I do a sauna every day and have for a number of years. Usually I go to the YMCA and they have a regular dry sauna. Recently I got a far-infrared sauna and I was intrigued that the sweat felt different, less watery, and slimier. It made me think there was some truth to the assertions being made about far-infrared and its ability to draw more toxins than the standard regular sauna. – Dr. David Minkoff
Treating heavy metal toxicity is a demanding challenge that tests our responsibility to be incredibly informed about a wide spectrum of health issues, many of them complex. One of the most overlooked avenues of elimination is actually the skin, which offers a vast exit route to poisons trapped in the body. The skin is actually an amazingly complex organ and, by weight, the largest in the body. It covers, on average, some 22 square feet and weighs around nine pounds (roughly 7% of body weight). The skin provides the front line of defense for the body, as well as being expressive of both physiological conditions and emotional states. The skin is the extension of our nervous system to the outside, and defines our existence as a physical form.
Sweating does indeed increase mercury excretion. Probably an hour or two of sauna is the same as 50 mg of DMSA every 4 hours for a day. – Dr. Andrew Cutler
- Speeds up metabolic processes of vital organs and glands, including endocrine glands.
- Inhibits the development of pleomorphic microforms (fungi, yeasts, bacteria and molds) and creates a “fever reaction” of rising temperature that neutralizes them.
- Increases the number of leukocytes in the blood.
- Places demand on the heart to work harder thus exercising it and also producing a drop in diastolic blood pressure (the low side).
- Stimulates dilation of peripheral blood vessels thus relieving pain (including muscle pain) and speeding the healing of sprain, strain, bursitis, arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease symptoms.
- Promotes relaxation, thereby creating a feeling of wellbeing.
The volume of sweat produced in the far-infrared sauna is profuse and may induce two or three times the sweat volume of conventional saunas, yet they operate at a much cooler air temperature range: about 110-130° F, compared with 180-235° F in a conventional sauna. Using sauna for detoxification purposes is an ancient tradition practiced by different cultures around the world. The combination of modern far-infrared heating technology with the ancient sauna ritual seems to have resulted in an effective way to deeply cleanse the tissues of the body.
I have been using the far-infrared sauna and have noted outstanding results. My son’s “endocrine disruption” (pituitary damage/ central hypothyroidism) from mercury toxicity (measured by IV arginine stimulation IGF-1 and HGH) resolved within two months. When I added methyl B12 injections, his neurodevelopmental disorder (misnamed by my psychiatric colleagues as “Asperger’s syndrome”) has essentially resolved. – Dr. Alan Clark
When we get serious about detoxification we investigate every tool to facilitate the process. When it comes to using the skin there are other techniques and options besides sauna and deep sweating. The most basic and ancient earth materials can be used to literally suck the poisons through the skin and this can be enormously helpful and safe. Clay, specifically bentonite clay (a very fine volcanic clay), is ideal for this and is very inexpensive, practical and can be used in a patient’s own bathtub. Bentonite used in a bath can draw out toxic chemicals through the pores of the skin.
Far-Infrared Sauna – Dome
Precision Therapy Far-Infrared Sauna Belt
Thermotex Foot Therapy System
Thermal Life Saunas
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These far-infrared saunas from High Tech Health are what I recommend for those who want a more permanent addition to their home or office. High Tech Health saunas are known for their excellent construction and use of non-toxic materials, and they are highly recommended by prominent health practitioners who specialize in detoxification.
General Instructions for Sauna Use
Medical studies can demonstrate that most toxins can be eliminated through the skin, relieving the burden on the kidneys and liver. Sweating increases dramatically in most people after several months of regular sauna use. Supervision during a sauna therapy program is helpful especially if you have any type of health condition. Dr. Lawrence Wilson M.D. makes several recommendations for safe and effective sauna use:
- Do not exercise before using the sauna. Exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system that then inhibits toxin elimination. Sweating during exercise is not nearly as effective for detoxification because of this activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Drink 8-16 ounces of distilled or spring water before a sauna session and afterwards.
- Begin with only 20 minutes in the sauna. After a few weeks, if you feel well enough to do so, you may increase to 30 or even 40 minutes. Never begin with sessions longer than 20 minutes once a day because this can cause healing reactions that are unpleasant and even dangerous. No one should stay in a sauna longer than 60 minutes.
- If debilitated or very heat sensitive, begin with 15 minutes or less in the sauna. Wipe off your sweat every few minutes with a small towel.
- Shower off or, if you do not have time for a shower, towel off; showering is best. Use as little soap as needed. Use shampoo and conditioner only if needed. Most contain chemicals toxic to the body. Also skip most oils, lotions and creams.
- Always relax for 10-15 minutes after a sauna session to allow your body to readjust. Do not go right back to daily activities.
- It is best to use a sauna first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. This is when you are the most relaxed and your sauna session will be the most effective. The more relaxed you are, the more you will sweat.
- Always consult a health professional if you have a chronic illness and are not sure about sauna use. However, we have found no problems with using a sauna with people who have diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
- Pregnant women and children under age five should not use saunas. Young children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Continue prescribed medication while taking saunas unless directed otherwise.
- You may use a sauna just twice a week or as often as twice a day. However, start with no more than one session daily for no longer than 20 minutes. If you are very debilitated, begin with once a week. Work up to daily use as you are able to do so.
- Healing reactions are temporary symptoms that occur as toxic substances are eliminated and chronic infections heal. Symptoms vary from mild odors, unusual taste in your mouth or rashes; these symptoms usually pass quickly. Some people feel great fatigue after sessions and this is normal. Almost all healing symptoms are benign and will pass quickly. Consult a knowledgeable practitioner if you have any cause for concern.
- Some people have bowel changes, aches, pains or headaches. Removing drugs from tissue storage may cause flashbacks or temporary drug effects, the same as when you took the drug. If you have used LSD or other psychotropic drugs, have an attendant near by, as a few have experienced flashbacks or even full-blown LSD trips.
- Old infections may flare up as they are healed due to repeated sauna use. Usually only rest and natural remedies are needed to help infections resolve faster.
- Today many people may use saunas who have chronic illnesses that may affect their ability to tolerate the sauna’s heat. In our experience with those with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, joint replacements and many other conditions, the sauna appears to be very safe. Here are a few signs, however, that indicate that one should leave the sauna soon:
- Your body temperature increases by more than four degrees.
- Your pulse increases more than 50% of your resting heart rate.
- You suddenly stop sweating.
- Some faintness and feeling of fatigue or weakness is normal during or after a sauna session. However, if you feel very faint, end the sauna session and lie down for at least 10 minutes.
 The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring research at Bastyr University near Seattle to determine the effects of sauna use on toxic environmental chemicals in the body.
Dr. Jason Allen, the lead researcher, is testing whether the sauna helps break down the fatty tissues that can store more than 200 synthetic chemicals. When the chemicals are released from the tissues, the body can excrete them. March 2012;