Infrared Light Therapy for Treatment of Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
For those who suffer from autoimmune diseases, conventional medicine can be very challenging and confusing. First, let’s start with the basics. What is an autoimmune disease? “One of the functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes (types of white blood cells). Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In some cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of related diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue.”1
Before we dive deeper into a few autoimmune diseases, let’s discuss what they all have in common – infrared light therapy can help relieve some of the symptoms. “How,” do you ask? Sunlighten infrared saunas work by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and speeding oxygen flow. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, Sunlighten’s patented Solocarbon® infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps relieve pain. Solocarbon® technology is proven to raise the core body temperature by at least three degrees. This not only warms the body, but helps calm the nerves, also reducing pain. Surrounded by soothing warmth, you can let the outside world slip away and feel your muscles release tension, a feature that is especially appealing for someone diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
Infrared Light Therapy to Treat Lyme Disease
Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme Disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control by state health departments and the District of Columbia2.
This puzzling disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick, usually a tiny deer tick. In most cases, the tick must be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to spread the bacterium to you.
If Lyme Disease is diagnosed early, it often can be treated with an antibiotic. But many times, Lyme Disease goes undiagnosed, and may result in long-term debilitating symptoms, especially joint pain, severe headaches and neck stiffness, paralysis on one or both sides of the face, and heart and nervous system issues.
A Japanese study published in the journal, Internal Medicine, showed that chronic pain patients experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. Researchers concluded that infrared heat therapy is effective for chronic pain treatment3.
Some researchers and health care providers feel that near infrared therapy is better suited to treat Lyme disease symptoms; others prefer the effects of far infrared heat. With Sunlighten’s exclusive custom full spectrum infrared sauna, the mPulse, Lyme Disease sufferers can set-up a regimen to take advantage of BOTH near infrared AND far infrared sauna detox in the same unit.
Dr. Rachel West
Reduce Pain and Inflammation from Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the immune system disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Researchers aren’t sure why some people develop RA. They think that some individuals have genes that are activated by a trigger in the environment, like a virus or bacteria, or physical or emotional stress, or some other external factor.
Early on, individuals with RA may experience joint pain, tenderness, swelling, or stiffness that lasts for several weeks or longer. As the disease progresses, joints become more damaged and painful.
In addition to medical treatment, a healthy diet and balanced activity/exercise, hot and cold treatments, stress reduction, and complimentary therapies have been clinically shown to improve the symptoms of RA.
In a paper published in Alternative Medicine Review, 17 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and another 17 patients with ankylosing spondylitis participated in four weeks of twice weekly far infrared saunas. Sauna sessions were 30 minutes in duration at 55°C (131°F). During the time period while in the sauna, all participants enjoyed a statistically significant temporary reduction in pain and stiffness4.
Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® Far Infrared Therapy found in the Signature series naturally helps reduce pain and inflammation by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues. Many people, when in pain, want to be warm. Solocarbon® technology is proven to raise the core body temperature by at least three degrees. This not only warms the body, but helps calm the nerves, also reducing pain.
Stress Relief from Lupus
The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have some form of lupus5.
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of the body, and it can cause a lot of different symptoms. The most common lupus symptoms include chronic fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, swelling in hands, feet, or around the eyes, headaches and low fevers.
Though many lupus patients take anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids to manage the condition, a healthy diet, activities like gentle yoga, and complementary therapies that reduce stress can also provide lupus sufferers with relief.
One form of stress relief is routine sauna use. Among the findings in a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on saunas is that feelings of relaxation and promotion of mental health and well-being associated with sauna sessions may be linked to the increased production of circulating levels of hormones, such as endorphins. The review also reported that sauna bathing produces beneficial changes that are equivalent to those produced by physical activity6.
At Sunlighten, we can’t think of a better way to slow down and unwind than spending time in our Solo System. Surrounded by soothing warmth, you can let the outside world slip away and feel your muscles release tension, a feature that is especially appealing for someone diagnosed with lupus.
