Can saunas or turkish baths alleviate pain in RA sufferers?
edited 12. Oct 2013, 17:37 in Chat to our Helpline Team archive
I have had RA for 13 years and have been going on and off to the gym ever since a was in my teens (46 now). Today i had my first sauna, followed by a turkish bath and then when i got home i wondered if I'd done the right thing. I read up on the internet that saunas are more suitable than turkish baths because the humidity in turkish baths cAn make the inflammation worse. Is that true? If it is ok to have a sauna, cAn i have one everytime i go to the gym - 3 times a week?
"Finns say the sauna is a poor man's pharmacy," says Pekka Niemi, a 54-year-old from Helsinki, who spends about three hours a day in the sauna, six days a week. "If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits or sauna, then they will die," he adds, quoting a Finnish proverb. ("Spirits" here means strong alcohol, while tar was historically used as an antiseptic.)
While Pekka Niemi's sauna habit may be exceptional, 99% of Finns take at least one a week and many more when they visit their summer cottage in the countryside. Here the pattern of life tends to revolve around the sauna, and a nearby lake used for cooling off.
Personally I can see no harm in having three saunas a week. It usually gets so hot one does not wish to speak so saunas can help you to calm down in this society where it is never quiet.
Elna (a member of the forum)0
Thanks for the reply! I'll carry on going then!0
helpline_team Posts: 3,020Dear Lisa,
Thanks for your post to Helplines. I don't think there is a definite party line on this subject. However if your arthritis were particularly active, you might need to be cautious. If any joints were hot and inflamed, exposing them to lots more heat might not be ideal. I'd maybe check with your rheumatology nurse specialist about times when your arthritis is active.
This also might get lots of helpful replies if you posted the question on the Living with arthritis forum.
If you'd like any of our information posted to you, or would like any other information or support please email your name and address to [email protected] or feel free to ring our free phone.
Thanks Guy. I'll get in touch with my RA doc and then post his reply for anyone else interested.0
Just wanted to let you know that I've spoken to my rheumatologist and he advised me to carry on with the saunas as they can, in some cases, be beneficial, but to avoid the Turkish baths.
So pleased for you that you have been given the official thumbs up by your rheumy to continue with the saunas. Enjoy.
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