Available for home use or at gyms and spas, saunas have long been a wellness tool throughout the world for their health-promoting properties. In the chronic Lyme disease and chronic illness communities, far infrared saunas (FIR) are the kind of saunas you’re apt to hear about because they generate dry heat, which is usually better tolerated by patients than the heat from steam saunas.
Possibly the most significant advantage is that FIR saunas are portable and cost-effective compared to other types of sauna. They can be broken down or folded into panels and shipped across the country, snapped back together in the corner of a room, and plugged into a regular wall socket.
The deep penetrating heat of FIR (up to a few inches beneath the skin’s surface) increases detoxification by moving blood to flush the buildup of toxic substances and waste products from around cells. Although exercise is a great way to move blood, exercise causes friction in tissues, which isn’t ideal for someone whose body is already severely inflamed. In contrast, FIR saunas move blood without causing friction. Plus, the use of FIR saunas aids circulation and has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins and other opioid-like chemicals. These are the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones that bind to opioid receptors in the brain to reduce pain, fight inflammation, and support the immune system.
FIR is a reasonable, supportive therapy to add to your Lyme treatment protocol. But there are a few considerations to be aware of: Excessive heat can be a stress factor for your body, resulting in such symptoms as dizziness or feelings of malaise. New sauna users should start slowly, as little as five minutes, and increase the time to 30 minutes as the body allows.
The cost to use a sauna will vary from one location to another. However, if you choose to invest in one, the initial cost might be several hundred dollars, but you should expect to have your sauna for many years to come.
When purchasing a sauna, I prefer wooden ones to minimize exposure to toxic plastics that are often a component in zip-up ones. But if you buy a zip-up sauna, purchase it from a reputable company that offers a guarantee and answers questions about how their products are made instead of buying it from Amazon, which seems to be the biggest offender of those made with toxic plastics.
Dr. Bill Rawls’ Treatment Guide
Want to see more Lyme disease treatment ratings? See What Dr. Rawls has to say about popular treatments and therapies in his Lyme Disease Treatment Guide.
1. Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:1857413. Published 2018 Apr 24. doi: 10.1155/2018/1857413