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man in cold plunge, Dr. Huberman

Spa Contraindications

Before indulging in the therapeutic benefits of infrared saunas and cold plunges, it is crucial to be aware of certain health conditions and situations where these treatments might not be advisable. Below, we provide a comprehensive list of contraindications to ensure your safety and well-being during spa treatments.

What to Know

  • You are not permitted to use the sauna if you are pregnant, have serious heart conditions, a fever, a communicable disease, acute bleeding, or are intoxicated. 

  • Medications: Individuals who are using prescriptions drugs should seek the advice of their physician or pharmacist for possible changes in the drugs effect when the body is exposed to infrared waves or elevated body temperature.

  • Diuretics, barbiturates, and beta-blockers may impair the body’s natural heat loss mechanisms. Anticholinergics such as amitriptyline may inhibit sweating and can predispose individuals to heat rash or, to a lesser extent, heat stroke. Some over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines, may also cause the body to be more prone to heat stroke.

  • The Elderly: The ability to maintain core body temperature decreases with age. This is primarily due to circulatory conditions and decreased sweat gland function. The body must be able to activate its natural cooling processes to maintain core body temperature. When using with the elderly, operate at a lower temperature and for no more than 15 minutes at a time.

  • Cardiovascular Conditions: Individuals with cardiovascular conditions or problems (hypertension/hypotension), congestive heart failure, impaired coronary circulation or those who are taking medications which might affect blood pressure should exercise caution when exposed to prolonged heat. Heat stress increases cardiac output and blood flow in an effort to transfer internal body heat to the outside environment via the skin (perspiration) and respiratory system. This takes place primarily due to major changes in the heart rate, which has the potential to increase by thirty (30) beats per minute for each degree increase in core body temperature.

  • Alcohol / Alcohol Abuse: Contrary to popular belief, it is not advisable to attempt to “sweat out” a hangover. Alcohol intoxication decreases a person’s judgment; therefore, he/she may not realize when the body has a negative reaction to high heat. Alcohol also increases the heart rate, which may be further increased by heat stress.

  • Chronic Conditions/Diseases Associated with a Reduced Ability to Sweat: Multiple Sclerosis, Central Nervous System Tumors and Diabetes with Neuropathy are conditions that are associated with impaired sweating.

  • Hemophiliacs / Individuals Prone to Bleeding: The use of infrared saunas should be avoided by anyone who is predisposed to bleeding. Joint Injury If you have a recent (acute) joint injury, it should not be heated for the first 48 hours after injury or until the swelling subsides. If you have a joint or joints that are chronically hot and swollen, these joints may respond poorly to vigorous heating of any kind.

  • Pacemaker/Defibrillator: The magnets used to assemble this wooden sauna can interrupt the pacing and inhibit the output of pacemakers. Please discuss with your doctor the possible risks this may cause. Implants Metal pins, rods, artificial joints, or any other surgical implants generally reflect infrared waves and thus are not heating by this system. Nevertheless, you should consult your physician prior to using an infrared sauna.

  • Insensitivity to Heat: An individual with insensitivity to heat should not use an infrared sauna.

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