Sauna Therapy

 

For

 

Detoxification and Healing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson


 

Copyright © 2003, 2006, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019

L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.

P.O. Box 54

Prescott, AZ 86302-0054

 

 

All rights reserved

 

 

ISBN   0-9628657-6-1

 

 

Other books by Dr. Wilson:

 

DEVELOPMENT AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

(formerly titled Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis)

LEGAL GUIDELINES FOR UNLICENSED PRACTITIONERS

THE REAL SELF

 

www.drlwilson.com also contains longer articles about Rape, Copper Toxicity Syndrome, Adrenal Burnout, Coffee Enemas, The Pulling down Exercise, Reflexology, The Spinal Twists, Introduction To Cancer, The Baby Manual, Acupuncture, Brainwashing, Detoxification, Dentistry, Down Sex, Introduction To Hair Mineral Analysis, The Procedures Handbook, Boosting Immunity, Inflammation, The Oxidation Types, Parasites, Personality And Minerals, Basic Politics, Healing Rape, Retracing, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Theory Of Development Science, Thyroid Disease, Toxic Metals, Vaccination, Water For Drinking, and several others.  

 

To order books, please visit www.drlwilson.com or www.Amazon.com

 

 

 

Warning and Disclaimer.  Information and any instructions provided are not intended as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cures for any disease or condition.  Always seek professional guidance for any health condition before undertaking a sauna therapy program.  One can die in a sauna due to electrolyte imbalances, accidents or improper use of the sauna.  However, sauna therapy is quite safe when conducted responsibly.


Table of Contents


1.Introduction to Saunas..... 1

Sauna History........................................... 2

Five Ways To Use Saunas........................ 2

Eliminating Organic Chemicals................. 3

Removing Toxic Metals............................ 3

Clearing Biological Toxins....................... 5

Eliminating Ionizing Radiation.................. 6

An Anti-aging Therapy............................. 7

Practical Considerations............................ 7

2. The Effects of Saunas........ 9

The Two Phases Of A Sauna Session....... 9

Effects Common To All Saunas................. 10

Phase One Effects For All Saunas.......... 10

Phase Two Effects For All Saunas.......... 13

Other Effects Of Far Infrared Saunas..... 15

Other Effects Of Infrared Lamp Saunas. 16

Effects On Body Organs And Systems.. 18

Effects Of Saunas On the Oxidation Rate 19

Saunas And Weight Loss....................... 19

Do Saunas Burn Calories?...................... 20

Adding Energy To The Body.................. 20

Heating The Acupuncture Meridians...... 20

Comparison Of Sauna Effects With Those of Related Therapies        21

Fever Therapies, Hot Baths, Hot Tubs And Steam Baths Versus Saunas     21

Electric Blankets Versus Saunas............. 21

Exercise Versus Saunas.......................... 22

Fasting Versus Saunas............................ 22

3. Heat Shock Proteins........ 23

Renaturation............................................ 24

Heat Shock Therapy............................... 24

Analogous Concepts............................... 25

Other Metabolic Effects.......................... 25

HSPs And Nutrition............................... 25

Coley’s Toxins And HSPs..................... 26

Sauna Protocol And HSPs...................... 26

4. Sauna Protocol................ 27
Types Of Saunas Used For Therapy....... 27

Traditional Saunas.................................. 27

Far Infrared Saunas................................ 28

Infrared Lamp Saunas............................. 28

Enclosures Versus Cabinets....................... 29

Cost And Outfitting................................ 30

Steam...................................................... 30

When To Use A Sauna........................... 30

How Often To Use A Sauna................... 31

How Long To Remain In A Sauna.......... 31

Sauna Danger Signals............................. 32

How Much Sauna Therapy..................... 32

Replenishing Minerals............................ 32

Before A Sauna Session......................... 33

During And After A Sauna Session........ 34

Supervision............................................. 35

Relaxation............................................... 35

Sauna Therapy During Acute Infections. 36

Cautions And Contraindications............. 36

5. Detoxification................... 41

The Philosophy Of Detoxification.......... 41
Sauna Detoxification Mechanisms..........
42

Heating The Body................................... 42

Skin Activation........................................ 42

Sweating................................................. 43

Hot And Dry (Yang) Effects................... 43

Improving Circulation............................. 44

Strengthening The Parasympathetic Nervous System          44

Relieving Internal Congestion................. 45

Normalizing Alkalinity............................ 45

Enhancing Oxygenation.......................... 45

Deep Tissue Penetration......................... 45

Other Infrared Benefits........................... 45

    Seven Approaches To Eliminate Toxins. 45
Other Detoxification Topics.......................
48

Preferred Minerals.................................. 48

Layered Toxins....................................... 49

To Detoxify, Remove The Need For Compensations           49

Order Of Organ Cleanout....................... 50

Toxins Versus Genetics.......................... 50

The Concept Of Density......................... 50

Healing Facility Or Home Therapy......... 51

Home-based Therapy.............................. 51

Potential Detoxification Program

      Difficulties........................................ 51

6. Other Aspects Of Sauna Therapy           53

Visualization........................................... 53

Aromatherapy......................................... 54

Sound..................................................... 54

Conscious Breathing............................... 54

Posture.................................................... 55

Eye Exercises.......................................... 56

Color....................................................... 56

Exercise.................................................. 57

Reflexology And Massage...................... 57

Water...................................................... 57

Steam...................................................... 57

Ozone..................................................... 58

Niacin..................................................... 58

Cool Bathing And Cold Plunges............. 58

Charcoal Tablets..................................... 59

    Vitamin D…………………………...…59

7. A More Complete Healing Program       61

Diet......................................................... 61

Beverages................................................ 64

Supplementary Nutrients........................ 65

Rest......................................................... 65

Exercise.................................................. 66

Healing Attitudes.................................... 66

Healthful Relationships........................... 66

Other Natural Therapies.......................... 68

Clothing, Breathing And Thoughts Error! Bookmark not defined.

Medications............................................ 68

8. Effects On Health Conditions       69

Cardiovascular System............................ 69

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Or MCS.. 70

Drug Detoxification................................ 70

Pesticide, Chemical And Toxic Metal Exposure       71

Nervous System Disorders..................... 71

Musculo-skeletal Conditions.................. 72

Skin Conditions...................................... 72

Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions............ 72

Eye Conditions....................................... 73

Digestive Disorders................................ 73

Reproductive Conditions......................... 73

Other....................................................... 73

9. Saunas And Infectious Disease     75

Heating The Body................................... 75

Improving Circulation............................. 76

Improved Oxygenation........................... 76

Sweating................................................. 76

Effects Of Infrared Radiation.................. 76

Deep Heat Penetration............................ 76

Sympathetic Nervous System Inhibition. 77

Production Of Heat Shock Proteins........ 77

Enhancing Digestion............................... 77

Light And Color Therapy........................ 77

No Side Effects Or Tolerance................. 78

Combining With Other Therapies........... 78

Inexpensive And Available To All........... 78

Sauna Use In Acute Infections................ 78

Saunas Use For Chronic Infections........ 79

Epidemics And Pandemics...................... 80

10. Saunas and Cancer......... 81

What Is Cancer?..................................... 81

Estrogen, A Primary Carcinogen............. 82

Reduced Pancreatic Enzyme Secretion.... 84

Role Of The Autonomic Nervous System 84

Sauna Mechanisms For Cancer.............. 85

Saunas and the Mental State................... 87

Tumor Necrosis, Pain Control, Ascites... 87

Other Therapy Considerations................ 87

11. Healing Reactions........... 89

Why Healing Reactions Occur............... 89

Symptoms Of Healing Reactions............ 90

Distinguishing Healing From Disease Reactions     91

Emotional Reactions............................... 91

Handling Physical Healing Reactions..... 93

Specific Supportive Measures................. 94

Discussing Healing Reactions................ 96

12. Sauna Design.................... 97
Heat Sources............................................. 97

Convection Saunas.................................. 97

Radiant Heating...................................... 98

Two Types Of Infrared Saunas............... 98

Hot Sand Or Solar Power....................... 99

Electromagnetic Fields............................ 99

Cabinets and Enclosures............................ 99

Materials............................................... 100

Insulation.............................................. 100

Size....................................................... 100

Sitting, Lying Or Standing Up.............. 101

Shape.................................................... 101

Portability............................................. 102

Thermometers....................................... 102

Thermostats.......................................... 102

Timers................................................... 102

Ventilation............................................. 103

Inability To Heat Up............................. 103

Rotting.................................................. 103

13. Lamp Sauna Considerations         105

Lying Down Or Sitting......................... 105

For Those Who Are Bedridden............ 106

Cautions Regarding Aiming A Lamp Directly At The Head            107

Lamps To Warm The Legs................... 107

Guards For Lamps................................ 108

Multiple-Person Lamp saunas.............. 108

Why Lamps On Only One Wall?......... 108

Converting A Sauna.............................. 109

Other Design Considerations................ 109

Bathroom And Closet Installation......... 111

Lamp Safety.......................................... 112

Lamp Breakage..................................... 112

Dimmer Switches.................................. 113

Looking At Reddish Infrared Lamps.... 113

Rotating The Body During A  Session. 113

Other Lamp Sauna Considerations....... 114

14. Personal Experience With An Infrared Lamp Sauna   117

Sauna Protocol...................................... 117

Healing Reactions................................. 118

Validation.............................................. 120

15. Sauna Research............. 125

Research Protocols............................... 125

Sauna Therapy Program Features......... 126

16. Review and Conclusion. 129

Toxic Metals And Toxic Chemicals...... 129

Infrared................................................. 129

Saunas And Detoxification................... 130

Chronic Infections................................ 130

Other Health Conditions....................... 130

Spiritual Renewal.................................. 130

Other Modalities Combined.................. 130

Conclusion............................................ 131

Appendix A. Saunas And Hair Mineral Analysis           133

Appendix B.  Restoring The Sympathetic Nervous System        137

Appendix C. Notes For Practitioners.. 141

Sauna Disclaimer Statement............ 141

Appendix D.  Infrared Sauna Electrical Unit Plans        142

Appendix E.  PVC Pipe Frame Enclosure Construction Plans  146

Appendix F. Benefits of An Isolated Infrared Lamp       149

Appendix G. Differences between the types of saunas………………...........…151

Glossary………………......……………151Resources................................................156

References............................................... 157

Index.............. Error! Bookmark not defined.



