Anyone find sunbeds help during the winter?

I went on holiday to Barcelona there a little while ago and I found that it helped my recovery even after I came back. I made alloy more progress after having the sunshine for a while so I was wondering if anyone had tried sunbeds and if they found they helped at all during the winter months. I have no interest in getting a tan but if it'll help reduce the flare ups I'd be more than happy to try.

17 Replies

  • Hmmm, I don't think I would risk using a sunbed due to the risk of skin cancer. I've heard of using special lights for treating SAD so maybe this would be worth looking into.

    Paula x

  • People with RA on drugs such as MTX are not allowed to donate blood, so not appropriate for most of us.

  • Thanks paula :)

    I was more interested in its effect on RA rather than my mental health. I am aware of the risks but tbh I would take a calculated risk for one winter if I thought ti would make my life easier. I can't find any research on it so it's probably just a pipe dream.

  • Found this but I am sceptical because of it's source.

    I'll have to some more research I think.

  • Yes you definitely need to research as that source is likely biased lol. I just had a little peek at light therapy and there's lots of stuff online. It's so hard deciding what's real and what's quackery!

  • Light therapy works by regulating the chemicals released in the brain that tell you to wake up and to sleep, it's basicly just blue light. Sun beds emmit UV which would make them different, I have no idea if they would help for RA I just know that when I go somewhere hot I get better quicker and stay better for longer, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with UV or vitiman D or what.

    You ever tried vitimin D suppliments? maybe that's what I'm getting from it.

  • medical-dictionary.thefreed...

    Hello like Paula I too wdould be reluctant to use a sunbeds becaus

  • Hi I went to tenerife last year in the heat and sun and had no painkillers for 2 whole weeks,came back here and was in pain after 3 days,asked my dr. For a prescription to go again she laughted and said no,so many of us dread the winter its so unfair!!! Xx

  • Ha! if only we could get prescription holidays :) I'd be so happy.

  • I have found last winter that I had a lot less flareups when I used a sun showe on ce a week or less but as methotrexate can make you sun sensitive I'm gonna have to stay off them this year which bums me out a lil especially if I have more flareups without. I take vitamin D and its effect isn't is good as the sun showrt, my achey joints always felt better I'm wondering if its related to the warm air the preduce, the heat penetrating were I ache rather than anything else. Its sep now nd I'd happily live in thermals

  • I bought some thermals from Sports Direct last week and I absolutely love them. They keep me toastie warm on these chilly days :-)

  • Yup, I'm already in my thermals too lol.

  • I wonder what it is too, because if I'm in a warm house in the winter it makes no difference I still get flare ups but if I'm in a cool house in a sunny country I'm much better. There must be something besides the vitamin D that is coming from it, or maybe it's the combination of the two. Thanks for your reply, I'm not on methotrexate any more so I'd feel ok about using the sunbeds in that regard I just didn't want to go on them if I wasn't sure they would help.

  • I read that Vitamin D3 (which you can get from the sun during spring to Autumn in the UK, supplements and sunbeds) is used by the body in helping activating its immune system by helping to activate the body's Tcells. Some research is being done on this regarding RA by Arthritis Research (link below) but results will take a few years to come out. Interesting stuff though.

    I also read that the Vitamin D from the sun is more effective than the supplements as it is absorbed in a different way. I am not a fan of sun beds - i think they age your skin not to mention the Big C scare. I also think that the exercise you get whilst out and about in the sun is equally as important if you can manage it.

    I would advise that you get your Vitamin D3 levels checked by your gp and see if they are okay. It seems that a lot of RA patients have very low levels but suprisingly this doesn't get tested on monthly blood tests.

    Also, to take supplements during the winter (or a winter sun break somewhere hot or high up) and get out in the sun during the summer time. In the Uk, they advise a low dose of Vitamin D (500 iu per day) alongside a calcium supplement (D-Cal i think it is called). I have found that a low dose makes no difference at all. The link below advises a much higher dose (5000 - 10000 iu per day but to get it checked regularly) and mentions that you can get the calcium from your food (alongside other foods) to help you absorb it. I think that it helps (can't harm) but i am at an early stage so the jury is still out on this for me. An interesting site is below which gives more information on Vitamin D in general. Seems sensible enough.

    Good luck,


  • That's the biggest problem with living in Ireland, there often isn't any sun to get out in in the summer lol. Thanks for all the info Emma, exactly what I was looking for :)

  • the MTX and sulpha have made me hugely sun sensitive, so just peeking my nose outdoors without sunblock brings me out in a rash. Hate to think what a sunbed would do to me! And I hate heat.... But basically I'd do what feels good to you, so if 5 mins every now and then makes you feel better then go for it! Just starts slowly with a couple of minutes at a time in case you get sun sensitivity too. Polly

  • Do you have RA? I think perhaps you are referring to other types of sun sensitivity rather than that provoked by sulphasalazine. As an RA sufferer I have an exemplary diet as regards to things like anti-inflammatory foods, and make sure that my Vit D is fine, etc etc.

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