Detoxification is essential for revitalizing the body. There are many different basic phases of detoxification and one of them is to promote heat within the body with a view to liberate lipophilic toxins (in this case fat-soluble toxic substances) from the fat cells present in our body. This process is also called 'heat depuration', denoting removal of a toxin or purifying the body using heat. When the fat cells are free of the toxic substances, which are stored inside the fat cells, due to application of heat, they go to our bloodstream and from there they are removed from our body through sweating, urination, bile as well as in the form of other different fluids.
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It is important to note that all detoxification methods are neither available nor suitable for everyone. Moreover, medical supervision is essential for some people when they undergo detoxification. On the other hand, some people may even undertake detoxification methods in the comforts of their home. In fact, it is very important for people who are excessively burdened with toxic substances to undertake detoxification programs under the supervision of medical experts. In addition, it is important to ensure that the pace of the detoxification process is slow enough to enable the body's detoxification methods to deal with the augmented burden and also make sure that you do not damage any organ during the process.
Saunas form a main component of nearly all detoxification programs, as the 'heat stress' provided by a sauna is extremely effectual in liberating toxic substances from the fat cells in our body. Centuries ago, people in Finland developed saunas, which are now used extensively across the globe and have become a common feature in several gyms as well as health clubs.
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So what is a sauna precisely? It is actually a room that is comparatively airtight having platforms and benches made from wood. The air inside a sauna is always maintained fresh by means of an exceptional aeration system that warms the outside air before it is allowed to enter the sauna. In order to maintain an excellent ventilation system, it is essential to exchange the air at least six times every hour.
There are two types of saunas - dry and wet. In the case of a dry sauna, infrared heat is generated by using electricity and there is no addition of moisture inside the sauna room. Dry saunas promote remedial perspiration that facilitates cleansing toxic substances and other heavy metals. In addition, dry saunas also encourage vasodilation (expansion of the blood vessels), especially the peripheral blood vessels and thereby enhance cardiovascular movements, which, in turn aids the body to get rid of additional toxic substances. Saunas offer other benefits too, such as accelerating the metabolism process of the body as well as slowing down the pace of reproduction of pathogenic microorganisms present in our body, including bacteria and viruses. Saunas also help to strengthen the immune system, as they help to increase the leukocyte (a white blood cell type) number in the blood too.
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Wet saunas use steam to heat the air inside the room. In fact, the steam is provided by a steam generator or by pouring plain water on heated rocks. The humidity inside the steam or wet saunas is regulated such that every kg of air contains about 50 grams to 60 grams of moisture/ water vapour. On its part, the steam helps to quickly raise the body temperature, which is extremely favourable for people suffering from problems of the upper respiratory tract and arthritic pain. Humid heat is also beneficial for the health of our skin.
The floors and walls of the contemporary saunas are usually made of concrete and tiles, instead of wood. This makes cleaning the sauna rooms much easier and this is extremely vital, as all types of saunas are solely used for detoxification programs. It is best to make the benches and platforms of the sauna room with poplar wood, because it helps to minimize the release of terpenes (a type of chemicals present in wood) from the wood in the form of gases. However, cedar may also be used to make the benches and platforms in the saunas, which are not being used by people sensitive to chemicals and where you do not consider the problem of outgasing, as the terpenes of this wood are pleasantly aromatic.
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Besides the shower rooms, many saunas may possibly also include rooms for cooling-off. A number of sauna programs entail mild cooling-off, while there are many others that utilize cold showers, a plunge in the lake (may be even via an opening in the ice) or a roll along the snow. However, if one has been suffering from a specific health condition, it is better and safer to have a shower with lukewarm water or naturally cool-off.
Scientists have thoroughly studied the health benefits of using saunas for detoxification programs. During the 1960s, researches from the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) started studying the impacts of recreational drugs, counting alcohol, on our body. They also studied the various techniques that would aid people in getting rid of the detrimental consequences of using such drugs, especially cleansing the body of toxic substances accumulated due to the use of various recreational drugs. A little over a decade, the scientists introduced 'The Sweat Program' - which is basically a sauna program. It took several months to complete this program.
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People, who were asked to undertake this sauna program, said that their body excreted substances along with their sweat that had the smell or taste akin to those of medicines, diet pills, anesthetics, recreational drugs, food preservatives and even pesticides. They further reported that they had feelings of their earlier ailments, previous sunburns as well as physical and emotional conditions they had experienced in the past.
Scientists had developed another sauna program called 'Purification Program' by 1979. This is basically a continuing detoxification program that was meant to facilitate the release and removals of toxic substances accumulated in the tissues and also rebuild the damaged cells and tissues. It is a specific detoxification program that includes sauna, exercise, sufficient intake as well as replacement of fluids. In fact, the 'Purification Program' is a strictly controlled schedule wherein the person undertaking the program is given particular vitamins, oils, minerals and a healthy diet comprising lightly and properly cooked vegetables that are obtained fresh. It is essential that the sauna, vitamins, oils and minerals are taken exactly at the same time daily. In addition, people undertaking this program should essentially have enough sleep.
Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) is a vital basis of the 'Purification Program', as it seems to facilitate the discharge of toxic substances from the body tissues. In addition, niacin also helps to promote the health of the cardiovascular system and results in the vasodilation of the capillaries present in the skin. As a result of this, the skin flushes out toxins, particularly in the areas having old sunburns. In fact, this is a hot flush, which occurs together with the skin becoming itchy and prickly, and the program may even continue for about an hour. However, you cannot call this to be an allergic reaction. People who start taking niacin find that the flush goes after taking the dose and it occurs again, this time with less intensity, when a higher dose is given in a graduated manner.