Reduce Never Ending Soreness with Infrared Heat
In the United States, between six to 12 million people have fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes widespread pain. Women are two to seven times more likely to develop the condition, and it’s most common in middle age.
There are up to 19 points on the body that may feel tender to people with fibromyalgia. The neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, thighs, and arms are commonly affected, as well as joints. Other symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, thinking and memory problems and mood disorders.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but several drugs have been approved to treat the symptoms of pain and depression caused by the disease. Other evidence-based fibromyalgia treatments include complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, physical therapy, heat therapy and hydrotherapy.
More and more fibromyalgia patients are turning to alternative therapies, such as regular infrared sauna use to help relieve their pain. Sunlighten’s mPulse series–with its proprietary Solocarbon® Custom Spectrum™ heating technology, is the only sauna on the market that offers LED-based near infrared heat at this proven level. Sunlighten infrared sauna heat works by penetrating joints, muscles and tissues, increasing circulation and speeding oxygen flow. By reducing soreness on nerve endings, our infrared heat reduces muscle spasms and helps relieve pain.
One study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice involved 44 female patients who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for fibromyalgia. They received a 12-week thermal therapy program comprised of sauna therapy once daily for 3 days/week and underwater exercise once daily for 2 days/week. All of the patients reported significant reductions in pain and symptoms of 31–77% after the 12-week thermal therapy program. Their symptoms remained relatively stable (28–68%) during the 6-month follow-up period7.
Frequent Infrared Sauna Sessions Aid in Weight Loss
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid. It affects one out of five people, usually middle-aged women8. Over time, the ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones often becomes impaired, leading to a gradual decline in function and eventually to an underactive thyroid.
Common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, increased sensitivity to cold, dry skin, depression, muscle aches and reduced exercise tolerance. For some, the inflammation causes the thyroid to become enlarged (goiter).
Doctors often prescribe medication to regulate an underactive thyroid, but some patients also benefit from alternative treatments, such as sauna therapy. One of the most common issues individuals with Hashimoto’s disease deal with is weight gain.
Fortunately, regular sauna use can encourage weight loss. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the effects of infrared sauna on patients who had diabetes. Subjects were asked to attend 20-minute sauna sessions, three times a week, over a three-month period, and to not make any other lifestyle changes. Waist and hip circumference were measured within one to three days of the final sauna session. After three months, there was a trend toward 2.33 centimeters lost in waist circumference9.
Additional research studies have shown that both far- and mid-infrared heat waves are effective in weight loss efforts. Our full spectrum mPulse infrared saunas offer both far- and mid-infrared settings. The mPulse is even pre-programmed with a weight loss setting, custom blending the infrared output for the most effective use.
Improve Symptoms Caused by an Underactive Thyroid
According to the American Thyroid Association, Graves’ disease is a common autoimmune condition in the United States, causing an overactive thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism. It is seven to eight times more common in women than men.
The condition is triggered by the body’s immune system, which normally protects us from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses by producing antibodies. However, in Graves’ disease these antibodies do the opposite, causing cells to work overtime and resulting in an overactive thyroid.
Symptoms of Graves’ disease can include a racing heartbeat, hand tremors, trouble sleeping, weight loss, muscle weakness, neuropsychiatric symptoms and heat intolerance. In some cases, medicines can regulate an overactive thyroid.
If Graves’ disease continues after six months, then treatment involves either disabling the thyroid with radioactive iodine or surgically removing it. In either case, the person eventually develops an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include feeling cold, tired, dry skin, weight gain, forgetfulness, depression and constipation.
Doctors prescribe medication to regulate the underactive thyroid, but some patients also benefit from alternative treatments, such as sauna therapy. Specifically, infrared sauna can help by regulating body temperature, reducing inflammation, detoxifying the body, providing pain relief, and improving heart health.
