Sauna Your Toxins Away

This week we have a guest post by Kristina Fallico, a colleague of the An Avocado A Day team and a 4th year intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic.

With the change in season, we have learned a lot about detoxifying our bodies and boosting the immune system to avoid cold and flus this winter.  In addition to detoxing through food, we need a way to excrete waste buildup, and sauna therapy has shown much benefit in this area. Not only does it help excrete toxins, but it has also shown to have other physiological benefits.  Traditional European saunas have been used throughout the years, but some health care practitioners may suggest an infrared sauna.  Why is it important to know why?  Read on to learn about the differences between European and infrared saunas, and what saunas can do for you. 

European Saunas

European saunas rely on electricity or steam to produce indirect heat to warm the body.   Sweating occurs because the convection (air currents) and conduction (contact between hot air and skin) of hot air produces an increased temperature (75-95 C or 167-203 F), warming the air first and then the body.  Although this may sound like an effective method, it raises some issues particularly in those with cardiovascular conditions,  asthma, pregnancy, heat sensitivities, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory concerns.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas on the other hand use ceramic heaters that produce radiant heat (infrared energy).  This is a form of energy that heats objects directly through vibrations. This causes metabolic changes between the cells and therefore increases the body’s temperature.  This means that it induces perspiration without having to heat the air like the traditional European style saunas.   Therefore, we can achieve the same goal of perspiration at much lower temperatures (45-50 C or 113-122 F), making it a much more tolerable treatment.

How It Works

Saunas use the skin as the vector of elimination.  Our sweat glands naturally excrete many of our body’s naturally occurring minerals, but through perspiration we can further eliminate water- and fat-soluble toxins. Therefore, certain drugs like amphetamines, morphine, and methadone, and many environmental contaminants such as pesticides, PCBs, and dioxin can all be excreted via sweat.
Not only do saunas help eliminate waste, research has shown that they can improve chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, promote muscle tone, and increase rate of healing for musculoskeletal conditions.  Other research has shown benefit in chronic pain and inflammatory conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.  Furthermore, it can aid in weight loss as some research has proposed that a moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna, eliminating nearly 300 kcal, which is equivalent to running 2–3 miles.

Saunas should be used with caution in pregnant women, those with extreme lymph edema, hypoglycemic people, those with pacemakers or other metal implants, and those with kidney or liver disease.  Be sure to talk to your health care provider before considering sauna therapy and see if it is the right treatment for you.

In good health,

Dr. Wendy Davis, The use of infrared sauna Therapy to improve clinical symptoms of Chemical Toxicity.  2011.
Searle AJ (January 1982). "Effects of the sauna". JAMA 247 (1): 28.


jane said...

Sauna and steam bath really offers cleansing properties not just in our skin yet also in health.
It relieves stress above all and fight illness. As my personal experience, it really makes my body feels good and healthy!
Try it in your own and you will never regret! Thanks for your post anyways, it made me realized to build my own Sauna room someday.

jessica Rose said...

This post is so informative and makes a very nice image on the topic in my mind. It is the first time I visit your blog, but I was extremely impressed. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday! Read more..

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