Sweating may seem icky to others, but it is a highly beneficial bodily reaction. In this episode, Dr. Trish Murray teaches us the benefits of sweating our body and how infrared saunas can help us in this process. As one of the best ways for us to cleanse our body and systems, she takes us deeper into the detoxification process of the major organs of the body. Dr. Murray also taps into the chelation procedure and discusses the efficiency of saunas. Discover how saunas, infrared, and other therapies promote detoxification in today’s episode.
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The Benefits Of Sweating And Infrared Saunas
The Science Of Sweating
Our topic is sweating and infrared saunas. What we want to talk about is that infrared sauna is one of the best ways to detoxify and cleanse your body and your system. We have always sweat. Humans have to sweat. Sweating is the way that we cool our body temperature. There are certain glands in your body. The number one gland that we’re going to talk about is eccrine sweat glands. What happens is that when we get nervous or are feeling threatened, we’re out in the heat, our sympathetic nervous system gets turned up and starts activating. That increases our cortisol as we know, and it’s our sympathetic nervous system that controls our sweat glands and regulates our body temperature. As our internal temperature rises, whether that be from the environment or emotional things, our eccrine glands secrete water and it goes to the surface of our skin.
What happens then is that the water evaporates off of our skin and it’s the evaporation of the liquid that takes the heat away. This would be common sense that you’ve got to drink a lot of water if you’re going to be sweating because we’re going to be losing water in order for it to evaporate and have our body temperature be controlled. Our eccrine sweat glands sit in some fatty subcutaneous tissue just below the skin. The eccrine sweat glands are not attached to anything else. They sit in the subcutaneous tissue below your skin and they secrete water. It goes to the skin and evaporates. Our eccrine glands are typically not what cause smell or BO. There’s another sweat gland called apocrine sweat glands. Those sweat glands drain into your hair follicles. Around the hair follicle is more fats and proteins and also bacteria. It’s the bacteria ingesting the different fats and proteins that produce the BO or the smell that we produce when we sweat.
The Best Form To Detoxify
The main thing about sweating is that it’s going to help us detoxify. The main organs in our bodies that are meant to detoxify us or cleanse us and get rid of chemicals that we can’t handle are our liver and our kidneys. They are our filtering organs in our body. If they can’t keep up and they can’t remove all the toxins we’re supposed to, then many of the toxins get stored in the fat of your body. Fat acts like a dumpster for toxins in your body. The other thing is that if the liver and the kidneys cannot keep up with all the toxins in your body, then the pores pitch in. The pores, in order to help you sweat out the toxins, pitch in and help as another level or another avenue of cleansing and detoxifying your body. Research is showing more and more that sweating is one of the best ways to detoxify.Sweating helps our main organs detoxify chemicals that they cannot handle Click To Tweet
The concentration of heavy metals in sweat is greater than the concentration in plasma or urine. Meaning they’ve done research studies and they took samples of people’s sweat, samples in their urine and samples in their blood that’s going to go through the liver, for example, and shown the concentration of heavy metals. Heavy metals are like mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium that are bad for us. They can cause diseases. If we’re sweating out a higher concentration of these in our sweat rather than peeing them out or pooping them out, then that shows that sweating is one of the best ways to detoxify. The concentration of heavy metals is equal to or greater than urinary daily excretion of 14 out of 18 different heavy metals that have been studied. The Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, that’s the name of a journal, back in August of 2011, did a specific study. The name of that study was Blood, Urine and Sweat Study, the BUS study.
What they did was they monitored, researched and studied the monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. What it shows, when they tested, was that sweat had a greater than 10x concentration of arsenic than the blood did. Sweat had greater than 25x the concentration of cadmium in it than blood did. Sweat had greater than 300x the lead concentration that blood did. What these numbers are saying to you is that your sweat is removing dangerous heavy metals from your body, especially lead, up to 300x better than your blood taking it to your liver or your kidneys to remove it. I’m very familiar in the essence of I’ve tried to help people with oral chelation before. Chelators are things you take in order to bind heavy metals to get them to leave your body. It’s very effective, oral chelation for mercury and arsenic for example.
Lead can be very difficult to chelate orally. It’s better chelated with IV therapies. IV therapies require you to go to an office and have a medical office that knows how do that. That’s something we don’t offer at my office, IV chelation. Chelation can somewhat have side effects or could be dangerous at times. Sweating is one of the safest things. The point here is it’s one of the best ways to detoxify. Sweating is not always easy. Some of us live in areas that are colder and you can’t get to a good cleansing deep sweat. Saunas come to mind of therapies that have been around for a long time. Infrared saunas versus steam saunas. Researchers have found that the sweat from an infrared sauna contained more heavy metals: bismuth, cadmium, mercury and uranium. Infrared sauna is more effective in producing a deeper cleanse of your body and removing more heavy metals than even any other type, or particularly a steam sauna.
