Waon TherapyOctober 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 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)
Tags: Circulation, Sauna, Waon Therapy
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Heart Health