By: Jodi Gauron, RN
With more than 300,000 Americans becoming afflicted with Lyme disease every year, many people often turn to alternative treatments as an adjunct to antibiotics as the medications do not always eradicate the disease. The long-term effects of Lyme can leave damage in nearly every part of the body. The use of an infrared sauna for the treatment of Lyme has shown to be effective for many patients.
When Lyme disease infects the bloodstream, the body becomes overrun with toxins and lacks the ability to remove these toxins via the natural pathways. It becomes difficult to sweat naturally and toxins accumulate. The kidneys and liver become overworked due to the stress of the chronic infection. Infrared saunas are a good means for detoxification. When sweating in the sauna, fat-soluble toxins are flushed through the skin, allowing the toxins to bypass the liver and kidneys thus lessoning the burden on those organs.
Unlike traditional saunas, the radiant heat emitted by infrared saunas eliminates approximately 7 times more toxins from the body. The infrared heat is able to penetrate deeper into the tissues and muscles to allow for more therapeutic treatment. For maximum effectiveness and health benefit, the ideal cabin temperature range is between 115 – 135 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no additional therapeutic benefit to running the sauna hotter.
In addition to the benefit of detoxification, infrared aids in the healing process by increasing circulation which increases the distribution and efficacy of medications. It also has a soothing effect on joint and muscle pain which, as anyone afflicted with this disease knows, is a prevalent symptom of Lyme.
Where to Begin
It is a good idea to start slowly to avoid releasing too many toxins at one time and creating negative die-off symptoms. Starting with two 15-minute treatments in your fist week and then gradually increasing the sessions will help prevent the discomfort that can come with the die-off. Treatment will take time and it may seem to become less effective over several months but this is due to the rate of detoxing slowing down. Continuing the treatment at this point is encouraged as the slow, consistent detoxing will eventually result in recovery from the original disease-causing toxin.
It is extremely important to drink a lot of water before, during and after the treatment and replace lost electrolytes. In addition to the sauna treatments, other healthy behaviors such as eating a healthy well-balanced diet, getting outside for fresh air and increasing water intake are encouraged. Those with low blood pressure need to be aware that infrared sauna may further lower blood pressure.
As with any new treatment, people are encouraged to have a discussion with their physician to determine the best approach for their individual needs.