Is Sauna Good for Arthritis? Explore the Healing Benefits of Sauna Therapy

It’s a common belief that saunas are an excellent way to unwind and de-stress, but did you know that they may also be beneficial for those with arthritis? Yes, that’s right! Sauna therapy has been gaining popularity as a natural remedy to treat chronic joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Arthritis is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people globally, leading to chronic pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. While there are several conventional treatments available, including medication and physical therapy, some people are turning to sauna therapy to help manage their symptoms.

The use of saunas as a form of therapy has been around for centuries, and it is believed that the high temperatures and low humidity inside a sauna can support the healing process by promoting blood flow, reducing inflammation, and easing joint pain. But, is sauna good for arthritis? Keep reading to find out more about the potential benefits of sauna therapy for those with arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. It is not a single disease but an umbrella term used to describe more than 100 conditions related to joint pain or joint disease. There are many types of arthritis, but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints.

How does arthritis affect the body?

Arthritis is a widespread condition that can affect different areas of the body. Understanding its impact on the body is crucial in managing the disease and preventing further complications.

  • Pain and stiffness: One of the primary symptoms of arthritis is pain and stiffness in the affected joint or joints. The pain can range from mild to severe and may worsen with physical activity or prolonged periods of immobility.
  • Inflammation: Arthritis involves inflammation of the joints, which can cause swelling, redness, and warmth in the area. Over time, the inflammation can damage the joints, leading to deformity and disability.
  • Limited range of motion: As arthritis progresses, it can restrict movement in the joints, making it difficult to perform daily tasks such as bending, walking, or gripping objects.

Arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin, eyes, and internal organs. For instance, some types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause systemic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and malaise.

It is important to note that arthritis is a complex and heterogeneous condition with various subtypes and manifestations. Therefore, the exact symptoms and effects of the disease may vary depending on the type, severity, and location of the arthritis.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Arthritis is a prevalent disease that affects people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. It is a degenerative condition that affects the joints and causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty in movement. Arthritis symptoms can vary from person to person and depend on the type of arthritis, severity, and body parts affected. However, there are some common symptoms associated with all types of arthritis.

  • Joint Pain- Pain in one or multiple joints, which may be constant or intermittent that worsens with physical activity, cold weather or at night.
  • Stiffness- Difficulty in moving the joints, especially in the morning, or after sitting or standing for a long time.
  • Swelling- Swollen joints that appear red, warm to touch, and tender.

Types of Arthritis Symptoms

There are over 100 types of arthritis, and each type has its own set of symptoms. The most common types of arthritis and their symptoms are:

  • Osteoarthritis – Joint pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and the cracking sound of joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Swollen, stiff, and tender joints, fatigue, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever.
  • Gout – Intense joint pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the affected joint.

How Sauna Helps in Relieving Arthritis Symptoms

Saunas have been used for centuries as a natural therapy for a variety of health conditions, including arthritis. The high temperature in the sauna causes the blood vessels to dilate, allowing increased blood flow to the affected joints, which reduces pain and stiffness. Here are some ways in which saunas can help relieve arthritis symptoms:

  • Reducing Pain – Saunas help release endorphins, natural painkillers, that help reduce arthritis pain.
  • Increasing Flexibility – Sauna therapy can help improve flexibility, making it easier to move affected joints.
  • Lowering Inflammation – Saunas reduce inflammation by increasing blood flow to the affected joints and promoting the removal of cellular waste.


Sauna therapy is generally safe for people with arthritis, but there are some precautions to keep in mind. It is essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after sauna use to avoid dehydration, which can make joint pain worse. Also, it is essential to listen to your body and exit the sauna if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or uncomfortable. Finally, it is essential to consult a doctor before making any changes to your arthritis treatment plan.

Do: Don’t:
Drink plenty of water before and after sauna. Stay in the sauna for too long.
Listen to your body and exit if you feel uncomfortable. Use Sauna as a substitute for medical treatment.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common ones are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Diagnosing arthritis can be challenging because its symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as tendonitis and bursitis. Therefore, diagnosing arthritis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

  • Medical History: The doctor will ask about your symptoms, when they started, and how they have progressed. The doctor will also ask about your medical history, such as whether you have had any joint injuries, surgeries, or infections.
  • Physical Examination: The doctor will examine your joints for swelling, redness, warmth, and tenderness. The doctor will also check your range of motion, muscle strength, and reflexes. Additionally, the doctor will look for signs of other medical conditions that can cause joint pain, such as lupus.
  • Diagnostic Tests: The doctor may perform various tests to diagnose arthritis, including:
    • Blood Tests: The doctor may order blood tests, such as rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody tests, to look for markers of arthritis.
    • Imaging Tests: The doctor may order imaging tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans, to look for changes in the joints and surrounding tissues.
    • Joint Fluid Analysis: The doctor may use a needle to extract fluid from the affected joint, which is then analyzed for signs of infection, inflammation, and other conditions.

