Postpartum Depression and Infrared Sauna Therapy
By Becky Streeter
Bringing a brand new baby home from the hospital should be an amazing, over-joyous time in a new mother’s life. But it’s not always that way. The “baby blues” are completely normal because new mothers are bombarded with hundreds of different emotions, hormones, and life changes in a very short time. If the baby blues don’t seem to be going away or are getting worse, it might be indicative of postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD) should not be considered a weakness--it is simply a complication of giving birth. While the baby blues usually fade within a week or so, PPD symptoms are more intense, last longer, and can interfere with caring for your new baby or other life tasks. Untreated PPD can last for months. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of PPD include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficultly bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite, or eating much more than usual
- Insomnia, or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Postpartum depression is often treated with counseling and medication, but infrared sauna therapy is another option that can be helpful. We caught up with Marilyn Nicanor, owner of Rays of Sol, who talked about her infrared sauna treatment:
Q: How does the infrared sauna work?
A: It uses infrared heat to gently make its way through human tissue to provide a list of benefits (relaxation, better sleep, clearer skin, detoxing, pain relief, lower blood pressure, and weight loss), as well as boost the immune system. Infrared light is actually what hospitals put on babies to keep them warm after they come out of the womb.
Q: How does the infrared sauna benefit a woman with postpartum depression?
A: The infrared sauna is a great way for mothers to get some relaxation and time for themselves. It helps detox any medicine that was used during delivery such as epidurals, and can help reduce joint pain from carrying baby. Most new mothers experience some swelling in their ankles or feet, and the sauna can help shed that water weight. It also boosts metabolism, helping new mamas lose pregnancy weight of up to 600 calories per session.
Q: What does a typical treatment look like?
A: It’s the same concept as the traditional sauna. The only difference is the infrared uses infrared heat, instead of steam or stones, to heat the body from within, whereas traditional saunas heat up the air around you. Our cedar wood sauna is located in a room and fits up to three people. A session usually last about 30 minutes, but we do offer 45 minutes sessions for people who like to sit in it longer. We also offer add-ons to enhance and personalize the sauna session experience: chromotherapy (light therapy), acoustic resonance relaxing music, and the LumiNIR wand which combines Red or Blue light with NIR infrared.
To learn more about the infrared sauna and other services offered at Ray of Sol, visit their website at www.raysofsol.