Preface To The 2003 Edition

 

          This book is the result of a suggestion by a friend to experiment using reddish incandescent ‘heat lamps’ to power a sauna.  These are the same light bulbs commonly sold in hardware stores for heating bathrooms and as chicken brooder lamps.  Restaurants also use them to keep food warm.

          I am not the first researcher to power a sauna with light bulbs.  In fact, John Harvey Kellogg, MD of Battle Creek, Michigan, USA suggested ‘light baths’ for his patients over 100 years ago, soon after the invention of the incandescent light bulb.

          This volume contains the protocols, rationales and research I have found about the use of this ancient, safe, inexpensive and very potent natural healing method.

 

 

Preface To The 2006 Edition

 

          The book has been expanded compared to the original edition, with several new chapters, a new cover design by Beverly Allisone, and cartoons drawn by Monica Mueller.

 

 

Preface To The 2011 Edition

 

          This edition is similar to the older one.  I added small sections about the pulling down exercise and coffee enemas.  I also made several changes in the diet and drinking water sections.  Feedback from several hundred people who have either built or purchased reddish heat lamp saunas continues to indicate that:

 

          1. Sauna therapy is safe, powerful, and quite comfortable for most people.  It can be a truly remarkable addition to any healing regimen.  It continues to be an amazing and very important aspect of development science.  This is the unfolding of the full genetic potential of a human being and the expansion of the human energy field.  Development science is now the focus of our work.

          2.  I suggest avoiding the type of sauna that claims to be adjustable for either near or far infrared.  It is not at all the same as a red heat lamp sauna.

          3. The near reddish heat lamp sauna or near infrared light sauna appears to be the best type of sauna for detoxification.  The other types of saunas such as a traditional hot rocks sauna or the far infrared type will work to some degree, but are not as effective because:

a) These operate at higher temperatures so they are less comfortable for some people. 

b) They do not penetrate the skin as deeply, and they cannot be used for ‘spot therapy’ because the heat is distributed too evenly. 

c) They do not put out the same frequencies as a near infrared lamp sauna, and they do not include the reddish color therapy. 

d) Far infrared saunas, if genuine, always emit some harmful electromagnetic fields that detract from their benefits.

 

 

Preface To The 2014 Edition

 

          In this edition, I updated the diet section and there are about thirty pages of other additions and corrections.

 

 

Preface To The 2019 Edition

 

          In the past five years, we have changed the diet for rapid development to make it more effective.  A new Chapter 7 in this edition reflects this new understanding.  However, for the latest diet for rapid development, please read Food For Daily Use, Food For Occasional Use and Forbidden Foods at www.drlwilson.com.

         



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1

Introduction to Saunas

 

 

 

 

 

          “I was exposed to the chemical toxins in New York City on 9/11.  Ever since, I have had respiratory problems.  My immune system took a terrible hit.  I became susceptible to every cold and flu, and had bronchitis for three winters. 

          I have been using an infrared lamp sauna for eight months and have found it extraordinarily helpful.  It has made an enormous difference.  It has changed my life.  The bronchitis is gone.  When I get a cold, I do the infrared and seem to be responding better and better.  I no longer have sinus infections and the chest seems to heal with the infrared sauna.

          I am also losing weight and just feeling better all around.  My teeth and gums have improved, as I always had gum disease and was worried about this.  In the sauna, I become centered.  It is the most relaxing experience I have ever encountered, and I have done many natural therapies.  I am amazed at what the sauna has done for my life already.” - Mrs. D.R, Kunkletown, PA.

 

          Sauna, a Scandinavian word, is an ancient form of heat therapy that is used in many cultures around the world.  The word sauna refers to dry heat, although steam may be added in traditional saunas, usually by sprinkling water on hot rocks. 

          A sauna has two components, a heat source and an enclosure to contain the heat.  The heat source may be a wood, gas or electric furnace, hot rocks, far infrared emitters or electric infrared lamps.

          Enclosures can encompass the entire body such as a sweat lodge or a sauna room.  Also available are sauna cabinets, where one’s head remains outside.

          The basic idea of a sauna is to heat the body several degrees.  The body then attempts to reduce its temperature by driving blood to the surface and by sweating.  Heating the body, and the body’s response to heating cause many beneficial physiological effects.  Infrared adds an additional set of benefits.  Color therapy provided by infrared heat lamps in an infrared lamp sauna adds even more benefits.

          Saunas dramatically improve circulation and relieve internal congestion.  Heating the body helps destroy bacteria, viruses and tumors.  Sweating promotes the elimination of toxic metals and chemicals, radioactive particles and other toxins.  The skin’s ability to eliminate poisons increases. Saunas offer many of the benefits of exercise while requiring much less exertion.

         

 

Sauna History

 

          Hot baths have been used by many indigenous cultures for several thousand years.  Among them are the Mayan sweat lodge, the Mexican temescal, the Islamic hammam, the Russian bania, the Japanese mushi-buro, the Native American sweat lodge, as well as hot baths described in Indian Ayurvedic medical literature.  Ancient Egyptian texts including the Edwin Smith Papyrus mention the use of heat therapy for tumors.  The best-known European sauna users are the Finns.  Hot air baths are also common among Greeks, Romans, Germans, Turks and others.

          In traditional Finnish society, the sauna was a multipurpose building.  Besides the weekly family baths, the building was used for smoking and curing meats, doing laundry, drying thatch, malting barley and drying fish nets.  It was also used for massage, nursing the sick, washing the dead and as a birthing chamber.

          Finnish settlers in America brought their sauna concepts with them.  Often they would build the sauna first.  It would serve as a temporary shelter to live in while they were building a house.  Pioneers in natural therapeutics also employed the sauna as a healing modality.  The best-known nineteenth century American sauna proponent was John Harvey Kellogg, M.D.  At his sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan he carefully researched various dry and wet heat baths to assess their value as healing modalities.  A favorite of his was the “electric light bath”, employing the new incandescent light bulb.  Dr. Kellogg recognized the penetrating power of the radiant heat given off by electric lamps.  His device never caught on in America, but thousands were sold in Europe, including to members of the royal families.

          Sauna use waned during the early years of the twentieth century, outshined by the technological wonders of modern medicine.  Over the past thirty years, however, its use has increased, especially as a safe and powerful method of eliminating addictive drugs and environmental toxins.  The infrared sauna was also introduced.  It provides a more pleasant experience for many people and appears to be more effective for detoxification as well.

 

 

Five Ways To Use Saunas

 

          This book focuses on sauna therapy.  However, saunas may be used in several ways:

 

Š            Relaxation.  The warm heat of a sauna relaxes the muscles and nervous system.  Tensions melt away.  The sauna offers a healthful method to unwind after a difficult day.

 

Š            Health Maintenance.  Periodic use of a sauna, once a week or so, enhances circulation which nourishes the glands, cleanses the skin and offers many of the benefits of exercise.

 

Š            Social Interaction.  Baths, saunas and sweat lodges can be community gathering places for families and other groups.  The warmth promotes openness and a community spirit.

 

Š            Spiritual Development.  Native Americans and other groups use sweat lodges for sacred ceremonies.  The warmth, atmosphere and shape of the lodge make it excellent for emotional and spiritual reflection.  Together with others or alone, the sauna is a marvelous place to contemplate, meditate, pray and release fears and negativity.  Adding sound, color, aromatherapy and other modalities can enhance the effects of the heat. 

 

Š            Healing.  Spending from 30 minutes up to several hours per day in a sauna is a powerful yet very safe healing modality.  The sauna is excellent to add fiery yang energy to the body, decongest the internal organs, assist circulation, heal infections and can help many other body systems as well. 

    Standard medical therapies too often focus on relieving symptoms, while ignoring deeper causes that the sauna addresses.  Among these, one of the most important is the role of toxic substances in causing ill health.

    Removing chemical, metal, biological and radioactive toxins from the body is a prime rationale for the use of saunas by everyone at this time in history.  The following sections summarize the major toxins we must cope with, as well as a few conditions the sauna can help ameliorate.

 

 

Eliminating Organic Chemicals

 

          Never before in history have large numbers of people been exposed to such a great variety and high levels of toxic chemicals.  From building materials and home furnishings to food additives, solvents and thousands of other products, chemicals are part of the modern lifestyle.  I will only summarize some of the classes of harmful chemicals, as many books cover this subject in detail.  Common toxic chemicals include formaldehyde, phenols, xenobiotics (pesticides) and phthalates.  Others include PCBs, trichloroethylene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in hundreds of common products.

          Often, the effects of these chemicals are subtle and cumulative.  They accumulate in the water and the air, so no location remains unaffected.  Avoiding exposure is all but impossible.  According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic chemicals are the worst environmental problem in the nation, responsible for up to 80% of cancer deaths.

          One class of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, are among the most toxic substances known to mankind.  Several billion pounds are sprayed each year directly onto our crops.  Besides eating and wearing the residues, they may contaminate the air and water supplies for hundreds of years.

          Testing for thousands of chemicals is costly when tests even exist, and modern medicine has little to offer to eliminate them from the body.  The diseases they cause have become epidemics.  Sauna therapy shines brightly as a simple, effective therapeutic modality to help eliminate chemical toxins from the body.

