Waon Therapy

October 24, 2011 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Back in the 1980′s, my childhood home came equipped with a sauna in the master bedroom. At the time, my parents didn’t consider sauna bathing to be a particularly healthful practice. In their minds, it was more of an elective activity from which some people derived pleasure and/or relaxation. As such, the wood lined sauna in our home was used exclusively as a make shift storage unit. However, over the past few decades a great deal of scientific research has been conducted on the health effects and risks associated with carefully controlled sauna exposure. A specific form, known as Waon Therapy, has recently been the subject of a considerable amount of positive attention.

Not one, but two reviews published in 2011 attest to the health promoting potential and safety of low-to-moderate heat sauna treatment. According to the summaries, patients with stable, congestive heart failure or other varieties of cardiovascular disease may benefit the most from this traditional practice. Several studies of late indicate that Waon Therapy, a warm sauna employing 15 minute exposure to 60°C (140°F) heat, supports heart health in numerous ways, including improvements in cardiovascular function (left ventricular ejection fraction) and decreased levels of norepinephrine – a neurotransmitter that causes blood vessels to constrict and, thereby, raises blood pressure. These effects and others not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but also allow for greater exercise tolerance in those with chronic heart failure.

What’s more, a trial published in the August 2011 issue of the journal Echocardiography reports that something as simple as a warm foot bath supports healthier circulation (coronary flow reserve) “without any adverse effects” in patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease. As surprising as this may sound, researchers in the field aren’t taken aback by such findings. The reason is that other peer reviewed data indicate that sauna bathing really is much more than a sensory experience. Current evidence reveals that the use of Waon Therapy and other forms of thermal treatment effectively lower: a) levels of cortisol, a stress hormone; b) oxidative stress in animal and human models of chronic heart failure; c) pain scores in patients with comprised circulation such as those with peripheral arterial disease. This is not to say that sauna therapy is appropriate for all patients with cardiovascular ills. However, if you or someone you know is concerned about heart health, a thorough review of this alternative option is certainly warranted.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Sauna: Cardiac and Vascular Benefits and Risks (link)

Study 2 - Sauna as a Valuable Clinical Tool for Cardiovascular, Autoimmune, (link)

Study 3 - Effect of Repeated Sauna Treatment on Exercise Tolerance and(link)

Study 4 - A Warm Footbath Improves Coronary Flow Reserve in Patients with Mild … (link)

Study 5 - Effect of Steam Bath on Gastric Secretion and Some Endocrine Changes (link)

Study 6 - Effect of Waon Therapy on Oxidative Stress in Chronic Heart Failure (link)

Study 7 - Waon Therapy Mobilizes CD34+ Cells and Improves Peripheral Arterial (link)

Waon Therapy May Reduce Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Symptoms


Source: J Am Coll Cardiol, 2007; 50:2169-2171 (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Heart Health

12 Comments & Updates to “Waon Therapy”

  1. liverock Says:

    I have a small portable infra red sauna that I bought on ebay for $150. Its very good for sweating out heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium.

  2. JP Says:

    Liverock,

    Can you please share the make and model of the portable sauna? I’d like to check it out. Thank you.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. liverock Says:

    JP

    This is the portable type which is available on Ebay.com. I dont know the make or model.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PORTABLE-INFRARED-FIR-FAR-SAUNA-INDOOR-SPA-NEW-b-/250853418405

  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Liverock. I’ll explore the URL shortly!

    Be well!

    JP

  5. anne h Says:

    Wish I had access to one of those now!
    I would make great use of it!

  6. JP Says:

    Me too, Anne! Looks pretty cool. Eh, hot. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update: Waon therapy may benefit those living with COPD …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865971/

    Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2014;9:9-15.

    Effect of repeated Waon therapy on exercise tolerance and pulmonary function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot controlled clinical trial.

    PURPOSE: Controlled clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of repeated Waon therapy for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have yet to be conducted. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether repeated Waon therapy exhibits an adjuvant effect on conventional therapy for COPD patients.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: This prospective trial comprised 20 consecutive COPD patients who satisfied the criteria of the Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines, stages 1-4. They were assigned to either a Waon or control group. The patients in the Waon group received both repeated Waon therapy and conventional therapy, including medications, such as long-acting inhaled β2 agonists, long-acting anticholinergics and xanthine derivatives, and pulmonary rehabilitation. The Waon therapy consisted of sitting in a 60°C sauna room for 15 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of being warmed with blankets once a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 20 times. The patients in the control group received only conventional therapy. Pulmonary function and the 6-minute walk test were assessed before and at 4 weeks after the program.

