Pain in hand
May 10, 2021

5 Ways Infrared Saunas Can Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Holistic Wellness

Infrared sauna therapy can be used to assist people living with a range of degenerative diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause many side effects, including pain, stiffness, fatigue, and joint destruction.

Many people who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are told that without strong medications, like disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), systemic corticosteroids, and painkillers, there is no way to ease the signs and symptoms, let alone hope to halt its progress. 

However, many of these drugs can cause profound side effects, including weight gain, osteoporosis and fractures, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, pain and nausea, increased risk of infection, liver problems, nerve damage, and even scalp hair loss.

Add in the fatigue, brain fog, weakness, and general feeling of being unwell… The tender, swollen joints and aching muscles… the relentless pain and insomnia… rheumatoid arthritis can feel like being slapped by fate.

There is Hope

But while the mainstream focuses its attention on pharmaceutical interventions, sufferers and researchers have been looking closely at alternative interventions. Options that provide much-needed relief without the potentially life-threatening side effects. The insights are exciting!

Relax in sauna

In 2009, a study into the effects of infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis was published. The authors investigated the impact of twice weekly 30-minute sessions over four weeks.

The researchers found that:

  • Pain and stiffness significantly decreased during and after therapy
  • Mood, physical comfort, and symptoms improved
  • Participants said they “felt comfortable during and after the treatment session”
  • After treatment, 59% felt comfortable and many felt even very comfortable

That’s a far cry from the daily discomfort that readily accompanies this illness!

There were no markers of disease progression; an important indication that infrared sauna treatment is safe in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And, unlike many remedies, the treatment was well tolerated.

How does an infrared sauna work?

With such profound potential benefits, it’s important to look at this therapy deeper. How do infrared saunas work? And why is this important in rheumatoid arthritis or, for that matter, any cause of chronic pain?

There are five important factors:

1. Cell Health, Down Regulation of Inflammatory Markers, Muscle Recovery and Immunity

In RA, whether by the condition itself or the pharmaceutical agents used in its care, cells, muscles, and the immune system can be damaged. Near, mid, and far infrared light technology has been shown to aid in improving cellular health, aiding muscle recovery, and boosting immunity. 

NIR light therapy has also been suggested by numerous studies as a suitable adjunctive therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Along with its appeal as a non-invasive, low-risk protocol, it has proven its efficacy in helping to downregulate the production and concentration of inflammatory markers that are known to recruit cytokines which lead to the degradation of synovial joints.1

This is great news for sufferers!

2. Detoxification
Sweat on face

The incredible body has an inbuilt detoxification system but in our modern-day toxic world and through illness it can become overwhelmed. Support is needed. Far infrared saunas aid detoxification by heating the body safely and directly, which gently elevates core temperature.

“Detoxification is important because it strengthens the body’s immune system and helps the body’s biochemical processes function efficiently so that we are better able to digest the nutrients in our foods. Detoxification has also been shown to be helpful with colitis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, auto-immune disease, immune deficiency states, autism, ADD and ADHD.” - Dr. Rachel West

3. Improved Circulation

By heating muscles with safe infrared rays, blood flow is increased at a similar rate to that seen during exercise. Because being physically active is troublesome when you are stiff, swollen and sore, the benefits are obvious. It’s like a seated, comfortable workout without the exertion.

Research has also shown that infrared light boosts peripheral circulation, reduces inflammation, decreases pain, and speeds healing. This is exactly what tired and tender joints and muscles need.

4. Pain Relief
Hiking couple

Ah, the relief! The (maybe surprising) significant pain relief that many people experience from infrared sauna therapy is utter bliss. Infrared light penetrates tissues, joints, and muscles to relieve acute and chronic ails. From aches to muscle discomfort, joint pain to spasms, this therapy can be a life changer.

5. Relaxation

If you’ve experienced an old school sauna before, you know they can be harsh and uncomfortable. Infrared, however, provides a gentle, soothing heat. It’s this therapeutic warmth that promotes relaxation and enhances slumber.

Want More Information?

For more information on the benefits of using infrared saunas for assisting with rheumatoid arthritis, we recommend you listen to the podcast Rheumatoid Solutions. This podcast by Clint Paddison from 'The Paddison Program' shares insights and recommendations on how to manage rheumatoid arthritis, including having a healthy diet, regular exercise, and frequent Sunlighten mPulse® 3 in 1® infrared sauna therapy sessions to assist with stimulating blood flow; helping to improve the overall quality of life to those with RA.

With the evidence-based benefits and its unprecedented safety, infrared sauna therapy is a fantastic option for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The ramifications of chronic pain are huge, and a safe source of respite is much needed.

The intended use of a Sunlighten infrared sauna is to promote and maintain a healthy lifestyle and is unrelated to the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of a disease or condition.


1 Araki, Imaoka, Kuboyama, & Abiko, 2011; Imaoka, Zhang, Kuboyama, & Abiko, 2014; Shibata, et al., 2005; Yamaura, et al., 2009

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WRITTEN BY: Sunlighten

Shining light on infrared technology, Sunlighten® is the #1 choice for personalized infrared light treatments. Since 1999, we have been committed to innovating wellness products and services that empower our customers to improve their quality of life. Our patented SoloCarbon® technology rejuvenates the body by delivering the highest dose of infrared energy to the body - proven up to 99% effective. Our technological innovations are fueled by our passion to make a difference. And we are building a global community of businesses, consumers, and trusted experts to support each other along the way and make the world a healthier, happier place.

Sunlighten saunas are not a medical device as defined by Section 201(h) of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. Sunlighten provides general information relating to various medical conditions for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. Please consult with your physician regarding diagnosis or treatment.