 

 

Removing Toxic Metals

 

          According to the United States EPA, toxic metals are the second worst environmental problem.  Pesticides may contain lead, copper, arsenic and other metals.  About forty million mercury amalgam dental fillings are still placed in Americans each year.  Tons of mercury is dumped into the air from coal-burning power plants and paper-making.  Aluminum compounds are routinely added to table salt and municipal drinking water supplies.  Arsenic and lead used in pesticides and insecticides find their way into the water and the food supplies. 

          In my experience, everyone has excess toxic metals, whether or not they show up on any test.  Most often, they are hidden deep within the brain, the liver and in many other organs and tissues as well.  Some toxic metals replace vital minerals in enzyme binding sites.  However, the toxic metals do not function nearly as well.  As they accumulate, they contribute to hundreds of physical and emotional health conditions.

 

          Lead contributes to more than 100 conditions including neuromuscular and bone diseases, fractures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, anemia and others.  Some historians believe the Roman Empire fell because lead water pipes slowly poisoned the people and decreased their strength and intelligence.  Sources of lead include old paint, inks, pesticides, a few hair dyes, solder and other metal products.  During sauna therapy, I have observed that lead may have a sickly sweet odor as it is eliminated.  Elimination of lead was confirmed with hair mineral testing.

 

          Cadmium contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, fatigue, arthritis, violence, infections, back pain and other conditions.  Common sources are cigarette smoke, refined foods and tap water.  A person may feel very tired for a few days when cadmium is eliminated quickly from the body.

 

          Mercury toxicity is present in almost everyone today.  Mercury is found in silver amalgam dental fillings, all products from the sea to some extent, contact lens solution, vaccines and air pollution.  Mercury may contribute to hypothyroidism, an impaired immune system, digestive problems such as yeast infections, emotional difficulties, learning disabilities, autism, ADHD and many other conditions.  Mercury elimination, if heavy, may cause a fishy odor during a sauna session.

 

          Aluminum is associated with memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Aluminum compounds are found in table salt, beverage cans and aluminum foils, antiperspirants, antacids, aluminum cookware and as a drinking water additive.  Peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen are naturally high in aluminum.

 

          Fluoride contributes to brown staining of the teeth, weakened bones, hip fractures, hypothyroidism, mental impairment, birth defects and cancer.  Fluoride compounds are found in pesticides, air pollution, prescription drugs such as Prozac, toothpastes, and are added to many water supplies.  Foods processed with water including baby foods and juices often contain too much fluoride.  Fluoride is extremely toxic and difficult to remove from tap water.

          Large, worldwide studies show little or no benefit of fluoride for tooth decay, contrary to many news reports.  Only the United States, Australia and Great Britain continue to add highly toxic fluoride compounds to their drinking water.

 

          Chlorine toxicity is associated with fatigue, heart disease, cancer and kidney problems.  Chloride is required in the body and is found in salt and other foods.  Many chlorinated compounds, however, are highly toxic.  These include chlorinated compounds in tap water such as chloramines and chlorinated hydrocarbons used in pesticides and other chemicals.  Exposure sources include bathing in chlorinated water, pools and hot tubs, and the use of chlorine bleach and other chlorine-containing household products.

 

          Arsenic contributes to liver and kidney damage, weakness, diarrhea, muscle spasms, headaches and other symptoms.  Sources include pesticides, beer, tap water, table salt, paints and other chemical products.

 

          Physiological minerals may also become toxic in certain forms.  For example, hexavalent chromium is toxic while trivalent chromium is not.  Vital minerals may also become toxic if the body is missing other minerals required for their proper metabolism.  For example, calcium is needed in the bones.  When it accumulates in the arteries, joints, kidneys or elsewhere it becomes toxic.  This can occur because other minerals such as sodium and copper that are required for proper calcium metabolism may become deficient or biologically unavailable.

          A similar situation occurs with iron, manganese, chromium, copper, selenium and other vital minerals, contributing to many health conditions.  Of these, the most commonly seen are copper, iron and manganese toxicity.  They will often be revealed on a hair mineral test at some point if one pursues a corrective nutrition and sauna therapy program.  All three of these minerals can help support weak adrenal glands.

          Copper is found in many foods, especially nuts, seeds, grains and beans.  Zinc deficiency and adrenal exhaustion, both very common, aggravate copper toxicity.  Copper imbalance can contribute to emotional conditions, skin problems, joint pain, cancer, migraine headaches and premenstrual tension.  The symptoms of copper toxicity are identical to the symptoms of premenstrual tension.  Copper elimination in a sauna may be accompanied by a rotten egg odor.  This may be due to sulfur that is bound to copper and eliminated along with it to protect the body from the worst effects of excessive copper.

          Manganese is found in unleaded gasoline and foods such as tea.  Both copper and manganese are needed in the body.  However, the body may accumulate excessive manganese to help support weak adrenal glands.  This manganese is not helpful and must be eliminated.  Manganese elimination in a sauna may cause a slightly metallic odor.

          Iron toxicity is also common, although often not revealed on standard tests.  Inorganic iron is added to refined white flour products such as breads, breakfast cereal, crackers and pastry.  Vitamin and mineral supplements often contain iron.  Iron can accumulate to help support weak adrenal glands.  It is stored in the liver and other organs and may contribute to heart disease, cancer, emotional difficulties and other health problems.

          Sauna therapy is excellent to remove excess minerals, both toxic metals and unusable and excessive amounts of physiological minerals.

 

 

Clearing Biological Toxins

 

          Chronic infections play an important role in many health conditions.  These range from artery disease and ulcers to arthritis and perhaps some cancers.  Many bacteria and fungi in particular produce powerful toxins that contribute to both local and systemic disease.  Endotoxins are those produced within bacteria that often cause fevers and many other symptoms.  Exotoxins are those secreted by bacteria.  According to Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, they are among the most poisonous substances known to mankind.

          Weakened by exposure to ionizing radiation, toxic chemicals and heavy metals, the bodies today are much more susceptible to attack by infections.  Also, more and more infections are becoming resistant to drug therapy as a result of weakened bodies and the overuse of antibiotics.

          Viral infections such as AIDS, Hanta and West Nile virus, Avian flu and many, many others are also on the rise and difficult to treat conventionally.  Other infections difficult to treat with conventional means such as Lyme disease are also increasing in frequency.  Many infections today are chronic, causing nagging complaints that never go away.  This occurs especially in areas of the body with poor circulation such as the joints, ears and sinuses.

          Heating the body is a natural mechanism the body uses to fight infections.  Indeed, a low body temperature due to impaired thyroid activity or other factors is one of the causes of recurrent infections.  Sauna therapy not only heats the body, but powerfully improves circulation and employs other mechanisms as well to help fight both acute and chronic infections.  Chapter 9  discusses this in detail.

 

 

Eliminating Ionizing Radiation

 

          An article in The Ecologist, April 2001 issue, begins by stating, “the (radiation) equivalent of a nuclear war has already happened”.  This may not be an exaggeration.  The article carefully details that 1900 nuclear tests, accidents and nuclear waste dumping have exposed everyone on the planet to the equivalent of 100 Hiroshima bombs.

          The article reveals details of previously classified accidents, including one in Greenland in 1968.  A B-52 crashed at a secret nuclear base and its cargo of four nuclear bombs detonated, sending up a cloud of plutonium 25,000 feet into the air.  According to US documents, 1250 nuclear weapons have been involved in accidents, a number of which “resulted in or created the potential for plutonium dispersal”.  The Soviet Union was notorious for its cavalier attitude regarding nuclear accidents.  A 1991 film documents the poisoning of hundreds of thousands as a result of accidents at their first plutonium factory at Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains. 

          Using the official ‘radiation risk’ estimates published in 1991 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, planetwide contamination will cause 175 million cancer deaths and another 350 million non-fatal cancers.  It will also cause another 235 million illnesses and 588 million children to be born with birth defects such as brain damage, mental disability, spina bifida and others.

          Depleted uranium, a waste product which every nation that has atomic weapons has in abundance, is another source of radiation exposure.  To get rid of it, it is often made into ammunition that was used in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo.  Leukemia rates have increased in these areas since its use.

          Another hidden source of radiation is the fluoride compounds added to many municipal water supplies.  Hydrofluosilicic acid, the source of most fluoride for water supplies, is a smokestack waste product that contains radioactive particles along with the fluoride.

          Other sources are medical and dental x-rays, medical waste that may contain radioactive materials, CAT and other scans, smoke alarms and proximity to food irradiation facilities.

          Radiation is carried on mineral particles.  The minerals lodge in the cells where they disrupt DNA synthesis.  This causes defective protein synthesis resulting in innumerable subtle metabolic dysfunctions.  As the defective proteins replicate, the metabolic errors also multiply.

          Infrared lamp sauna therapy promotes more rapid turnover of damaged body cells.  The deeply penetrating energy helps kill damaged cells, which are often more heat-sensitive than normal cells.  Eliminating the radiation-containing cells helps the body eliminate radioactive particles faster and prevents replication of these cells.  Over a period of time, lamp sauna therapy can thus reduce the amount of mutated DNA and radioactive material in the body.  One needs to continue sauna use on a maintenance basis because exposure to radiation continues throughout one’s life.

 

 

An Anti-aging Therapy

 

          As we age, a number of changes take place that are reversed to varying degrees with sauna therapy.  These include a slower metabolic rate, less sweating, slower healing and a reduced ability to eliminate toxins and infections.  These changes contribute to the risk of major illness and to the process of aging.  Since sauna therapy helps reverse them, it may be considered a prime anti-aging therapy.

          Sauna therapy can be of tremendous value for a wide variety of conditions.  It can be used by most people at any age, even by those in wheelchairs.  Physicians familiar with it contend that it can be adapted for any condition with proper supervision.  Simple, yet powerful, it can usually be done right in the home.

