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Suffering From Psoriasis? Here's How an Infrared Sauna Can Help

Suffering From Psoriasis? Here's How an Infrared Sauna Can Help

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Have you heard about the latest trend in wellness? Infrared saunas have taken the world by storm with the promise of multiple health benefits. Many celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston have benefited from this type of treatment for many purposes, from detoxifying the body to promoting weight loss and even treating chronic pain [1]. This new technology has many different applications, but one that’s received a lot of attention lately is the fact that it can help patients who suffer from psoriasis.


What Are Infrared Saunas?

If you have ever been in a traditional sauna, then you know how overwhelming the heat can be. This has caused many people to avoid them or limit the time they spend in them, despite their many health benefits. Infrared saunas were invented as a solution to the problem of heat tolerance. They use a type of light that is invisible to the human eye, which directly heats your body without the need of using the air as a heat conduit [2]. Thus, your body temperature will be increased while the room temperature doesn't reach the high temperatures of a traditional sauna.

The main principle for infrared saunas is the same as the traditional ones, with the main difference being how your body is heated, which has shown numerous benefits and great promise for infrared saunas. For example, it has been proven that with this modern technology, there’s a more efficient shedding of toxins without having to sweat so much. This helps the body get rid of all the waste from the liver and kidneys. [3].

A New Option For Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin and joints. It can appear between the ages of 20 and 60 and can occur in both men and women. There’s no clear explanation for why it happens, but it is believed that genes have a big influence on its onset. The disease is characterized by skin lesions, that can affect the patient's self-esteem and social functioning [4].

Due to the nature of this disease, it can be very difficult to treat. Even when it seems to be under control, there can be flare-ups that bring the patient back to square one. There are different treatment options for psoriasis depending on the severity of the case. For patients with mild psoriasis, topical treatment with steroids can suffice. However, for moderate to severe cases, other stronger treatments may be needed. These can be effective but at the same time have many side effects [5]. This is why there is always a search for new treatments or practices that can help control the disease.

The aspect of psoriasis that causes the most psychological stress in patients are skin lesions. These are red patches of skin that are covered with thick scales. They are the result of the disease speeding up the life cycle of the skin cells, which start to build upon the surface of the skin [6]. Infrared saunas have shown promise in this regard since this type of radiation stimulates the shedding of this overgrown skin, which leads to a visual improvement of the lesions [7].

However, this is not the only way in which infrared saunas can help with this psoriasis. It’s important to remember that psoriasis is not a localized disease. It involves multiple systems and has an inflammatory and autoimmune component. Thus, anything that can affect the body as a whole could help relieve the burden of this disease, and infrared saunas do exactly that, by fighting inflammation and stress.

Infrared saunas have been proven to decrease systemic inflammation. Numerous studies have been performed where the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammatory marker, were determined before and after several treatments with infrared therapy. Most of these studies reported a decrease in the levels of this marker, demonstrating the role it has in controlling inflammation. By doing this at a systemic level, infrared saunas do more than just help relieve the skin lesions. They can help control the progression of the disease, lower the frequency of flare-ups and prevent other inflammatory conditions [7].

Stress is responsible for the onset and severity of many diseases, particularly those of inflammatory nature. Stress is perceived as a state of mind filled with anxiety, but it has an organic representation, which is the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that is responsible for fight-flight responses. When this system is overactive, you feel stressed and you can develop a wide set of clinical manifestations, especially when there is a pre-existing condition such as psoriasis. Infrared saunas can also help in this regard, by promoting relaxation and homeostasis, while fighting the sympathetic nervous system.

The benefits of infrared saunas are countless, and they can have a real effect on the progression and severity of psoriasis. However, they should not replace any medical treatment, but rather, should be used in conjunction with said treatment. It’s also worth noting that you should always consult with your doctor before starting any kind of alternative therapy.

Sources:

[1] Pavlik, Ben. "5 Celebrities Who Love Infrared Saunas." Yourwelnesskingdom.com, Your Wellness Kingdom, https://yourwellnesskingdom.com/celebrities-infrared-saunas/.

[2] "Infrared Sauna Benefits." Goop.com, Goop, https://goop.com/wellness/detox/the-power-of-infrared-saunas/.

[3] "How do infrared sauna work?"Jnhlifestyles.com,JNH Lifestyles,https://www.jnhlifestyles.com/how-do-infrared-sauna-work/.

[4] Kim, W. B., Jerome, D., & Yeung, J. (2017). "Diagnosis and management of psoriasis."ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnology Information,April 2017,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5389757/pdf/0630278.pdf.

[5] "Psoriasis Treatments."Psoriasis.org, National Psoriasis Foundation, https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments.

[6] "Psoriasis - Symptoms and causes." Mayoclinic.org,Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840.

[7] Greenfield, Jenna. "HTH Far Infrared Sauna for Decreased Inflammation and Chronic Pain." Hightechhealth.com,High Tech Health, https://www.hightechhealth.com/pain-and-inflammation-benefits/.

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