10 Reasons to Use Infrared Saunas for Thyroid Health

10 Reasons to Use Infrared Saunas for Thyroid Health

Since creating Hypothyroid Mom in 2012, I’ve heard from reader after reader telling me that they feel better with regular use of infrared saunas. It’s one of the hottest (quite literally) anti-aging trends in the celebrity world.

Written by Andrea Duffy

Can an infrared sauna help my thyroid?

I’ve worked within the infrared sauna industry for nearly six years.

People usually come to Sunlighten for two reasons – to treat a specific ailment or to be proactive about staying healthy.

Over the years, as people have ventured to Sunlighten in search of solutions, I have answered many questions about the healing power of infrared saunas. However, the number of people asking the question above has increased dramatically in recent years.

If you suspect you have a thyroid condition or have just been diagnosed with one and are desperately working to reclaim your health then I have answers for you.

10 ways infrared saunas can help heal your thyroid

  1. Detoxification

Did you know the Environmental Working Group estimates that newborn babies come into this world with as many as 300 toxic chemicals?[1] The truth is you don’t have to be a painter or work in a factory to be overwhelmed by unwanted chemicals. Toxins are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, cleaning products, and even makeup. In other words, our world is full of toxins. Our bodies are structured to filter out toxins through a detoxification system led by the liver. People with thyroid disease are vulnerable to developing liver issues impairing their body’s ability to eliminate toxins. One of the most effective ways to shed toxins is to sweat. (Most of us don’t sweat enough.) Far infrared saunas don’t just help you sweat out water and salt from your body. A 3-in-1® infrared saunas can help you release cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid.

Between Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoots and Victoria’s Secret runways, supermodel Miranda Kerr knows a thing or two about maintaining an incredible body. In an interview with InStyle, Miranda said, “I really love going in the infrared sauna, just to detox.”

  1. Reduce Inflammation

There is good inflammation and bad inflammation. Typically your body will become inflamed when it senses an illness or threat to your immune system. This is how your body keeps you healthy. The problems start when your body remains in a chronic state of inflammation. (Most people battling an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are in a chronic state of inflammation.) A 2003 study from the Department of Dermatology and Institute of Medical Research found that using near-infrared heat therapy helped alleviate inflammation in the body.[2]

  1. Weight Loss

If your metabolism has been compromised from an underactive thyroid you might feel desperate to lose weight. Or if you aren’t able to work out due to medical conditions an infrared sauna could be for you. Personally, I used a Sunlighten sauna after the birth of my second child to help me relax and lose weight. (After my first child it took me over two years to lose weight!) Six weeks after the birth of my second child I set out to lose the weight. This time I started infrared therapy instead of signing up for deprivation diets and grueling workout routines. After breastfeeding I would jump into my sauna for 30 minutes where I would sweat and relax. Surprisingly this gentle approach did wonders for my body. I lost 20 pounds in 10 weeks while relaxing and taking time for myself. But don’t take my word for it. In a 2009 study, Sunlighten saunas were shown to help lower weight and waist circumference in just a three-month period![3]

When Elle magazine asked Selena Gomez about her workout schedule when she is on tour, she revealed, “I have a sweat bed, which looks like a burrito that I wrap myself up in, and I sweat for about 45 minutes.”

  1. Pain Relief

Infrared sauna heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation, and generating more oxygen flow to injured areas of the body. The heat flushes out lactic acid helping muscles to loosen reducing soreness, minor aches, stiff muscles, and muscle spasms. Infrared saunas also help with increasing flexibility. In a 2013 study from Auburn University at Montgomery, Dr. Michele Olson compared the benefits of stretching in a Sunlighten mPulse 3-in-1 sauna compared to a typical training room environment. While all types of stretching help to promote joint health and relieve stress, the sauna stretchers displayed significantly greater improvements in flexibility, particularly in the hips, hamstrings, and lower back.[4] Infrared saunas can help people with a thyroid condition suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, arthritis or joint pain.

Pop music queen Lady Gaga is a frequent infrared sauna user. In this Instagram post, Gaga said she frequently uses an infrared sauna for pain control. “I still deal with bone inflammation from my hip injury two years ago. But I keep control of pain with infrared sauna. A great investment for everyone, I use mine everyday. Getting my body ready for the show tonight!”

