Wellness centers promote holistic health by assessing each individual’s needs and acting to heal both mind and body.
Centers that focus on cancer treatment and symptom mitigation are no different: the professionals at a cancer-focused wellness clinic use any available method to improve the wellness of their patients.
That’s why it’s no surprise that infrared saunas are showing up in cancer clinics across the country. Besides the big improvements that they bring to patients’ lifestyles, infrared saunas may also improve cancer outcomes.
Take a look at the benefits of infrared saunas to cancer patients below!
But be careful: Infrared saunas induce mild heat stress in the body, which can be dangerous. Consult your doctor before beginning sauna therapy, and monitor your condition carefully in the sauna.
Hyperthermia is a treatment commonly used in conjunction with radiation therapy to improve tumor mitigation outcomes. This pairing can be a solution because heat between 104-111°F is cytotoxic to cells in low-pO2 and low-pH environments (typical tumor conditions) but does not kill regular body cells.
Hyperthermia is typically applied locally, using a laser or other fine heat source, but in systemic cancer types whole-body hyperthermia may be prescribed. This comprehensive therapy is only administered in supervised clinical conditions because of the danger posed by high heat.
Infrared saunas heat the skin to between 110-130°F and raise the core body temperature by up to 2°F. Although these temps are high, they don’t have the same functional effect as focused hyperthermic therapy. But the cytotoxicity of heat isn’t an all-or-nothing--by raising the temperature of your environment and your body in an infrared sauna, you do put stress on those cancer cells and help to give your own cells an edge.
Infrared saunas and light-to-moderate exercise have similar effects on the cardiovascular system, which is great news for your circulation. Due to age, illness, or difficult treatment regimens, cancer patients might have trouble staying active.
This is a problem because cardiovascular health is an important part of fighting illness. Cancer cells, in particular, thrive in low-oxygen environments, and poor circulation hampers your body’s efforts to fight back.
Regular sauna bathing can partially replace regular exercise through its effect on circulation. As you heat up in the sauna, your heart rate increases and your body redirects blood to your extremities in an effort to cool down. This maintains your innate cardiovascular health and gives your own cells the nutrients they need to fight the cancer.
Reduce Chronic Pain
Between the illness and the treatments, cancer patients deal with more than their fair share of chronic pain.
Infrared saunas present a solution. Similar to exercise, the heat stress in a sauna releases endorphins. This gives you an increased feeling of peace and a decreased sensation of pain. Regular sauna bathing can bring significant relief to individuals with fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, or other chronic pain conditions.
Relax the Mind + Spirit
Cancer is a challenge for both the patient and their family. Putting aside the time to relax in the sauna helps you slow down, unwind, and sweat out the negativity.
Lowered stress levels are an important part of health maintenance and cancer prevention--whether you are in remission or are simply living your healthiest life now to stave off cancer in the future, infrared saunas can be an important tool.
To maximize both the physical and mental benefits of infrared saunas, it’s important to make it a habit and embrace the opportunity to relax. Many sauna bathers like to use their session to meditate; others read, listen to music, or call friends.
Explore ways to make your sauna session your own, and find the routine that works best for you.
Infrared saunas can be found at wellness centers, athletic clubs, and health clinics across the country. You can also purchase an at-home sauna or build your own for the most convenient--and therefore most beneficial--sauna bathing.