 

 

Practical Considerations

 

          The FDA approves of saunas as therapeutic devices.  Consult with your health insurance representative regarding reimbursement for the cost of a sauna.  The Internal Revenue Service may consider sauna therapy a deductible health expense if prescribed by a doctor.

          Adding a built-in sauna will increase the value of one’s home.  Unlike hot tubs and steam rooms, saunas require practically no maintenance and are simple and inexpensive to operate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                     

 

                                       “Women don’t sweat!   They glow.”

         

 


 

 

 

2

The Effects of Saunas

 

 

 

 

 

          “It is incredible!  In just a few short weeks of using an infrared lamp sauna, I am beginning to feel so much better.  I have seen so many physicians and spent so much money with no results.  It is wonderful to be free of amitryptline (an anti-depressant drug), and my hopes for the future are looking brighter.  I have finally found something that really helps.”

  - Mrs. D.A., Phoenix, Arizona.

 

          The great benefits of saunas are due to a combination of a dozen or more physiological effects.  This is the wonderful secret of the healing power of the sauna.  In this chapter, sauna benefits are divided into those that occur early in a sauna session and those that occur later in the session.  These two phases of a sauna session I have called Phase One and Phase Two.

 

 

The Two Phases of a Sauna Session

 

          The effects of saunas occur in two phases.  The distinction is important for sauna therapy.  In the first phase, the body temperature remains approximately at basal level and sweating is light.  Although tissue heating occurs, the body is able to dissipate the extra heat by increasing circulation, shunting blood to the skin and sweating.  As a result, the body temperature does not rise.

          Phase one sauna effects include inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system, inducing sweating, relieving pain, reducing heat production, improving oxygenation and dilating peripheral blood vessels.  Others are relieving internal organ congestion, relaxing the muscles and enhancing the flexibility of tendons and ligaments.

 

          Phase Two.  After 10 to 30 minutes, the body can no longer dissipate the heat of the sauna.  Body temperature rises.  Blood is more forcefully shunted to the surface.  The heart rate and sweating increase.  One may feel feverish with slightly labored breathing and some faintness or light-headedness.  It may be tempting to get out of the sauna, but this is not recommended unless discomfort is extreme.  Some of the greatest benefits occur during the second phase of a session.

          Phase two sauna effects include increasing the body temperature and hastening the death of weaker cells.  They also include further increasing the heart rate and circulation.  Others are directly disabling pathogenic microorganisms, resolving infiltrates and exudates and normalizing enzymatic activity when basal body temperature is low.  Some researchers believe infrared sauna therapy also produces heat shock proteins.

          When starting sauna therapy, the second phase may begin in 10 minutes.  As one acclimates to the sauna over several weeks to months, phase two may occur somewhat later in a session.  Body temperature often rises abruptly in the second phase.  One can check this by taking one’s temperature every few minutes during a sauna session.  It will often remain at basal level and then suddenly rise a few degrees.  The body may be resetting its thermostat to a higher temperature, as occurs in infectious illnesses.

          After a sauna session, body temperature may remain elevated for up to 15 minutes or so.  Then it may suddenly drop back to the basal level.  One will often feel fatigued or light-headed for 10-15 minutes after a sauna session, in part for this reason.  Resting ten to fifteen minutes after a sauna session is important as it gives the body a better opportunity to restore normal functioning.

 

 

Effects Common To All Saunas

 

          Effects are described first for all saunas.  This is followed by a discussion of effects that are unique to infrared lamp and far infrared saunas, and then effects unique to infrared lamp saunas.

 

Phase One Effects for all Saunas

 

1.  Balancing The Autonomic Nervous System

 

          Sauna therapy inhibits excessive sympathetic nervous system activity.  This enhances parasympathetic activity that is required for healing.  The mechanisms involved are 1) sweating, 2) enhancing peripheral circulation and 3) inhibiting normal heat production.  These autonomic effects are explained below. 

          Balancing the autonomic nervous system is one of the most important benefits of sauna therapy. This topic is so important that a more complete explanation of the autonomic nervous system is included in Appendix B.

          Many people have chronically overstimulated sympathetic nervous systems.  This causes a wide range of difficulties, from adrenal exhaustion and fatigue to blood sugar problems, anxiety, poor circulation, an impaired immune system, poor digestion and impaired elimination.

          Reducing excessive sympathetic nervous system activity assists the parasympathetic nervous system.  This enhances immune system activity and relaxes the muscles and the nervous system.  It also rests the thyroid and adrenal glands and promotes improved digestion and absorption of nutrients.

          Strengthening the parasympathetic system also helps relieve blood stagnation.  Chronic sympathetic stimulation due to stress forces more blood into the internal organs as part of the fight-or-flight response.  Blood stagnates there, impairing the circulation and nutrition of the organs and decreasing their ability to eliminate wastes.  Saunas help relieve this common cause of ill health.

 

 

2.  Inducing Sweating

 

          Evaporation of water on the skin’s surface has a cooling effect.  The source of the fluid in sweat is interstitial fluid.  It is similar to lymph and contains many minerals and other chemicals.  Any chemical in the blood or lymph may find its way into sweat.

          Sweating occurs with both sympathetic and parasympathetic activity.  However, it is primarily a parasympathetic activity. 

 

“Fibers to most sweat glands are cholinergic...the sweat glands are stimulated primarily by centers in the hypothalamus that are usually considered to be parasympathetic centers.  Therefore, sweating could be called a parasympathetic function.”  (Guyton, p. 715)    

 

          Sweating During Exercise Versus Sweating In Saunas.  Sweat generated by exercise has a different composition and is less effective for detoxification.  Sympathetic activation by exercise reduces the activity of the organs of elimination and shunts blood away from these organs.  Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology explains this as follows:

 

Š            “In heavy exercise, sympathetic stimulation is an absolute essential.  Sympathetic stimulation has multiple effects on the circulation that are critical in increasing the cardiac output to the very high levels required in heavy exercise.” (p. 279)

Š            “At least three different mechanisms enhance sympathetic activity during exercise.”

          (p. 279)

Š            “Mass sympathetic discharge in many different ways increases the capability of the body to perform vigorous muscle activity.” (p. 719)

Š            "Sympathetic stimulation reduces kidney output." (p. 715)

 

          Acclimatization of the Sweating Mechanism.  When beginning a sauna program, congestion and inactivity of the skin impair sweating.  After weeks or perhaps up to six months of repeated sauna use, the skin becomes more active and sweating increases up to fourfold.

          Acclimatization causes decreased concentration of sodium chloride in the sweat, which allows progressively better conservation of minerals.  Most of this effect is caused by increased secretion of aldosterone.

 

     “An unacclimatized person who sweats profusely often loses as much as 15 to 30 grams of salt each day for the first few days.  But, after four to six weeks of acclimatization, the loss may be as little as 3-5 grams per day.” (Guyton, p. 890)

 

          Sweating in Different Areas of the Body.  When one begins a sauna program, sweating may only occur in some areas of the body.  As the program progresses, more of the skin sweats.

 

          Sweating in Men Versus Women.  Men generally sweat more easily than women because men in general have faster metabolic rates that generate more heat naturally.  Women usually require more time in a sauna in order to begin sweating. 

 

 

3.  Improving Oxygenation

 

          Sauna therapy improves oxygenation in four ways:

Š            As the body attempts to reduce its temperature, more blood flows to the lungs and the skin where the blood picks up more oxygen.

Š            Increased pulse and stroke volume pumps more blood through the entire body.

Š            Repeated sauna use activates the skin, increasing its ability to transfer oxygen to the blood.

Š            Clearing bronchial and lung infections and congestion may also increase oxygenation.

 

4.  Dilating Peripheral Vessels

 

          Shunting the blood toward the body surface by dilating the peripheral blood vessels is the primary mechanism used to reduce body temperature.

 

“This is caused by inhibition of the sympathetic centers in the posterior hypothalamus that cause vasoconstriction.  Full vasodilation can increase the rate of heat transfer to the skin as much as 8-fold.” (Guyton, p. 891)

 

5.  Relieving Internal Congestion

 

            In his text, Light Therapeutics, J.H. Kellogg, MD wrote, “passive congestion or stagnation of the blood in a (vital organ) necessarily involves diminished oxygenation and accumulation of CO2 and other toxic substances in the tissues.” 

          Saunas powerfully move blood throughout the body. Sympathetic inhibition combined with peripheral vasodilation forces blood to the body surface, reducing congestion in the liver, kidneys and other internal organs.  Dr. Kellogg noted that:

 

“blood vessels of every important internal organ are very directly connected with the vessels of the skin....we possess in artificial congestion of the skin (using the sauna) a method whereby we may quickly withdraw from the great vascular organs of the trunk from one-fourth to one-half of their total contents (of blood).”

 

          The infrared lamp sauna design suggested in this book involves rotating the body every few minutes, applying heat alternately to one side of the body and then to another.  This is even more effective to relieve internal congestion than uniform heating that occurs in other types of saunas.

 

6.  Relaxing Muscles and Enhancing Flexibility of Tendons and Ligaments

 

          Reduced sympathetic stimulation, improved blood flow and a release of toxins all contribute to these effects. 

 

7.  Reducing Heat Production

 

          Adding heat from an external source tends to decrease internal heat production.

 

“When body temperature elevates, heat production by shivering and chemical thermogenesis is strongly inhibited”.  (Guyton, p. 892)

 

          Chemical thermogenesis means the biochemical generation of heat within the body.  It is enhanced by greater activity of the sympathetic nervous system.

 

8.  Increasing The Alkalinity Of The Body

 

          Dr. Kellogg also knew that sweating can have a beneficial effect of normalizing the acid-alkaline balance in the body.  This is determined in great part by the balance of the minerals in the body.  However, toxins generally acidify the system by impairing circulation and the elimination of acid end-products of metabolism.  Many bacteria and viruses also secrete acidic products that help to acidify the body.

