There are countless health benefits of a session in the sauna, but it’s always important to get all of the facts before assuming that you can just jump in and start feeling better. With that in mind, you might be wondering: can you use the sauna after breast cancer?
The use of an infrared sauna has been shown to have many positive healing effects that can help to support someone who is fighting cancer, or who has previously had cancer. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that sauna bathing is harmful to wounds after surgery.
Let's take a look at how saunas and steam rooms affect cancer cells and how they help fight cancer.
Table of Contents
- Effect of Sauna & Steam Rooms on Cancer Cells
- Saunas Benefits That Help to Fight Cancer
- Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms During Breast Cancer Treatment?
- Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms After Breast Cancer Treatment?
- Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms After Mastectomy?
Effect of Sauna & Steam Rooms on Cancer Cells
We all know that your overall health and well-being can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to fight cancer, but there is even evidence to suggest that infrared saunas can help to kill cancer cells directly.
According to the National Cancer Institute, heating the body to higher than normal temperatures can help to damage and kill cancer cells, and there is even a specific treatment that utilizes this method known as hyperthermia.
Studies have shown that hyperthermia can be effective at helping to reduce tumor size when combined with other treatments.
Although a sauna session on its own is not going to raise your body temperature to the same degree as a specialized session of hyperthermia treatment, it is likely to help with the work that your cancer treatment is doing.
Saunas Benefits That Help to Fight Cancer
Beyond the direct impact of saunas and steam rooms on cancer cells, there are many other benefits that can support someone who is fighting or recovering from cancer.
- Better Circulation. When you are in an infrared sauna, your heart rate rises and helps to pump more blood around the body. This increases circulation to the lungs and improves oxygenation, both of which can benefit cancer patients – particularly those that are unable to exercise in a traditional way.
- Remove Toxins. Sweating in the sauna or steam room is a great way to get the waste materials out of your body. If you find that you’re not sweating in the sauna, then there are a few things you can do to help make it happen.
- Improved Mood and Relaxation. Feeling more relaxed and positive is always a good thing, but more and more research has started to show the biological and medical benefits of lowering stress and improving your mood. When you’re feeling relaxed, the levels of stress hormones like cortisol are more balanced, which can help everything from your immune system to your blood pressure.
- Lose Weight. The increase in your heart rate in the steam room actually helps you to burn calories without exercise. When you are undergoing cancer treatment, or even after your treatment has concluded, many people find it very difficult to exercise – or you might even be advised against it by your doctor.
Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms During Breast Cancer Treatment?
No matter what kind of benefits the sauna and steam room might provide, you need to be sure that it is going to be safe and healthy while you are in the middle of your treatment journey. Whether or not the sauna is right for you will depend on the exact treatment that you are undergoing, and your personal situation.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can affect your body in many different ways, so it’s always best to talk to your treatment team about whether or not there are any activities you should avoid. You can also check your local spa to see if they have a specific policy in place that offers additional support to cancer patients.
Certain spa activities (like the jacuzzi, for example) may increase infection or lymphoedema risks in some cancer patients and can affect skin that has become more sensitive due to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Ultimately, the vast majority of people will see benefits when using the sauna during their cancer treatment, but every person is different, as is every cancer journey.
Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms After Breast Cancer Treatment?
Once your treatment has concluded, it is highly likely that using the sauna or the steam room will be excellent for your health and aid you in your recovery.
With that being said, there may be a very small number of cases where it is recommended that you wait a certain amount of time after treatment before you get back into the sauna again. Therefore, it’s worth talking to your doctor or your treatment team so that you are completely sure.
Can You Use Sauna & Steam Rooms After Mastectomy?
If you have undergone surgery, no matter what kind it might be, then you should obviously be taking this easy and supporting the healing that your body needs.
Some people do have concerns about the increased likelihood of post-surgery that an unclean sauna environment might cause, but there is no scientific evidence that shows this to be the case. In fact, studies have actually shown that sauna bathing has no negative impact on the wound-healing process at all.
It is generally recommended that you wait 24 hours after surgery before you attempt a session in the sauna, but that time can vary depending on the surgery itself and how your body is recovering. The best thing to do is check with your doctor when they recommend it is going to be safe for you and your healing process.
So, can you sauna after breast cancer? Not only is it safe for most people to use the sauna after breast cancer, but it is actually likely to aid in your recovery and help you to feel healthier and better as well.
In fact, there are even many ways that using the sauna or steam room can even help your body to fight cancer while you are undergoing treatment. However, every cancer journey is different and it is always important that you talk to your treatment team to be sure that using the sauna is right for you.
(Featured image by National Cancer Institute from Unsplash)