Heating pads, electric blankets and hot baths are top pain-fighting tools for many of us with fibromyalgia – myself included. A couple of months ago, I decided to increase my use of heat therapy and invest in an infrared sauna at the suggestion of my Lyme/fibromyalgia doctor. There are many benefits to using an infrared sauna, but I specifically purchased mine for pain relief and detoxification. My doctor explained that using an infrared sauna would help me to flush out toxins as the Lyme bacteria dies off during treatment, reducing my overall symptoms. There’s some research indicating using an infrared sauna may be beneficial for reducing fibromyalgia pain as well.
Knowing nothing about infrared saunas, my hubby and I spent a few days researching various infrared sauna brands and features until we finally settled on Vital Health Saunas. We chose Vital Health Saunas for several reasons. Unlike some of the cheaper brands sold by big-box stores, Vital Health Saunas uses untreated wood, and they don’t use toxic glues for adhering the wood panels together. That was important to me because I’m using the sauna to detox, and I didn’t want to expose myself to even more chemicals. Vital’s saunas also have durable carbon heaters for better heat distribution, are energy efficient and emit extremely low EMF levels (unlike some other brands).
We purchased the three-person commercial Premier Corner Sauna in Canadian hemlock. The interior smells wonderful – like fresh-cut wood! Our sauna includes two benches, so my hubby and I can use the sauna together, but more often than not, it’s me and two of my cats. Yes, you read that right. Two of my cats are completely obsessed with using the sauna! They literally run to the sauna door every night, and then hog one of the benches for themselves.
But don’t worry, no cats were harmed in the research for this post! They typically spend about 10-15 minutes in the sauna while it’s still heating up, then go to the door when they’re ready to be let out. I was a little concerned about them getting into the sauna at first, but I read that some vets actually recommend infrared technology for healing, and there are even mini infrared saunas for pets! Who knew?!?
Vital Health Saunas’ pricing was slightly better than other companies that sell comparable saunas of the same quality. However, some features like chromotherapy come standard with Vital Health Saunas, whereas I would have had to pay extra for that if I had bought from another company. I ended up being able to purchase a larger, three-person sauna for around the same price of a smaller model sold by Vital’s competitors.
Buying an infrared sauna is an investment. Prices range from around $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the sauna. I’ll be paying off an evil credit card company for the next several months, but I think the health benefits are worth it. I don’t regret my purchase one bit!
A freight truck delivered our sauna to our curb on a wooden pallet in several large boxes. Assembly was pretty quick and easy. All of the pieces basically snap together with metal hinges. It’s definitely a two-person job, and it took us about an hour to get everything set up.
Because we purchased a commercial unit that was on sale, my hubby had to run some special wiring to accommodate the extra voltage needed, but many of Vital Health Saunas’ units can be plugged into a standard wall outlet.
I’ve used the sauna every night since I’ve had it, and I love it! I typically spend about 45 minutes in the sauna and have worked up to about 135°F. That probably sounds extremely hot, but it’s still relatively comfortable because it’s a dry heat, unlike the traditional steam saunas you may have used at the gym or spa.
The greatest benefit I’ve experienced with infrared sauna is pain relief. It’s winter here in Delaware now, and if you’ve got fibromyalgia and live in a colder climate, then you know that sometimes the cold can literally make your bones ache. It’s so hard to get rid of that feeling because nothing seems to penetrate deep enough, but the sauna takes that pain away within a few minutes. There have been days when I was in so much pain that I stopped work early to go get into the sauna for some relief. For that cold-to-the-bone pain, the sauna works better than anything else ever has for me, including prescription drugs and cannabis. Some days, I just want to set up a workstation inside the sauna and stay there, but I don’t think my hubby would appreciate what that would do to our electric bill! Sigh.
During my reviews, I usually include one or two negatives, but I really don’t have any in this case. Vital Health Saunas’ customer service has been top notch. When our sauna was delivered, the wooden box that holds the stereo system was cracked, and the company quickly sent us out a replacement.
Greg Baumgartner, the owner of Vital Health Saunas, was super helpful in assisting me with choosing the right model. He has always been available via phone or email to answer any questions that we may have. It’s not very often that you get to actually interact with a company’s owner these days. I really appreciated that level of personalization, and I was happy to purchase my sauna from a U.S.-based company.
If you’re interested in learning more about using infrared sauna for fibromyalgia, here are some links to get you started:
Vital Health Saunas: What is an infrared sauna and how is it different than a traditional sauna?
University Health News: Infrared sauna therapy shows impressive pain-reducing results (This link includes research using infrared sauna for fibromyalgia.)
HealthRising: Can heat therapy reduce fibromyalgia pain?
Have you ever used an infrared sauna? Did it help your fibromyalgia symptoms? Please share in the comments below!