  1. Cardiovascular Health

According to a 2014 study published in The America Journal of Medicine, “thyroid hormones modulate every component of the cardiovascular system necessary for normal cardiovascular development and function”.[5] Saunas have been shown to reduce complications and improve cardiac performance in heart disease patients.[6] When the autonomic nervous system is in chronic stress mode, the heartbeat becomes less variable. Normally, there is a subtle variability between beats. If there is more variability in the beat-to-beat rhythm, your heart and nervous system are healthier. The least healthy heart rhythm has the least variability—a flat line. There is an infrared sauna on the market, the mPulse Series from Sunlighten, with built in biofeedback capabilities for monitoring heart rate during a sauna session.

In a 2005 clinical study by the University of Missouri Kansas City, Sunlighten’s Solocarbon far infrared heaters were shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30 minute infrared sauna session 3 times per week. The study concluded that Sunlighten infrared sauna therapy dilated blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining, thus increasing circulation to promote healthy blood pressure.[7] Additionally, a Japanese study published in the October 2008 issue of The Journal of Cardiology examined the clinical effectiveness and safety of infrared blood pressure therapy, as compared to standard therapies for patients with chronic heart failure. The report concluded that far-infrared sauna therapy is both safe and effective at improving clinical symptoms and cardiac function as well as decreasing cardiac size in chronic heart failure patients. Repeated infrared sauna treatments improved impaired blood vessel functions in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This suggests a preventive role for infrared sauna use for arteriosclerosis.[8]

  1. Body Temperature

Slow thyroid function can also cause people to experience chronically low body temperature. Lowered body temperature can cause a series of health concerns including frequent infections candida, or worse tumor growth. Regularly sitting in on sessions will help boost your temperature and white blood cell function.

  1. Emotional Release

It can feel impossible to sit still and relax in a world that goes a million miles a minute. However, if your body is under attack, now more than ever you need to allow yourself time daily to unwind. Use infrared saunas as a place to practice meditation, relax to destress, and balance your hormones. (If you struggle with sitting still or relaxing, I would look into the saunas with acoustic resonance therapy.)

  1. Combat Infections

One of the hallmark symptoms of hypothyroidism is increased vulnerability to infection. For some women they get frequent UTI’s (urinary tract infections) while others experience sinus or throat infections. During a short 30-minute session your body temperature will increase by 3 degrees. The increase in body temperature enhances your white blood cell function helping your body fight infections.

  1. Skin Purification

The skin is the body’s largest organ and often is in contact with toxins. Infrared saunas unlock toxins trapped beneath the skin by encouraging your body to sweat. Infrared saunas have been known to help dry skin, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. But, it can also make you look younger! The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showed significant improvements in skin appearance after just 12 weeks of LED near infrared treatments. Participants experienced a reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity and firmness.[9]

When it comes to beauty, Jennifer Anniston is all about the natural methods, including infrared sauna use. During an interview with Forbes about her fitness and beauty tips, Anniston shared her love of infrared saunas, citing their detoxification, relaxation, weight loss, and skin rejuvenation properties. Anniston cites the cell generation benefits of infrared sauna use in particular as a secret behind her flawless skin.

Cindy Crawford might be in her 50s, but she certainly doesn’t look it. Thanks no doubt in part to her strict beauty regime, the supermodel has maintained flawless hair and skin for decades. In an interview with Into the Gloss, Cindy dished her best beauty secrets – one of which is spending at least 20 minutes once a week in an infrared sauna. Cindy praises infrared saunas for many different health benefits: detoxification, relaxation and improved circulation, as well as its many benefits for the skin, including collage reduction and improved skin tone. Cindy also says that regular sauna use helps improve her sleep – and gives her 20 minutes of uninterrupted reading time!

  1. Cost Effective

This therapy is one of the safest, most powerful and affordable therapies for hypothyroidism. I’ve used the 3-in-1 Sunlighten Sauna for 5 years in my own home. It is perfect for us because of the customizable wellness programs. I use the anti-aging program regularly, while my husband enjoys the pain relief setting. When we are together, we usually use the detoxification program. If you are looking for a smaller, less expensive at-home sauna, Sunlighten also has the Solo System.