It is essential to diagnose and treat arthritis as early as possible to prevent joint damage and reduce the risk of disability. Therefore, if you experience joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, it is best to see a doctor who can diagnose and treat your condition.

Current Treatments for Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints, making it difficult to perform everyday activities. While there is no known cure for arthritis, there are several treatments available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Some of the most common treatments for arthritis include:

  • Analgesics – These medications are used to relieve pain. Examples include acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – These drugs help slow the progression of the disease and prevent joint damage. Examples include methotrexate and sulfasalazine.
  • Biologics – These newer medications target specific parts of the immune system to reduce inflammation. Examples include adalimumab and etanercept.

Other treatments may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgery in severe cases. It is important for patients to work with their healthcare providers to develop a treatment plan that is best for them.

In addition to these treatments, many people with arthritis have turned to alternative therapies like sauna therapy to help manage their symptoms. While the benefits of sauna therapy for arthritis are still being studied, many people have reported relief from pain and stiffness after using a sauna.

It is important to note, however, that sauna therapy should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you are considering adding sauna therapy to your treatment plan for arthritis, be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Advantages of traditional Finnish sauna Disadvantages of traditional Finnish sauna
Relieves stress and tension May exacerbate certain medical conditions
Increases circulation May cause dehydration if not properly hydrated
Relieves muscle and joint pain May cause dizziness or nausea

Overall, while there is no known cure for arthritis, there are several treatments available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Sauna therapy may be one alternative therapy that can be used in combination with medical treatments to help manage arthritis symptoms.

How does a sauna work?

At the core of a sauna lies heat and humidity, which work together to produce a range of positive health effects. When you enter a sauna, the heat increases your body’s core temperature, triggering a variety of physiological responses. Here’s how it works:

  • The dry or wet heat in a sauna causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow and circulation.
  • As your body temperature rises, you begin to sweat. This not only helps to cool your body but also helps to rid it of toxins through your skin’s pores.
  • The heat and sweating can also help to relax your muscles and reduce tension in your body.
  • In addition, the steam from a wet sauna can help to open up your respiratory system and relieve congestion.
  • The increased blood flow and improved circulation can help to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote healing, which is why saunas are often recommended for people with arthritis and other joint conditions.
  • Finally, the overall relaxation and stress relief that comes with a sauna can provide psychological benefits, including improved mood and better sleep.

All of these effects can combine to make a sauna a powerful tool for promoting overall health and wellness, especially for those with arthritis.

Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Sauna therapy has been a popular form of relaxation and healing for centuries. The use of heat for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Mayans. In recent years, the therapeutic benefits of sauna therapy have become increasingly recognized by the medical community and arthritis patients alike.

  • Pain Reduction: Sauna therapy has been shown to provide relief for people experiencing joint and muscle pain from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. The heat from the sauna can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate discomfort.
  • Improved Joint Mobility: For people with arthritis, joint mobility can often be compromised. Regular use of the sauna can help to relax stiff muscles and joints, making it easier for people to move and perform daily tasks.
  • Increased Blood Circulation: Exposure to the heat in the sauna can cause blood vessels to dilate, which can increase blood flow. This increased circulation can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to affected areas of the body, promoting healing.

While there are many benefits to sauna therapy, it is important to practice caution when using one. People with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions should consult with a healthcare provider before using a sauna. Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated during and after using a sauna and to avoid spending too much time inside to prevent the risk of overheating.

Types of Saunas

There are various types of saunas available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Traditional saunas, which use heated stones to produce steam, provide humidity along with heat. Infrared saunas, which use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat, provide a drier form of heat. Both types of saunas have been shown to offer therapeutic benefits for people with arthritis.

Comparison Table

Type of Sauna Humidity Level Temperature Range Recommended Session Length
Traditional Sauna High 160-200°F 10-15 minutes
Infrared Sauna Low 120-140°F 20-30 minutes

Regardless of the type of sauna chosen, it is important to start with shorter sessions and gradually work up to longer ones. If at any point during a sauna session a person begins to feel lightheaded or unwell, they should exit the sauna immediately.