 

 

Phase Two Effects for all Saunas:

 

1.  Increasing Body Temperature

            Raising body temperature is a basic physiological effect of saunas.  Body temperature may increase 1- 4 °F.  Hyperthermia has the following effects:

 

2.  Hastening The Death Of Weaker Cells

 

          Heating the tissues a few degrees for at least 15 minutes can destroy or disable weak, heat-sensitive cells.  These may include:

 

Š            cancer cells.

Š            bacteria and spirochetes such as Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease 

Š            fungi and other parasites

Š            cells infected with viruses

Š            cells with damaged DNA

Š            cells containing radioactive minerals

Š            cells filled with chemical toxins

Š            cells containing toxic levels of metals

Š            other defective cells

          Dr. Jeffrey Freeman, founder of the Europa Institute of Integrated Medicine, wrote that:

 

  “Researchers have found that the blood vessels in normal tissue ... open up (dilate) when heat is applied in an effort to flush out the heat...A tumor is a more tightly packed group of cells (and) blood circulation is sluggish and restricted.  When heat is applied to the tumor (circulation is inadequate and) the temperature continues to rise to destructive levels.”

 

3.  Producing Heat Shock Proteins

 

          Recent research indicates that heating the body can temporarily suspend the synthesis of normal body proteins and instead induce production of special proteins that preserve and restore normal cell activity.  These heat shock proteins (HSPs) powerfully enhance the immune system and improve cellular energy production, respiration, elimination and other cell functions.

          HSPs can inhibit the growth of cancer and improve conditions such as congestive heart failure and recovery from heart attacks.  Chapter 3 focuses on HSPs and their possible relation to sauna therapy.

 

4.  Improving Genetics

 

          Today, many people have a significant amount of damaged DNA due to the effects of toxic chemicals and ionizing radiation.  Saunas assist in improving DNA three ways:

 

Š      Improving the circulation and assisting the eliminative organs helps remove radioactive particles and toxic chemicals.

Š      Heat shock proteins produced in sauna sessions may increase the rate of DNA replication, transcription and translation. 

Š      Heating the body helps kill weaker mutated cells, preventing their reproduction and slowly improving the ratio of healthy cells to genetically damaged cells.

 

5.  Increasing The Heart Rate and Enhancing Circulation

 

          A more rapid pulse may occur and if so, it is due to increased body temperature rather than to sympathetic nervous stimulation as occurs with exercise.

 

“Increased temperature causes greatly increased heart rate...These effects presumably result from the heat causing increased permeability of the muscle membrane to the ions, resulting in acceleration of the self-excitation process.” (Guyton, p. 162)

 

Increasing cardiac output while at the same time shunting blood to the body surface increases blood circulation to many areas of the body.

 

6.  Resolving Infiltrates, Edema and Exudates

 

          Improving circulation, disabling microorganisms and enhancing immune system activity through production of heat shock proteins can help reduce edema, infiltrates and exudates.  Infiltrates are any material in a tissue that is foreign to it.  Exudates are fluid, cells or cellular debris that have escaped from blood vessels and have deposited in body tissues.

 

7.  Normalizing Enzymatic Activity When Basal Body Temperature is Low

 

          Low basal body temperature is very common.  This condition impairs the activity of thousands of enzymatic reactions, affecting every body system.  Heating the body to its normal temperature temporarily corrects this condition and allows many enzymes to function better.

 

Effects of Far Infrared Saunas

 

          The far infrared sauna is a newer type of sauna.  It became available about 40 years and is heated by six to twelve ceramic or metallic heating elements.  They emit radiation in a narrow far infrared frequency range.

          We cannot recommend this type of sauna at all because they all emit harmful frequencies.   Beware that some manufacturers are not honest about this fact.  If you have a far infrared sauna, we suggest converting it to a heat lamp sauna (see page 109).

          Therapeutic effects of infrared saunas may include:

 

1.  Some Deep Tissue Heating

 

          Far infrared radiant energy penetrates the skin and heats the tissues to about one and a half inches inside.  This allows sweating to begin sooner than in hot air saunas that heat only the body surface.  This also permits one to sweat at a lower ambient temperature because infrared heats the body, but not the air.  Many find this a more comfortable experience and the effects are as intense or more so than those of a traditional sauna.

 

2.  Enhancing The Activity of Water Molecules

 

          Water molecules vibrate at infrared frequencies.  Far infrared energy resonates with water molecules in the body, enhancing their energy and causing deep heating.

          Resonance can produce other interesting effects on metal oxides, exciting the molecules in ways similar to the way neon and fluorescent lamps function.  The addition of certain frequencies to the gases in neon tubes causes them to emit light and perhaps other frequencies.

          As water moves through pipes or is processed by reverse osmosis its energy decreases.  This occurs less with distillation and carbon filtration.  Exposure to infrared energy helps restore activity to water molecules in the body.

 

3.  More Yang Therapy

 

          Chapter 5 discusses yin and yang therapies, a central concept in development science.  Today most bodies are too yin.  Consequently, yang or warming therapies are often more effective to create balance in the body.  While all sauna therapy is warming, infrared heating is more yang than using the heater in a standard hot-rocks sauna.

 

Several Comments About Far Infrared Saunas

 

          Claims.  Sauna manufacturers and sales people may claim benefits for far infrared saunas based on studies that, in fact, were done with infrared lamp saunas, and not the far infrared type of sauna.  One example is an article about chronic heart failure treated with saunas (Kihara, 2002).  A review noted that the saunas were heated with infrared heat lamps.

 

Additional Effects of Infrared Lamp Saunas

 

          Infrared lamp saunas are heated by reddish, infrared incandescent lamps, a type sold at hardware stores.  Benefits of this heat source are due to full-spectrum infrared energy with most of it in the near infrared range and a little in the middle and far infrared range.  Effects are also due to color therapy, more vigorous circulation due to design and other frequencies emitted by incandescent infrared lamps.  These lamps can be added to almost any sauna.

 

1.  Shortening Cluster Chains

 

          Infrared energy shortens chains of polluted water molecules.  As this occurs, pollutants such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide are expelled into the air.  Heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium precipitate, facilitating their removal.  This is a powerful mechanism of detoxification that does not occur to the same degree in a hot air sauna or far infrared sauna.

          Shortening the chains also decreases the specific gravity of the water and enhances its adherence to cell surfaces.  This improves the absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste products.

 

2.  A Tissue Nutrient

 

          More and more evidence indicates that certain light frequencies in the red and near infrared range have very beneficial effects on the tissues.  Dr. C.S. Enwemeka recently wrote regarding these benefits:

 

     “It includes the ability to accelerate inflammation, promote fibroblast proliferation, enhance chondroplasia, upregulates the synthesis of type I and type III procollagen mRNA, quicken bone repair and remodeling, foster revascularization of wounds and overall accelerate tissue repair in experimental and clinical models.” (“Therapeutic Light”, Interdis. J. of Rehab., Jan/Feb 2004)

 

3.  Reducing Lipid Peroxidation and Enhancing Oxygen Production

 

          Infrared energy reduces lipid peroxidation that takes place in all cells as a result of energy production (Jap J of Inflammation, 1996, 16(6)(Nov):4-5).  This is helpful to preserve delicate cell structures.  At the same time, it increases the production of active oxygen in neutrophils and inhibits tumor growth (Jap J of Inflammation, 1996, 16(6)(Nov):9).

 

4.  Relieving Pain

 

          Studies indicate that light therapy in the red and near infrared range can reduce pain.  Studies indicate it may have direct effects on peripheral nerves and it may modulate the levels of prostaglandins in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

 

     “Works from the laboratories of Drs. Shimon Rochkind of Tel-Aviv, Israel and Juanita Anders of Bethesda, MD, USA indicate that specific energy frequencies of light promote nerve regeneration, including regeneration of the spinal cord - a part of the central nervous system once considered inert to healing.” (“Therapeutic Light”, Interdisc. J. Rehab. Jan/Feb 2004)

 

          Pain relief mechanisms may also include reducing muscle spasms and relieving ischemia due to impaired circulation.  They may also include improving oxygenation of the tissues, removing irritants and toxins and disabling or killing pathogenic microorganisms.

 

5.  Color Therapy

 

          Color therapy is an ancient and often highly effective healing modality.  The electric lamp sauna design using red infrared lamps emits red, orange and yellow light.  According to traditional color concepts, the red end of the spectrum nourishes the adrenal glands, liver and kidneys.  It may also act on the aura or emotional body.  It also moves the chi or vital energy downward from the head toward the lower centers where it is usually deficient.

          Most any sauna can be fitted with lamps to add color therapy.  With the body unclothed, the sauna is a logical place to make use of this excellent healing method.    More information about color is found in Chapter 6.

 

6.  More Vigorous Circulatory Effects

 

          In the lamp sauna design recommended in Appendix D, the lamps are all on one wall of the sauna.  One must rotate the body 90° every few minutes to heat the entire body evenly.  This is more effort.  However, it shunts blood from one side of the body to another, vigorously enhancing the circulatory effects of the sauna. 

 

7.  Deeper Tissue Penetration and More Yang Therapy

 

          Three powerful infrared lamps heat the tissues up to three inches inside the body, we believe.  This is more than occurs with most far infrared saunas that use 6-12 less powerful elements.

 

8.  Ability to Focus Energy

 

          At times it is most helpful to be able to direct heat, light and infrared energy to a particular area of the body, such as a stiff back or congested sinuses.  One may do this to a slight degree in a hot air or far infrared sauna by moving closer to a heat source.  However, the heater in hot air saunas is recessed, making it hard to approach.  The emitters or elements in a typical far infrared sauna are not powerful enough to provide much of a boost, even if one sits close to them.

