Detox in the Sauna
By Lawrence Wilson, MD
Everyone today is exposed to heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Particularly for slow metabolizers, a very good method to detoxify the body is the far-infrared sauna. Its dry, warming energy is highly compatible with the human body. It heats the tissues several inches deep, enhancing metabolic processes. One can construct an excellent home sauna for under $75.00.
Heating of the tissues enhances metabolic processes. Greater cellular energy production facilitates healing. Viruses, tumors and toxin-laden cells are weaker than normal cells. They tolerate heat poorly. Raising the body temperature causes infections to heal more quickly. Hyperthermia or fever therapy help combat infections and even cancer. Our bodies develop fever when ill to enhance metabolism and help kill germs.
Saunas enhance circulation and oxygenate the tissues. They open the nasal passages and assist the sinuses to drain. A major eliminative organ, most people's skin is very inactive. Many do not sweat. This may be due to synthetic or tight clothing that does not breathe. Sedentary living and sun damage also inactivate the skin. Hundreds of chemicals affect the skin from lotions, soaps, creams and deodorants. Other are cleaning solvents, detergent residues and chemicals from bathing water.
Repeated use of the sauna slowly restores skin elimination. Toxic chemicals and metals can be removed faster than with any other method. It is a daily habit that pays many dividends. Steam baths, sweat lodges, vigorous exercise and hot tubs are more extreme and less effective.
Types of Saunas
The traditional sauna is electric, wood or gas fired. Preheating to 150-200 degrees is required for copious sweating. The intense heat is difficult for many to tolerate, especially when ill.
Far-infrared heats the body, the air remaining cool. Sweating begins quickly and the experience is rather pleasant. Preheating is unnecessary which saves electricity. Most use ceramic elements to generate gentle heat. Excellent, but costly, another option is to use infrared bulbs. The latter also provide warming and stimulating color therapy.
According to research, far-infrared is more cleansing than traditional saunas. The deep penetration of the infrared energy allows the cells to eliminate better.
The Sauna Experience
Supervision and Safety. Saunas are safe for most people providing one follows a few simple rules. Remain inside no longer than 30 minutes at a time. Rest lying or sitting for 10 minutes afterwards. This allows time to eliminate dead cells and other debris. Drink mineralized water before and after the sauna. Make sure the bowels move regularly, as sauna therapy will increase elimination.
Use the sauna with supervision if you have a chronic condition. If debilitated or very heat-sensitive, begin with a shorter time. The presence of an attendant or friend is also most helpful. Those with multiple sclerosis, hyperthyroidism, hypertension or serious heart conditions should consult a health professional.
Slow metabolizers may use the sauna up to twice a day. Upon arising and at bedtime are excellent if time permits. Evening is probably best if you use it once a day. If ill, however, the morning is better when energy levels are higher. Less often is also acceptable if beginning or to maintain your health. If you are very debilitated, begin with once a week. Work up to daily use as you feel able. Fast metabolizers should use the sauna once or twice a week.
Taking the Sauna. Drink two glasses of mineralized water before entering the sauna. Add juice or minerals to your water if it is mineral-free. The infrared sauna will not work through clothing. Men, position yourselves so the testicles are not directly exposed to infrared energy. Pass the time meditating or review your day.
Use a small towel to wipe off the sweat. Not recommended are talking or working in the sauna.
Ventilate the sauna whenever you use it. This may be built into the design. This avoids breathing toxic gases. If you use a bathroom or closet, leave the door slightly ajar.
Bulb Saunas. Turn every few minutes if your sauna uses heat bulbs. Sit on a stool or a chair without a back. Face the bulbs, turn to the side and around to the back.
Avoid touching the hot bulbs, though looking at them is fine. Do not let water, a towel or clothing touch the bulbs when they are on.
Finishing Up. Remain in the sauna no more than 30 minutes. Use your judgement regarding the time. The temperature should not exceed 110. Some days you will sweat more than others.
When finished, take a shower, warm or cool but not hot. Avoid using soap as you will be clean. Soap leaves a film and clogs the pores. Wash off the sweat with a skin brush or loofa. Brush all over, even face and hair. Painful at first, it soon feels wonderful. Brushing enhances the cleansing effect. Shampoo and conditioner use only if needed. Most contain chemicals toxic to the body. Also skip most lotions and creams. These also contain harmful chemicals.
After the sauna drink a glass of water. Sit or lie down for at least 10 minutes. These simple steps allow your body to reap the full benefit of the sauna experience. As you become healthier, you will sweat more easily. Also, to heat up the sauna will take longer. The body dissipates heat more efficiently and fewer cellular toxins are there to be removed.
An Integrated Health Program
Results are much better when saunas are part of an integrated program. To your diet add extra sea salt or kelp granules to replace minerals lost through sweating. Eat natural foods grown on mineral-rich soil. Rest and sleep plenty, and exercise a little each day. Breathe deeply clean, fresh air. Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals. Create and maintain a positive environment. Stay happy and bright regardless of what others may say and do.
Constructing a Sauna at Home
Four, red heat bulbs from the hardware store are mounted on a piece of 1/2" plywood, 40" high and 15" wide. The unit is placed in a small bathroom or closet at least 4' long, 3' wide and 6' high. In addition to the wood and bulbs, you will need four flush-mount bulb sockets, fifteen feet of heavy lamp cord, a medium-heavy duty male wall plug and 8 wood screws to fasten the sockets to the plywood. An on-off switch and a thermometer are optional, but recommended.
Mount the sockets on the plywood in a diamond shape. The bottom socket is in the center, 1' from the bottom of the plywood. Two sockets are 28" from the bottom of the plywood and 10" apart. The top socket is centered on the plywood and 3' from the bottom. This should form a narrow diamond shape.
Large sockets sold as fixtures can only be wired from the back. Drilling the holes will be more work. You may find smaller flush mount sockets that can be wired from the front. Wire the sockets together in parallel so one bad bulb won't disable the unit.
With each use, instead of plugging the unit in, it is easier to have a switch. The best is probably a wall switch that can handle 1000 watts. This requires an outlet box screwed to the plywood. Keep sweaty hands off the switch as they could cause a short.
The bulbs must be the red type, of 250 watts each. Do not use the clear ones as their spectrum is not correct. You must not touch the bulbs during use, or let water or anything touch them. Observe all cautions as with any appliance exposed to heat and moisture. If children or the disabled will use the unit, consider a protective screen. Bend some chicken or stucco wire around the bulbs and staple it to the wood. Another way is to recess the bulbs or place them in reflectors. If building an enclosure, you could place the bulbs behind.
Lean the unit against a bathroom or closet wall. Secure it so it won't fall over. The enclosure needs be small enough to hold the heat, and large enough to turn around. The other option is to build an enclosure of wood, glass or cardboard. Build the unit at least 4' by 3' by 6' high. Siding made of cedar or fir is a popular option. The siding slides into a frame and no nails are needed. Walls can be built as modules, then screwed together.Plywood will also work, since the enclosure stays relatively cool. Some sauna companies use glass for at least one wall. Glass reflects far infrared energy but is not a good insulator. Cardboard is the least expensive. Tape or staple together two refrigerator boxes. Ventilating the sauna is a good idea. To allow gases to escape, leave a crack around the door or somewhere else high up.