The image of a traditional steam sauna with smoldering rocks and wide side benches may be the first thing that pops into your mind when people talk about “saunas.”
For the most part, this is true. But we forget that flushing out toxins from the body using heat is a tried and tested healing technique. It is a method which lived through thousands of years, from its early days in Europe to its popularity in Asia.
Today, we hear of home sauna installations. You can even buy a portable sauna off of shop TV or have an outdoor sauna installed in the yard. However, the creation of the infrared sauna made heat therapy incredibly important.
It offers more than just rejuvenation and detoxification benefits to families. Heat therapy now provides cancer patients with a way to beat their illness.
To understand infrared saunas better, let us discuss how it works and why it has made treating cancer possible.
Comparing infrared saunas with traditional saunas
The main difference between the two comes down to its heating method.
Traditional saunas create heat from the outside before making its way in the body. This is uncomfortable for normal people already. Cancer patients will have to sit through a few minutes of intolerable heat before benefiting from it.
Conversely, infrared saunas do it more slowly. Heat penetrates deeply into the skin and is evenly distributed all over the body. It creates a gentle warmth so it can flush out toxins more effectively.
Raising the body’s temperature as a means to treat cancer patients
Doctor Lawrence Wilson wrote, “If I were to single out one method to combat cancer, it is the sauna,” in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. He states the following benefits:
- Removes chemical toxins
- Increases oxygenation
- Enhances immune system
- Reduces radiation burden on the body
Indeed, modern medicine has observed that cancer patients went into remission after raising the body’s temperature. Doctors call this therapy hyperthermia, which means to induce fever by increasing the body’s internal heat.
There are three ways of inducing hyperthermia:
- Locally – shrinking tumors by exposing a small, specific area to heat
- Regionally – weakening cancer cells by exposing larger areas like an entire organ
- Whole body – heating the entire body to a much higher temperature to treat cancer that spreads to many parts of the body
It is considered to be an unconventional cancer therapy as of the moment. But its efficacy meant doctors are suggesting it alongside more conventional cancer treatments. Next, let’s explore how heat therapy can do these.
Main benefits of infrared saunas to help beat cancer
- Reducing cancer cells
According to the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, far infrared exposure reduced cancer cells in mice and in vitro human cells significantly.
By nature, cancer cells have more trouble adapting to a higher temperature than normal cells. This makes them vulnerable to damage when exposed to heat.
- Improving the immune system
The immune system becomes more effective once the protein layer surrounding cancer cells gets damaged. White blood cells increase to a certain level, which enables the immune system to protect itself.
- Boosting blood circulation
Healthy blood flow delivers important nutrients and oxygen to the whole body. Oxygen weakens the cancer cells, eventually killing it in the process.
If a patient is unable to do any strenuous tasks, consistent heat therapy might just do the trick. The sauna’s heat means the body is going to make an effort reducing the temperature by pumping more blood.
- Helping manage weight
Obesity is one of the risk factors of cancer patients. To help things along, patients should have at least a 30-minute session in an infrared sauna.
Regulating body temperature requires copious amounts of energy. This task then burns at least 500 calories per session.
This does not mean that a patient should not have proper diet and exercise. They are still advised to do cardio exercises and eat healthily. However, a sauna session can significantly help reduce fat cells that cancer can target.
- Detoxifying the body of harmful toxins
An infrared sauna can reach deeper tissues to draw out toxins buried deep in the skin. Sweating it out means that the body will not have to deal with them while it is fighting the cancer cells.
- Managing the lifestyle changes that come with cancer
Growing weak because of cancer is an inevitability. This is not just physical changes but emotional and mental as well.
There may come a point where they will dread going to a check-up or a chemo session. Hearing about the positive results of heat therapy may give them a boost in mood and morale. At the same time, this pushes them to be more proactive in their health.
Make no mistake, this is not a cure for cancer. However, no one can deny that it improves the chances of beating the disease.