          The 250-watt heat lamps in an infrared lamp sauna are very intense.  By moving within 12 inches of one of the lamps, one can enhance the heat, light and infrared penetration to a part of the body.  One must avoid touching or splashing water on a hot lamp.

 

 

 

 

9. Enhanced Effects on DNA

 

          The greater intensity of infrared and deeper tissue penetration of the infrared lamp sauna may increase the death or disabling of mutated cells.  This assists regeneration of normal body tissue.  This may be very important for those with degenerative illnesses due to damaged DNA.

 

 

Effects On Body Organs And Systems

 

          Saunas have wide-ranging effects on many body organs and systems.  This occurs because the sauna helps remove toxic metals, toxic chemicals and chronic infections.  The general effect is a normalization of the functioning of the organs.  Following is a summary of more specific effects based on current research.  There is a great need for more research on the sauna’s effects.

 

          Kidneys.  Blood is shunted away from the kidneys during sweating and directed toward the body surface.  The kidneys’ burden lessens during sauna use as more water and toxins are eliminated through sweating.  Repeated use helps rest and restore the kidneys. 

 

          Nervous System.  Sympathetic inhibition occurs during sauna use.  This reduces the fight-or-flight response, strengthens the parasympathetic system and relaxes the central nervous system.  Regular sauna use has a wonderfully calming effect on the nervous system.

 

          Liver.  By shunting blood to the surface, congestion of blood in the liver is reduced during sauna use.  This can enhance the liver’s detoxification ability.  By reducing sympathetic nervous system activity, sauna use promotes bile secretion and emptying of the gall bladder.

 

          Spleen and Pancreas.  Sympathetic nervous inhibition increases pancreatic secretion of enzymes and decreases insulin and glucagon secretion.  Sauna use decreases the storage of blood in the spleen, as more blood is shunted to the surface.  This helps decrease congestion of the spleen.   

 

          Immune System.  Sympathetic inhibition enhances some aspects of immune system activity.  Heating the body several degrees can enhance white blood cell activity and disables heat-sensitive microorganisms, assisting the elimination of many infections.  Heating the body in a sauna may also produce heat shock proteins that are powerful immune system stimulators.

 

          Cardiovascular System.  During a sauna session, the pulse and stroke volume increase.  Surface vessels dilate as blood is shunted from internal organs to the surface.  Blood pressure usually remains the same or decreases during a session.  Repeated sauna use helps decrease elevated blood pressure by enhancing elasticity of the arteries, removing toxins from the kidneys and helping to reduce excessive sympathetic nervous system activity.

 

          Endocrine System.  During sauna use, sympathetic inhibition causes decreased secretion of adrenal and thyroid hormones.  This rests the glands.  Blood sugar may decrease slightly.  Insulin and glucagon secretion decrease.  The removal of toxic substances benefits the entire endocrine system.

          Kukkonen-Harjula and Kauppinen studied the effects of sauna bathing on thyroxin and TSH.  They found that if one cools the body slowly after a session, there is no increase in these hormones.  If cooling is fast, as in a cold shower, TSH increases.  This is most likely simply a stress response and I do not recommend cold bathing after a sauna, in part for this reason.

 

          Digestive System.  Sympathetic inhibition may activate the digestive system during sauna use.  Elimination of toxins from the liver and gall bladder may cause the need for a bowel movement after or even during a sauna session.  Ulcers, colitis and intestinal infections may be helped greatly by repeated heating and sympathetic inhibition.

 

          Skin.  Saunas cleanse the skin from the inside and promote soft, pliable skin.  Saunas also promote the healing of many skin conditions including acne, dermatitis and eczema.  Others may include scarring, keloids, psoriasis and poisoning from too much sun exposure.  Results may take several weeks to several months or even a year or more.  However, some have reported excellent results with adult acne and other conditions after just a few days use of an infrared lamp sauna.

          Sympathetic suppression and sweating cause the pores to open and decrease oil secretion by the sebaceous glands.  Repeated heating is excellent to unblock clogged pores and reactivate skin that has become inactive and congested with toxins from synthetic clothing, skin care products and contact with toxic substances in bath water.

          As for more technical aspects of the skin, a center in the preoptic region of the anterior hypothalamus controls temperature regulation.  Heating causes vasodilation of all the skin vessels of the body and causes sweating.  Vasodilation occurs by inhibition of sympathetic nerve fibers.  The skin is also extremely sensitive to circulating epinephrine and norepinephrine.  A decrease in these will also cause vasodilation.

          According to Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, sweating may cause additional vasodilation by a poorly-known mechanism that may involve bradykinin, a powerful vasodilator.

 

 

 Effects of Saunas on the Oxidation Rate

 

          Saunas have a normalizing effect on metabolism that will be reflected in measurements such as the oxidation rate as determined by a properly performed hair mineral analysis.  The benefit occurs due to eliminating toxins and heavy metals that can cause either sluggish or excessive metabolic activity.

          During a sauna session thyroid and adrenal activity tend to decrease slightly, causing a minor reduction in the metabolic rate.  Slow oxidizers often suffer from sympathetic nervous system exhaustion and depleted adrenal and thyroid glands.  They benefit from the rest afforded to the glands during sauna use and from the heating of the body, as their temperature is usually sub-normal.  They need to use the sauna more often and for longer time periods than fast oxidizers, whose body temperature is already higher and who generally sweat more easily.

 

 

Saunas and Weight Loss

 

          Weight loss or gain may occur from sauna sessions.  Temporary weight loss occurs due to sweating.  Reduction of edema due to improved circulation may also cause loss of water weight.  Some weight loss will also occur due to elimination of unhealthy tissue.  At least one study by M. Imamura et al. found that patients with coronary risk factors lost significant weight after 15 minutes of sauna therapy daily for two weeks.  Sauna therapy may also assist any weight loss program in the following ways:

 

Š            Repeated sauna use helps the body eliminate chemical toxins and heavy metals stored in fatty tissues.  Inability to remove these substances as fatty tissues break down can be an important source of problems in weight loss programs.

Š            Fatty tissue often has poor circulation.  Improving circulation with sauna therapy may help break down fat deposits. 

Š            Repeated sauna use can help reduce cravings for sweets, starches or fatty foods.  Often cravings are caused by toxic conditions and imbalances of the adrenals, thyroid, pancreas, liver and other organs.

Š            Improving the autonomic balance and body chemistry through the removal of toxic metals and chemicals can improve the digestion and absorption of nutrients.  An important reason for obesity can be the desire to obtain more nutrients.

Š            Enhancing cellular metabolic processes can help burn fat calories more efficiently.

 

          Weight gain may also occur in underweight individuals as glandular activity, digestion and absorption of nutrients improve.

 

 

Do Saunas Burn Calories?

 

          Some claim that saunas burn hundreds of calories.  I am not convinced of this.  In a sauna session, the body does not have to burn calories to generate heat, as is the case with fever.  Thus, I believe, many fewer calories are burned in a sauna than with a fever or with exercise.  If one burned up to 600 calories in a 30-minute sauna session, as claimed, repeated sauna use would cause continuous weight loss.  I have not observed this in practice.

 

 

Adding Energy To The Body

 

          Saunas truly add energy to the body in the form of heat and, in the case of infrared saunas, light frequencies.  “Evidence indicates that cells absorb photons and transform their energy into adenosine triphosphate or ATP.” (Interdisc. J. Rehab., Jan/Feb 2004)

 

 

Heating The Acupuncture Meridians

 

          In oriental medicine, adding heat nourishes yang energy.  This helps clear blockages and moves stagnant chi or energy.  One acupuncturist described the effects of an infrared lamp sauna as similar to burning moxa on the skin to heat the meridians.  Burning moxa is an acupuncture technique in which an herbal preparation is burned on the skin to increase yang or fiery energy.

 

Comparison of Sauna Effects With Those of Related Therapies

 

Fever Therapies, Hot Baths, Hot Tubs and Steam Baths Versus Sauna Hyperthermia

 

          Inducing a fever has been used for hundreds of years as a method of healing many physical and even mental conditions.  It is an excellent yet simple concept.  The usual methods are to inject a person with pyrogenic or fever-producing bacteria, have one lie in a hot bath or wrap a person in hot towels or blankets.  These methods share certain qualities with sauna hyperthermia, but are not the same in their effects, especially in the case of infrared sauna therapy. 

          In fever therapy due to the injection of bacteria, the body must produce the heat it requires to fight the infection.  Producing this heat requires an increase in the metabolic rate with adrenal and thyroid activation via the sympathetic nervous system.  This uses a lot of energy, so the therapy is exhausting and may therefore be less effective.

          Also, activation of the sympathetic nervous system has a somewhat inhibitory effect on some aspects of the immune system.

          In sauna hyperthermia, as well as hot baths or the use of hot towels, heat is supplied from without so the body does not have to expend energy to heat itself up.  There is no appreciable increase in the metabolic or oxidation rate, no immune suppression and the therapy is less exhausting.

          Hot baths, hot tubs and steam heat the body core very effectively by conduction.  However, sweating is a little less intense due to the higher humidity.  Also, temperature control is more difficult and delicate with hot baths and overheating can occur easily.

          Detoxification can definitely occur with hot tubs and hot baths.  One drawback to their repeated use is that chemical toxins are absorbed from the water itself and perhaps from the chemicals used to purify the water.  Using steam, one absorbs chlorine and perhaps hundreds of other volatile organic chemicals present in tap water supplies.  The humidity in hot tubs and steam rooms also supports the growth of many infection-causing bacteria. 

          Hot tubs and steam rooms heat the body from the outside only, as do hot air saunas.  Infrared saunas heat from the inside, providing a more potent effect.

