The Benefits of Infrared Saunas on Depression

Taking care of your mental health is a necessary factor in your overall well-being. If you or a loved one are facing depression, infrared sauna use might be a beneficial addition to your health routine in conjunction with advice and treatment from your doctor. Many studies have recently been conducted to test the effectiveness of whole-body hyperthermia, or the use of extreme heat, to assist in the treatment of depression. Read on to learn more about these recent studies and how they are paving the road toward more knowledge on the benefits of hyperthermia and infrared saunas on depression.

 

Man Using Infrared Sauna for Depression Benefits

 

Studies on Saunas for Depression & Mental Health

 

Feasibility and Acceptability of a Whole-Body Hyperthermia (WBH) Protocol

A recent 2021 study has shown promising results with whole-body hyperthermia (WBH) as a non-pharmacologic treatment for major depressive disorder while using Clearlight Saunas Far Infrared heating technology in The Curve Far Infrared Sauna Dome. Where prior trials in similar studies have used medical infrared hyperthermia devices, this study studied to see if a commercial device without FDA-imposed limitations could produce the degree of core body temperature (101.3 °F) associated with reduced depressive symptoms in prior WBH studies.

The study assessed the amount of time needed to achieve this core body temperature and the changes (pre-post WBH) in self-reported mood and affect. Twenty-five healthy adults completed a single WBH session lasting up to 110 min in the Curve Sauna Dome. Core body temperatures were recorded during WBH as well as mood and affect at points before and after whole-body hyperthermia. Whole-body hyperthermia treatment ended after a participant maintained 101.3 °F for two consecutive minutes. The study shows the effectiveness of Clearlight Saunas Far Infrared Heating technology at raising core body temperature.

Results found that all participants achieved the target core body temperature (101.3 °F) within 82.12 minutes on average. In analyses of changes in mood and affect, the study found that participants noted reductions in self-reported depression symptoms from 1 week pre- to 1-week post-WBH, and reductions in self-reported negative affect before and after their whole-body hyperthermia session. This research shows that WBH protocol holds promise in further research on the benefits of commercially available infrared sauna devices and hyperthermia in major depressive disorder treatment.

 

Woman Improving Mental Health in Curve Infrared Sauna Dome

 

Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

A 2016 study conducted by psychiatry professor Charles Raison and his team aimed to explore the need to identify novel treatments for major depressive disorder. Prior to this study, a smaller study took place in which of 16 individuals with major depression, a single hyperthermia treatment reduced their depression scores almost by 50% five days later. The 2016 study was conducted to test whether whole-body hyperthermia has specific antidepressant effects when compared with a placebo condition and to evaluate the persistence of the antidepressant effects of a single treatment.

A 6-week, randomized, double-blind study took place comparing hyperthermia with a placebo condition. Participants were medically healthy, met criteria for major depressive disorder, were free of psychotropic medication use, and had a baseline 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score of 16 or greater. During the study, researchers compared a single session of active WBH to a placebo condition. The placebo condition matched all aspects of the whole-body hyperthermia condition except intense heat.

When compared with the placebo group, the active WBH group showed significantly reduced Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores across the 6-week post-intervention study period. A single session of hyperthermia produced a rapid and powerful antidepressant effect that was not observed in the placebo group. Additionally, the benefits of a single hyperthermia treatment persisted for six weeks, leading to the conclusion that whole-body hyperthermia holds promise as a safe, rapid-acting, and prolonged antidepressant effect.

 

Happy Couple Enjoying Infrared Sauna for Mental Health

 

A Hot Topic for Health: Results of the Global Sauna Survey

Researchers set out to determine the motivations and experiences of typical sauna users. An online 71-item questionnaire compiling information on the individual characteristics, sauna-related habits, and perceived health and wellness experiences of regular sauna bathers was conducted. The 2019 study incorporated a quality of life scoring tool to measure physical and mental indicators of well-being.

The study was made up of 482 respondents who sauna-bathed approximately 1–2 times per week. The key reasons indicated by respondents for sauna-bathing included relaxation/stress reduction, pain relief, and socializing. Nearly a third of respondents reported medical conditions. Of this group, those with back/musculoskeletal pain and mental issues cited the greatest improvements in their conditions with sauna use. Of all respondents, 83.5% reported improved sleep after sauna use. This study documents that sauna users are motivated to use saunas predominantly for relaxation, reporting health benefits especially around mental well-being and sleep

Analysis of well-being scores after grouping respondents into groups by sauna-bathing frequency revealed that sauna users who utilize a sauna 5–15 times monthly recorded comparatively higher mental well-being scores as compared to respondents who were sauna-bathing less frequently.

 

Friends Smiling While Using Infrared Sauna

 

Benefits of Infrared Saunas on Mental Health

 

Mental health can be based on a number of factors, from chemical imbalances to chronic pain. Frequent sauna use can assist in reducing the symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. A short daily session in an infrared sauna can increase your exposure to heat therapy and help with:

 

While medical treatment should be discussed with your doctor for clinically-diagnosed conditions, adding infrared sauna use to your regular routine can offer many health benefits that assist in symptom reduction and enhance medical therapies. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of major depressive disorder or need to discuss your mental health, be sure to discuss with your doctor regarding next steps and proper treatments.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. The services are free and confidential.

 

Citations

 

Mason, Ashley E et al. “Feasibility and acceptability of a Whole-Body hyperthermia (WBH) protocol.” International Journal of Hyperthermia vol. 38,1 (2021): 1529-1535. DOI: 10.1080/02656736.2021.1991010

Janssen, Clemens W et al. “Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA psychiatry vol. 73,8 (2016): 789-795. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1031

Hussain, Joy N et al. “A hot topic for health: Results of the Global Sauna Survey.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine vol. 44 (2019): 223-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.012

Natural Winter Cold Remedies & Prevention Tips

Unfortunately, the cold weather also means cold season. Staying healthy is extremely important, and getting a cold can put a damper on your day-to-day life. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do at home to naturally reduce common cold symptoms and precautions you can take for future cold prevention. Learn more about the common cold and follow these prevention tips and remedies to help make cold season less daunting.

