We found information suggesting saunas may offer benefits for Raynaud’s sufferers. Granted, the info is published on a web site selling saunas, likely a bit biased, so we did a bit more research with more objective resources.
Discovery Fit and Health offers an explanation of how saunas differ from steam baths: Unlike the moist heat used in steam baths, saunas use dry heat, allowing you to tolerate much hotter temperatures (around 176 degrees Fahrenheit). With dry heat, your body can sweat and cool itself with less moisture in the atmosphere; the wood surroundings also help make the heat more bearable.
The combination of the aromas of fresh sweat (a pleasant smell?) and cedar from the wood, plus possibly some herbs help send our mind into a relaxed state (Is that what happens when we exercise at the gym?). In any case, reducing stress and promoting relaxation can potentially benefit Raynaud’s sufferers.
I won’t go into the details of infared vs. stones as the heat source, or the benefits of ridding toxins from the body through sweating (help yourself to reading up on these subjects), but did find in Discovery’s explanation that saunas help us dilate the capillaries, causing increased blood flow to the skin. Here’s more: “The heart beats faster to regulate this increased circulation, all without an increase in blood pressure.” So sauna bathing is somewhat akin to cardiovascular exercise which we’ve heard is beneficial for Frosties. Sounds good, but not for everyone – careful if you’re pregnant, have a heart condition, high blood pressure or are up there in age – this process may have a negative effect on your health.
As for the benefits of ridding the body of harmful toxins and alleviating pain, they may be exaggerated for Raynaud’s sufferers, but the relaxation and cardio-circulatory benefits may be worth exploring. If you do try sauna bathing, let us know what you think – we’d love your feedback.
Here’s the link to the Discovery article How Saunas Work.