Desperate for relief from pain, chronic inflammation can leave its sufferers feeling imprisoned by the agony of their own body. Chronic inflammation has devastating effects on the quality of life of affected individuals.
Infrared sauna therapy has the potential to have an immediate effect on the reduction of inflammation, and also may address the root cause of many conditions that are responsible for the production of chronic inflammation.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is an essential part of the body’s ability to heal itself in the face of injury and infection. It is the body’s response to self-protection and removes harmful stimuli to begin the healing process. The body’s natural response to foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, is inflammation. Inflammation also occurs in response to injury in the musculoskeletal structures of the body and lesions to the skin (1).
Infections, wounds, and fractures would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response. Increased production of white blood cells flushed to areas of the body under threat is analogous at the micro level to first responders: When the brain receives the metaphoric message of a home invasion the body quickly responds by sending augmented levels of white blood cells to the region of the body under attack.
Inflammation is one of the many naturally occurring miracles of human physiology. The body’s self-regulating mechanism is effective in its ability to promote self-healing. All human beings rely on the innate immune response of the body to create inflammation for survival.
If the inflammatory response were intrinsic to the body’s immune system and necessary to sustain the health of the body, then why would we want to reduce inflammation?
What Is The Difference Between Chronic and Acute Inflammation?
There is a biological response within the physiological network, called inflammation, that creates a defense mechanism to heal injured parts of the body affected by infection and blunt trauma. Without this defense system in place we would not be able to survive. Inflammation is a symptom of a surplus of white blood cells generated and flushed to affected areas. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive and ultimately uncomfortable and painful.
Inflammation in the body causes swelling, redness, heat, and pain. As an acute response to injury and infection, inflammation serves an excellent purpose. However, when inflammation develops into a chronic condition, particularly in the joints that leads to pain, it becomes problematic.
Acute and chronic inflammation differ in how quickly they are able to rid the body of injury and infection. Acute inflammation should dissipate within days of responding to a threat. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body continuously responds with an amplified immune response that ultimately creates harmful disease. All autoimmune diseases result from excessive white blood cell production that causes ongoing and chronic inflammation in the body.
Take a look at this chart to understand the difference between acute and chronic inflammation (2).
|Source||Harmful bacteria or tissue injury||Pathogens that the body cannot break down, including some types of virus, foreign bodies that remain in the system, or overactive immune responses|
|Duration||A few days||From months to years|
|Outcomes||Inflammation improves, turns into an abscess, or becomes chronic||Tissue death and the thickening and scarring of connective tissue|
Chronic inflammation leaves the body in a constant state of stress response. According to the NIH, stress is a major cause of disease. Furthermore, treatment of chronic inflammation must be two fold: Firstly, treatment must reduce inflammation and secondly, provide an opportunity for the body to exit out of stress response back to safety and relaxation (3).
Infrared sauna therapy may reduce chronic inflammation and, therefore, pain. It also coaxes the body out of stress response and back into relaxation to reduce immune responses causing chronic inflammation. Holistic treatments, such as infrared sauna therapy, address the problem of chronic inflammation but will not impair the body’s natural response to invasion of external danger.
Some Diseases Affected By Chronic Inflammation
- Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and ALS) (3)
The diversity of the list above expands across a variety of the physiological systems of the body. The underlying cause of many of the illnesses listed above is unknown, but they are each linked to chronic inflammation. Any treatment that addresses the painful chronic inflammation produced by these diseases will give the patient greater comfort and ease in their day to day life.
It is thought that the interplay between the infrared light spectrum and the cellular structures of the body can reduce symptoms of these diseases and potentially give way to a complete remission.
Medications Used In The Treatment Of Chronic Inflammation
Cortisol is typically used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. It is a class of steroid hormone that prevents the mechanisms involved in inflammation from activating. Mineralocorticoids and Glucocorticoids are the primary types of cortisol used in the treatment of chronic inflammation (4).
Unfortunately, both of these commonly used treatments can be highly detrimental to the body. The use of Glucocorticoids has been linked to the cause of Cushing’s syndrome and Mineralocorticoids can cause high blood pressure and low potassium levels in the body that affects the balance of alkalinity and acidity in the body (5).
Further, any cortisol use perpetuates the stress response within the body’s network that may cause further illness. We now understand that continued states of stress response may be a major cause of illness. Cortisol causes the autonomic nervous system to enter stress response or survival mode; while cortisol treatments may alleviate symptoms in the short term, ultimately it leaves the body depleted and ill.
