Unfortunately, most of us have some level of toxic heavy metals in our bodies. Over a lifetime of exposure, they accumulate and circulate within the body, burdening it with an array of unwanted side effects. The good news is that there are natural solutions for handling our increasingly toxic environment – one of which is sweating toxins out. Here we’ve put together all you need to know about the benefits of infrared saunas and tips for optimizing your experience.
Heavy Metals 101
Harsh heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are ubiquitous toxins that plague most everybody. These elements have no physiological benefits, and instead, pose a toxic burden on the body. With acute exposure to heavy metals, a character might experience numbness, confusion, dizziness and a general ill feeling. Chronic exposure may cause headaches, fatigue, inflammation, digestive and immune impairment.
In fact, most of the aforementioned heavy metals are confirmed or probable carcinogens, and they exert a variety of toxic effects on many important bodily systems, including the nervous, endocrine, renal, musculoskeletal, immunological, and cardiovascular systems.
Proper nutrition, simple supplements, and the use of infrared saunas all can support our metabolism, which in turn, increases the effectiveness of our detoxification system. As the metabolic rate increases, our internal body temperature rises, activating the detoxification systems in the body such as respiration and perspiration. Through these channels, excess toxins can be efficiently eliminated from the body.
Infrared Sauna Detox Benefits
There are numerous measures a person can take to optimize metabolism, detoxification and the excretion of toxic elements through stool and urine. There are a number of pro-metabolic foods, herbs, and supplements that can assist in detoxification. However, an often-overlooked route of detoxification and one of the most effective is through the process of sweating.
Sweating especially combined with heat and/or exercise can very efficiently increase the metabolic rate, which turns up thermogenesis and respiration. The physiological process of sweating has long been considered an act of safe, effective detoxification both traditionally and clinically. There are numerous clinical reports which show that a high level of toxins can be eliminated through sweat.
In one study, persons with exposure to toxic chemicals were found to have greater concentrations of toxins in their sweat rather than plasma or urine. In other words, sweating eliminates toxins on a greater level than urination and defecation!
Another study has found that “arsenic dermal excretion was severalfold higher in arsenic-exposed individuals than in unexposed controls. Cadmium was more concentrated in sweat than in blood plasma. Sweat lead was associated with high-molecular-weight molecules, and in an interventional study, levels were higher with endurance compared with intensive exercise. Mercury levels normalized with repeated saunas in a case report.”
These findings give sweating a well-deserved consideration for an effective, therapeutic detoxification protocol, especially for the elimination of heavy metals.
Infrared Sauna Tips for Optimizing Your Experience
To make the most out of your sauna use, try implementing some of these simple tips.
Heat helps to dismantle lipophilic compounds into water-soluble form to be mobilized by fluids like sweat. Some compounds are directly liberated from the sweat while others are mobilized in the bloodstream to the liver to be metabolized. Niacin has a vasodilatation effect that increases blood flow to the liver and is therapeutic for detoxification by inhibiting the liberation of free fatty acids, which suppress metabolism and increase the production of estrogen and cortisol. Additionally, niacin inhibits oxidation that might occur during the release of toxins.
Keep in mind that patients with diabetes should caution the use of niacin and intense detoxification. People with diabetes have high levels of free circulating fatty acids and lipolysis, which can be further exacerbated by intense detoxification, so subtler methods should be taken. Otherwise, in healthy individuals, niacin is a great way to assist the circulatory system in escorting impurities to the surface before sweating them out. It’s also very helpful for releasing lactic acid after workouts.
While sweating in the sauna provides many benefits, keep in mind that it can dehydrate the body and skin. Therefore, it’s essential to stay hydrated before, during and especially after infrared sauna use. While sweating out the environmental pollutants, we’re also sweating out the good minerals in our bodies, especially sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Taking a high-quality Himalayan salt prior, during and after sauna use can restore these important minerals.
During the process of detoxification, the body is liberating fatty acids and other toxins. Depending on the intensity and concentration of toxins in the body, the rest of the tissues might be vulnerable to oxidative stress. Vitamin C is a simple nutrient that can help inhibit and potential oxidation that might occur, keeping your cells healthy.
Bulletproof coconut charcoal is a great way to help curb the potential oxidative damage from endotoxins and rapid release of other toxins in the body. Activated charcoal has a positive ionic charge that “absorbs” negatively charged toxins and bacterial endotoxins that can cause inflammation. Take charcoal just before or after your sauna session.
Choosing the Best Sauna
Before you hop into the sauna, it’s helpful to know that not all of them are created equally. Saunas that use infrared red light technology are superior to traditional saunas and provide additional benefits.
One benefit to infrared rays is that they allow for more profuse sweating at lower temperatures than a traditional sauna, meaning you do not have to bake at uncomfortably high levels of heat before you break a sweat. In the most basic sense, this decreases the thermogenic stress of traditional sauna use and makes for a more enjoyable, comfortable sweating experience.
Red light also has many other benefits, like the increased functioning of the mitochondria, increased energy production, and more. Penetrating red light also has anti-stress effects. It protects the body from free radical damage, lipid peroxidation, osteoporosis, arthritis, scleroderma, inflammation, and can even help eliminate excess estrogen in the body. In case you are unaware, you can learn about the harmful benefits of excess estrogen in our previous blog post.
So, when choosing your sauna, we highly recommend seeking one that uses red light technology for a holistic, systematically beneficial sweat experience!
How often do you sweat in the sauna? Do you have a special protocol or any good tips to share?
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