When joint pain strikes, many of us pop a few pills to achieve temporary relief so we can carry on with our day. But when painkillers don’t work, you’re left taking more pills and feeling miserable as you are stricken with pain.
Numerous studies have linked taking too many anti-inflammatory pills to health problems including negatively affecting the stomach and liver.
If you don’t want to take the risk that painkillers bring along with them, there is a natural solution that can ease your pain and give your heart a boost too.
Soaking in hot springs has been shown to improve pain, nearly as much or greater than painkillers. Dr. David Burke explained, “When you step into a hot bath and your core temperature goes up, a number of things happen that help with pain. Hot baths expand the blood vessels in those areas and allow the healing properties within the blood to be delivered. They relax the muscles, which takes the tension off of them and the nerves that have been injured.”
Aside from relieving pain, other studies have found soaking in hot springs may improve heart health too.
Improve Blood Pressure with a Soak
One 2016 study found that after eight weeks of hot water immersion, blood pressure in participants was reduced and arteries became more flexible.
A Finland study found people who visited saunas had better blood pressure compared to people who did not. Those visiting a sauna just two to three times a week were 24 percent less likely to have high blood pressure compared to those who visited one once a week or less. The more visits to a sauna, the greater the reduction in blood pressure.
But the benefits of saunas don’t just end there, they can improve brain health too.
Another Finnish study found that frequent heat exposure was associated with a lower risk of dementia.
Much of this research is conducted in Finland because the American population doesn’t nearly use saunas and hot springs as much as the Finnish do.
Although there are many health benefits associated with saunas and hot springs, there are some words of caution. For starters, don’t sauna or soak for a new injury, ice is much more effective at reducing inflammation. People with severely low blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems should speak to their doctor prior to the sauna or soaks to get clearance. Even being on certain medications may affect how you react in a sauna or hot spring. Lastly, make sure you drink plenty of water as this treatment can have dehydrating effects.
Sauna sessions: As effective for heart health as exercise?