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Suffering from Psoriasis? Discover How a Sauna Can Help
Psoriasis, an itchy and scaly skin disorder, can be a real pain in the neck for those who suffer from it. With the myriad of treatment options out there, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But fear not! One unexpected ally in the battle against psoriasis is the sauna. In this article, we'll explore the ways in which saunas can help alleviate psoriasis symptoms and improve your overall skin health. So, without further ado, let's dive right in!
The Psoriasis Predicament
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. These patches can be itchy, painful, and even lead to other health complications if left untreated (1). Although the exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells (2).
Types of Psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis, including:
- Plaque psoriasis: The most common form, causing raised, red patches covered with a silvery-white buildup of dead skin cells.
- Guttate psoriasis: Characterized by small, dot-like lesions.
- Inverse psoriasis: Causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin in body folds.
- Pustular psoriasis: Characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus surrounded by red skin.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: A rare and severe form of psoriasis that leads to widespread redness, severe itching, and pain.
Traditional Psoriasis Treatments
Psoriasis treatments typically aim to reduce inflammation, slow down the growth of skin cells, and remove scales (3). Common treatments include:
- Topical medications: Creams and ointments applied directly to the skin.
- Light therapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light.
- Oral medications: Pills or injections to help control the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Lifestyle changes: Stress reduction, diet adjustments, and regular exercise can also help manage psoriasis symptoms.
Sauna Benefits for Psoriasis Sufferers
Saunas have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and improve overall health. In recent years, they've gained popularity as a complementary treatment for various skin conditions, including psoriasis. Let's explore the potential benefits of saunas for those dealing with this pesky skin condition.
Detoxification and Skin Cleansing
Sweating it out in a sauna helps flush out toxins and impurities from your skin. The increased blood flow and perspiration can aid in removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores, which may contribute to reducing psoriasis symptoms.
Infrared saunas, in particular, have been shown to help decrease inflammation and chronic pain (4). The heat from the sauna penetrates the skin and stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory proteins, which can help reduce the inflammation associated with psoriasis.
Stress Relief and Improved Sleep
Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. Relaxing in a sauna can help lower stress levels by promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Additionally, regular sauna use can improve sleep quality, which is essential for overall health and well-being. Better sleep and reduced stress can indirectly contribute to improved psoriasis management.
Enhanced Blood Circulation
As your body temperature rises during a sauna session, your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow. Improved circulation can promote skin healing and regeneration, which may help alleviate psoriasis symptoms.
Sauna Safety and Precautions for Psoriasis
While saunas can be beneficial for those with psoriasis, it's crucial to take some precautions to ensure a safe and comfortable experience.
- Consult your doctor: Before incorporating sauna use into your psoriasis treatment plan, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure it's a suitable option for you.
- Start slow: If you're new to using a sauna, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
- Stay hydrated: Sweating in a sauna can lead to dehydration, so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your session.
- Listen to your body: If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or unwell during a sauna session, exit the sauna immediately and rest.
Q: How often should I use a sauna for psoriasis relief?
A: The frequency of sauna sessions may vary depending on individual preferences and tolerance. It's recommended to start with one or two sessions per week and gradually increase as needed. Always consult with your doctor before incorporating sauna use into your treatment plan.
Q: Can I use a sauna if I have severe psoriasis?
A: It's essential to consult with your healthcare provider before using a sauna if you have severe psoriasis. They can help determine if sauna use is appropriate for you and provide guidance on how to use it safely.
Q: Which type of sauna is best for psoriasis?
A: Both traditional and infrared saunas can provide benefits for psoriasis sufferers. Infrared saunas may be more effective at reducing inflammation due to their ability to penetrate the skin more deeply. However, the best type of sauna for you may depend on personal preference and individual circumstances.
Saunas can offer a range of potential benefits for individuals suffering from psoriasis, including detoxification, inflammation reduction, stress relief, and improved blood circulation. By incorporating sauna use into your psoriasis treatment plan, you may experience relief from your symptoms and improved skin health. However, it's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider and follow safety precautions to ensure a positive and effective sauna experience.
- Kim, W. B., Jerome, D., & Yeung, J. (2017). "Diagnosis and management of psoriasis." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5389757/pdf/0630278.pdf
- "Psoriasis - Symptoms and causes." https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840
- "Psoriasis Treatments." https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments
- Greenfield, Jenna. "HTH Far Infrared Sauna for Decreased Inflammation and Chronic Pain." https://www.hightechhealth.com/pain-and-inflammation-benefits/