Winter Cold Symptoms & Causes

The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that is transmitted through virus-infected airborne droplets or contaminated surfaces. Though the common cold can be caught at any point in the year, winter colds are most prevalent due to drier air conditions, more time indoors closer to people, and cooler temperatures that may allow viruses to replicate faster. If you are feeling under the weather this season, watch for common cold symptoms such as:

Runny nose Congestion
Stuffy nose Slight body aches
Sore throat Mild headache
Cough Sneezing

Natural Cold Remedies

 

Use an Infrared Sauna

Far infrared heat has been shown in studies to relieve nasal stuffiness, runny nose, and sneezing. Spending time in an infrared sauna can reduce cold symptoms and can also help detoxify your body to reduce the number of toxins present.

 

Take Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays an important role in your body and has many health benefits – one of the biggest being an immune system boost. Getting enough vitamin C can relieve illnesses, and can help naturally reduce the length of a cold.

 

Steam in a Shower

The steam in a hot shower helps moisturize your nasal passages and aid in decongestion, especially when paired with aromatherapy. A warm shower before bed also helps promote better sleep, which helps speed up recovery.

 

Rub on Menthol

Some mentholated rub under your nose can help open air passages to combat congestion, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. Menthol also has mild numbing ingredients that may help relieve the pain of an irritated nose.

 

Mix in Honey

Honey has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey and lemon in tea can ease sore throats, and honey before bed can help improve sleep. Research suggests that honey is an effective cough suppressant, as well.

Person Eating Anti Inflammatory Soup for Cold Symptom Relief

Make Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is comforting, but research suggests that chicken soup with vegetables, prepared from scratch or warmed from a can, can enhance the movement of white blood cells in your body that help protect your body from infection.

 

Gargle Salt Water

Gargling with salt water may help prevent upper respiratory infections. It may also decrease the severity of cold symptoms. For example, it may ease sore throat pain and nasal congestion.

 

Drink Echinacea

Echinacea’s active ingredients include flavonoids, chemicals that have many therapeutic effects on the body such as boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation. Drinking echinacea tea can help reduce cold symptoms.

 

Cook with Garlic

Garlic contains the compound allicin, which is believed to have antimicrobial properties that help reduce cold symptoms naturally. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, you can take a garlic supplement to still enjoy all the health benefits.

 

Boil Some Ginger

The health benefits of ginger root have been touted for centuries, and studies today show that it is indeed antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water may help soothe a cough or sore throat.

Cold Prevention Tips

 

Avoid Crowds

Unfortunately, large crowds allow for more germs to be present and can help them spread more easily. If you are doing anything social, keep the group smaller so you have a better idea of other peoples’ health.

 

Be Active

Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells that help the immune system fight disease.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Your meals should have the right balance of nutrients you and your baby needs. This also means choosing healthier drinks like water, having frequent small snacks, and bringing your sugar intake down a notch, to name a few.

 

Get Adequate Sleep and Rest

Getting plenty of rest, relaxation and sleep (around 8 hours) is critical to your health. Your body is going through a lot, and a tired body means a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness.

 

Reduce Stress

As noted above, a rested body helps your immune system work better. A healthy immune system can help shorten your sick period. Reducing stress will make it easier for your body to function properly and fight illness if need be.

Stay Hydrated

Along with eating well and exercising comes staying hydrated. Fluids are essential to a well-functioning, healthy body because they wash out your system, so drink water as often as possible.

 

Take Supplements and Vitamins

Vitamins and supplements can be very useful tools in helping your body build a strong immune system to avoid sickness. Think of them as bricks on the wall of defenses your body is building up to fend off the viruses you might encounter daily.

 

Wash Your Hands

Germs can enter your body to infect you when touched. However, you can avoid germs by adopting consistent hand washing. Wash your hands when out in public, after touching contaminated surfaces, and before touching your face.

 

Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask can play a big role in keeping you safe from infection and illness, especially in highly-trafficked places such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, shops, and transportation.

 

Talk with Your Doctor

Above all, always be careful to talk with your doctor before making any major health decisions. If you feel yourself starting to come down with something, check to make sure any remedies you try are safe and healthy for you.

 

This cold season, try these natural cold remedies and prevention tips to keep your health in top shape. As mentioned above, consult your doctor if you feel your symptoms are concerning or if you believe you may have come down with something more severe. Health is a top priority, and these winter cold tips are great ways to ensure that!

Salt is in the Air: Halotherapy as a Potential Way to Boost Immunity and Lung Health

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com

 

Halotherapy is the breathing of salty air. It is an alternative treatment that has been used since medieval times. In Eastern and Central Europe, underground salt caves have long been claimed to provide numerous health benefits.1 Going into salt caves for therapeutic purposes is known as speleotherapy (speleo being the Greek word for cave). Halotherapy involves inhaling salt microparticles aboveground to mimic the microclimate of salt caves. Even Hippocrates is said to have known about the benefits of salt caves.1

Halotherapy-as-a-Potential-Way-to-Boost-Immunity-and-Lung-Health-Header-750x330

Halotherapy was first recognized as a treatment in 1843 by Polish physician Dr. Feliks Boczkowski, who noticed that salt mine workers rarely suffered from respiratory issues.2 Impressed with the health benefits he personally witnessed in salt mines, Dr. Boczkowski founded the first health resort at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. Soon after, all throughout Eastern Europe others began using salt caves as underground health resorts. Realizing that most people didn’t have a means to go into a salt cave, in 1976, Russian doctors and scientists created the first machine to produce salt microcrystals, known as a halogenerator, and halotherapy was born. In the 1980s, halochambers were built lined with rock salt and were eventually certified as medical devices in Russia. Essentially, we have a Polish doctor and the Russians to thank for the birth of halotherapy.1, 2

There are two types of halotherapy, dry and wet methods. The dry method of halotherapy is free of humidity and uses dry salt microcrystals, whereas wet halotherapy uses a mixture of salt and water in the air. A typical salt room delivers 5 mg of dry salt aerosol (with particles ranging from 0.1 to 5 microns) into the air during a 1-hour session.1, 2 A usual halotherapy plan entails 14 1-hour sessions over 2 months with a 48-hour break in between sessions, with an initial course of 4 sessions being recommended to check for a beneficial effect.1 A brief worsening of symptoms may occur prior to improvement, which has been termed “speleo-reaction.” This may be due to the breaking up of mucus and its subsequent draining increasing cough.

