Imagine yourself lying on the beach on a fall day. The sun is out, and the warmth from the sun feels luxurious. Imagine not having to worry about the UV light, which causes sunburn. All you have to do is enjoy the radiant energy of the sun.

This month I want to talk about utilizing radiant energy to promote detoxification, through the use of infrared saunas.

Many of us have used traditional saunas which are heated by burning wood or gas, or via an electric heater. In that type of sauna, the one with which most people are familiar, the body is heated from the surface in temperatures ranging from 150 degrees Fahrenheit to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

Infrared heat is the warmth you feel when lying in the sun. A relatively new type of sauna is the infrared sauna. Here heat is generated by ceramic or metallic heating elements. The temperatures in infrared saunas are lower than those of traditional saunas, ranging from about 110 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, one’s body is warmed mainly by the radiant energy of infrared rays which penetrate the body and produce a more profound cleansing effect than the heat of traditional saunas. Use of the infrared sauna is one of several effective methods of detoxification employed at the Breiner Center for Health.

A lot of research has been done on infrared saunas, especially in Japan. My remarks from this point on will be geared specifically to the use of this type of sauna.

Heating the body with sauna therapy has many positive effects. It can help the body deal with health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, toxicity (from heavy metals, pesticides, and chemicals), skin conditions, chronic sinus problems, digestive disorders, cancer, and arthritis, etc.

Sauna treatments trigger a variety of healing mechanisms and produce a multitude of benefits. I will discuss just a few.

The part of our nervous system that controls those things that run our body automatically is called the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system has two balancing component parts-the sympathetic, which speeds things up, and the parasympathetic which slows things down.

The sympathetic nervous system kicks in when we are under stress. It is known as the “fight or flight” mechanism. It increases breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and adrenal and thyroid activity. It is catabolic, meaning it breaks down tissue.

The parasympathetic activity is more anabolic. It is restorative. It activates the liver, large and small intestines, kidneys and spleen to nourish the body and will slow heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure.

Most people today have greater activation of their sympathetic nervous system than their parasympathetic.

Constant, excessive stress and lack of sleep keeps us in the “fight or flight” mode and, thus, in a chronic sympathetic-dominant state. (This is supposed to be temporary, with the parasympathetic dominant state bringing things back into balance.) The chronic state of stress increases cortisol output which in turn decreases the effectiveness of the immune system.This imbalance and resulting lowered immunity contribute to the increased level of obesity and diabetes which plague America today.

On the other hand, chronic parasympathetic dominance can also be detrimental. What is needed is a balance between the two. Detoxification is essential for restoring this balance.

Sauna treatment inhibits the sympathetic nervous system in a couple ways: by eliminating toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, chemicals, and by heating the body, thus reducing the bodies need to heat itself, (a sympathetic activity). As the body tries to cool itself, blood is shunted to the surface. This increases heart rate, which in turn improves circulation. Often the organs of detoxification like the liver and kidneys suffer from stagnation. Increasing the circulation allows them to function more efficiently. The increased circulation also helps the digestive organs, thus bringing improvement in constipation, colitis, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, etc. Increasing circulation also helps muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. As circulation increases edema decreases with a resulting decrease in pain.

Fever is nature’s way of fighting infection. Many people today have lower than normal body temperatures due to underperforming adrenal and thyroid glands. By increasing body temperature, the sauna helps to keep bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. in check, thus fighting infection. Also the resulting improved circulation increases the body’s supply of oxygen, which, in turn, can be lethal to many foreign organisms.

All of us have heard about the respiratory problems that the 9/11 workers at Ground Zerohave been experiencing. In the April, 2006, Townsend Letter an article addressed this very topic.

Symptomatic men and women who were exposed to the toxic environment of 9/11 underwent the Hubbard protocol of sauna detoxification. This was an intensive protocol which prescribed about five hours of sauna sessions per day for one month. Treatment of the enrollees was performed between September 2002 and September 2005. Prior to treatment, the participants averaged 4.4 days of limited activity and 2.2 days per month of missed work. After treatment 0.2 days per month of missed work or limited activity was reported. There were huge decreases in symptoms in a variety of areas including respiratory, musculoskeletal, skin, neurologic, cognitive and emotional symptoms. This is the awesome power of detoxification!

In summary, infrared sauna treatment can be a useful adjunctive therapy for many conditions.

© 2007, Mark A. Breiner, DDS

The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified dentist or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment. 

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