Research studies on the effects of sauna on arthritis

The use of sauna as therapy for arthritis has become popular among patients. However, the effectiveness and safety of sauna use for arthritis are still under investigation. In recent years, several research studies have been conducted to determine the effects of sauna on this condition.

  • A study conducted on rheumatoid arthritis patients showed that regular use of sauna led to a significant decrease in pain and stiffness. The study found that the participants who used sauna three times a week for four weeks experienced a reduction in pain and stiffness compared to those who did not use the sauna.
  • Another study conducted on patients with knee arthritis found that just one session in the sauna resulted in a decrease in pain and an increase in mobility. The study found that the patients who used the sauna once a week for four weeks experienced a reduction in pain and stiffness in their knee joint.
  • A third study conducted on patients with ankylosing spondylitis found that the use of sauna led to a significant decrease in pain and an increase in flexibility. The study found that the participants who used the sauna three times a week for four weeks experienced a reduction in pain and stiffness, and an improvement in their ability to move their joints.

While these studies show promising results, more research is still needed to determine the long-term effects of sauna use on arthritis. Additionally, it is important to note that sauna use may not be suitable for all arthritis patients, especially those with cardiovascular conditions or other underlying health concerns. Therefore, it is recommended that patients consult with their healthcare provider before using sauna as therapy for arthritis.

Precautions to take when using a sauna with arthritis

For people with arthritis, visiting a sauna can have many benefits such as reducing joint stiffness and pain, and improving overall mobility. However, precautions must be taken to ensure that the sauna session is not only effective but also safe. Below are some precautions to consider before using a sauna if you have arthritis:

  • Consult with your doctor: Before using a sauna, it is important to consult with your doctor to determine whether it is safe for you, depending on your specific condition and medications you are taking.
  • Stay hydrated: Ensure that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after using the sauna to avoid dehydration, which can cause joint pain and stiffness.
  • Limit the time: Rather than taking long sauna sessions, keep them short and avoid staying in the sauna for more than 20 minutes at a time. You can gradually work your way up to longer sessions as your body becomes more accustomed to the heat.
  • Avoid the hottest part: When using the sauna, avoid sitting directly beneath the heat source which can cause over-exposure to heat. Instead, sit in a more moderate or cooler area of the sauna
  • Dress appropriately: Wear light and comfortable clothing so that your body can sweat easily. Avoid tight-fitting clothes that can restrict blood flow to your joints.
  • Take a friend: Always visit the sauna with a friend or family member, who can help you in case of any issues, such as balance or mobility problems, or if you experience any discomfort.
  • Listen to your body: It is important to pay attention to your body while using the sauna, and if you experience any lightheadedness, palpitations or any other unusual symptoms, leave the sauna immediately.

It is important to remember that using a sauna is not a substitute for medical treatment or therapy for arthritis. Saunas can be a great complementary therapy for managing arthritis-related symptoms, but it is essential to use them safely and wisely.


By taking precautions and following the above guidelines, people with arthritis can safely enjoy the benefits of a sauna, such as improved joint mobility and reducing pain and stiffness. So, take care of yourself and enjoy the sauna!

Other alternative therapies for arthritis relief

Aside from using sauna to relieve arthritis, there are other alternative therapies that one can explore. Some of these therapies have been proven effective in managing arthritis symptoms.

  • Acupuncture – This therapy uses tiny needles to stimulate specific points of the body to alleviate pain and promote healing. It has been found effective in reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis patients.
  • Massage therapy – This therapy involves applying pressure to the muscles and tissues to reduce pain and stiffness. It has been found effective in reducing pain and improving range of motion in arthritis patients.
  • Yoga – This exercise combines gentle stretching, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to improve flexibility and balance. It has been found effective in reducing pain and improving physical function in arthritis patients.

Moreover, dietary changes and supplements can also help in managing arthritis symptoms. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and broccoli, can also help reduce inflammation and pain. Additionally, certain supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can help reduce joint pain and improve joint function in arthritis patients.

In choosing which alternative therapy to try, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure safety and efficacy. These therapies can be used in combination with conventional arthritis treatments for better arthritis management.


That’s it for our discussion on whether sauna is good for arthritis! Based on the research, there is evidence to suggest that it may provide some symptom relief for those with arthritis. However, it’s always important to talk to your doctor before trying any new therapies or treatments. We hope you enjoyed reading and learned something new today. Thanks for joining us, and be sure to come back for more health and wellness discussions!