Chemicals And Toxins In The Body
The other thing though you have to remember is if you’re going to be sweating, your sweat doesn’t take into consideration and identify whether you’re sweating out good things or bad things. The heavy metals are going to be coming out, but so are many positive, healthy minerals like zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and potassium. We need to make sure we are replenishing or replacing our good minerals. Things like coconut water is an excellent source of potassium, so you would want to make sure you’re drinking that, getting coconut in your diet to replace your potassium. Other things like nuts, seafood, whole grains and beans or legumes generally contain relatively high levels of zinc, copper, selenium and chromium. You would want these to be in your diet regularly if you are purposely trying to sweat in order to detoxify.
We are all exposed to an enormous amount of toxins. You cannot avoid them. Studies have been done, and this is pretty scary, on the umbilical cord blood of newborns. The umbilical cord blood of newborns found greater than 200 synthetic chemicals present in that blood. Some of those are carcinogenic. We are being exposed while we’re developing in our mother’s bodies to dangerous chemicals. Mom has to make sure she’s detoxifying and avoiding as many chemicals as possible. We all as adults and as children getting out, it’s not safe to put a child in an infrared sauna per se, but to get them out playing and exercising and moving and naturally sweating is extremely important. Some other chemical categories that we are exposed to are, for example, something that’s called phalates. Phalates are a chemical that have been used for a long time in creating plastic cooking utensils. It’s in nail polish, paints that we use, cosmetics that we put on our face and on our body. They’re in water bottles. The concentration of these things that we’re exposed to every day was found to be 2x greater in sweat than in urine. Another category of toxins that is cleansed from your body better in the sweat than it is from your kidneys.
Another level is BPA. Bisphenol A is another chemical that we get exposed to every day. It’s in the ink on receipts that you’re handed at the grocery store or any store. It’s in water pipes, electronics, eyeglass lenses, and it’s in the lining of cans of your food. We’re all exposed to this. It can be found in sweat when no detectable level was found in either blood or urine. Sweating is one of the best ways to get these toxins out of your body. Another category that we’re all exposed to are called persistent organic pollutants or POPS. That category includes things like pesticides or solvents. It is extremely important to try and sweat these things out. The other thing that’s important is that if you are sweating a lot, whether that be out in the regular environment or whether you’re coming out of a sauna, it is extremely important to shower soon after a deep cleansing sweat. The reason for this is that if you leave the chemicals you’ve just sweated out on your skin, your skin is absorbent, it’s going to reabsorb these fat-soluble toxins and they’re going to go right back into your system and get stored again. You do need to shower after a deep cleanse.Infrared therapy allows you to harness the sun’s power without having to be exposed to dangerous UV light. Click To Tweet
Saunas have been around for hundreds of years. The Romans, back in their culture, Turkish baths or even before industrialized world came around, the aboriginal and Native American sweat lodges, were ways that people did deep cleansing ceremonial sweats. The thing about infrared sauna is that infrared is cooler than other types of saunas and penetrates deeper into your skin and down into the depths of your body to initiate the deepest cellular cleanse possibly. An infrared sauna has to get to about 145 degrees to cause a deep cleansing sweat whereas traditional saunas or steam saunas have to get up to as much as 180 to 195 degrees to cause the same deep cleansing sweat. Many of us can’t tolerate that high temperate of 180 to 195 degrees whereas many of us can tolerate the 145 degrees of the infrared sauna.
What is infrared? First of all, it’s a type of light. All electromagnetic energy or radiation is light. Light is electromagnetic radiation and it has wavelengths. We can only see in the visible light spectrum a small portion of this electromagnetic radiation. This is the portion we call visible light. We can see it because there are cone-shaped cells in the retinas of our eyes that act as receivers. They are tuned to a particular wavelength in the narrow band of the visible light spectrum. There are other portions of the spectrum that have wavelengths, but they are too large or too small for our receivers and our eyes to be able to see them, so we can’t. It was way back in 1665 that Isaac Newton did an experiment. He took the full spectrum of visible light and he shined it through a prism. What that prism did was it separated the wavelengths of the visible light into its different wavelengths. Each wavelength has a different color. The true visible light spectrum has all the colors of the rainbow. The wavelength ranges from give or take about 400. The lowest one, violet, has the shortest wavelength and it’s around 380 nanometers. Red or infrared has the longest wavelength and it’s up around 700 nanometers. The visible length spectrum of light starts at about 380 and goes up to 700 nanometers. That’s what our cone-shaped cells in the retina of our eyes can receive.
Infrared light penetrates deep into your body, between 2 and 7 centimeters. This is far enough into the inner layers of your skin, down into your muscles, and even into your nerves and your bones. Infrared therapy technology allows you to harness all the powerful aspects of the sun without having to be exposed to the dangerous UV light and without any side effects. Infrared wavelength and infrared light are safe. It’s been researched so much that it is what’s used as a warming entity in neonatal intensive care units to warm babies that are premature and ill. Our bodies radiate naturally infrared wavelength of radiation. Infrared light is extremely safe and has no significant side effects.
