Chronic Heart Failure

Using a Sauna for Heart Patients

Patients suffering from chronic heart failure know all too well the seriousness of their symptoms. While there is any number of treatment options, many patients search tirelessly for solutions to lessen symptoms and improve their quality of life. Recent studies show promising benefits of sauna heart failure relief. A sauna for heart patients could just provide the solutions they’ve been looking for.

Sauna Heart Failure Relief—Case Study

  • One hundred and twenty nine patients participated in a study intended to determine the effects of heat on the body with the daily use of an infrared sauna for two weeks. Patients were split, half and half between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna. Symptoms were evaluated with a self-administered questionnaire, and patients were divided based on their responses of improved or no change.

    Clinical symptoms improved in 17 of 20 patients and were unchanged in 3. Two-week sauna therapy significantly increased the %FMD (flow-mediated dilation) in the improved group but not in the unchanged group. BNP concentrations were lower after 2 weeks of therapy, as well. There was a significant correlation between the change in %FMD and the improvement in BNP. Sixty months after treatment, the infrared sauna group reported a significantly lower death rate. The conclusion of the study was that heat therapy using an infrared sauna reduced cardiac events in patients with CHF and that therapy using an infrared sauna is a ‘promising non-pharmacological treatment for CHF.’

    Repeated Sauna Treatment Improves Vascular Endothelial and Cardiac Function in Patients With Chronic Heart Failure Kihara T, Biro S, Imamura M, et al Journal of the American College of Cardiology March 6, 2002 (Volume 39, Number 5)

  • Editor’s Comment: The precise mechanism by which sauna therapy improves CHF is not clear from this study, but the authors hypothesize that sauna therapy acutely causes vasodilatation, which leads to up regulation of eNOS protein in the endothelium.