How is an infrared sauna different from a traditional sauna?

A traditional sauna reaches extremely hot temperatures because it needs to heat the air before it can heat you. Infrared light is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum, (don’t worry, no UV rays here), with the ability to penetrate human tissue. An Infrared sauna doesn’t get nearly as hot as a traditional sauna because it heats the body directly, not the air around you. In fact, Sunlighten saunas are clinically shown to raise core body temperature by two to three degrees. Our patented 3-in-1® infrared heaters can actually emit all three IR wavelengths –  near, mid, and far. These different levels, near, mid and far, represent the different sizes of infrared wavelengths. Each level or wavelength is used for specific treatments.

  • Near is the shortest infrared wavelength and it is often used for anti-aging, boosting mitochondria, and wound healing.
  • The mid infrared level wavelength is a bit longer and goes deeper to improve circulation to injured areas of the body speeding up the healing process. This level is great for pain relief.
  • Far is the longest and strongest wavelength. The far infrared level targets toxins to promote weight loss, detoxification, blood pressure reduction, and relaxation.

Low EMF Levels Provide a Safe and Effective Sauna Experience

You’d never buy an electric oven or other home appliance without knowing it met all safety and performance standards. Buying a sauna shouldn’t be any different. Many electric saunas, including infrared saunas, can emit high levels of EMF (electromagnetic fields) which can be harmful. Sunlighten Solocarbon heaters are the most effective—and the safest—infrared heaters on the market. Sunlighten saunas have met the strictest safety standards for more than a decade. Our patented heater design has a 95-99% emissivity rating and cancels out EMF to levels that are virtually undetectable—less than 1mG for our Signature Collection and Solo System.

To learn more about Sunlighten infrared saunas visit sunlighten.com.

References:

  1. Environmental Working Group. Oral testimony of Heather White on the regulation of new chemicals, protection of confidential business information and innovation. Retrieved rom http://www.ewg.org/testimony-official-correspondence/regulation-new-chemicals-protection-confidential-business
  2. Lidija Kandolf-Sekulovic, Milena Kataranovski, Milos D. Pavlovic. Immunomodulatory Effects of Low-Intensity Near-Infrared Laser Irradiation on Contact Hypersensitivity Reaction. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2003; 19: pp 203–212, Blackwell Munksgaard.
  3. Dr. Richard Beever BSc, MD, CCFP. Do Far-Infrared Saunas have Measurable Health Benefits? A Sequential Longitudinal Interrupted Time Series Design Study. 2009. Dr. Richard Beever BSc, MD, CCFP. Do Far-Infrared Saunas have Cardiovascular Benefits in People with Type 2 Diabetes? Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2010; 34(2):113-118
  4. Michele Olson. A study of changes in flexibility with full spectrum infrared sauna therapy. Retrieved from http://www.sunlighten.com/pdfs/manuals/auburn-flexibility-study.pdf
  5. Ira Martin Grains and James R. Sowers. Thyroid and the Heart. Am J Med. 2014 Aug;127(8):691-698.
  6. Nava Blum and Amon Blum. Beneficial effects of sauna bathing for heart failure patients. Exp Coin Cardiol. 2007 Spring;12(1):29-32.
  7. Becky Edwards, M.D., Heather Kort D.O, Faculty Staff Advisor: Dr. John Foxworth, PharmD. A Study of the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Sauna Therapy – Conducted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, 2005.
  8. Dr. Masakazu Imamura, MD, et al. Repeated Thermal Therapy Improves Impaired Vascular Endothelial Function in Patients With Coronary Risk Factors. Vol. 38, No. 4, 2001. Journal of American College of Cardiology: pp 1083-1088.
  9. Russell, B.A. et al. A study to determine the efficacy of combination LED light therapy (633 nm and 830 nm) in facial skin rejuvenation. J Cosmet Laser There. 2005 Dec;7(3-4):196-200.

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About Dana Trentini

Who knew that little butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of my neck could affect my life so completely? I founded Hypothyroid Mom in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Winner of two 2014 WEGO Health Activist Awards: Health Activist Hero & Best In Show Twitter. Hypothyroid Mom is for information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes Affiliate links. Connect with me on Google+