Top Ten Benefits Of Infrared Saunas
Let’s talk about the top ten benefits of infrared sauna therapy. We’ve been talking about one of them and that’s detoxification and cleansing your body of toxins. Number two would be relaxation. If you’re going to stop your busy lifestyle and you’re either going to sit or lay down and chill out for 20, 30, 40 minutes, then you’re going to be relaxing. Pain relief, weight loss and improved circulation are the next three upper benefits. If you go into a sauna and you heat your body, it’s going to relax your muscles and decrease pain. Also, heating your body up is going to expend more calories. When you do a full sweat sauna, you can burn as much as 600 calories in that time from even just laying there relaxing. It also is going to improve blood flow and circulation. It’s going to heat you up. Whenever you heat an area, it improves blood flow and improves circulation. You’re going to get improved skin purification as another benefit. If someone has a wound they’re trying to heal and you improve blood flow to it, then you’re going to improve and speed the healing of that wound.
The other thing that’s going to happen is lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that infrared sauna and sweating at this deep level can improve peripheral neuropathy, that burning pain that people get in their feet and their legs, many times from diabetes or from other neurological problems that cause this peripheral neuropathy. The reason why blood pressure would improve and peripheral neuropathy would improve are because you’re increasing a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical that relaxes blood vessels and causes them to dilate better. If you’re going to do that, you’re going to improve blood flow to your nerves, you’re going to relax your blood vessels and you’re going to lower your blood pressure. The tenth and another benefit of infrared sauna would be to boost your immune system. Continuing with more research, there was an article done in October of 2008 based on a Japanese study in the Journal of Cardiology that examined the clinical effects and safety of infrared blood pressure therapy as compared to the standard therapies for patients with chronic heart failure.
This study showed and concluded that infrared sauna therapy is both safe and effective at improving clinical symptoms and cardiac function, as well as decreasing cardiac size in chronic heart failure patients. It can be beneficial for many things of your body and your overall health. In 2005, there was a clinical study by the University of Missouri at Kansas City. They used the type of sauna that we have at my clinic, Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. It was a sunlight solo carbon infrared heater. It was shown to lower blood pressure through a program of 30-minute infrared sauna sessions three times per week. The study concluded that sunlight and infrared sauna therapy dilated the blood vessels and reduced the volume of their inner lining. The blood vessel has a wall, and the inner lining can get stiff. That stiffness of that inner lining can increase your blood pressure. If you decrease the volume of the inner lining of the blood vessel and you relax the blood vessels and you dilate them more, you’re going to increase circulation and promote healthy blood pressure.The purpose of sweating is to regulate your body temperature. Click To Tweet
Contraindications To Infrared Sauna
There are some contraindications to infrared sauna use. Number one, pregnancy. If you are pregnant and you are trying to grow and develop a fetus inside your body, you are not going to want to go to a high level of heat because the developing fetus’ cells may get disrupted by that. That is not a good idea. Pregnancy is a contraindication to infrared sauna. Other ones would be if you have a fever and you’re feeling quite ill. To take yourself at a higher level of fever would not be beneficial. Things like hemophilia. If someone has a danger of bleeding more than normal with hemophilia, then infrared saunas would be contraindicated. If you are insensitive to heat and you do not sweat properly or normally, then going in a sauna would be dangerous for you. Finally, the only other contraindication would be if someone has a history of increased alcohol use or has known to have alcohol abuse. Your metabolism and your body are not normal if you’re using alcohol too much, so sweating and taxing the metabolism too much would not be safe for someone with alcohol abuse.
The sunlight in sauna that we have at our office is called a solo sauna. It is not a sauna that you walk into a room and there’s a lot of people in there, for example, sitting along a bench. That is not the type of sauna we have. We have a solo sauna. What that means is that you go into a room and you’re on your own and you’re going to lay on a massage table. You’re going to lay down comfortably on a pad on the massage table. That pad generates infrared wavelengths of light. There’s this, I call it like a tent or a tube, that is over you that you push away and you get in. You lay comfortably on the pad and then you pull the tube up to about your neck area. Your head is not in the sauna at all. Then you lay comfortably on a pillow and you relax and listen to music or possibly a guided meditation. You chill out, sweat, cleanse and detoxify for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes per session.
In summary, the purpose of sweating is to regulate your body temperature. Sweating is the best method of detoxification. Studies are showing this more and more. Infrared light radiation is safe and effective in producing a deep, cellular body cleanse in improving blood circulation leading to numerous health benefits. We at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center have purchased for people’s use a solo infrared sauna for the purpose of helping clients detoxify and optimize their health. If you are interested in learning more about the infrared sauna or to learn about how to come and utilize our infrared sauna at the Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, one session is $30. We also sell packages of multiple sessions for less, about $20 a session for a package of ten. If you even just want to try it out, because I want people to just try it out and make sure you’re comfortable with the solo sauna and that you tolerate it and everything else, the first sauna with us is free. Call my office at (603) 447-3112 to talk to one of my staff about the infrared sauna. Try that free session and if you like it, purchase a package of twenty sessions for only $200 which is $20 per session. I hope to hear from you and help you to reach your optimal health.
- Blood, Urine and Sweat Study
- Journal of Cardiology – study
- University of Missouri – study
- Discover Health Functional Medicine Center