 

 

Electric Blankets Versus Saunas

 

          Hyperthermia treatment for cancer may involve wrapping the patient in electric blankets, although at times a hot bath is used.  Body temperature is increased to 105-106° F, very close to the temperature at which brain damage occurs.  A problem with electric blankets is precisely controlling the temperature to make sure the patient does not overheat.  Vital body functions must be carefully monitored.  Extremely rapid release of toxins and cellular debris may overwhelm the eliminative organs.  Dehydration is possible with blankets.  Electric blankets also produce harmful electromagnetic fields.

          Saunas do not raise the temperature nearly this high.  However, they are safer, able to be done at home and usually do not require special and often costly monitoring.  By gently and slowly reactivating the skin and the eliminative organs, sauna therapy also helps ensure that toxins will be eliminated safely.

Exercise Versus Saunas

 

          Exercise vigorous enough to raise body temperature and produce copious sweating is exhausting for all but the most fit.  Vigorous exercise requires extreme sympathetic nervous system activity.  This inhibits immune system activity somewhat, can deplete the adrenal and thyroid glands and inhibits the organs of elimination such as the liver and kidneys.  For these reasons, although one sweats with vigorous exercise, toxin elimination is less, we believe, than with sauna hyperthermia.  Exercise is still helpful in moderation, but its effects are not at all the same as sauna therapy.  More research is vitally needed regarding toxin elimination due to exercise versus  that which occurs with infrared sauna use.

 

 

Fasting Versus Saunas

 

          As health director for two and a half years at a fasting spa in Mexico, I worked with patients who came for weight loss and detoxification, among other reasons.  The results were mainly disappointing.

           I did not understand at the time that most people are far more depleted and toxic than when most of the classic texts were written about fasting.  Especially long fasts often cause further nutritional depletion, although symptomatic improvement may occur.  I do not recommend long fasts.  Fasting for a day or two is fine.  Juice fasting is less depleting than fasting on water alone.

          Saunas can cause some mineral depletion.  However, this can be avoided by replenishing minerals through diet or with kelp supplements.  In our experience, sauna therapy is much safer than fasting and much more effective as well for deep tissue cleansing. 


 

 

 

3

Heat Shock Proteins

 

 

 

 

 

          “Forty months ago I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma with intense bone pain, anemia and spinal fractures.  I was given three to nine months to live and began a metabolic cancer therapy program.  It included three sauna sessions daily of 20-30 minutes each with an infrared lamp sauna.

          Three years later, I have lost three inches of height from the cancer where my spine was fractured and I feel it when the weather changes.  Otherwise, I am very well.  The CEA (cancer marker) has dropped from 5.5 to 4.1.

          I was found to have lead poisoning.  The lead is gone, according to hair mineral testing and electrodermal testing.  I am continuing the natural cancer therapy for a little longer and I know I will continue to use the infrared lamp sauna on a maintenance basis forever. - Mr. C.S., Anchorage, Alaska         

 

          An interesting area of medical research that may help explain some of the benefits of sauna therapy is that of heat shock proteins or HSPs.  This chapter is a brief report on HSPs.  Further research is needed to confirm or disprove the effects of sauna therapy on HSP production. 

          Heat shock proteins are special proteins found in all body cells that help regenerate damaged cells.  They were first identified in the late 1970s and early 1980s in plant genetic research.  Since then they have been found in all cells, from bacteria to humans.

          Within minutes of undergoing certain kinds of stress, production of normal cell proteins ceases and instead HSPs are produced.  It is as though the regular assembly line to produce proteins in the cells shuts down and another line starts up that regenerates the cell structures.

          Once begun, HSP production can last up to nine days.  Stressors that may induce HSP production include ischemia, influx of heavy metals or depletion of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).  Others are protein degradation by drugs, inflammation, or mechanical or chemical stress such as oxidant stress.

          One of the best inducers of the synthesis of heat shock proteins is heating the body several degrees.

 

  “This stress response produces a transient rearrangement of cellular activities to cope with the stress period by protecting essential components within the cells so as to permit it to resume normal activity during recovery from the stress...Heat, both quantitatively and qualitatively, is one of the best inducers of heat stress proteins.” (Heat Shock Proteins in Myocardial Protection)

 

Renaturation

 

          Proteins are chains of amino acids that are bent, folded over and joined to each other in complex ways.  Denaturation is the general term for damage to these complex structures.  A simple example is cooking an egg.  The egg protein is fairly liquid at room temperature.  It becomes hardened in a few minutes when cooked.  This is due to damage or denaturing of its protein structure.

          HSPs help refold and reassemble damaged proteins.  This is called renaturation.  They also bind to heavily damaged proteins, preventing them from clumping or forming aggregates and shepherding them to areas of the cell where they can be degraded and recycled.  By so doing, they can also block apoptosis or programmed cell death and can literally rescue cell proteins from stress-related damage.  As a result of renaturing of proteins, all cell functions can be restored, including energy production, immune system activity, elimination, respiration and others. 

          A crude analogy is that HSPs function like the police who are called in the event of a  disturbance.  They clean up the mess and restore order.  They arrive in minutes and stay around for a short while to make sure things are okay. 

          One may ask, why does the body not produce HSPs all the time?  Possible reasons include: 1) they are not needed except in emergencies and 2) they use up large amounts of energy and nutrients that are better spent in other ways.  It would be like having the police sit at one’s door all the time when there is no need for them.

 

 

Heat Shock Therapy

 

          Injecting HSPs can cause the body’s T-cells to recognize a tumor and begin destroying it.  However, HSPs are very specific for each person.  Researchers investigating HSPs as a cancer therapy are having difficulty, therefore, producing HSPs that will work for everyone.  Success in using heat shock proteins for cancer therapy so far occurs when the researchers grind up the patient’s tumor, extract the patient’s own HSPs and inject them back into the patient.  Sauna therapy has the advantage of perhaps stimulating endogenous production of the exact HSPs each person requires without requiring knowledge of the patient’s symptoms or condition. 

          I have not found research on the absolute temperature or temperature above basal temperature required to produce HSPs.  However, to raise body temperature several degrees requires that one be in the second phase of a sauna session.  This usually means spending at least 40 minutes of continuous time in an infrared lamp sauna.  It would take longer in a far infrared sauna and longer still, perhaps an hour, in a hot air sauna.

          Leaving the sauna every half hour or less, or drinking a lot of cold water during the sauna would likely impair production of HSPs.  The less healthy the body, the easier it is to shock the system and therefore the more likely HSPs will be produced.

          Raising the body temperature often causes fatigue.  One should not leave a sauna just for this reason, as it may be an indicator of a shift in cellular metabolism associated with HSP production and cellular repair.  To achieve excellent results, the heating needs to be repeated at least every few days to continue the process of cell repair.

          A far infrared or infrared lamp sauna should produce more HSPs in a shorter time than a traditional sauna because heating occurs from inside the body.  Perhaps this is one reason researchers report more effective detoxification with infrared saunas.

 

 

Analogous Concepts

 

          Most readers know that if one places a frog in cool water and slowly adds hot water, the frog will stay put and burn to death.  If, however, one drops a frog into hot water, the frog will immediately jump out of the water.

          Our bodies degenerate slowly as they are chronically poisoned by heavy metals, toxic chemicals, bacteria and other toxins.  However, an acute shock such as a fever or heating in a sauna may break the cycle by shifting the cells into a regenerative mode with the production of HSPs.  This may be the value of fevers and acute illnesses.  As people age or become debilitated, they are less able to produce a fever and their health status declines more rapidly as a result.

 

 

Other Metabolic Effects

 

          Heat shock proteins help maintain the metabolic and structural integrity of cells.  They can protect the heart, increase catalase activity and preserve high energy phosphates.  They also increase antioxidant activity by enhancing glutathione production. 

          Research indicates that heat shock protein deficiency may be involved in prion diseases such as scrapie in sheep and bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) or mad cow disease in animals and humans.  Prions are similar in some ways to heat shock proteins.  Prions, in fact, protect organisms against ultra-violet radiation. 

 

 

HSPs and Nutrition

 

          HSP production appears to require the presence of extra nutrients, particularly zinc and manganese.  Zinc is required for RNA transferase, an important enzyme involved in protein synthesis.  Manganese is required for glycosyl transferase, a manganese-specific enzyme involved in glucose utilization.

          Failure to produce HSPs in mad cow disease may be related to a manganese deficiency.  Ken Purdy in Great Britain and other researchers found that cows with the disease had been doused with Phosmet, an organophosphate warble fly insecticide that damages prions, causing them to bind manganese.  This may leave less manganese available for HSP production.  The symptoms of mad cow disease are similar to the symptoms of ‘manganese madness’ found in manganese miners.

          Deficiencies of zinc and manganese are widespread in the population due to food grown on mineral-depleted soils and refined food diets.  Stress also rapidly depletes zinc.  The best dietary sources of zinc are meats.  Nuts and seeds are excellent dietary sources of manganese.  A healthful diet and nutritional supplementation may enhance HSP production with sauna therapy.

Coley’s Toxins and HSPs

 

          Some readers may be familiar with the cancer toxins developed by William Coley, MD.  Although not a mainstream cancer therapy, it was and is effective against some cases of cancer.  Heat shock proteins are likely involved in this simple form of fever therapy.

          Dr. Coley, a brilliant surgeon who worked at the Memorial Hospital in New York, later to be called Sloane-Kettering Memorial Hospital, reviewed a case of a man with a large round cell sarcoma on his neck.  He had been declared hopeless when he developed a severe infection with erysipelas.  Within a few days the huge malignant ulcer healed. 

          Coley’s toxins are a combination of killed seratia marcescens and streptococcus pyogenes and their endotoxins.  When injected, they can produce a very high fever.  Within a few days, tumors can shrink and the cancer go into remission.  Coley’s toxins are still available at the Issels Treatment Center in Tijuana, Mexico.

          Currently, researchers at UCLA are having some success injecting cancer patients with malaria, another disease that causes high fevers.