In fact, According to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Medicine, thyroid hormones modulate every component of the cardiovascular system necessary for normal cardiovascular development and function10. Saunas have been shown to reduce complications and improve cardiac performance in heart disease patients11.
Signature Far Infrared Saunas from Sunlighten® are the most effective far infrared saunas available. The Solocarbon heater is the only one on the market clinically shown to raise core temperature, lower blood pressure and aid in weight loss, all benefits for those with thyroid disease.
Detox from Mold Exposure
Mold, although not an autoimmune disease, presents symptoms similar to other autoimmune diseases.
Mold is a fungi that thrives in damp, warm, humid environments, both inside and outside; its spores can travel through the air. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, approximately 10% of the population has antibodies to common inhalant molds. About half of these individuals have allergic symptoms at some time12.
Common symptoms of mold exposure include coughing, shortness of breath, sinus problems, headaches, rashes and joint pain. Long-term or toxic exposure to mold may cause a weakened and suppressed immune system; neurological issues such as tremors; lack of coordination and numbness; liver damage; and kidney toxicity.
The first line of defense is to remove the mold, if possible. Many mold allergies can be treated with allergy or asthma medications, but serious cases may call for intense treatment, even hospitalization.
Clinical Therapeutics published a study of 100 chemically sensitive and chronically mold-exposed patients who continued to be disabled even after decontamination of their houses or work places, or after being physically removed from the source of the mold.
Patients with documented mold exposure were divided into three groups. The first improved easily with mold avoidance and antigen injections. The second improved after desensitization to their mold antigens plus additional mycotoxin antigens. The third had regular mold antigens, additional mycotoxin antigens, plus regimens that included sauna, oxygen therapy, and nutrients. Approximately 85% of all patients in the third group cleared completely; 14% had partial improvement, and 1% remained unchanged13.
Sauna therapy provides many benefits for patients with severe mold exposure. In fact, sweating helps reduce the buildup of toxic substances in the body. Ridding the body of these toxins through a natural sauna detox may help relieve symptoms, prevent future illness, and increase overall health and vitality. Sunlighten’s mPulse series–with its proprietary Solocarbon® Custom Spectrum™ heating technology, is the only sauna on the market that offers LED-based near infrared heat at this proven level.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD).
- Internal Medicine (Tokyo) Aug 15, 2008 by Matsushita, K., Masuda, A., Tei, C. The First Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University Hospital, Kagoshima, Japan.
- Crinnion, WJ. Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant- induced and other chronic health problems. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Sep;16(3):215-25.
- Lupus Awareness Survey for the Lupus Foundation of America [Executive Summary Report]. 2012. Washington, DC.
- Laukkanen, J.A., Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor. S.K. Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2018; 93 (8): 1111 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.04.008.
- Matsumoto, S., Shimodozono, M., Etoh, S., Miyata, R., Kawahira, K. Effects of thermal therapy combining sauna therapy and underwater exercise in patients with fibromyalgia. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Volume 17, Issue 3, August 2011, Pages 162-166.
- Garber J.R., Cobin, R.H., Garib, H., et al. Clinical practice guidelines for hypothyroidism in adults: cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocrine Practice. 2012;18(6):988–1028.
- Beever, R. Do Far-Infrared Saunas Have Cardiovascular Benefits In People With Type 2 Diabetes?. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2010;34(2):113-118. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1499-2671(10)42007-9
- Grains, I.M., Sowers, J.R. Thyroid and the Heart. Am J Med. 2014 Aug;127(8):691-698.
- Blum N., Blum, A. Beneficial effects of sauna bathing for heart failure patients. Exp Coin Cardiol. 2007 Spring;12(1):29-32.
- Bush, R.K. MD, Portnoy, J.M., Saxon, A., Terr, A.I., Wood, R.A. AAAAI Position Statement. The medical effects of mold exposure, February 2006.
- Rea, W.J. A Large Case-series of Successful Treatment of Patients Exposed to Mold and Mycotoxin. Clinical Therapeutics, 2018 Jun;40(6):889-893.