The human body is an incredible machine. Thousands of processes happen without us giving them a single thought. One of those processes is the body’s ability to quickly react to injury or sickness. For example, when you twist your ankle or break a bone, you will immediately start to see and feel swelling around the affected area — known as inflammation.
While inflammation is a key healing mechanism, it can also be the source of acute pain and discomfort. If you’ve recently suffered an injury or you deal with inflammation in your everyday life, the benefits of sauna can help immensely.
In this blog, we break down the underlying causes of inflammation and what you can do to find some much needed relief.
What is Inflammation?
Speaking generally, inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself. There are two types of inflammation — acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation occurs when you have a cut or wound. Your immune system signals white blood cells to surround and protect the injured area, often creating redness and swelling. Likewise when you’re sick, the same system occurs to try and beat pesky germs trying to invade your body.
Chronic inflammation is a slow inflammatory process that can last from a few months to several years. The severity and effects of this type of inflammation vary depending on the cause of injury, severity of chronic illness, and the body’s ability to heal itself.
Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease are all forms of chronic inflammation. You may be surprised to learn that rheumatoid arthritis is actually quite common. In the United States, rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1.6 million people and a whopping 17.6 million people around the world.
But chronic inflammation can be sneaky. Most individuals discover they have chronic inflammation when they develop an autoimmune disorder, like lupus or Crohn’s disease, because inflammation is the telltale sign. And it can show up with various symptoms such as balance issues, low back pain, fatigue, fever, and joint and muscle pain.
How the Benefits of Sauna Combat Inflammation
Sauna time revitalizes body and soul with its ample health benefits. And when it comes to inflammation issues, you’ll want to make sauna part of your regular wellness routine.
The concentrated heat in a sauna stimulates circulation with oxygen-rich blood flow which helps reduce inflammation and swelling to alleviate chronic pain. So for those with muscle and joint pain, sauna is a must.
One study found that sauna therapy lowered markers of oxidative stress, a potential source of inflammation. With consistent sauna time over months or years, there’s no telling the amount of good it could do for your body.
If you have chronic inflammation issues, sauna can work wonders to help. Another reason being that during a sauna session, your body releases natural painkillers — endorphins — which loosen joints and relieve pain.
We can’t forget the other key player in controlling inflammation either — the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system serves as your immunity hero, and it plays a vital role in removing swelling and other effects of inflammation. Sauna combined with cold water therapy is the ultimate combo to boost this vital system.
4 Healthy Ways to Reduce Inflammation
If you’re like us, you prefer the healthy route to get your body feeling better. We’re always looking for lifestyle and other wellness changes to fuel the body forward.
Pair your sauna time with these health-centered tips to crack down on inflammation and start feeling better from the inside out.
1.Grub on anti-inflammatory foods
Ah, Mother Nature’s medicine.
Our food choices have a big impact on how we feel, and that’s especially true when it comes to inflammation. For acute or chronic inflammation, you want to eat more vegetables and fruits, along with foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — salmon, tuna, walnuts and flax seeds to name a few.
Other powerful anti-inflammatory foods to try include grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, and tea.
- Move around
A study published in “Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise”, found that people who were the least sedentary also had the lowest inflammation. While participants exercised for about 2 and a half hours per day (which may seem like a lot), that also included regular life activities like household cleaning and yard work. So yes, cleaning up and running after your kids counts too!
The takeaway here is that even a small increase in your daily activity can help reduce inflammation annoyances.
- Stay hydrated
When we think of a healthy lifestyle, most of us automatically think of diet and exercise. But what about water? It’s essential to our health and a key part of fighting inflammation too.
Water flushes out any lingering toxins in your body, reduces inflammation, and refreshes the body. In the medical community, it’s recommended to drink about 1-3 liters of water a day. If you can’t fathom drinking that much water, try infusing it with fruit, cucumber, or fresh herbs like mint. You might find it’s a lot easier to get those six glasses of water in.
- Treat yourself to a massage
Massage is a great way to practice self-care and work on your health. If you suffer from inflammation, massage therapy might be just what you need.
A study done in 2014 involving 59 participants, found that deep tissue massage helped reduce chronic pain — a by product of inflammation. The interesting part of the study is that the authors compared its effects to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil.
Start Your Wellness Journey at Sauna House
Don’t let inflammation hinder your quality of life. Start feeling better with some of the healthy resources we offer here at Sauna House!
Ready for a sauna session or to work with one of our massage therapists? Make your appointment today.