Conditions that cause joint pain can be difficult to manage at times, and there is often no cure for the cause of the pain. Rheumatoid Arthitis (RA) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) are two forms of arthritis that can cause significant pain and mobility issues. AS is a form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine, causing pain and inflammation. There is no cure for AS, and it is thought to have a genetic component (Spondylitis Association of America, 2019). RA is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own tissues, causing pain, swelling, fatigue, fever, limited mobility, and joint damage. It can also affect other organs and tissues in the body, and there is currently no cure for RA (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
One treatment that has been found to be effective in treating both of these painful joint conditions is infrared sauna. Researchers followed both RA and AS patients using infrared sauna twice weekly for four weeks, and found that pain, stiffness and fatigue all improved. Infrared sauna was also well tolerated with no side effects in the study (Oosterveld et al, 2009). Infrared saunas were also shown to relieve pain in RA patients over a month of weekly use (Tabatabaei et al, 2009).
Another condition that causes widespread pain in both the joints and muscles is fibromyalgia. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, and there is currently no cure. One study of Waon therapy (a Japanese therapy that involves infrared sauna followed by being covered in blankets) found that using the sauna 2-5 days per week reduced pain by half after just the first session, leading the authors to conclude that infrared sauna is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia (Matsushita et al, 2008).
Many pain patients struggle with managing pain and choices about medications and treatments. Infrared sauna can potentially offer a non-invasive and safe approach to managing pain from some of these conditions. The Salt Oasis Kingsport offers an infrared sauna, as well as infrared lamps and pads. As always, ask your health care provider to make sure that saunas are not contraindicated by a medication or health issue.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. Do not make any changes to your healthcare or treatment without consulting your physician.
Spondylitis Association of America (2019) retrieved from: https://www.spondylitis.org/Ankylosing-Spondylitis
Mayo Clinic (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648
Oosterveld FG, Rasker JJ, Floors M, Landkroon R, van Rennes B, Zwijnenberg J, van de Laar MA, Koel GJ (2009). Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. A pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects. Clinical Rheumatology. 2009;28(1):29–34.
Tabatabaei H, Tabatabaei A, Moosavi J (2009). Effect of sauna on pain of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Physical Education and Sport Science Quarterly, Fall 2009, vol 2, num 7, p 15-24.
Matsushita, K., Masuda, A., & Tei, C. (2008). Efficacy of Waon therapy for fibromyalgia. Internal Medicine (Tokyo, Japan), 47(16), 1473–1476. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cmedm&AN=18703857&site=eds-live