Woman-Entering-Halotherapy-Treatment-Room

So, are there any potential benefits with halotherapy?

One article suggested potential benefits of sitting in salt rooms and inhaling microscopic salt particles in those with asthma, bronchitis, lung disease, respiratory allergies, other respiratory-tract disorders, and chronic ear infections.1 The article also indicated claims of a success rate of 90% for treating pediatric asthma in salt rooms.1 Other publications show that halotherapy is associated with relief of cystic fibrosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).3, 4 The idea is that the inhaled salt helps thin and break up mucus and other airway secretions improving their elimination.

Another review article on halotherapy cited three case-control studies in patients with respiratory diseases, all of which reported improved respiratory function and improvements in several lung functions tests, including forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), oxygen saturation, partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood, and partial pressure of carbon dioxide in arterial blood.4 Others have found improvements in quality of life in COPD patients with halotherapy finding reductions in exacerbations, hospitalizations, improved physical tolerance and reduced fatigue.4 Even positive shifts in immunological status and decreases in medication use, such as inhaled corticosteroids, have been found. A randomized study by Nurov documented increased levels of lymphocytes, immunoglobulins and increased neutrophil phagocytosis activity. In other words, halotherapy increased immune cell numbers and stimulated their activity.5  Thus, it’s possible that breathing in salt microcrystals may help to improve lung function, oxygenation, and immune function.

Woman-Using-Home-Halotherapy-Generator

Other studies have found improvements in chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis (destruction and widening of the larger airways) and common colds during the cold season being cut in half.1 A 2006 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found three randomized clinical trials of salt room therapy, two of which reported that this therapy had beneficial effects on lung function.1 In COPD patients, nebulized saline has shown improvements in breathlessness scores and mucous expectoration.6 In a long-term, double-blind, parallel-group trial of 164 patents with stable cystic fibrosis with mild to moderate lung disease, inhaled hypertonic saline improved lung function as measured by forced vital capacity and FEV1 and fewer pulmonary exacerbations and antibiotic use. The researchers concluded, “Hypertonic saline preceded by a bronchodilator is an inexpensive, safe, and effective additional therapy for patients with cystic fibrosis.1, 7 Other potential benefits may include improvements in skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis although more research is needed.1, 8

Two randomized trials showed that a salt chamber reduces bronchial hyper-responsiveness in asthmatics.9, 10 Other publications note that halotherapy improves occupational chronic obstructive lung diseases.11 Halotherapy can even improve enlarged adenoids and tonsils, which is the main contributor of sleep apnea in pre-pubertal children.12 And halotherapy has even been suggested as a first line treatment for bacterial vaginosis.13 

Salt caves have been used for thousands of years. Halotherapy, which mimics the microenvironment in these salt caves, is now a potential strategy to provide therapeutic benefits. In Canada, Romania, and Israel, certain specialized nebulizers that release finely pulverized dry salt aerosol particles are approved as medical devices. Breathing in salt is something that we experience whenever we enter a salt cave or are near the ocean. Inhaling salt microcrystals using modern-day salt rooms or devices may be another strategy that mother nature has given us to improve our health.

 

References 

1      Horowitz S. Salt Cave Therapy: Rediscovering the Benefits of an Old Preservative. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2010;16:158–162.

2      https://www.salttherapyassociation.org/images/STA-Reference-and-Resources-Guide-022719—Small.pdf.

3      Rashleigh R, Smith S, Roberts N. A review of halotherapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2014;9(1):239-246

https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S57511.

4      Chervinskaya AV, Zilber NA. Halotherapy for treatment of respiratory diseases. J Aerosol Med 1995;8:221-32.

5      Nurov I. Immunologic features of speleotherapy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Medical and Health Science Journal. 2010;2:44–47.

6      Khan SY, O’Driscoll BR. Is nebulized saline a placebo in COPD? BMC Pulm Med 2004;4:9.

7      Elkins MR, Robinson M, Rose BR, et al. A controlled trial of long-term inhaled hypertonic saline in patients with cystic fibrosis. N Engl J Med 2006;354:229-40.

8      Endre L. [Theoretical basis and clinical benefits of dry salt inhalation therapy]. Orv Hetil 2015;156:1643-52.

9      Bar-Yoseph R, Kugelman N, Livnat G, et al. Halotherapy as asthma treatment in children: A randomized, controlled, prospective pilot study. Pediatr Pulmonol 2017;52:580-7.

10    Hedman J, Hugg T, Sandell J, et al. The effect of salt chamber treatment on bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthmatics. Allergy 2006;61:605-10.

11    Chervinskaya AV, Kotenko KV. Efficiency of controlled halotherapy in rehabilitation of patients with occupational lung diseases. Med Tr Prom Ekol 2016:38-40.

12    Gelardi M, Iannuzzi L, Greco Miani A, et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial on the efficacy of Aerosal in the treatment of sub-obstructive adenotonsillar hypertrophy and related diseases. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2013;77:1818-24.

13    Maliavin AG, Filiaeva Iu A, Umakhanova MM, et al. [Halotherapy–a new treatment of bacterial vaginosis]. Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult 2004:35-7.

Can Sitting in a Sauna Help Fight Infections?

By Dr. James DiNicolantonio www.drjamesdinic.com

Did you know that since 1957 sauna therapy has been used as a potential way to prevent the flu? 1 It’s true! During World War II, sauna therapy was even noted to prevent the spread of typhus fever in Finnish troops, “The main method of typhus prevention in Finland consisted of regular sauna bathing, which was culturally acceptable and very efficient.” 2 Since then, numerous studies have been published confirming that sauna therapy is indeed beneficial for fighting infections. 3, 4

For example, a clinical study divided 50 patients into two groups, one group of patients were assigned to sauna sessions over several months and the other group did not receive sauna therapy; can you guess what happened? The group that received sauna sessions had their incidence of the common cold cut in half. 4 And the benefits of sauna therapy don’t stop at the common cold. People who use saunas at least 4 times per week, compared to those who use the sauna once per week or less, have approximately half the risk of developing pneumonia or respiratory diseases. 5, 6

Can-Sitting-in-a-Sauna-Help-Fight-Infections-Header-750x330

So how does going into a sauna help fight against infections? For one, our body’s first defense against an infection is a fever. By boosting core body temperature and mimicking a fever, sauna therapy may help our bodies fight off infections before they take hold. It’s not recommended to go into a sauna once you have a fever because at that point your body is doing sauna therapy on its own. However, consistent use of a sauna may help reduce the ability of viruses to replicate in the body. 4-6  And this is important, especially early on in an infection, prior to it causing a fever, spreading to the lungs and taking a firm hold.

