When you have tired, achy muscles, where do you turn? Many choose heat therapy. And for good reason.
Also known as thermotherapy, heat therapy doesn’t only feel good. It can be very helpful for pain and muscle ache relief.
In addition to a sauna or whirlpool bath, heat therapy can take other forms. Such as a hot, damp cloth, a hot water bottle or a heating pad.
Heat therapy relaxes stiff, sore muscles. It’s often used for rehabilitation purposes. That’s due to its positive effects on joint stiffness. As well as inflammation and the extensibility of collagen tissues.
How and why it works
Why does heat therapy work? Because heat increases blood flow. And that provides proteins, nutrients and oxygen for better recovery and healing.
It can soothe muscle discomfort. Plus heal damaged tissue and increase flexibility. According to Medical News Today, there are more than 1 million saunas in the U.S.
Now, some people feel that the high temperatures of a traditional sauna are too much for them. Instead, they choose infrared lighting. Which provides the same benefits without the extreme heat.
Ultraviolet light can damage skin, but infrared light enhances cell regeneration. It can penetrate deep layers of skin to provide better pain relief. Yet it’s non-invasive, painless and safe.
Less heat but better targeted
Infrared saunas use infrared lamps. They use electromagnetic radiation to warm your body directly. Rather than heating the air around you.
Infrared saunas operate at cooler temperatures than traditional saunas. About 30 to 40 degrees cooler. But they still provide plenty of heat.
Some say the heat from infrared saunas penetrates more deeply than warmed air. That heat produces a more intense sweat at a reduced temperature.
The benefits of heat from infrared lighting are the same as with a traditional sauna. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.
Ease pain, reduce stress & improve sleep
Because your heart rate increases and blood vessels widen with a sauna, your blood circulation is boosted. This can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Plus improve joint movement and flexibility. And ease joint pain.
The increased blood flow also speeds up muscle recovery. Improved circulation can also help us feel less tension and stress. Stress can make muscles tight, adding physical discomfort to emotional unease.
There’s a feeling of wellbeing when we’re relaxed. Endorphins can also be boosted by a sauna, giving a person a “runner’s high.”
Your body’s reaction to the heat of a sauna can make you more alert. Thanks to your endocrine glands and your sympathetic nervous system.
Your ability to relax more and feel less stress often results in a sounder sleep. Your core temperature may be higher before bedtime. But the natural change made by your body promotes relaxation. As well as calmness and deeper sleep cycles.
Physical health benefits
It’s important to raise our heart rates during exercise. But a slower resting heart rate is generally healthier. Sauna treatments can do this by improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
This can be supportive of better heart health and heart rate variability. As well as healthy blood pressure and enhanced heart function. Studies have also shown a benefit for supporting healthy cholesterol.
A sauna can also help improve breathing by opening up airways. As well as loosening phlegm and increasing respiration.
Athletic performance can also be enhanced by improved blood flow. With more blood sent to the heart, plasma and red blood cells are increased. More oxygen throughout your body fuels energy, stamina and athletic performance.
Weight management & brain health
Some people wonder if a sauna will help them lose weight. A better way to look at it is maintaining a healthy weight. Consistent use of a sauna can regulate appetite. As well as increase metabolism and improve oxygen usage.
Those are all important factors for maintaining a healthy weight. And this increased metabolic rate continues long after your sauna session is over.
Can a sauna have a positive effect on your brain? Many believe this to be true. With regular use of a sauna, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may increase.
This leads to better maintenance of existing brain cells. As well as the potential of improved neuroplasticity. That’s how the brain processes and forms new neural connections. Reduced stress helps increase brain function and productivity.
Detoxification & aging support
The results of sauna are increased circulation, oxygenation and perspiration. They can boost the body’s ability to excrete toxins. Such as heavy metals. This detoxification can go a long way toward keeping you healthy regardless of your age.
But like everything else as we age, it becomes increasingly important. Heat treatment positively impacts mitochondria, the energy centers of the cells.
Sauna treatment can also naturally increase growth hormone, for maintaining muscle mass. Heat shock proteins help repair damaged proteins in the body. And protect against oxidative damage over time.
This is just one part of what a sauna provides to support the body’s natural immune functions. This is especially important as we age, and as both old and new viruses threaten our health.
The SaunaWrap solution
My recommendation for infrared heat therapy is the SaunaWrap from Patriot Health Alliance.
This new, portable, at-home sauna is the size of a sleeping bag. Using low-EMF infrared heating, it eases aches and pains in minutes. It also boosts energy levels and lifts your mood. And lets you sleep like a baby at night.
Sweating without going through a workout? Sounds great, right? That’s what you can get with this therapeutic blanket by just relaxing. Or reading a book, listening to music, watching TV or even sleeping.
The SaunaWrap burns calories and supports healthy weight. It’s also easy to clean and store. It will save you big bucks off the cost of installing a sauna at home or a spa membership.