Sauna Therapy: Sweat Your Way To Better Health
Sauna therapy is a great form of detoxification. Detoxification refers to removing toxins from their binding sites in the tissues. From there, they go into the lymph and blood, which ultimately transports them into the liver and the kidneys. If the practitioner proceeds to detox before drainage, the patient will get sick, because the toxins are unable to be cleared by the liver and kidneys. It is akin to having a bowel movement in a toilet that won’t flush.
One of the most relaxing ways that you can improve your health is by regularly taking a sauna. Sauna therapy dates back to ancient times, with its health benefits touted by the healing traditions of many of the world’s cultures. One of the reasons we recommend saunas is because sauna therapy is the only detoxification treatment that has been proven to release fat-stored toxins from the body. Fat tissues and cells are where much of the body’s toxic overload occurs because, in order to protect itself, the body encapsulates toxins in fat as a means of quarantining toxins from other cells and tissues. Chronic toxin exposure and buildup soon defeats this purpose, however, enabling the encapsulated toxins to wreak their havoc.
Sauna therapy, properly administered, temporarily elevates the body’s core temperature in much the same way that your body will generate a fever to kill invading bacteria and viruses. As this occurs, fat cells begin to release toxins, which can range from acidic wastes to heavy metals to pesticide and drug residues to chemicals such as dioxin and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). The toxins are then eliminated through the sweat glands, which are very active at that time due to the intense perspiration that sauna therapy induces. Research has shown that regular sauna therapy can provide beneficial effects for a wide range of the body's systems, including the cardiovascular, circulatory, endocrine (hormone), immune, neurological, muscular, and respiratory systems.
In the last few decades, a new form of sauna therapy has been developed that has proven to be even more effective for eliminating toxins and improving overall health. Originally developed and tested in Japan and South Korea, this type of therapy is called far-infrared (FIR) therapy. Today, there are a range of far infrared devices people can use to obtain the benefits they provide, ranging from home FIR stationary and portable, tent-like sauna units, to FIR blankets and pads. Of these, the stationary and portable units provide the most benefit for most people.
FIR units emit a dry, radiant infrared heat, similar to one of the types of rays emitted by the sun. This radiant energy is able to penetrate deep inside the body to a depth of between 1.5 and 3 inches, depending on the unit. The sweat volume produced by the infrared radiant energy can exceed that produced by traditional saunas by 200 to 300 percent.
Studies have shown that the energy output from FIR units is closely tuned to the body’s own radiant energy, enabling the body to absorb as much as 90 percent of the far-infrared waves. By comparison, conventional saunas rely only on indirect means of heat: first, on convection (air currents) and then, conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin) to produce its heating effect, resulting in far less absorption. In addition, the benefits that FIR units provide can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes inside the unit, whereas traditional sauna times are usually longer than that.
There is a growing body of research attesting to the benefits of far-infrared sauna therapy. Among the benefits FIR has been shown to provide are:
- Significant detoxification of heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins
- Improved overall cardiovascular function
- Improved circulation and increased oxygenation of cells and tissues
- Improved metabolism and healthy weight loss
- Improved energy production
- Improved immune function
- Improved pulmonary (lung) function
- Improved skin tone and elasticity and reduction of cellulite.
Because of their health benefits, the use of FIR units has become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the last decade and today such units can be found in a growing number of doctors’ offices and health clinics. Although the units are also available for home use, we recommend proper medical supervision, along with appropriate medical tests, before using FIR units, at least initially, especially since excessive use of FIR units can result in a too rapid release of toxins, which can have an adverse effect on various body organs, especially the kidneys and liver.
Also, whenever employing any form of sauna therapy be sure to drink adequate amounts (at least 24 to 32 ounces) of pure, filtered water before, during, or immediately after each sauna session to avoid dehydration. And once your session is finished, immediately take a shower in slightly cool water to rinse away toxic residue on your skin that is left as a result of your sweating.