Going into the sauna causes hyperthermia or a rise in core body temperature. Essentially, sauna therapy is “heat shock” therapy. It shocks the body with heat and induces a short-term stress on the body. However, once the body has recovered from a sauna session it is more resilient to other stressors. This is known as hormesis. Basically, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (think of sunlight, exercise, or cold therapy). And in the case of sauna therapy we are talking about the immune system getting stronger.

We didn’t know exactly how saunas worked against viruses until recently. For example, when we go into a sauna our body increases the production of something called heat shock proteins (HSPs). 7 HSPs are released to prevent proteins from degenerating from heat shock or other stress. 8 They also help stimulate both our innate and adaptive immune system.  9 Thus, making our overall immune system more robust. Additionally, heat shock proteins can directly inhibit influenza viral replication  10,12  and make our cells more resistant to death from external stressors. 13, 14 In other words, the release of heat shock proteins with sauna therapy may, 1.) boost our immune system, 2.) inhibit viral replication and 3.) protect our immune and lung cells during cytokine storms. Talk about a triple combination punch!

Man Using Infrared Sauna for Depression Benefits

The benefits of HSPs and sauna therapy on our immune system don’t stop there. Heat shock protein-70 can stimulate the release of nitric oxide from monocytes. 15 And nitric oxide can inhibit the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). 16,17,18 Additionally, sauna therapy boosts nitric oxide, 19 as it increases the expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), which is the enzyme that makes nitric oxide in the body. 20,21 Infrared sauna therapy stimulates eNOS above and beyond any thermal effect, suggesting that infrared saunas may have an advantage over traditional saunas. 20,22,23

A 15-minute sauna session can also stimulate the immune system, increasing the number of white blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils and basophil counts. 24 Hyperthermia, as found with sauna therapy, also increases the antiviral effect of interferons. 25,26 Interferons are produced by our body to increase antiviral antibodies and to stimulate our immune system. Thus, there are many pathways for how sauna therapy may help us fight against infections.

Overall, sitting in a sauna for approximately 15-30 minutes per day, for 4 or more days per week, is a great way to increase heat shock proteins, activate the immune system, and potentially inhibit viral replication. Clinical evidence in humans suggests that sauna therapy reduces the incidence of the common cold and may reduce the incidence of influenza, pneumonia, and respiratory diseases.

 

References

1      Hartmann A. [Asiatic flu in 1957; sauna baths as prophylactic measure]. Hippokrates 1958;29:153-4.

2      Laurent H. Control of typhus fever in Finland during World War II. Vesalius 2009;15:71-9.

3      Brenke R. Das Potenzial der Sauna im Rahmen der Prävention – eine Übersicht neuerer Erkenntnisse. Forschende Komplementarmedizin (2006) 2015;22:320-5.

4      Ernst E, Pecho E, Wirz P, et al. Regular sauna bathing and the incidence of common colds. Ann Med 1990;22:225-7.

5      Kunutsor SK, Laukkanen T, Laukkanen JA. Frequent sauna bathing may reduce the risk of pneumonia in middle-aged Caucasian men: The KIHD prospective cohort study. Respir Med 2017;132:161-3.

6      Kunutsor SK, Laukkanen T, Laukkanen JA. Sauna bathing reduces the risk of respiratory diseases: a long-term prospective cohort study. Eur J Epidemiol 2017;32:1107-11.

7      Iguchi M, Littmann AE, Chang SH, et al. Heat stress and cardiovascular, hormonal, and heat shock proteins in humans. Journal of athletic training 2012;47:184-90.

8      Xue J, Fan X, Yu J, et al. Short-Term Heat Shock Affects Host-Virus Interaction in Mice Infected with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus H5N1. Frontiers in microbiology 2016;7:924.

9      Wang Y, Whittall T, McGowan E, et al. Identification of stimulating and inhibitory epitopes within the heat shock protein 70 molecule that modulate cytokine production and maturation of dendritic cells. J Immunol 2005;174:3306-16.

10    Hirayama E, Atagi H, Hiraki A, et al. Heat shock protein 70 is related to thermal inhibition of nuclear export of the influenza virus ribonucleoprotein complex. J Virol 2004;78:1263-70.

11    Li G, Zhang J, Tong X, et al. Heat shock protein 70 inhibits the activity of Influenza A virus ribonucleoprotein and blocks the replication of virus in vitro and in vivo. PLoS One 2011;6:e16546.

12    Conti C, De Marco A, Mastromarino P, et al. Antiviral effect of hyperthermic treatment in rhinovirus infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1999;43:822-9.

13    Novoselova TV, Margulis BA, Novoselov SS, et al. Treatment with extracellular HSP70/HSC70 protein can reduce polyglutamine toxicity and aggregation. J Neurochem 2005;94:597-606.

14    Guzhova IV, Arnholdt AC, Darieva ZA, et al. Effects of exogenous stress protein 70 on the functional properties of human promonocytes through binding to cell surface and internalization. Cell Stress Chaperones 1998;3:67-77.

15    Wang Y, Kelly CG, Singh M, et al. Stimulation of Th1-polarizing cytokines, C-C chemokines, maturation of dendritic cells, and adjuvant function by the peptide binding fragment of heat shock protein 70. J Immunol 2002;169:2422-9.

16    Akerstrom S, Mousavi-Jazi M, Klingstrom J, et al. Nitric oxide inhibits the replication cycle of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Virol 2005;79:1966-9.

