1. Clinical implications of (Far Infrared) thermal therapy in lifestyle-related diseases.
Biro S, Masuda A, Kihara T, Tei C.
Systemic thermal therapy, such as taking a warm-water bath and sauna, induces systemic vasodilation. It was found that repeated sauna therapy (60 degrees C for 15 min) improved hemodynamic parameters, clinical symptoms, cardiac function, and vascular endothelial function in patients with congestive heart failure. Vascular endothelial function is impaired in subjects with lifestyle-related diseases, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and smoking. Sauna therapy also improved endothelial dysfunction in these subjects, suggesting a preventive role for atherosclerosis. In animal experiments, sauna therapy increases mRNA and protein levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in aortas.
In normal-weight patients with appetite loss, repeated sauna therapy increased plasma ghrelin concentrations and daily caloric intake and improved feeding behaviour.
In obese patients, the body weight and body fat significantly decreased after 2 weeks of sauna therapy without increase of plasma ghrelin concentrations. On the basis of these data, sauna therapy may be a promising therapy for patients with lifestyle-related diseases.
2. Do Far-infrared Saunas Have Cardiovascular Benefits in People with Type 2 Diabetes?
Richard Beever, BSc MD CCFP CI
OBJECTIVE: Far-infrared saunas are beneficial for the treatment of congestive heart failure, hypertension and obesity. As such, they may have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular (CV) health in those with type 2 diabetes. Our objective is to examine whether or not there are quantitative CV benefits from infrared sauna use.
METHODS: The intervention consisted of 20-minute, thriceweekly infrared sauna sessions, over a period of 3 months. The following CV risk factors were measured: weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure (BPtru), glycated hemoglobin (A1C), fasting blood glucose and cholesterol profile. Baseline study parameters were measured within one week prior to commencing sauna sessions. Post-intervention measurements were collected between 1 and 3 days after the last sauna session.
RESULTS: Systolic blood pressure decreased by 6.4 mm Hg (124 ± 12 vs. 118 ± 15 mm Hg, 95% CI 0.01-12.71 p = 0.05), and there was a trend toward decreased waist circumference (115.0 ± 13.4 vs. 112.7 ± 11.9 cm, 95% CI 0.4-5.1 p = 0.10). All other measurements did not change significantly. There were no adverse events. Study completion rate was 75%.
Our results suggest that far infrared sauna use may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure and waist circumference. Subject adherence to infrared sauna use is greater than adherence to other lifestyle interventions. The combination of favourable compliance/adherence, as well as effectiveness in improving blood pressure and possibly waist circumference, makes infrared sauna therapy an attractive lifestyle option.