Arthritis is a painful condition of the joints. Osteoarthritis is defined by damaged or destroyed cartilage in the joints and is sometimes referred to as wear and tear arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to systemic inflammation. While OA is generally localized, RA can impact the entire body.
Impact of Cold on Arthritis
If you’re hurting, it can be hard to get moving. In the cold, stiff or swollen joints can hurt a great deal. It’s interesting to note the construction of saunas is believed to have begun in Finland, a place with extremely cold and dark winters. Once you’re back from a stretch of time in the cold outdoors, a sauna can greatly reduce the discomfort brought on by cold.
The standard sauna temperature can run between 150 to 190 degrees. Sauna heat is a dry heat, though some enjoy steam by pouring water over the hot rock heat source traditionally used in a sauna. When your body is exposed to that intensity of heat, your system actually releases growth hormones and adrenaline. If your arthritis has you feeling stuck and struggling with low energy, the addition of adrenaline can be a great energy boost.
What To Do Once You’re Moving
Medical experts point out that exercise is critical for those suffering from both OA and RA. Any type of movement, from gentle yoga to a slow walk, can boost your spirit and get your heart rate up, as well as loosening up stiff joints as best you are able.
Exercise, even walking around the block, can also improve your digestion and help you to sleep more deeply. The longer you stay in place, the less likely it is that you’ll be able to get up and get moving when you must, so building a regular program of some sort of movement is key to maintaining the muscle tone you still have.
Types of Sauna
A traditional sauna can be a large investment for the average homeowner. The heat source is a large power draw and the sauna structure needs to be very well insulated. However, many sufferers find relief from their joint pain and stiffness after using a home infrared sauna. These units warm your body by acting on your cells. They warm your tissues rather than warming the air around you.
The healing heat from an infrared sauna goes deep. It’s ideal for arthritis sufferers because it gets down into the damaged cartilage and inflamed joints and gets fluid moving. Many athletes have also found that time in an infrared sauna reduces muscle soreness after a workout. Finally, an infrared sauna can reduce the signs of aging skin.
Precautions to Take
Time in a sauna is about sweating. Your body reacts to the heat exposure by releasing perspiration that can evaporate and cool your skin. It’s critical that you hydrate well before going into the sauna, and that you have plenty of water to drink after your time in either a traditional or an infrared sauna.
If you are pregnant, suffer from a cardiac condition, or from a history of kidney problems, discuss the addition of an infrared sauna to your workout routine with your physician. Take care not to sauna alone. If you live alone and choose to put one in your home, make sure that you use the timer feature to turn off after a short amount of time, in case you become dizzy or nauseous in the heat. It’s a good idea to check-in with a friend or loved one. Let them know before you get in the sauna and that you’re OK when you’re done.
The detoxifying organs of your body, primarily the kidneys and liver, will also be impacted by the deep tissue therapy provided by an infrared sauna. Give these crucial organs all the support you can. As you can move more easily, make sure you increase your water intake. Check your diet for any foods that cause sluggish digestion, such as highly processed foods, white flour, sugar, and excess red meat. Try to increase your fiber intake and make sure you’re taking a multivitamin to support your entire system.
Access to a sauna can lead to more energy, a reduction in joint discomfort, and the chance to greatly improve your mobility. As you feel you can do more, do so. If you suffer increased muscle soreness after your time at the gym or on the walking path, drink some water, and get back in the sauna to increase your healing.