17    Akerstrom S, Gunalan V, Keng CT, et al. Dual effect of nitric oxide on SARS-CoV replication: viral RNA production and palmitoylation of the S protein are affected. Virology 2009;395:1-9.

18    Chen L, Liu P, Gao H, et al. Inhalation of nitric oxide in the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome: a rescue trial in Beijing. Clin Infect Dis 2004;39:1531-5.

19    Gryka D, Pilch WB, Czerwinska-Ledwig OM, et al. The influence of Finnish sauna treatments on the concentrations of nitric oxide, 3-nitrotyrosine and selected markers of oxidative status in training and non-training men. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2020;33:173-85.

20    Huang PH, Chen JW, Lin CP, et al. Far infra-red therapy promotes ischemia-induced angiogenesis in diabetic mice and restores high glucose-suppressed endothelial progenitor cell functions. Cardiovasc Diabetol 2012;11:99.

21    Ikeda Y, Biro S, Kamogawa Y, et al. Repeated sauna therapy increases arterial endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression and nitric oxide production in cardiomyopathic hamsters. Circ J 2005;69:722-9.

22    Akasaki Y, Miyata M, Eto H, et al. Repeated thermal therapy up-regulates endothelial nitric oxide synthase and augments angiogenesis in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia. Circ J 2006;70:463-70.

23    Yu SY, Chiu JH, Yang SD, et al. Biological effect of far-infrared therapy on increasing skin microcirculation in rats. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2006;22:78-86.

24    Pilch W, Pokora I, Szygula Z, et al. Effect of a single finnish sauna session on white blood cell profile and cortisol levels in athletes and non-athletes. Journal of human kinetics 2013;39:127-35.

25    Chang CC, Wu JM. Modulation of antiviral activity of interferon and 2′,5′-oligoadenylate synthetase gene expression by mild hyperthermia (39.5 degrees C) in cultured human cells. J Biol Chem 1991;266:4605-12.

26    Payne J, Nair MP, Ambrus JL, et al. Mild hyperthermia modulates biological activities of interferons. Int J Hyperthermia 2000;16:492-507.

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

At a time like this, taking every precaution to stay healthy is imperative. Strengthening your immune system can help prepare your body to fight off sickness. But what exactly does the immune system do, and what steps can you take to help it perform properly? Learn more about your body’s process of protecting from sickness and discover how to boost your immune system naturally below.

How-to-Boost-Your-Immune-System-Naturally-Header-750x330

What Does the Immune System Do?

 

The immune system is designed to detect and destroy foreign invaders inside the body like bacteria and viruses. When working optimally, the immune system can prevent sickness when we’re exposed to germs. Several factors like sleep, diet, stress and hygiene can affect the immune system’s performance, and any offsets in these behaviors can decrease immune function. Our bodies have two immune subsystems: innate, which fights harmful substances and germs that enter the body, and adaptive, which fights certain germs that the body has previously come into contact with.

The adaptive immune system can be activated by things the body doesn’t recognize as its own, called antigens. These are called antigens. When these antigens attach to special receptors on the immune cells (immune system cells), a series of processes is triggered in the body. Once the body has come into contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, it usually stores information about the germ and how to fight it through antibodies. Then, if it comes into contact with the germ again, it recognizes the germ straight away and can start fighting it faster. Because the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.

Man-Sneezing-Due-to-Sickness

What Affects the Immune System

 

Age

As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions. While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases. This is likely due to the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection

 

Lifestyle

Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from harmful environmental factors and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as eating a healthy diet, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, exercising, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and taking general steps to avoid infection.

 

Stress

Increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, makes it difficult for the immune system to function properly. The American Psychological Association reports that 75% of Americans experience moderate to high levels of stress. In addition to the direct impact of stress on immune function, unmanaged stress can influence our sleep patterns, our mood, our dietary intake and our physical activity levels. All of these factors are associated with immune system function.

Woman-Sitting-in-Sauna-to-Boost-Immune-System-Naturally

How to Improve Your Immune System Naturally

 

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas have many health benefits that play in to helping boost your immune system naturally, including:

  • Increasing White Blood Cell Production: The heat generated by an infrared sauna stimulates energy at a cellular level which, in turn, increases the body’s production of white blood cells. These cells form a component of your blood and act as your immune system’s first line of defense when infection strikes. When a harmful substance enters your body, white blood cells detect it and control the immune system’s response.
  • Creating an Artificial Fever: Fevers help your body to fight off infection by allowing certain immune cells to work more efficiently and effectively, and increased temperatures trigger the body’s immune system response. Hyperthermia, or the exposure of the body to high temperatures, gives these cells the ability to destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells.
  • Releasing Impurities: When your body does not sweat enough, it holds onto potentially harmful toxins, chemicals, and impurities that were meant to be eliminated through sweat. A typical 20-minute session in an infrared sauna allows your body to flush out these impurities from the inside out so your immune system has less to fight off.
  • Reducing Stress: Since high stress levels often result in a weakened immune system and, as a result, illness, reducing your stress levels is crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Regular use of an infrared sauna balances cortisol levels and relaxes the body and mind. This allows your immune system to work efficiently, without the hindrance of high cortisol levels.
  • Improving Blood Circulation: The deeply penetrating heat of an infrared sauna promotes blood circulation throughout your entire body, providing oxygen-rich nutrients to your extremities. The increase in circulation pumps the blood towards the outside surface of your body, taking with it any bacteria or other illness-causing substances.

 

Healthy Diet

Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition’s effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans.

 

Supplements

There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals. While there is no one magical natural immune system booster, supplying your body with the necessary nutrients and vitamins can help set it up for success when it needs to fight something off.

 

Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

 

Stress Reduction

Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely decreases our immunity at the same time. Try things such as relaxation exercises, positive thinking, behavior modification, meditation, and finding social support to help reduce stress.

 

Your immune system is an incredibly powerful and useful system in your body that helps it fight disease and learn how to protect from future illness. Luckily, the most effective way to boost the immune system naturally is through a generally healthy lifestyle. There are no miracle pills to take or special treatments to do, just steps you can take to help support your body in being strong and able to fight off what comes its way.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms & Treatment

As winter settles in, many people unfortunately feel the winter blues settle in as well. If the cold weather and longer nights seem to be giving you the winter blues, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Learn more about SAD symptoms and remedies below.

Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-Symptoms-Treatment-Header-750x330

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

Some researchers point to the fact that we may be hard-wired to experience the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder due to early human’s need to conserve energy during the food-scarce winter months. A lack of food and substantially colder temperatures may have caused our ancient relatives to go into a sort of hibernation mode, where a low mood and lack of desire to complete tasks may have been a life-saving temperament.

Other researchers talk about the depression that comes from the amount of serotonin in our systems. Melatonin production is essentially regulated by our circadian clocks, but it can be affected by exposure to bright light. Seasonal Affective Disorder is, by most accounts, a direct correlation to the amount of light we’re exposed to, and at what specific duration.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder Statistics

  • SAD is diagnosed four times more often in women than men.
  • SAD is more frequent in people who live far north or south of the equator. For example, one percent of those who live in Florida and 9 percent of those who live in New England or Alaska suffer from SAD.
  • People with a family history of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD than people who do not have a family history of depression.
  • The symptoms of depression may worsen with the seasons if you have one of these depression or bipolar disorder (but SAD is diagnosed only if seasonal depressions are the most common).
  • Younger adults have a higher risk of SAD than older adults. SAD has been reported even in children and teens.
Woman-Feeling-SAD-Symptoms

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

Do the winter months get you down more than you think they should? If so, you might have seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder, instead it is a type of depression displaying a recurring seasonal pattern. People with SAD have many of the normal warning signs of major depression.

 

Symptoms of Major Depression

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having problems with sleep
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

 

Symptoms of Winter-Pattern SAD

  • Low energy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)

 

Symptoms of Summer-Pattern SAD

  • Poor appetite with associated weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior
Sauna-Color-Light-Therapy-in-Action

Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment

 

Infrared Sauna Use

Many of today’s better saunas come equipped with built-in lights that are designed to deliver a calming and therapeutic effect. This process of light therapy for SAD is called chromotherapy, and refers to the use of lights to create changes in mood in the person using the sauna. If you find that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a reality for you or a loved one, try to find time to get in an infrared sauna with LED color lights that can help in a variety of ways.

 

Light Therapy

Light therapy has been a mainstay of treatment for SAD since the 1980s. The idea behind light therapy is to replace the diminished sunshine of the fall and winter months using daily exposure to bright, artificial light. Symptoms of SAD may be relieved by sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, on a daily basis from the early fall until spring. Most typically, light boxes filter out the ultraviolet rays and require 20-60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light, an amount that is about 20 times greater than ordinary indoor lighting.

 

Medication

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat SAD. The FDA has also approved the use of bupropion, another type of antidepressant, for treating SAD. As with other medications, there are side effects to SSRIs. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition. You may need to try several different antidepressant medications before finding the one that improves your symptoms without causing problematic side effects. Speak to a doctor if you believe you need medication for SAD treatment to find the right prescription for you.

Person-in-Psychotherapy-Session-for-SAD-Treatment

Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is effective for SAD. Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy has been adapted for use with SAD (CBT-SAD). CBT-SAD relies on basic techniques of CBT such as identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts along with a technique called behavioral activation. Behavioral activation seeks to help the person identify activities that are engaging and pleasurable, whether indoors or outdoors, to improve coping with winter.

 

Vitamin D

At present, vitamin D supplementation by itself is not regarded as an effective SAD treatment. The reason behind its use is that low blood levels of vitamin D were found in people with SAD. The low levels are usually due to insufficient dietary intake or insufficient exposure to sunshine. However, the evidence for its use has been mixed. While some studies suggest vitamin D supplementation may be as effective as light therapy, others found vitamin D had no effect.

If you feel you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder, speak with a doctor. While you can try infrared sauna use, light therapy, and increasing vitamin D levels on your own, a proper diagnosis and potential further SAD treatment may be necessary. Don’t suffer through the seasons!

EVOLUTION OF CHEMICAL PRODUCTION

Since the introduction of regulations on chemical production in 1976, there has been a lot of development and research within the chemical industry. The use of chemicals in manufactured products increased and thus the dangers of chemicals increased. Furthermore, the chemical manufacturing process and regulation began to evolve in response to the increased danger.

Beginning of Chemical Industry Regulations

In 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed by Congress, and it’s administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TSCA regulates the introduction of both new and existing chemicals. Its three main objectives are to assess and regulate new commercial chemicals before they enter the market, regulate already existing chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to our health and environment, and regulate these chemicals’ distribution and use.

Since the TSCA inauguration over 40 years ago, only nine chemicals have been banned (out of the over 80,000 on the US market!). While TSCA is good in theory, the law has not been significantly updated and has faced criticism as not doing enough.

evolution-of-chemical-production-infographic

Post the Infographic on Your Site (Embed Code):

Banned Chemicals

Below is a brief evolution of the banned chemical production we have seen since TSCA’s implementation:

1976 – TSCA launched

1978 – Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were banned because of their toxicity to humans, animals, and some plants. PCBs were used mainly in electrical equipment, transformers, and hydraulics.

1978 – Fully Halogenated Chlorofluoroalkanes were banned because they deplete the ozone layer. This chemical was used in aerosol sprays, AC units, refrigeration, and insulation.

1980 – Dioxins were banned because they were shown to cause cancer. They were used in some herbicides.

1984 – Nitrates mixed with various components such as triethanolamine salts of substituted organic acid because they were shown to cause cancer and were found in metalworking fluids.

1989 – Asbestos, found in insulation and used in the construction of cars and ships, was banned for being risk factor for mesothelioma.

1990 – Hexavalent Chromium, which was found in paint for cars, boats, and planes, was banned because it was linked to cancer.

How Does The Chemical Evolution Affect You?

It’s disconcerting to think that today’s chemicals on the US market are manufactured at a rate of more than 1 million pounds annually and that only about 1% of these chemicals have been tested for safety. Because of this disparity, it is more crucial than ever to take care of your body.

Until EPA and governmental agencies take testing more seriously within the chemical industry, it is up to us to take control of the health of our bodies, our children, and our environment.