    RESULTS: The change in vital capacity (0.30 ± 0.4 L) and in peak expiratory flow (0.48 ± 0.79 L/s) in the Waon group was larger than the change in the vital capacity (0.02 ± 0.21 L) (P=0.077) and peak expiratory flow (-0.11 ± 0.72 L/s) (P=0.095) in the control group. The change in forced expiratory flow after 50% of expired forced vital capacity in the Waon group, 0.08 (0.01-0.212 L/s), was larger than that in the control group, -0.01 (-0.075-0.04 L/s) (P=0.019). Significant differences were not observed in the change in any parameters in the 6-minute walk test. Data are presented as means ± standard deviation or median (25th-75th percentile).

    CONCLUSION: The addition of repeated Waon therapy to conventional therapy for COPD patients can possibly improve airway obstruction.

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Update: Waon therapy improves cardiovascular function, exercise capacity and quality of life in CHF patients …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25740582

    Int Heart J. 2015 Feb 27.

    Waon Therapy Improves Quality of Life as Well as Cardiac Function and Exercise Capacity in Patients With Chronic Heart Failure.

    Waon therapy (WT), which in Japanese means soothing warmth, is a repeated sauna therapy that improves cardiac and vascular endothelial function in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). We investigated whether WT could improve the quality of life (QOL) of CHF patients in addition to improving cardiac function and exercise capacity.A total of 49 CHF patients (69 ± 14 years old) were treated with a 60°C far infrared-ray dry sauna bath for 15 minutes and then kept in a bed covered with blankets for 30 minutes once a day for 3 weeks. At baseline and 3 weeks after starting WT, cardiac function, 6-minute walk distance (6MWD), flow mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and SF36-QOL scores were determined.WT significantly improved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), 6MWD, and FMD (3.6 ± 2.3 to 5.1 ± 2.8%, P < 0.01). Moreover, WT significantly improved not only the physical (PC) but also mental component (MC) of the QOL scores. WT-induced improvement of PC was negatively correlated with changes in BNP (r = -0.327, P < 0.05), but MC improvement was not related directly to changes in BNP, LVEF, or 6MWD. WT-induced changes in MC were not parallel to PC improvement.WT improved QOL as well as cardiac function and exercise capacity in patients with CHF. Mental QOL improved independently of WT-induced improvement of cardiac function and exercise capacity.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Update: More support for Waon sauna therapy. This time, in patients living with chronic fatigue …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25748743

    Intern Med. 2015;54(3):333-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042.

    Effects of waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study.

    Objective: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disabling condition of unknown etiology, and no definitive therapy has been identified to date. We developed Waon therapy, a form of thermal therapy using a far-infrared dry sauna, and in this study herein examined its feasibility and safety in patients with CFS.

    Methods: Ten consecutive inpatients with CFS stayed in a 60°C sauna for 15 minutes and then rested on a bed under a blanket for an additional 30 minutes outside the sauna room. The treatments were performed once a day, five days a week for four weeks. Perceived fatigue, the primary outcome measure, was evaluated using a numerical rating scale before, during (two weeks after the commencement of therapy) and after therapy. The pain level, evaluated using a numerical rating scale, mood, assessed using the Profile of Mood States questionnaire, and performance status, assessed using a scale developed for CFS patients were also examined before and after therapy.

    Results: Perceived fatigue significantly decreased after therapy, although no significant reductions were observed during therapy. In addition, a negative mood, including anxiety, depression and fatigue, and the performance status significantly improved after therapy. However, the levels of pain and vigor did not change significantly. No patients reported any adverse effects during the therapy.

    Conclusion: These findings suggest that Waon therapy may be a useful and safe treatment for CFS.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Update:

    https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/internalmedicine/54/3/54_54.3042/_pdf

    Intern Med. 2015;54(3):333-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042.
    Effects of waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study.

