Infrared Sauna Therapy For Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) & Arthritis

By Dr. E. Khan & Dr. Candy Akers

Rheumatoid arthritis is a devastating autoimmune illness that produces persistent inflammation in the joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 1.3% of adults in the United States suffer from RA. As of yet, there is no known cure for RA; however, the disease's symptoms may be controlled with other treatments available. One such treatment is infrared sauna therapy, which has been shown to provide significant relief for people with RA.


What Is Arthritis? How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Different?

Arthritis is a general term for a group of diseases that cause inflammation in the joints and their supporting tissues. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most frequent forms of this disease. 

  • Osteoarthritis: Over time, the cushioning cartilage at the ends of your bones wears away, leading to bone-on-bone contact and eventually osteoarthritis. Although it may strike at any age, those over 50 seem to be the most often affected.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: To put it simply, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating inflammatory illness that gradually affects joint function over time. 
  • In contrast to osteoarthritis, which is brought on by regular wear and tear of joints, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system erroneously attacks healthy tissue.
  • Women are more prone than males to get RA, typically between the ages of 40 and 60.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

Early RA symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain 
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning

As the disease progresses, patients may also experience:

  • Weight loss
  • Fevers
  • Anemia
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart)

More severe RA can lead to deformities of the joints and even organ damage.

How Many Americans Suffer From Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

According to the Arthritis Foundation an estimated 1.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is progressive autoimmune disorder that can also lead to other serious health problems like heart disease, lung disease, and blood disorders.


How Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Treated Conventionally?

There are a few different ways people with rheumatoid arthritis can be treated. 


1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs decrease joint inflammation. Here are some prescribed NSAIDs for RA:

  • Diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren)
  • Aspirin (Bufferin, Bayer)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
  • Flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
  • Diflunisal (Dolobid)
  • Salsalate (Amigesic)
  • Oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • Fenoprofen (Nalfon)
  • Nabumetone (Relafen)
  • Etodolac (Losing)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Sulindac (Clinoril)
  • Ketorolac (Toradol)
  • Ketoprofen (Oruvail, Orudis)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)
  • Tolmetin (Tolectin)

2. Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs

DMARDs work by reducing or holding back your immune system from attacking the body's healthy cells. They help reduce inflammation and pain. They also prevent joint damage. Here is the list of some traditional DMARDs:

  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • Azathioprine (Imuran)
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)

3. Biologic Response Modifiers

Here are some biologics for rheumatoid arthritis: 

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors: 

  • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)

Interleukin-1 inhibitor: 

  • Anakinra (Kineret)

Interleukin-6 inhibitors: 

  • Sarilumab (Kevzara)

T-cell inhibitor: 

  • Abatacept (Orencia)

T-cell inhibitor: 

  • Abatacept (Orencia)

B-cell inhibitor: 

  • Rituximab (Rituxan)

Janus kinase inhibitors (also called biosimilars):

  • Upadacitinib (Rinvoq)
  • Baricitinib (Olumiant)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)

All the above medications can help to relieve pain and inflammation, and they can also slow down the progression of the disease.

Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy is another treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis. The muscles and joints may be fortified by physical therapy, and the patient's range of motion can be increased as well.

Physical therapy can be done in conjunction with medication, or it can be done on its own.


Surgery is another option for treating rheumatoid arthritis, but it is usually only considered when other methods

have failed. Surgery can involve joint replacement, joint fusion, or connective tissue repair.

Some Common Natural Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you're looking for some natural relief from your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, you might want to try one of these common home remedies:

1. Heat And Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold to painful joints (Thermotherapy) can help ease the pain and stiffness. Try a hot bath or heating pad on your sore joints for 20-30 minutes. Or, alternate between hot and cold compressions by dipping a cloth in warm water, then applying it to your joint for 3-5 minutes, followed by a cold compress for another 3-5 minutes.

2. Exercise

Exercise is essential for people with RA since it helps keep the joints mobile and eases pain and stiffness. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and Tai Chi are especially beneficial. Before beginning a new workout plan, you should ensure it is safe by seeing your physician first.

3. Relaxation Techniques

Stress can worsen RA symptoms, so finding ways to relax is essential. Try deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation to help you wind down and reduce stress levels.

4. Diet

Eating a healthy diet is essential for everyone, but it can be beneficial for people with RA.


Infrared Sauna Therapy Is The Best Natural Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no denying that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be debilitating and painful. Thankfully, several treatments available can help ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Among the most effective of these is infrared sauna therapy.

Infrared saunas work when infrared light penetrates the body and provides several health benefits. 

There are many benefits of using an infrared sauna, including:

  • Relief from pain and inflammation
  • Increased circulation
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep quality

A growing body of research has shown that infrared sauna therapy can effectively treat RA. Overall, the results of these studies have been positive, with many patients reporting significant improvements in their symptoms after using an infrared sauna.

Clinical Studies Showing Positive Effects of Infrared Sauna Therapy on Rheumatoid Arthritis

One study conducted in Japan found that 70% of patients who used an infrared sauna for RA, experienced significant improvements in their symptoms. Another study in the United States found that infrared sauna therapy effectively reduced pain and stiffness in RA patients.

In one study, patients who used an infrared sauna three times per week for eight weeks experienced significant improvements in pain and stiffness, while those in the control group saw no such improvements.

Other studies have shown similar results, with patients reporting reduced pain, improved mobility, and enhanced quality of life after using an infrared sauna. 

