Infrared Sauna Therapy
“An infrared sauna is a sauna which uses infrared heaters to emit infrared light which is experienced as radiant heat which is absorbed by the surface of the skin. Traditional saunas heat the body primarily by conduction and convection of the heated air and by radiation of heated surfaces in the sauna room.” (Wikipedia). The use of an infrared (FIR) sauna can be an instrumental part of a detoxification protocol for those with Lyme disease. Toxins, including heavy metals and environmental toxins, are secreted via sweating when one uses this therapy. The benefit of using an infrared sauna is that it allows you to eliminate significantly more (around 7 times more) toxins than a traditional sauna, and the infrared heat can penetrate deeper into tissues, can be less aggressive on the body than traditional steam saunas. The temperature of the heat is lower in an infrared sauna, and does not require as much time for benefit. The benefits of infrared sauna include: weight loss, removing toxins, purification of skin, increasing circulation, pain relief, relaxation, improving immune function. Most people with Lyme disease would use an infrared sauna for removing toxins (detoxification), assisting immune system, relaxation, and pain relief. The heat has been proven to relax tense muscles, thus promoting pain relief. This therapy can help with pain relief of sore muscles and joints. Infrared sauna may be used at three levels: near, middle, and far. Different levels are indicated for different ailments. Far infrared saunas are used primarily for detoxification, and is the most widely used for Lyme patients. Medical studies support the use of this therapy.
-Portable Infrared Sauna- cost is about $170. Benefits are much lower cost than stationary sauna and portable; can be used at home. Targets body from the neck down (head sticks out). Takes about 5 minutes to heat up.
-FIR sauna with low EMF- same benefits as above with lower EMF emissions.
-Stationary FIR sauna: Starts at around $1000. Takes longer than portable versions to heat up (20-30 minutes), targets the entire body rather than from neck down.
It is important to check with your doctor before beginning sauna therapy. This therapy will be more difficult or not appropriate for those who have heat intolerance, or some with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which commonly co-occurs with Lyme disease. It can be costly to pay to use an infrared sauna weekly; some may not be able to afford purchasing a portable version for home use. People with Lyme disease should use caution and start out slowly with this therapy, as it can cause a significant die-off or detoxification reaction from releasing too many stored toxins at once. It is suggested to start with two weekly 10-15 minute sessions and then work up from there. It is very important to remember to drink lots of water before, during, and after using the sauna, and to replace electrolytes lost during sweating (you can add in minerals, electrolyte powders, etc to water). Infrared sauna therapy may lower blood pressure, so those with blood pressure issues (such as people with POTS) need to also be aware of this.
Sources: Wikipedia, Tired of Lyme.com, Mindbodygreen.com, Dr. FrankLipman.com