    Objective: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disabling condition of unknown etiology, and no definitive therapy has been identified to date. We developed Waon therapy, a form of thermal therapy using a far-infrared dry sauna, and in this study herein examined its feasibility and safety in patients with CFS.

    Methods: Ten consecutive inpatients with CFS stayed in a 60°C sauna for 15 minutes and then rested on a bed under a blanket for an additional 30 minutes outside the sauna room. The treatments were performed once a day, five days a week for four weeks. Perceived fatigue, the primary outcome measure, was evaluated using a numerical rating scale before, during (two weeks after the commencement of therapy) and after therapy. The pain level, evaluated using a numerical rating scale, mood, assessed using the Profile of Mood States questionnaire, and performance status, assessed using a scale developed for CFS patients were also examined before and after therapy.

    Results: Perceived fatigue significantly decreased after therapy, although no significant reductions were observed during therapy. In addition, a negative mood, including anxiety, depression and fatigue, and the performance status significantly improved after therapy. However, the levels of pain and vigor did not change significantly. No patients reported any adverse effects during the therapy.

    Conclusion: These findings suggest that Waon therapy may be a useful and safe treatment for CFS.

    Be well!

    JP

  11. JP Says:

    Updated 04/06/16:

    https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/circj/80/4/80_CJ-16-0051/_html

    Circ J. 2016 Mar 25;80(4):827-34.

    Waon Therapy for Managing Chronic Heart Failure - Results From a Multicenter Prospective Randomized WAON-CHF Study.

    BACKGROUND: Waon therapy improves heart failure (HF) symptoms, but further evidence in patients with advanced HF remains uncertain.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: In 19 institutes, we prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with advanced HF, who had plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) >500 pg/ml on admission and BNP >300 pg/ml regardless of more than 1 week of medical therapy. Enrolled patients were randomized into Waon therapy or control groups. Waon therapy was performed once daily for 10 days with a far infrared-ray dry sauna maintained at 60℃ for 15 min, followed by bed rest for 30 min covered with a blanket. The primary endpoint was the ratio of BNP before and after treatment. In total, 76 Waon therapy and 73 control patients (mean age 66 years, men 61%, mean plasma BNP 777 pg/ml) were studied. The groups differed only in body mass index and the frequency of diabetes. The plasma BNP, NYHA classification, 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and cardiothoracic ratio significantly improved only in the Waon therapy group. Improvements in NYHA classification, 6MWD, and cardiothoracic ratio were significant in the Waon therapy group, although the change in plasma BNP did not reach statistical significance. No serious adverse events were observed in either group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Waon therapy, a holistic soothing warmth therapy, showed clinical advantages in safety and efficacy among patients with advanced HF. (Circ J 2016; 80: 827-834).

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 10/26/17:

    https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/internalmedicine/56/14/56_56.8001/_pdf

    Intern Med. 2017;56(14):1817-1824.

    Increase in the Regional Cerebral Blood Flow following Waon Therapy in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Pilot Study.

    Objective: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder, with no consensus on therapeutic options. However, Waon therapy has been reported to be an effective treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in the cerebral blood flow (CBF) before and after Waon therapy in CFS patients and to investigate the correlation between such changes and the therapeutic efficacy of Waon therapy.

    Methods: Eleven patients (2 men and 9 women, mean age 27 years old) diagnosed with CFS participated in the study. The disease duration was 8-129 months, and the performance status was 5-8 (on a scale of 0-9). All patients underwent CBF scintigraphy using brain single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with technetium-99m ethyl cysteinate dimer (99mTc-ECD) before and after Waon therapy. CBF changes after Waon therapy were evaluated using a statistical analysis of imaging data, which was performed with a statistical parametric mapping software program (SPM5).

    Results: Waon therapy reduced symptoms in all 11 patients. We also observed an increase in the CBF within the prefrontal region, orbitofrontal region, and right temporal lobe. These results indicated that an improvement in clinical symptoms was linked to an increase in the CBF.

    Conclusion: The results indicated abnormalities of the cerebral function in the prefrontal region, orbitofrontal region, and right temporal lobe in CFS patients and that Waon therapy improved the cerebral function and symptoms in CFS patients by increasing the regional CBF. To our knowledge, this is the first report to clarify the CBF changes in CFS patients before and after Waon therapy.

    Be well!

    JP

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