically proven to help reduce common pain that is associated with various health problems.
Inflammation is the thorn-in-the-side of almost all modern-day health problems including autoimmune conditions, heart disease and cancer. Infrared saunas work to stimulate circulation to bring down inflammation throughout the whole body. Even if you aren’t diagnosed with one of these inflammation-spectrum conditions, athletes or anyone who works out regularly, can benefit from infrared sauna use to reduce muscle inflammation that occurs after each workout. Infrared saunas also have the ability to increase the production of white blood cells which help fight inflammation and calm swelling to alleviate chronic pain.
An estimated 6 million Americans are afflicted with this chronic condition that causes fatigue, headaches, and stiffness and pain in muscles, joints, and tendons. A Japanese study showed that after just one infrared sauna session, patients experienced a 70% decrease in their pain levels!
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome one must be experiencing muscle pain and pain in multiple joints without redness or swelling for at least six months. A 2005 study showed that after 15 to 25 sessions, participant’s symptoms such as fatigue and pain were drastically reduced. Even after discontinuing treatment, symptoms either didn’t return or get worse.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is also associated with an overload of toxins in the cells. Infrared saunas work wonders for detoxing the cells since sweating promotes the secretion of toxins.
Research has shown that infrared saunas can reduce pain in people suffering from severe conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Infrared wavelengths promote circulation to help relieve stiff joints and sore muscles.
Vibration therapy is just one more way to ease chronic pain by using low frequency vibration to contract and relax muscles – 30 to 50 times every second – it gives the whole body a workout just from standing or sitting still to increase blood flow, strengthen joints, and increase growth hormone to repair and regenerate muscle and reduce overall pain. In one study of 731 participants with chronic pain who found limited symptom relief with pain medications, 82 percent experienced a significant reduction in pain after completing vibration therapy.
Sunlighten has enhanced the sauna experience with the amazing benefits of vibration therapy with the addition of their SO Sound Therapy option. This technology uses sound waves synergistically with their infrared saunas to deliver the most targeted relief for chronic pain. The SO Sound System attaches to specific locations in the Sunlighten sauna to emit tactile elements from the music it produces. Unlike a subwoofer where the volume has to be really load to experience the vibrations, the SO Sound System produces soft musical harmonic resonance to produce the same effects on your body.
Integrating regular infrared sauna use into your wellness routine is an easy, relaxing, and natural way to combat chronic pain. While there are many infrared saunas on the market, Sunlighten is my personal favorite as they go above and beyond to test for electromagnetic fields, commonly known as EMFs, since they can be harmful in high doses and counterproductive to helping ease ongoing pain. Their far infrared line is the most effective FIR sauna on the market and has ultra-low EMF technology.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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