According to the Centers for Disease Control, osteoarthritis affects approximately 32.5 million people in the United States.
Are you part of this group? Are you desperate for some relief from your symptoms?
If so, keep reading. Explained below are some of the greatest benefits of using a sauna for osteoarthritis sufferers.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Before we get into the relationship between an infrared sauna and arthritis treatment, let’s talk about osteoarthritis more generally.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative disease that affects the joints, particularly the joints in the hands, knees, and hips.
Osteoarthritis (or OA) occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to break down. When this happens, the bones begin to change and the joints become painful, stiff, and swollen as a result.
Sometimes, people with OA experience severe reductions in joint function and become disabled. They may even be unable to work or perform tasks of daily living.
Symptoms and Causes of Osteoarthritis
Some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, aching, or stiffness in the joints. A decreased range of motion and flexibility may occur, too, along with swelling.
Anyone can develop osteoarthritis. However, certain people may be more likely to develop it than others, including those who fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Those who frequently use a specific joint
- Those who are middle-aged or senior citizens
- Women (particularly those over 50)
- Those who are overweight or obese
- Those who have a family history of OA
Are Saunas Good for Arthritis?
If you struggle with osteoarthritis symptoms, you may be wondering “Does sauna help arthritis?” The short answer is yes, it does.
The following are some of the greatest benefits regular sauna use has to offer those with osteoarthritis:
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition. The more inflamed the joints become, the more severe your symptoms will be.
Sitting in a sauna can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the joints that are affected by osteoarthritis.
Infrared saunas are particularly effective when it comes to combatting inflammation.
When you sit in the sauna, infrared wavelengths penetrate the skin, raise your core temperature, and increase blood circulation. Improved blood flow helps to increase the production of white blood cells, which in turn reduces inflammation and swelling in the joints.
Increased Collagen Production
Regular sauna usage increases the production of collagen, too.
Collagen is a type of protein that supports the bone marrow and keeps the muscles, bones, and joints healthy. Increasing collagen production can reduce the damage caused by arthritis, slow the progression of the condition, and prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Boosting collagen production helps the cells in the bone marrow to regenerate faster. This minimizes the damage caused by prolonged inflammation and helps to reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Stress increases inflammation and may make your osteoarthritis symptoms worse. Spending time in the sauna each day (or at least a few times per week) is a great opportunity to decompress, reduce stress, and practice meditation or mindfulness.
Many people find that they feel more relaxed when they incorporate regular sauna use into their routine. If you’ve been extra stressed lately, this might be a good tool to add to your toolbox.
Regular sauna usage may help to improve your sleep, too. Because it reduces stress and promotes relaxation, many people find that they sleep better when they incorporate sauna use into their routine.
Keep in mind, too, that poor sleep can exacerbate pain. If you’re not sleeping well, your arthritis symptoms may be worse.
Increased Range of Motion
Finally, you’ll likely notice an improvement in your joint range of motion when you start spending time in a sauna regularly.
When you increase blood flow and warm up (literally) the muscles and joints, you’ll find that it’s easier to stretch them, release tension, and work on your flexibility. This can help you to reduce your injury risk in the future and may help to minimize your pain and stiffness.
How to Use an In-Home Sauna for Osteoarthritis
The best way to experience the benefits of sauna use for osteoarthritis is to have an in-home sauna. This saves you from having to drive to a gym or spa to sit in the sauna. You can just roll out of bed and step right in!
Here are a few tips that can help you see the greatest results from your in-home sauna:
You’ll see the best results from your sauna usage if you’re consistent. Ideally, you’ll use it every day, or at least 4-5 times per week.
This is why having a sauna at your house is so helpful. If you have to drive to a gym or spa whenever you want to use the sauna, it’s going to be hard to be consistent, especially when your life gets busy.
It’s important to be consistent with your sauna treatments, but you also shouldn’t do too much, too fast. If you overdo it at the beginning, you’ll have a harder time sticking with it and seeing results.
Starting slowly with just 5 or 10-minute sessions will help you to get used to the heat of the sauna and avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated.
Speaking of dehydration, make sure you drink plenty of water before and after your sauna sessions, too. This will help you to replace the fluids you lose by sweating in the sauna.
Start Managing Your Osteoarthritis Today
Now that you know about what an at-home sauna can do for your osteoarthritis symptoms, are you ready to invest in one?
If you want to experience all the benefits an infrared sauna has to offer, we’ve got you covered at Sun Home Saunas. Check out our online store today to see all the different options available to you.