Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that affects the skin, causes flu-like symptoms and often leaves people with joint pain. This is an infectious disease that is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most frequently carried by ticks. Most often the bacteria is carried by deer ticks, but other critters can also be carriers of these ticks.
One of the primary symptoms of Lyme disease is a prominent red rash at the site of the bite, which expands in width. The rash is likely to appear a week or so after the bite. Other symptoms of the infection include fever, flu-like symptoms and joint pain. While the disease can be treated with antibiotics and people make full recoveries, the recovery is not always easy or comfortable. Even after a patient has finished the course of antibiotics and the infection has been cured, the symptoms of pain can persist for months after.
It turns out that saunas can be extremely helpful not only in treating the disease and exacerbating the cure, but it also has proven benefits when it comes to pain relief and easing of other Lyme disease symptoms. The following are ways in which saunas can help treat Lyme disease and offer relief from symptoms.
One of the biggest benefits of the sauna is that it is one of the most effective ways of flushing out toxins. The skin is the largest organ in the body and sweating through the skin can be an effective way of releasing certain kinds of toxins that may not find any other outlet or may take too long to get out of the system. An infrared sauna also causes the body to sweat more deeply as it heats the cells of the body directly and much faster, as compared to a traditional sauna.
The bacteria that cause Lyme disease also cause a build-up of toxins that need to be flushed out. There are several systems the body has in place to flush toxins out, but the sudden build up causes some of them to be compromised and work slower than usual. Sweating in the sauna can help the detoxification process along. The process of sweating in the sauna also gets rid of fat-soluble toxins from the body, including various kinds of heavy metals.
The sauna is known to have analgesic effects. Exposure to heat in the sauna is said to release endorphins which are hormones associated with pain relief, relaxation and the high one experiences after running or exercising. Endorphins are also categorized under ‘happy hormones’ so they do help the body relax, which is very important if your symptoms are severe and you are in pain because of the infection.
The heat from the sauna also dilates the blood vessels, which helps the body de-stress and improves the circulation of blood oxygen. This makes a person feel more relaxed and invigorated. A very welcome feeling when you are dealing with high fever and joint pain as symptoms of Lyme disease.
Alleviates Depression and Anxiety
Lyme disease could also cause psychiatric symptoms like depression and anxiety. The physical symptoms of Lyme disease could also lead to several mental symptoms. Lyme disease causes inflammation, which may in turn cause certain neurological changes that make a person vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other mental ailments. Sauna treatments are known to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Your gut health also has a close relationship with your mental well-being. If the gut is not in order, the whole system can be out of sync because the gut-brain axis ceases to be healthy. People suffering from Lyme disease also develop a leaky gut which causes the intestinal lining to be damaged. In other words, the overall nutrition that you can derive from the food you eat is compromised, as is your mental health.
The sauna can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety first by allowing the body to relax by improving circulation. Short periods of heat therapy can also act as an antidepressant. A study conducted in 2005 also found that repeated thermal therapy was able to treat appetite loss and mild depression in 28 inpatients.
Enhanced Sleep Quality
When you are suffering from any kind of disease, it leaves your body battered and fatigued. While you can continue medicating and drinking fluids, none of that will be effective if the body does not get adequate rest so it can rebuild and fight the disease. The sauna is an especially effective way of enhancing sleep quality.
The relaxing of the blood vessels releases the tension from the body and allows you to unwind. The endorphins released in the sauna also aids in relaxation. You may have been told that a hot shower before sleeping aids in better sleep, the sauna does the same thing but even more effectively!
More than anything, the sauna helps in treating the disease by making the medication more effective. The heat from the sauna improves blood circulation while also removing the toxins from the body. When blood circulation is improved, the medication in the bloodstream is also transported around the body more effectively. Thermal treatment in the sauna can help exacerbate your recovery.
All the benefits mentioned above can be provided by traditional saunas and infrared saunas alike. However, an infrared sauna is even more effective in providing relief as it uses infrared rays to heat the body. The rays heat the body directly, without heating the air around you, which is what a traditional sauna does through steam and hot rocks.
In other words, an infrared sauna can operate at much lower temperatures while also heating your body faster. If sitting in the sauna makes you uncomfortable or you cannot sit in the heat for too long, an infrared sauna takes care of that discomfort. You will not find the air to be stiflingly hot in an infrared sauna. However, the core temperature of your body will rise and you will break into a sweat without feeling the discomfort of sitting in a heated chamber.