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Manage Eczema Naturally With An Infrared Sauna

Manage Eczema Naturally With An Infrared Sauna

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Manage Eczema Naturally With An Infrared Sauna

By: Your JNH Lifestylist

Are you tired of having to deal with eczema? This condition is hardly ever considered to be a severe ailment. However, studies have shown that it is associated with a worse quality of life than other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. The symptoms of eczema are highly bothersome and can affect your mental health. There are several available treatments for this condition, but even then, it can be hard to control. Thankfully, as science progresses, new treatments become available and lately, there has been a lot of talk about how infrared saunas can improve these symptoms [1].


What Is Eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. Like asthma, food allergies and rhinitis, it is one of the conditions related to atopy, which is a genetic predisposition to develop allergic reactions. This means that your immune system identifies innocuous allergens as harmful and attacks them [2]. This chronic inflammatory skin disease is fairly common and is known for having periods where it is under controlled followed by relapses, making its treatment a real challenge.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by dry, scaly skin as well as redness and itching. These symptoms are hard to relieve and if not treated properly, the skin lesions can become infected. Also, people who suffer from eczema have more sensitive skin that becomes easily irritated [3].

It is hard to understand why this disease occurs, but it is widely accepted that there is a genetic component since it often runs in families. The symptoms of eczema are caused because of inflammation, which is what makes your skin red and itchy [4].

How Is Eczema Treated?

man applying medicinal cream onto his eczema

Given the chronic nature of eczema, treatment can take some time to control the disease. In some cases, you might even need to try different treatments because there is currently no universal medicine. Generally, all patients with eczema are advised to constantly moisturize their skin to prevent it from becoming flaky. Steroid creams are also often prescribed to control the inflammation. In severe cases, oral drugs may be required.

In recent years, light therapy has been used in the management of atopic dermatitis. The most frequently used is UV light. However, despite improving the symptoms of eczema, UV radiation is harmful to the skin and is associated with skin cancer. Therefore, other options are being tested and one that is a great candidate given its safety is infrared therapy [5].

What Is Infrared Therapy And How Does It Work?

Infrared waves are a type of light that is invisible to the human eye since it has a longer wavelength than the visible spectrum. There are three different types of infrared waves and each one has its own unique properties. Infrared light can penetrate approximately 4 centimeters into your skin and generate a vibration in water molecules, which generates heat, causing you to sweat. This is the reason why it is used in infrared saunas.

Infrared saunas are just like regular saunas, except for how your body is heated. In a traditional sauna, your body temperature is increased through convection, which means that the air around you is heated and this heat from the air is then transferred to your body. An infrared sauna uses infrared waves to produce heat from within your body. Therefore, with no need to heat the air around you, they are much more comfortable since there's no stifling hot air [6].

How Can Infrared Saunas Help Control Your Eczema?

There are two main ways in which infrared can be beneficial to manage the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. The first one has to do with inflammation. As previously stated, the skin lesions in eczema are a result of inflammation. Inflammation is a result of specific chemicals being released in your body, and these affect the tissues they reach. The infrared waves in infrared saunas have been proven to reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals in your blood, and this has clinical relevance. By reducing the inflammation, the skin lesions will improve. This effect is also seen in patients with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis [7].

woman stepping into a far infrared sauna by JNH Lifestyles

It is widely accepted that your immune system is influenced by your mind. Stress, anxiety and depression have a deleterious effect in your body and can worsen the symptoms of disorders such as eczema. Infrared saunas have also shown some promise in this regard. They control the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system responsible for fight-flight responses and stress. As a result, they promote relaxation and this translates into a clinical improvement. Infrared waves have also been used in the treatment of depression with excellent results [8].

As time goes by, more and more people are trying infrared saunas to control the symptoms of eczema and other conditions. Given the amazing results they can provide, and how harmless they are, infrared saunas could be what you have been looking for to manage your condition.


Resources:

[1] "Study shows painful eczema symptoms negatively impact quality of life." Acaai.org, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 16 July 2018, https://acaai.org/news/study-shows-painful-eczema-symptoms-negatively-impact-quality-life.

[2] "Atopy Definition." Aaaai.org, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/Atopy.

[3] Patrizi Annalisa, Raone Beatrice, Ravaioli Giulia Maria. (2015). "Management of atopic dermatitis: safety and efficacy of phototherapy." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, 5 October 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4599569/.

[4] "Atopic Dermatitis." Nationaleczema.org, National Eczema Association, https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/atopic-dermatitis/.

[5] "Atopic Dermatitis (eczema)." Mayoclinic.org, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-203.53279

[6] Shui S, Wang X, Chiang JY, Zheng L. (2015). "Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, October 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25716016.

[7] Hamblin Michael. (2017). "Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, 19 May 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5523874/.

[8] Hamblin Michael. (2016). "Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Center for Biotechnological Information, 1 October 2016, https://behavioralandbrainfunctions.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1744-9081-5-46.

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