ARTHRITIS: Could Sauna Help or Be Good For It?

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ARTHRITIS: Could Sauna Help or Be Good For It?

Arthritis, a condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints, affects millions of people worldwide. While there are numerous treatments available, many are seeking natural and alternative methods to alleviate their symptoms. One such method that has gained attention is the use of saunas. But could sauna therapy truly be beneficial for arthritis? Let's explore this intriguing possibility.

The Science Behind Saunas

Before delving into the potential benefits of saunas for arthritis, it's important to understand what happens in our bodies when we use a sauna. Saunas, particularly infrared saunas, generate heat that penetrates deep into the body, increasing core body temperature and promoting sweating.

This heat exposure triggers various physiological responses. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increases metabolic rate, and promotes the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Additionally, it encourages the body to eliminate toxins through sweat, potentially reducing inflammation.

Heat Therapy and Arthritis

Heat therapy has long been used as a treatment for arthritis. The heat can help to reduce stiffness and relieve pain by increasing blood flow to the affected areas, promoting muscle relaxation, and reducing muscle spasms. This is why many people with arthritis find relief from warm baths, hot packs, or heated blankets.

Research supports the benefits of heat therapy for arthritis. A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that heat therapy improved pain, stiffness, and physical function in patients with osteoarthritis. However, it's important to note that the heat used in this study was applied locally to the affected joints, not through whole-body heat exposure as in a sauna.

Can Sauna Therapy Help with Arthritis?

Given the benefits of heat therapy for arthritis, it's reasonable to wonder whether sauna therapy could offer similar benefits. While research on this specific topic is limited, several studies suggest that it might.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis experienced a significant reduction in pain and stiffness during a sauna session. However, these effects were temporary and subsided once the patients left the sauna.

The Role of Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas may be particularly beneficial for arthritis. Unlike traditional saunas, which heat the air around you, infrared saunas use infrared light to heat your body directly. This allows the heat to penetrate deeper into the tissues, potentially providing greater relief from arthritis symptoms.

A study published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology found that infrared sauna therapy significantly improved pain, stiffness, and fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Another study published in the journal Physiotherapy Research found similar benefits in patients with chronic low back pain.

Considerations and Precautions

While sauna therapy may offer benefits for arthritis, it's not suitable for everyone. Saunas can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which may not be safe for people with certain cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, the heat can lead to dehydration, so it's important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after a sauna session.

Furthermore, while sauna therapy may help to alleviate arthritis symptoms, it's not a cure for arthritis. It should be used as a complementary therapy, not a replacement for medical treatment. Always consult your doctor before starting any new treatment for arthritis.

How to Use a Sauna for Arthritis

If you're considering using a sauna for arthritis, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start Slow: Begin with short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increase the duration as your body adapts to the heat.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sauna session to prevent dehydration.
  3. Listen to Your Body: If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or uncomfortable at any point, leave the sauna immediately.


Arthritis is a complex condition with no one-size-fits-all solution. While sauna therapy may offer temporary relief from arthritis symptoms for some people, it's not a cure and should be used in conjunction with other treatments. As always, consult your doctor before starting any new treatment for arthritis.

Remember, every person is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. But with patience, persistence, and a holistic approach to treatment, it's possible to manage arthritis symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Discover the SISU Sauna Difference

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