Detoxification is one way to help your body cleanse the many toxins that come from our environment, food, and household items. There are many ways to detox, including eating healthy or doing a short green juice cleanse, regular exercise, and sweating in a sauna.

View our eBook, Total Wellness, for more in-depth information and to see some of our favorite detox recipes and tips!

Cutting a vegetables for a salad with an olive oil

DEFINING OBESOGENS: THE CHEMICALS IMPACT & PRESENCE IN THE HOUSEHOLD

Obesogens are present in a number of things people touch, use, eat off of and drink out of on a daily basis, all of which have a seriously detrimental effect on the body. These compounds can be blamed for hormonal imbalances, metabolism issues and more.

obesogens-infographic-jacuzzi-saunas

Post the Infographic on Your Site (Embed Code):

Let’s learn what obesogens are, how they affect our bodies, and where they can be found. Then, you can take educated steps to avoid them!

Silhouette of a young female athlete in tracksuit drinking water from a bottle on the beach in summer during morning exercises. Sport and healthy lifestyle.

What are Obesogens?

Obesogens are foreign chemical compounds that can lead to obesity. They generally disrupt normal development, hormonal balances, fat storage, and your metabolism. Obesogenic chemicals can also disrupt energy balance and modify the regulation of appetite and the feeling of being full. This can lead to overeating and, in turn, obesity.

There are both pharmaceutical obesogens and environmental obesogens. Scientists have continued to study the impact of these compounds.

How do Obesogens Impact the Body?

Different obesogens impact the body in a variety of ways, including:

  • Increasing the number and/or size of fat cells
  • Affecting the body’s regulation of hunger and fullness
  • Changing metabolism by storing calories as fat

While the main causes of obesity are still imbalances in energy levels and improper diets, the school of thought surrounding obesogens continues to grow. In addition to the calorie-in-calorie-out equation of weight gain and today’s increasingly unhealthy food choices, the chemicals in your home, work, and the world may have an impact on your weight.

Different Kinds of Obesogens

There are more than 800,000 chemicals in the US, and about 800 of these are identified as endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormone system). Below are the most common obesogenic chemicals that may be found in and around your home:

  • Tributyltin (TBT) – TBT is a compound that used to be widely used in marine paints because of its biocide properties, which limits the growth of organisms on a ship’s hull. It has since been banned because it has been shown to harm other marine life, but it can still be found in some household fungicides and disinfectants.
  • Phthalates – Phthalates can be found in many plastics and beauty care items, including clay, paint, bottles, makeup, nail polish, hair spray, and many more. Although the dangers of phthalates are becoming more publicized, they can still be found in everyday household items. Lawmakers are trying to force more producers to use non-phthalate plasticizers.
  • Organochlorines – Organochlorines have a variety of uses, from pesticides to electronics manufacturing. Simply, they contain at least one chlorine atom and some of these compounds have a profound environmental concern.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is used to make many plastics and epoxy resins, and scientists have found it to be a xenoestrogen, meaning that is exhibits estrogen-mimicking, hormone-like properties. This could be one reason why some consider it an obesogen because our hormones play a role in weight regulation.
  • Organobromines – Organobromine compounds are often used in flame-retardant products and while some are naturally-occurring, they are mostly synthetic and their safety has fallen under increased scrutiny recently due to their environmental impact.
  • Perfluorooctanoic Acid – Perfluorooctanoic acid’s most notable use is serving as the compound on non-stick cookware. It has shown to be a carcinogen and toxicant for both animals and humans. It can also be found in stain-resistant carpet and carpet cleaners, and microwave popcorn bags!
Gardener applying an insecticide fertilizer to his fruit shrubs, using a sprayer
  • Organophosphates – Organophosphates are most commonly found in today’s commercial insecticides and herbicides and recent studies suggest a link between this compound and adverse neurobehavioral development in fetuses and children.
  • Heavy Metals (Including Cadmium, Arsenic, and Lead) – We’ve long known the danger of metals like arsenic and lead, but often these metals are still used in mining processes, fertilizer, plastics, and wood preservatives.

This is just a short list of the over 800 endocrine disruptors that can lead to obesity. As a responsible parent, homeowner, and citizen of the world, look out for these Obesogenic chemicals and avoid them when possible. To learn more about the significance of obesogenic chemicals, and a multitude of other factors and habits that impact our bodies wellness, download the Total Wellness ebook.

Cutting a vegetables for a salad with an olive oil

SUPPORTING BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH 2017

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to the awareness and prevention of the disease. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women with as many as one in eight women diagnosed with the disease at some point in their life. The earlier it is detected, the faster and more likely it is that the patient will make a full recovery. Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created to make women aware of the importance of early detection, give women the tools they need to perform self-tests and raise funds for breast cancer research.

What began in 1985 as a modest campaign between the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries has blossomed into an annual worldwide campaign. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has grown rapidly in size since its inception as events, fundraisers, races, and walks were established to raise awareness. These events include Breast Cancer Today, The National Race for the Cure, and Susan G. Komen 3 Day ‘For the Cure’. In the late 80s and early 90s, the pink ribbon started appearing to commemorate those who had been affected by breast cancer and eventually organizations established this as the official symbol of breast cancer.

Now, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one of the largest such campaigns and encourages people around the world to get involved by educating themselves, spreading the word about mammography and early detection, and fundraising for breast cancer research.

How Can You Help Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

If you are looking to get involved and support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are plenty of things you can do to spread awareness and contribute to the cause. These include the following:

Educate Yourself and Others

If you want to educate others about the importance of early detection, download this free Breast Health Guide, share resources on social media, and ask friends and family to do their own research on breast self-tests and mammography. Other sources of education are in-person training sessions and online training modules.

BreastCancer-v2-795x380

Host and Participate in Fundraisers

Fundraisers can be a great way to connect with others about breast cancer awareness and raise money for the cause. In-person events can be beneficial for a more personal connection while online fundraisers are great because you can reach more participants.

Donate

If you want to participate in raising money for breast cancer research but you do not have the ability to donate your time, a one-time donation is a great option.