 

 

Sauna Protocol and HSPs

 

          Usually, preheating an infrared light or far infrared sauna is unnecessary.  However, for maximum HSP production preheating is helpful.  It will raise body temperature faster to perhaps produce more HSPs.  Further studies are needed to confirm the correct temperature and time required to produce HSPs.


 

 

 

4

Sauna Protocol

 

 

 

 

 

          “I am 70 years old.  After a terrible car accident two years ago, I was in constant pain.  The infrared lamp sauna stops the pain.  I will at times get up at 4 AM and do a sauna.  After 30 minutes, the pain is gone.  My sweat smells horrendous at times.  This is probably due to the many medicines I took after the accident. 

          I was wearing a wig, but now my hair has come back as thick as when I was young.  My nails, which were weak, have also become very strong, and I also have fewer wrinkles.

          My husband noticed the joint pain in his ankles and hips went away.  He walks better, he lost weight, he is happier and his golf game has improved.  My husband and I plan to use the sauna regularly for the rest of our lives.” - Mrs. A.W., Sun Lakes, Arizona

 

 

Types Of Saunas Used For Therapy

 

          Any type of sauna can be used for therapy.  However, the results will differ:

 

Š            Traditional saunas are those heated by a wood-burning or gas stove, hot rocks carried in from a fire, or an electric coil or gas heater.

Š            Far infrared saunas are heated by metallic or ceramic elements that emit a narrow spectrum of mainly far infrared energy.

Š            Infrared lamp saunas use red, infrared heat lamps as their source of radiant heat.  They provide a wide spectrum of infrared energy and some visible light as well.  

 

 

Traditional Saunas

 

          These are the familiar saunas found at health clubs, spas and in many homes.  They are basically a room with a heater.  Often the heater has a few heated rocks on top, onto which one can throw water to create steam in the sauna.

          These saunas heat only the surface of the body mainly by convection.  They operate at high temperatures of about 150-210° F.  Healthy people can safely spend several hours daily in this type of sauna with supervision.  These are the saunas used in L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Purification Rundown’ and many similar detoxification programs. They were the only ones available at the time Mr. Hubbard developed his detoxification program.

          L. Ron Hubbard pioneered the specific use of traditional saunas for drug and alcohol detoxification some 60 years ago.  Later the program was expanded to include detoxification of toxic chemicals.  The Foundation Of Science And Education has carefully researched and published the results of this program, which involves spending several hours per day in the sauna and taking niacin, an oil blend and other supplements under close medical supervision for several weeks or more.  Over 500,000 people have been through the program with excellent results.

          Many centers have sprung up in the United States and elsewhere offering the Hubbard Purification Rundown.  The Hubbard method of sauna detoxification remains by far the most widely used protocol for sauna detoxification.

 

 

Far Infrared Saunas

 

          Far infrared saunas were introduced about 30 years ago.  They have from 6 to 12 or more ceramic or metallic heating elements in the walls of the sauna that emit mainly far infrared energy.

          They heat the body mainly by radiant energy, warming the body from the inside as well as on the surface.  Their energy penetrates into the body up to about 1.5 inches, according to their research.  For this reason, they are effective at lower temperatures of about 130 °F.  Research indicates they produce more effective tissue cleansing due to the penetration of the infrared rays.  The cooler temperature is more comfortable for some people.

          Far infrared saunas require less preheating and the units are more energy efficient than traditional saunas.  Up to three hours per day spread out over several sessions may be safe for most healthy adults in this type of sauna.  Power supplies and the ceramic or metallic elements can emit significant electromagnetic fields.

 

 

Infrared Lamp Saunas

 

          Infrared lamp saunas are heated by three or more reddish-colored infrared heat lamps.  These are often the common lamps sold at hardware stores.  They emit a spectrum of frequencies including near, middle and a little far infrared energy.  The energy peaks in the near infrared range.  The lamps also emit some red, orange and yellow visible light.

          The use of this type of sauna is a focus of this book.  Only a few companies offer them at this time.  These are listed in the resource section of this book and on our web site, www.drlwilson.com.  This type of sauna can also be built fairly easily and plans are provided later in the book.

          Infrared lamp saunas of the design we recommend penetrate deeper than the far infrared type, up to about three inches inside the body, we believe.  They are also the most energy efficient and operate at the coolest temperature of about 110-115° F. 

          At this time, we recommend spending a maximum of two hours per day spread out over at least two sessions in an infrared lamp sauna.  One may experience excessive detoxification symptoms or other effects of the light or infrared if one remains inside more than two hours. 

          Also, exercise caution regarding shining the lamps at the head.  In most cases, the lamps should be pointed at the chest and abdomen.  This is where the main organs of elimination and detoxification are located.  Exposure to the head for 20 minutes or less appears safe, however, for most people.  Exposure to the head for a limited time can also be very helpful for detoxification of the sinuses, ears, eyes, nasal passages and the brain. 

          The lamps do not emit significant electromagnetic fields.  However, they produce intense heat and are somewhat delicate.  One must sit or lie down 18” to 30” from the lamps.  Also, one must place a wire mesh or other type of guard in front of the lamps to avoid accidentally touching them. 

          I am unaware of controlled studies comparing the effectiveness of the three different types of saunas.  These studies are now in the planning stage.  Some basic differences between the three types of saunas are summarized in the chart below.

 

 

Brief Comparison of The Three Types Of Saunas

 

 

Traditional Sauna

Far Infrared Sauna

Infrared Lamp Sauna

Operating Temperature

150-210° F

120-140° F

110-115° F

Penetration of

 the Skin

Little

1.5 inches

3 inches

Preheating Time

30-60 min.

0-20 min

0-20 min

Infrared Benefits

Little

Some

Most

Color Therapy

 Benefits

None

None

Yes

Need To Rotate

 In The Sauna

No

No

Yes

Operating Expense

Higher

Medium

Lowest

 

 

 

Enclosures Versus Cabinets

 

          In a sauna room or full-body enclosure, the head is inside the sauna.  A sauna cabinet looks like a steam cabinet and the head is outside the sauna.  A cabinet will be somewhat less effective than a full-body enclosure although one can still derive great benefit from it.

          If possible, it is best to expose the head to the heat and infrared energy.  Cabinets are better for those who have difficulty breathing in a sauna or who are claustrophobic.  Many people who are claustrophobic can learn to tolerate and even become comfortable in a full-body enclosure.

          If one has difficulty breathing with the head inside a sauna, one may open the door slightly or breathe through a piece of flexible 1" outside diameter plastic tubing that leads outside the enclosure through a ventilation opening.  Enclosures are discussed in more detail in Chapter 12, Sauna Design.

 

Cost and Outfitting

 

          Ready-made traditional and infrared saunas range from $2000-6000.00.  Many are quite elaborate, with insulated, double-wall construction, built-in electronic controls and even built-in stereo systems.  Custom built-in units are higher in price.  At the time of this printing, we offer an inexpensive canvas-covered frame infrared lamp sauna for those with limited resources.  Those with building experience can construct this sauna for several hundred dollars or less.  Basic plans are provided in Appendix D. See our website, www.drlwilson.com for details regarding companies that sell infrared lamp saunas. 

          One can use a traditional sauna at a health club, clinic or health center.  However, this is inconvenient because it should be used daily or even twice daily.  Having to drive back and forth is not optimal.

          To outfit a sauna for therapy, one may wish to add on top or inside a boom box or small sound system for sound therapy.  An inside clock or timer is also helpful.  Infrared lamps may be added to traditional or far infrared saunas to provide extra infrared radiant energy and color therapy.

 

 

Steam

 

          Some people like steam in their sauna.  Advantages of steam are that it raises the temperature in a hot air sauna and thus helps induce sweating and other effects.  Steam also feels good to some people. Throwing water on hot rocks adds negative ions that may make breathing easier.

          The disadvantages of steam are that the added humidity causes one to sweat a little less than when steam is not present.  Also, the added heat is difficult to tolerate for many people.  Most important, one will absorb some chemicals that are in the water that is used to make the steam.  These include chlorine, fluorides and possibly hundreds of volatile organic chemicals.

          Steam is not added to infrared saunas as it is not part of the design.  Never throw water on the hot lamps of an infrared lamp sauna.

 

 

When to Use a Sauna

 

          For greatest safety and healing effects, wait one or better two hours after meals before a sauna session.  Also, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night are best for sauna use.  At these times, one is most relaxed.  This produces the greatest detoxification effect.  Activities, exercise and distractions in the middle of the day often stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and interfere with the sauna’s healing effects.   In a healing facility, any time of the day is fine as long as it is one or two hours after a meal.

 

 

 

 

How Often to Use a Sauna

 

          Saunas are generally very safe for most people.  However, very imbalanced tissue levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium or potassium could make sauna use more hazardous.  One could sweat out enough of a vital mineral such as potassium to cause heart arrhythmias or other metabolic problems.  I have not seen this in practice.  However, it is possible.

          The decision of how often to use saunas depends on the setting.  In the residential detoxification programs that follow the L. Ron Hubbard approach, one may spend up to five hours daily in a traditional sauna.   I recommend Mr. Hubbard’s book, Clear Body, Clear Mind for more details on this type of sauna therapy.

          The present book focuses on home use of infrared saunas without direct medical supervision.  For these programs, most people can use a sauna once or twice daily.  Weekly sauna use is more for maintenance, not therapy.  Specific cautions and contraindications are discussed at the end of this chapter. 

          If you suspect serious tissue mineral imbalances, limit the duration of sauna sessions at first to a maximum of 20 minutes until the imbalances improve.  Also, begin with fewer sessions per week and shorter sessions if very debilitated.    For the very frail, one can begin with a milder infrared experience by keeping the door open or sitting in front of infrared lamps without an enclosure.