Saunas For Detoxing The Body And Upgrading Your Health
Things first began to get really hot and sweaty in Finland thousands of years ago…but these days the practice of using saunas for detoxing the body has hit whole new levels.
Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow, and even the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle rave about the cleansing effects of sauna use and how it’s a huge part of their health and wellbeing routine.
Meghan is known to be a bit of a health nut and in an interview in 2015 she said she takes an infrared sauna once a week to “sweat out all the toxins”.
In this article, we’re going to share how sweating it out in the sauna frequently could potentially extend your lifespan, along with details of how effective it is for detoxing the body. (And you know we’re big fans of all things detox/cleansing around here at PRESS).
We’ll also cover the difference between traditional saunas and more modern infrared saunas, which are becoming increasingly popular.
Let’s get into it.
It all began in Finland long before Jesus was strolling around on earth, and the earliest sauna was dug into an embankment in the earth. Later saunas were built above ground with wooden logs, and the rocks were heated in a stove to heat the room.
These days, the Scandinavian tradition of sauna is used in cultures all over the world – and there are countless scientific studies proving the huge health benefits of exposing yourself to the heat and sweating.
Saunas For Detox: The Science Says It All
You know those Finnish folk who are fond of a sauna or two? Well, back in the 1980s they kickstarted the biggest study ever done on sauna use for health.
Scientists from the University of Eastern Finland carried out detailed research on the health benefits of saunas, tracking 2,300 middle-aged men for an average of 20 years.
Their conclusion: frequent visits to the sauna increases your chances of living longer, and decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
But beyond the nice upside of delaying your funeral by a year or 10, there’s even more to gain from this sweaty practice.
Much research has been done since then on the health benefits associated with sauna use, with experts saying it also helps to grow new brain cells, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts the immune system, and slows down aging.
This is partly because it’s one of the safest, fastest, and most effective ways to force toxins out of the body.
Our adipose (fat) tissues store everything from mercury and lead to chemicals from pharmaceutical and illicit drugs. Cocaine and heroin have been found in even greater amounts in fat tissues than in the blood of people who have died from drug-related deaths.
This is our body’s inner intelligence protecting us. It dumps all sorts of harmful substances in our fat cells to protect vital organs, particularly when the liver is already working overtime to neutralise numerous other invaders.
Countless studies have been done over the past five decades looking at the effectiveness of saunas for flushing stubborn toxins out of our body’s fat cells.
Environmental toxins that are everywhere in our 21st century world are toxic heavy metals, which can accumulate in the body and negatively affect the functioning of the brain, kidneys, liver, digestive system, reproductive organs, and hinder the immune system.
In a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012, ‘increasing thermal load’ and sweating was shown to be very effective at removing harmful heavy metals including lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic.
The researchers wrote: “Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury may be excreted in appreciable quantities through the skin, and rates of excretion were reported to match or even exceed urinary excretion in a 24-hour period.”
Dr Rhonda Patrick is founder of Found My Fitness and is a world-leading expert on sauna use for health benefits and longevity. In 2018, she interviewed Dr Dale Bredesen, a neurodegenerative disease expert, about sauna use reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and lowering the body’s overall toxic burden.
They discussed how toxins, such as plastic compounds and certain heavy metals, accumulate in the human body and ultimately lead to poor metabolic function, inflammation, and cognitive dysfunction.
Dr Breseden said: “If you look at composition of sweat compared to the blood, there are some toxins that are very high; cadmium being the big one – over 1,000 times increase in sweat. It’s a good way to get rid of cadmium and other toxins too.”
Meanwhile, drinking freshly-pressed juices are also very powerful for cleansing the body and providing it with sufficient vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to heal and repair.
Can’t Stand The Heat?
While sauna use is safe for most people, those diagnosed with heart conditions and pregnant women are advised to avoid it.
Even if you don’t fall into those categories, sweating it out at 185 degrees fahrenheit isn’t for everyone. Can’t stand the intense heat? There’s another option: infrared sauna therapy.
Rather than wood or stones being used to raise the sauna temperature, infrared saunas rely on infrared light, a wavelength invisible to the human eye that presents itself through heat.
These light waves penetrate the skin and warm up your core temperature directly, rather than the entire room being heated up before the warmth reaches your skin.
Infrared saunas, which are found at many health spas in the UK, are more comfortable and tolerable at a lower temperature. There are also health claims that infrared saunas penetrate deeper into the body’s cells and expel more toxins. However, there is little research as yet to properly back these claims up.
So, it doesn’t have to be hard work. Infact, saunas are a great place to relax after a long day at work, or being stuck in front of the laptop at home for hours.
The sauna is also a great place to enjoy some much-needed time to yourself away from anyone irritating your brain.
Even if you can only manage 10 minutes in the heat for the first few sessions, you can gradually build up your tolerance level to 15-20 minutes, or do two 10-minute sessions with a break in between.
Make sure you shower thoroughly after every sauna session to wash away the expelled toxins from your skin.
Regular sauna users report clearer skin, feeling less stressed, sleeping more deeply, and a general feeling of improved wellbeing. Give it a go – and thank us later.
Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events
Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury In Sweat: A Systematic Review