4 Reasons Heat Therapy is Best
Heat therapy is well known for providing pain relief for a variety of ailments. It has been utilized to alleviate body pains and muscle spasms, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used thermal baths and volcanic hot air chambers to do so.
The benefits of infrared saunas and other types of heat therapy have been well documented and can include:
Natural Pain Relief
Chronic pain can originate from many different factors including everyday life, nerve pains, over exercise, injury, hormonal imbalances, arthritis and the list goes on. While you should always consult your doctor prior to deciding how to treat your specific pain, it is worth looking into the science and considering how heat therapy might be able to help relieve your pain naturally with infrared heat.
Stronger Immune System
Your immune system protects your body against illness and infections. It is not, however, just one thing. It’s a system made up of multiple parts of your body, including white blood cells, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, your bone marrow, and antibodies.
Simply put, these various parts of your immune system need to be functioning properly and harmoniously with each other in order for your immune system to remain strong. That allows your body to be able to fend off infections and illness.
People who utilize heat therapy devices like the sauna, according to anecdotal evidence, do not become sick as frequently as they used to. Now, science is beginning to back up these anecdotal claims, with several studies demonstrating the beneficial effects of heat treatment on the immune system.
Improved Skin Conditions
You may have heard individuals say that after getting a good sweat on in a sauna, their skin feels great or that they feel like they are ‘glowing.’ People assume this is because they have sweated out all of the impurities and other ‘bad stuff’ on their skin. This is somewhat true, but the science behind why your skin glows after a sauna session is far more fascinating and compelling than merely sweating out the toxins.
So how can heat therapy help to improve your skin condition, boost collagen levels and provide relief from common skin ailments including eczema and psoriasis?
It increases collagen levels. Collagen is a structural protein that is necessary for skin health. Unfortunately, beyond the age of twenty, we begin to manufacture around 1% less collagen each year. In other words, as we age and our bodies begin lacking collagen, our skin’s vitality begins to dwindle as well. This is one of the reasons why we gain wrinkles and our skin ‘ages’ as we get older.
Infrared heat, on the other hand, has been demonstrated to boost the body’s ability to naturally manufacture more collagen. Skin cells exposed to regular infrared heat treatment produced twice the amount of collagen as skin cells that did not receive the treatment, according to a study from The Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea. In addition, those who received infrared heat therapy saw a 26 percent to 50 percent improvement in skin tone, elasticity, and the appearance of fine wrinkles, according to the study.
More Information: Yonsei Medical Journal
Another way is sweating out impurities. It has also been shown to improve the body’s own natural inflammatory response.
Studies have shown regular sauna use and heat therapy can help to reduce your body’s level of CRP, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation. This includes inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Better Sleep and More Energy
Sleeping on a regular schedule is critical for optimum health, yet up to 40% of people do not obtain the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Long spells of sleeplessness affect 25% of the population. Not only does this cause exhaustion throughout the day, but it has also been connected to a variety of bad health concerns such as hormone imbalances, weight gain, and a weakened immune system.
Many factors influence how well you sleep, with thermoregulation being one of the most important. Thermoregulation is the process through which your body regulates or maintains its core body temperature.
During the day, your body will maintain a core temperature of around 98.6 Fahrenheit. This will, however, vary slightly as you progress through the sleep-wake cycle (your circadian rhythm), in which your body will naturally cool down at night as you prepare to sleep. This drop in body temperature tells your brain that it’s time to start making melatonin, the sleep hormone.
As you sleep, your body temperature drops, then rises as you wake up, along with the production of cortisol (your body’s stress hormone). This is your body’s natural method of getting ready for the day.
Doing heat therapy 90 minutes before bedtime can essentially hijack your body’s thermoregulation function. Your core body temperature will temporarily rise, followed by a rapid drop back to your normal resting core temperature after the session is finished. As your core body temperature drops, your circadian clock is reset, and your body is readied for sleep as your brain produces melatonin in reaction to the drop in temperature.
If you use heat therapy on a regular basis, the relaxing effects will last longer. When using it at night, for example, you psychologically teach your brain to recognize it as part of a nighttime pattern that leads to sleep.
If you are finding that you have difficulty falling asleep or feel restless at bed-time, it might be worth you considering how heat therapy can help you to relax and promote a healthy, natural sleep.
Heat therapy has been used throughout history for thousands of years and the benefits have been thoroughly studied and proven.