Overall, the evidence from clinical studies suggests that infrared sauna therapy can be an effective treatment for RA. If you are considering this therapy, you must talk to your doctor to ensure it is appropriate for you.

How Does Infrared Sauna Therapy Help Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

There are many benefits of infrared sauna therapy, but how does it help rheumatoid arthritis specifically? The heat generated by the infrared sauna can help to:

  • Increase blood circulation
  • Reduce joint inflammation
  • Help to soothe and relax muscles by penetrating deep into the tissues
  • Control the pain with the release of endorphins
  • Stimulate the production of collagen and elastin
  • Help to detoxify the body 
  • Stabilize the immune system and improve the overall health

How Long Does It Take To Reduce Pain, Swelling, And Stiffness?

Infrared sauna therapy can significantly relieve the pain, swelling, and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Many people find that regular sauna therapy can help control their symptoms.

But how long does it take for infrared sauna therapy to start working? That depends on several factors, including the severity of your RA symptoms and how often you use the sauna.

Generally speaking, most people will start seeing some improvement in their RA symptoms after just a few sessions (typically one or two) in an infrared sauna. 

However, it may take longer for others to experience relief. And for some people, infrared sauna therapy may not provide any benefit at all. If you don't see any improvement after a few weeks it's unlikely that you'll ever see any help from this treatment.

If you experience relief from your RA symptoms after using an infrared sauna, you'll likely need to continue using the sauna regularly to maintain that relief. Many people find that they need to use the sauna several times weekly. 

How Long Should You Stay In A Sauna For Arthritis Relief? 

If you're looking for relief from arthritis pain, you might want to consider infrared sauna therapy. But how long should you stay in the sauna to see results?

There's no definitive answer, as different people respond differently to infrared sauna therapy. Some say that 20-30 minutes per session is sufficient to see some relief from arthritis pain. According to others, sessions of 30-40 minutes once a day for about four weeks may be helpful.

If you're new to infrared sauna therapy, starting slowly and building up your tolerance is essential. Begin with shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes twice a week and gradually increase the length of time as your body becomes acclimated. 


If you're looking for an effective and natural way to treat your rheumatoid arthritis, give infrared sauna therapy a try. You won't be disappointed!

Infrared saunas heat the body with infrared light, which may help reduce arthritis-related pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

Stay Healthy!

~ Dr. Candy

Dr. Candy's Recommendations 

Best Infrared Saunas For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Maxxus Seattle Edition 2 Person Low EMF FAR Infrared Sauna

Interior dimensions (WDH): 44" x 38" x 68"


Learn more

Both of these are top choices for a home infrared sauna for various arthritis. They both heat up super fast so that you can experience pain relief ASAP. They both can fit one or two people comfortably. The Maxxus Seattle is a little bit roomier on the inside.

What I Like: 

  • Quick heat up for fast pain relief
  •  Extra foot heater fights infections and improves circulation
  •  Easy assembly with labeled clasp technology
  •  Internal lights
  •  Limited time free shipping

Dr. Candy Also Recommends:



Patients rave about this piece of technology. As a doctor, I have been using red light therapy for healing for almost 10 years, but the quality of this pad or wrap is phenomenal. I have also compared 20+ competing products and this one outshines them all. 

People with RA, arthritis or any chronic pain condition can greatly benefit from using this at home. More convenient than a massage bc this can be worn anywhere! You can wear it while you work at your desk, or relax at home. And a short therapy session can relieve your pain FAST. 

One patient said:

“I mostly purchased this for my shoulder and back. I believe it is helping not just with pain but also mobility. I am guessing it’s taking some swelling down for easier movement. I think with continued use I will keep getting better and better. The warmth of the wrap feels so good and really feels like I’m pampering myself.”

( Verified Purchase - October 17, 2022 )

To learn more about how infrared saunas and infrared therapy can reduce your pain check out Infrared Sauna Therapy for Pain Relief Blog.


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(6) Imaoka, A., Zhang, L., Kuboyama, N., & Abiko, Y. (2014, July 1). Reduction of IL-20 expression in rheumatoid arthritis by linear polarized infrared light irradiation. Laser therapy. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from

(8) Frits Oosterveld, Johannes Jacobus Rasker, Mark Floors, & Robert Landkroon. (n.d.). Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing. Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from

(9) Bindu, S., Mazumder, S., & Bandyopadhyay, U. (2020). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and organ damage: A current perspective. Biochemical pharmacology, 180, 114147. 

(10) Bruzzese, V., Scolieri, P., & Pepe, J. (2021). Efficacy of gluten-free diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatismo, 72(4), 213-217. 

(11) Lerner, B.A., Green, P.H.R. & Lebwohl, B. Going Against the Grains: Gluten-Free Diets in Patients Without Celiac Disease—Worthwhile or Not?. Dig Dis Sci 64, 1740–1747 (2019).

(12) Oosterveld, F. G., Rasker, J. J., Floors, M., Landkroon, R., van Rennes, B., Zwijnenberg, J., van de Laar, M. A., & Koel, G. J. (2009). Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. A pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects. Clinical rheumatology, 28(1), 29–34. 

(13) Imaoka, A., Zhang, L., Kuboyama, N., & Abiko, Y. (2014). Reduction of IL-20 Expression in Rheumatoid Arthritis by Linear Polarized Infrared Light Irradiation. Laser therapy, 23(2), 109–114.