Participate in Events

Donating your time and money to Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great way to do your part in spreading awareness about early detection and supporting researchers in finding a cure. Events you can get involved in during Breast Cancer Awareness Month include the following:
• American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
• Avon – The Walk to End Breast Cancer
• Party in Pink by Zumba
• Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk
• Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

The Benefits of an Infrared Sauna

Breast Cancer Awareness Month also raises money for alternative cancer medicine research and prevention research. Infrared sauna health benefits affect the entire body and promote overall wellness. Benefits of an infrared sauna that promote a healthy body include:

Toxin Elimination

Heavy metals and chemicals can build up and live in parts of the body that are not flushed out regularly. An infrared sauna helps detoxify every part of the body on a cellular level so that these unwanted substances are eliminated through sweat.

Organ Detoxification

Infrared sauna technology naturally draws the blood towards the surface of the body, which promotes the decongestion of internal organs. This detoxifying movement of fluids helps to rejuvenate any tissue that may have been stagnant or holding onto chemicals or hormones.

Improved Circulation

The improved circulation provided by an infrared sauna helps to pump in fresh new blood to nourish and replenish all parts of the body.

Skin Rejuvenation

The inactivity of sweat glands due to lack of sweating can cause your body to hold onto waste and toxins that should have been released. The resulting sweat of infrared sauna use helps your body to cleanse its largest organ and flush out any toxins that may have been stored beneath the skin.  The soothing heat of an infrared sauna penetrates deep into the body to eliminate these toxins from the inside out, leaving you feeling refreshed, healthy, and happy.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about awareness, early detection, and education. Taking steps to educate yourself about the disease and the ways to fight and prevent it is a great way to participate and do your part.  Knowing how to detect and help the body fight off cancer cells is beneficial to you while spreading that information to those around you is beneficial to the cause as a whole.

STAYING HEALTHY FOR NATIONAL STROKE AWARENESS MONTH

May marks American Stroke and High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. As the cause of one out of every 20 American deaths each year, many of us have either been directly or indirectly affected by stroke. By dedicating this month to increasing the awareness of strokes and their risk factors, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association work together to help decrease the frequency with which they occur. Since about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack each year, The American Stroke Association provides several ways for individuals to help raise awareness and show support during National Stroke Awareness Month. Here’s how you can participate:

Showing Support for National Stroke Awareness Month

heart1

1. Volunteer – By volunteering at hospitals hosting Stroke Simulation Events, you can help to test readiness for treatment when actual emergencies occur.

2. Legislation – Another way to support the expansion of telestroke technology is through legislation. By asking your legislator to support the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act (FAST Act), you could help work to give patients in remote areas better access to stroke experts.

3. Donations – If you would like to donate to fund stroke research and treatment during National Stroke Awareness Month, or any month for that matter, every dollar helps.

4. National Cycling Day – This day in May is dedicated to showing support through social bike rides, which can still be celebrated throughout the month and all summer long.

5. Wear Your Commitment – If you want to show your support for stroke awareness loud and proud, you can represent this month while contributing to a great cause by purchasing and wearing t-shirts and other merchandise created by the American Stroke Association.

6. Connect with the Community – The American Stroke Association has created and sustained a support network online for both Stroke survivors and caregivers. If you or any loved ones are Stroke survivors, we encourage you to check out this great network.

Risks for Stroke

There is a multitude of risk factors for stroke, but luckily, we have a lot of knowledge on what they are and how to prevent them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many common medical conditions can increase your chances of having a stroke. These conditions include prior stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and sickle cell disease.

Along with current medical conditions playing a role, there are also certain behavioral practices and lifestyle choices that will affect your likelihood of having a stroke in the future. Individuals with unhealthy diets, too little physical activity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use are all at a higher risk for stroke. As is true with many other personal health factors, family history can also play a role in one’s likelihood for stroke. It’s important to be aware of your family’s health history, as well as your own risk factors and work with your doctor to take the right steps to stay healthy.

Preventing Stroke

With all the risk factors out there, it may seem like strokes are inevitable, but research has found there are many ways we can prevent them. With high blood pressure being one of the leading causes of stroke, it may be beneficial to your health to help lower your blood pressure with consistent infrared sauna use.

Clinical research has shown regular sauna sessions can help lower blood pressure, the chance of heart disease, and obesity. The multitude of health issues that can cause a stroke are curbed by consistent infrared sauna use since the heat causes your body to burn calories by increasing your heart rate and metabolism. Also, frequently called “passive heat therapy,” researchers find saunas can benefit one’s health because it raises the body’s core temperature.

heart2

This temperature increase leads to increased blood flow, just like when your heart rate and temperature increases during a run or workout class. The health benefits of exercise are more well-known across the board, but saunas seem to benefit our health for some of the same reasons. In a sauna weight loss study conducted by Binghamton University in New York, results revealed individuals who used a Clearlight Premier IS-3 infrared sauna three times a week for 30 minutes per session dropped an average of 4 percent body fat over a four-month period. These participants who experienced weight loss did not change their exercise or diet patterns during the study, showing that Clearlight Infrared Saunas can make a real difference in your health if utilized consistently.

Spending time in infrared saunas has also been shown to get rid of toxins caused by fat cells in your body. Toxins, which are also called obesogens, as well as the chemical BPA make it difficult for your body to discard fat even if you have made the necessary lifestyle changes to do so. Infrared sauna use strips fat cells of these toxins, leading to weight loss and with that, better overall health and a decreased risk for stroke.

You can also decrease your risk for stroke by living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding some of the common health concerns discussed above. By sustaining a healthy diet and regular physical activity, you can improve your chances of avoiding being overweight or obese, which increase your risk for stroke. Limiting your alcohol intake and avoiding smoking altogether will benefit your health greatly. If you are worried that you or a loved one could be at risk for stroke, consult a doctor to help you find the best path to staying healthy.

Staying Healthy after Stroke

If you know someone who has survived a stroke, you want to ensure they have the best treatment possible. Amazingly, the American Stroke Association notes occurrences of stroke have been lowered from fourth to fifth place in terms of the leading causes of death in the United States. This is due to the research that has been done to improve and advance medical treatments.

Depending on the type of stroke an individual suffers from, different treatments sought in a timely manner can save lives. Think about what you can do this May to not only become more aware yourself but educate others on the steps they can take to ensure a healthy life during National Stroke Awareness Month.