November 14 is World Diabetes Day. Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050.
Did you know that many people with diabetes or at risk for diabetes use infrared therapy to support their health?
In a study published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dr. Richard Beever, professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of British Columbia, found that infrared saunas help diabetics. Dr. Beever knew of data that showed that far-infrared sauna treatments improve the quality of life for those with chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and congestive heart failure. He wanted to determine whether far-infrared saunas have a beneficial effect on quality of life in those with type II diabetes as well.
At the Fraser Lake Community Health Center in rural British Columbia, all patients with type II diabetes were invited to participate in a study consisting of 20-minute infrared sauna sessions three times a week for three months. The study used Sunlighten infrared saunas.
“Far-infrared sauna use may be associated with improved quality of life in people with type II diabetes mellitus,” the research concluded. “Uptake of infrared saunas use is greater than the uptake of other lifestyle interventions.”
Dr. Beever later told an interviewer, “Generally, I would feel comfortable in recommending infrared saunas, but I am comfortable more particularly with Sunlighten, as I have done subsequent research examining the effects of their specific sauna and heating technology on quality of life, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, sugar levels and in those with type 2 diabetes (another publication is pending).”
In the April 2010 issue of Acta Medica Okayama, doctors from the Department of Physical Therapy at KIBI International University, in Takahashi, Okayama, Japan, studied the effect of infrared therapy on patients with type 2 diabetes. They examined the effect of leg hyperthermia on oxidative stress in bedridden subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus using 15-minute sessions of infrared rays over a two-week period. (Oxidative stress is a measurement of physiological stress.)
Results showed that markers for total oxidative stress levels “were decreased significantly.”
Some of the most far-reaching benefits of infrared therapy are for people who are prediabetic with a constellation of symptoms known as Syndrome X, which reflects a number of dysfunctions involving cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and obesity. These underlying conditions all indicate a person who is at high risk for developing diabetes, yet all respond remarkably well to infrared sauna therapy.
An October 2001 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology sought to determine whether sauna therapy improves endothelial (blood vessel) function in patients with coronary risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking. Researchers found that two weeks of sauna therapy significantly improved vasodilation, circulation and nourishment to all the tissues.
It is important to note that infrared sauna is not a cure or treatment for diabetes but simply supports your body’s own efforts at maintaining healthy function. You can read more about the benefits of infrared sauna therapy on the Sunlighten website.
- Beever R. The effects of repeated thermal therapy on quality of life in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jun;16(6):677-81.
- Kawaura A, Tanida N, Kamitani M, et al. The effect of leg hyperthermia using far infrared rays in bedridden subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Acta Med Okayama. 2010 Apr;64(2):143-7.
- Imamura M, Biro S, Kihara T, et al. Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1083-8