Have Heart Disease? Infrared Saunas are a Science-Backed Remedy.
Does heart disease run in your family, or are you at a heightened risk of heart attack? Read on to see what the Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard Medical School, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology have to say about sauna use — particularly, infrared sauna use — in managing heart disease and cardiac risks.
Over 17 million individuals succumb to heart disease each year. That number is so staggering that it is difficult to put it into context. But, take this number to heart for a moment: 6.4 million; this is the number of lives that could be saved each year if these individuals had access to an infrared sauna at least four times per week (according to a recent study out of Finland). This data demonstrates the importance of using infrared saunas in combating heart disease.
The Many Ways Infrared Saunas are Great for Your Heart
While regular infrared sauna use is clearly beneficial in treating and preventing cardiovascular conditions, the mechanisms of how infrared saunas achieve these heart-healthy results are often not detailed on other websites. We wanted to take a slightly different approach by listing some of the top ways infrared saunas (such as those by Good Health Saunas®) are great for your heart.
- Lower Blood Pressure — High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your chances of experience a cardiac event. Evidence points to infrared saunas having a blood pressure-reducing effect on those with elevated blood pressure. This works in several ways. By gently elevating your heart rate, blood circulation is improved, and over time, plasticity can return to blood vessels and arteries.
- Improved Blood Circulation — Infrared saunas stimulate the body, increase heart rate, and dilate blood vessels in a manner similar to jogging, swimming, and other moderate forms of exercise. Improving blood circulation has the benefit of also reducing blood pressure.
- LDL Cholesterol Reduction — LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad cholesterol.” It’s the type that sticks to artery walls, further narrowing the arteries and increasing blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke. Regular use of infrared saunas has shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 50 points.
- Healthy Relaxation — Americans have a “go, go, go” mentality when it comes to work; working ourselves to death is almost seen as a positive character trait. While there is something to be said about being a hard worker, not setting aside time for meaningful relaxation reduces your brain’s ability to reset itself, which further limits your ability to think clearly and further exacerbates stress. Speaking of stress brings us to our next point.
- Stress Reduction — One of the most-studied aspects of traditional and infrared saunas is their remarkable ability to reduce stress. The deep-penetrating heat of these saunas has the curious effect of boosting endorphins, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and dopamine. These neurochemicals are safely boosted and their combined effects have a feeling similar to a post-workout “glow.” Speaking of working out, infrared saunas emulate many aspects of getting in a good workout — all while you relax!
- Exercise-Like Health Benefits — Most heart patients are told by their doctors to partake in a healthy amount of exercise to gently increase their heart rate and keep the muscle walls of the heart flexible. This is great advice, but few follow through on the recommendation. As we just alluded to, infrared saunas have a similar effect to moderate exercise. The heart beats a bit faster, more oxygen-rich blood circulates throughout the body, and beads of sweat start rolling off the skin.
Science Backs Using Infrared Saunas for Heart Health
Infrared saunas have been scientifically proven to reduce the risks associated with heart disease. And, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports these claims. But, there is one more study we’d like to share with you to help illustrate these benefits.
A study out of Japan featured 25 males, each with one or more risk factors for heart complications. In this two-week study, each participant received a daily, 15-minute infrared sauna session. After each session, they rested and were covered by blankets for half an hour. The study’s researchers then measured the arterial thicknesses of the participants using ultrasound. After the course of two weeks, it was found that participants reduced blood vessel build-up and thickness by 40% on average. These results should be noted by anyone looking to improve their heart health by lowering their blood pressure and removing plaques and cholesterol from their arteries and blood vessels.
Be Good to Your Heart and Health
The dangers of heart disease cannot be overstated. Infrared saunas are a safe, effective way of reducing the associated risks of heart disease. In a majority of instances, infrared therapies can be safely used alongside medications prescribed by your physician. Before you start using an infrared sauna to treat an existing heart condition, you should first consult with your physician. Infrared saunas are safe, but since they can change your physiology, it’s good to keep your doctor “in the loop” about your intentions. Remember that not just any type of sauna will do; far-infrared saunas feature all the benefits of traditional saunas, but operate at much lower temperatures. (Anyone with heart disease can tell you that high heat and heart disease do not mix.) Also, be sure to stay hydrated while using an infrared sauna. You will sweat! But, more importantly, you will be improving your health and reducing the risk of suffering a cardiac event. Regular use of an infrared sauna is something we should all take to heart!