Background: Waon therapy improves heart failure (HF) symptoms, but further evidence in patients with advanced HF remains uncertain.
Methods and results: In 19 institutes, we prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with advanced HF, who had plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) >500 pg/ml on admission and BNP >300 pg/ml regardless of more than 1 week of medical therapy. Enrolled patients were randomized into Waon therapy or control groups. Waon therapy was performed once daily for 10 days with a far infrared-ray dry sauna maintained at 60℃ for 15 min, followed by bed rest for 30 min covered with a blanket. The primary endpoint was the ratio of BNP before and after treatment. In total, 76 Waon therapy and 73 control patients (mean age 66 years, men 61%, mean plasma BNP 777 pg/ml) were studied. The groups differed only in body mass index and the frequency of diabetes. The plasma BNP, NYHA classification, 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and cardiothoracic ratio significantly improved only in the Waon therapy group. Improvements in NYHA classification, 6MWD, and cardiothoracic ratio were significant in the Waon therapy group, although the change in plasma BNP did not reach statistical significance. No serious adverse events were observed in either group.
Conclusions: Waon therapy, a holistic soothing warmth therapy, showed clinical advantages in safety and efficacy among patients with advanced HF.