Autumn 2015 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French
QUESTION: Is infrared sauna detoxing safe and beneficial for detoxing?
Infrared radiation is the heat that comes from, for example, a bar radiator where there is little light produced but a lot of heat. It is normally a fairly benign kind of radiation.
Detoxification occurs when we undergo detox diets, sweaty exercise, saunas and skin brushing. The regular use of a sauna can achieve significant detoxing. The appeal of saunas in general is that they cause vigorous sweating and increased heart rate, similar to that produced by moderate exercise.
The dynamic natural therapies writer, Mike Adams, explains in NaturalNews.com, 17th March 2008, that “Infrared rays are part of the sun’s natural spectrum. The radiant energy produced by an infrared sauna is the same as heat from the sun, with the exclusion of the ultraviolet rays. A heat source (usually ceramic heating elements) emits infrared waves that penetrate and relax the body and promote increased blood circulation in the skin. A flood of sweat carrying toxins is released through the skin’s open pores as the warm blood circulates deeper throughout the body.”
The difference between the traditional steam saunas and infrared saunas is that steam saunas heat the surrounding air, whereas the infrared warms the body instead of the air. Infrared requires a heat range of only 43ºC – 60ºC and achieves the same results as steam which requires temperatures ranging from 65ºC – 93ºC to promote perspiration. The cooler air temperature with infrared allows for longer sessions than with steam.
In addition, the infrared rays penetrate deeper into the skin – up to about four centimetres – and draw out more toxins than does a steam sauna.
Dr Aundrea Adams, of the International Institute of Holistic Healing, reports that in a traditional sauna sweat is up to 97% water, whereas with an infrared sauna it is only 80 – 85% water. The remaining 15 – 20% is comprised of heavy metals, sulphuric acid, sodium compounds, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins.
The Mayo Clinic reported on 9th June 2014 (www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living) that studies have investigated infrared saunas for the treatment of chronic health problems, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and found some evidence of benefit. They add that no adverse health effects have been reported with infrared saunas.
There are two kinds of infrared saunas – near infrared and far infrared. Dr Wilson, MD, is a medical doctor who prefers near infrared over far infrared saunas. (drlwilson.com/articles/SAUNAS-NEAR%20VS.%20FAR%20I.htm (October 2012)).
Dr Wilson explains that the heaters used in far infrared saunas are typically small and are distributed on all four walls of the sauna cabin, which means that all four walls will contain electrical wiring. This wiring will produce some low-level electromagnetic radiation, which Dr Wilson believes could be problematic for people who are ill or sensitive to EMR. He does not believe that this EMR should create problems for individuals who are healthy.
Near infrared saunas are different. Dr Wilson explains that the infrared emitters are close to each other, in a single wall of the cabin, so EMR will be significantly less than with far infrared.
A woman who has had first-hand experience with the use of an infrared sauna is Janette Murray-Wakelin, whose story of recovery from breast cancer and later running marathons around Australia was published in TNH, Winter 2014 issue. Janette wrote:
“We have had a lot to do with infrared therapy and saunas since my diagnosis of breast cancer in 2002. We did a huge amount of research and found that there is only one company that produces a completely safe sauna application that actually works, due to the technology used in their units, which is not in any other brand. The company is Sunlighten Saunas, and they have a distributor in Australia.”
Sunlighten Saunas declare that their ‘Sunlighten’ saunas are medical-grade, clinically-backed and proven 95 – 99% effective. Their Solocarbon® heaters provide the only full-spectrum infrared heat available.
Sunlighten’s Marketing Manager, Andrew Hedge, explained to me (Roger French) that Sunlighten saunas are dearer, but you get what you pay for.
Sunlighten may be contacted by phoning 1800 786 544 from anywhere in Australia; or go to www.sunlighten.com.au.
Possible adverse effects of far infrared sauna use are overheating, dehydration and consequences from using the sauna during or after drinking alcohol. Each of these is preventable simply by using the sauna intelligently.
Because sauna use can result in adverse effects if people have certain medical conditions, are on certain medications or have implants, a doctor should be consulted in these situations.