The Autonomic Nervous System And Chronic Inflammation
The autonomic nervous system is segregated by two distinct states of being: Sympathetic (stress response or fight or flight) dominance, or conversely, parasympathetic dominance (relaxation, digestion, rejuvenation and rest). Both serve an evolutionary purpose; one is not better than the other. When there is real danger or a threat to our life it is necessary for the body to operate from sympathetic dominance for survival. As the body seeks to find safety sympathetic dominance saves the day. We are able to complete unusual tasks of strength and persevere through the unthinkable through the stress response. Once safety is found the body should revert back to parasympathetic dominance where recuperation, regeneration, and rejuvenation can occur (6).
Many individuals are unable to transfer out of fight or flight back to relaxation. Perpetual states of stress lead to illness and disease. It is necessary for optimal health to be able to transfer from sympathetic dominance back to parasympathetic states of being with ease.
Cortisol is excreted from the adrenal glands during stress response. A common treatment for inflammatory conditions is cortisol, either by injection, oral consumption, or inhalation. The underlying issue of autoimmune diseases is augmented when additional cortisol is pumped into the system. Ultimately, the patient will not find the necessary reprieve from symptomatic pain or the illness itself.
Infrared sauna therapy is a treatment that coaxes the body out of sympathetic dominance back into relaxation where cellular rejuvenation occurs. This modality of heat therapy also addresses the symptom of chronic inflammation and will alleviate the discomfort and pain caused by the condition.
Infrared Wavelengths And Human Physiology
Infrared wavelengths exist on the invisible spectrum of light and cannot be seen with the human eye, but can be felt as heat. The infrared light rays are able to penetrate deeply into the epidermis into the soft tissue of the body, and therefore fully engage the body’s network. As the rays of infrared light burrow into the epidermis, the largest human organ, they heat the body up from the inside out. The body responds to both the heat and light to reduce inflammation (6).
Human anatomy viewed from the perspective of an active living organism constantly in conversation with itself, gives way to an appreciation of the dance with its external environment. When the body is exposed to the healing rays of the infrared spectrum, the living anatomy invites the light into its network system creating a domino effect of health, including stress reduction and decreased inflammation.
As the infrared light seeps beyond the initial membrane of the skin to penetrate into the soft tissue of the body, the cellular mechanism responds in excitement. The human form is comprised of 50 trillion cells, each cell in the body has what could be considered an, ‘energy plant’: the mitochondria, where ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) occurs. The mitochondria are very sensitive to all light, particularly sensitive to deeply penetrating rays of the infrared. As soon as the body is exposed to infrared light, ATP production is exponentially stimulated (7).
As ATP production increases in response to the infrared light exposure, this releases nitric acid, which hyper oxygenates the hemoglobin. The freshly oxygenated blood cells begin to flow throughout the body like a fast moving river.
Inflammation in the body occurs due to a lack of oxygen in the injured area. Within minutes of entering into your sauna, ATP production increases oxygen in the blood creating better and faster flowing circulation of the blood throughout the body and reduces inflammation of injured areas (7).
Infrared Sauna Therapy May Aid In The Treatment Of These Conditions Affected By Chronic Inflammation:
- Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and ALS) (6)
Infrared Sauna Therapy: A Safe Treatment Option For Chronic Inflammation
Broad spectrum infrared sauna therapy is two fold in its infrared treatment of chronic inflammation. Firstly, it reduces inflammation by hyper oxygenating the blood cells causing optimal circulation throughout the body’s network. Secondly, it coaxes the body into states of relaxation and reduces the side effects (inflammation) of chronic stress response.
As the body absorbs the spectrum of infrared light into its network the cellular structures are stimulated to produce higher amounts of ATP. A heightened ATP production increases the oxygenation of the bloodstream. The augmented circulation of hemoglobin filled with oxygen flows through areas of inflammation and immediately reduces pain (7).
Heat produced from the infrared sauna causes the body to sweat profusely: this powerfully rids the body of toxic build up. Toxic pollutants stored in the body’s network may cause the autonomic nervous system to transfer out of stress response. We know that a state of stress within human physiology is the root cause of chronic autoimmune conditions that can create painful inflammation. Chronic inflammation may be symptomatic of stress. Reducing toxicity in the body through perspiration relieves the body of stress and therefore many chronic conditions.
Step out of the entrapment of pain caused by chronic inflammation into the healing rays of infrared light. Infrared sauna therapy treatment addresses not only the symptom of inflammation, but may also address the underlying cause of stress response within the body. Freedom from chronic pain is possible. Infrared sauna therapy may give its users a one-way ticket to freedom from painful inflammation and permanent stress response.
*** Contraindication: Please consult a healthcare professional before terminating inflammatory medication. Please consult a healthcare professional if heart conditions are a factor in your inflammation.