The dosage of niacin during detoxification program is very vital. In fact, the short-acting form of niacin is only used for this purpose. Nearly all people begin by taking 100 mg niacin daily - one dose of the vitamin always taken along with food. The dosage of niacin can be increased when the flushing is minimal and all previous symptoms have gone.
As drugs as well as toxins have the potential to result in deficit of several nutriments in the body, scientists suggest that besides niacin, people take various other nutriments. Residues of the drugs and chemicals remain inside our body even much longer after their use and as long as they remain in the body they keep depleting the stored nutrients. Besides using niacin, the 'Purification Program' involves taking vitamin B complex, vitamin B1, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D as well as minerals in the form of supplements. Mineral supplements like calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc and iodine are recommended to replace the essential minerals that have been lost by the body through perspiration during the detoxification program.
Several detoxification programs that are being offered now incorporate the 'Purification Program'. In fact, this detoxification program is considered to be a major advancement in treating the body loaded with toxins. This program has successfully shown that it is possible to get the body rid of the toxic substances effectively, instead of storing them inside the body for an indefinite period, which eventually augments the risks of diseases and organ damage.
Currently, numerous sauna detoxification facilities are available in North America and they all undertake treatments using sauna, exercise, shower as well as massage or physical therapy. All these facilities are made with materials that are environmentally safe and they focus on treating patients who are environmentally ill instead of treating patients who want to get their body rid of the residual recreational drugs. These detoxification programs have increased the list of dietary supplements used in treatment and also employ various different aids to facilitate detoxification.
A number of added substances that are employed to facilitate the detoxification of the body are discussed below.
Activated charcoal: This natural substance is useful in eliminating toxic substances as well as xenobiotics by means of feces and has the aptitude to absorb toxins that are several times more than its weight.
Chlorella: This solitary-celled alga is useful in eliminating toxic substances via feces by means of attaching the toxic metals accumulated in the body. In addition, chlorella also facilitates the removal of toxic chemicals from the body, augments the functioning of the immune system and possesses anti-bacterial plus anti-viral attributes.
Psyllium seed: Considered to be a bulking agent, psyllium seeds are useful for getting rid of toxic substances by binding them in our feces to ensure that these toxins are not reabsorbed by the bloodstream.
It is essential to have a healthcare expert to guide you while you are making use of a sauna in your detoxification regimen. In fact, it is very important for people with elevated toxic load to be under medical supervision when they undertake a detoxification program. At the same time, you need to ensure that the pace of detoxification should never be in excess of your body's detoxification mechanisms, otherwise it may result in damage to your organs.
Preferably, you ought to use a dry sauna whose construction is safe from the environment aspect and has air cleaners connected with the units that circulate the air inside the sauna room. Many health clubs offer commercial sauna facilities that have a propensity to be excessively hot, have insufficient oxygen levels and may possibly have been constructed using materials that would outgas harmful chemicals which people sensitive to chemicals are not able to tolerate. Nevertheless, occasionally it is better and also wise to use a sauna facility that might not be perfect than not undergoing detoxification at all.
These days, you can also get dry saunas made of wood for use by one or two persons simultaneously at home. These saunas are heated by infrared units. The wood that is preferred by most people for these saunas is poplar, because it is excellent even for sensitive people since its terpene outgas is minimal. In addition, you may also avail portable saunas, also known as cabinet baths, for use at home. These bath cabinets are available in wet as well as dry models. While the portable saunas help the head of the user to stay cool, they are also able to inhale the cleaner air that is being constantly circulated from outside the room. However, you ought to be careful while choosing the right portable sauna for your home, because the plastic parts of these saunas tend to outgas.
It is advisable that you opt for dry saunas, as they enhance perspiration and thereby accelerate the detoxification process. Any comprehensive sauna cleansing schedule ought to incorporate exercise, include a dry sauna as well as a cleansing shower, which needs to be followed by a physical therapy or massage. In fact, exercise as well as the sauna time ought to be developed gradually to ensure that the body endures minimal stress. All these efforts help to mobilize toxic substances in the body, break down accumulated chemicals and also break down toxic substances by means of augmented metabolism.
A number of people have an augmented toxin excretion, provided they exfoliate or scrub their skin. Our skin is constantly exposed to dirt, pollution as well as ultra-violet (UV) radiation. These harmful substances mix with the salts, toxins and oils excreted by the skin every day, in addition to the lifeless skin cells shed by the body. Precisely speaking, exfoliation involves gently chafing the older layers of the skin using brushes, sisal mitt or a loofa sponge (also called a vegetable sponge). Exfoliation also helps to accelerate the detoxification process by means of augmented blood circulation, revitalizing the skin and opening up the skin pores. It is essential for people using exfoliation to take a shower prior to starting their exercise schedule.
Ideally, you undertake light exercises for about 20 minutes before beginning the detoxification session. In case you have been leading a sedentary life, you may possibly require increasing your exercise time gradually. For instance, undertaking a mild cardiovascular workout like walking on treadmill or a stationary bike, whichever is tolerable, is useful. So is rebounding (for instance, hopping on a trampoline) for anything between three and five minutes daily. When you undertake rebounding, it helps to promote lymph circulation, which, in turn, facilitates getting the body rid of toxic substances. Drink no less than two glasses (each glass having a capacity to hold 8 ounce liquid) of water while you are exercising.
Once you have done with the exercise, you should go into the sauna. Provided you are somewhat healthy and can tolerate heat to some extent, you should spend 10 minutes in the sauna initially. On the other hand, if you cannot tolerate heat, suffer from chronic ailments or endure several chemicals sensitivities, your initial sauna time should be five minutes and this can be increase by five minutes every day. The maximum time you can spend in a sauna should not be more than 30 minutes to 45 minutes, as this is enough to promote sufficient sweating, accompanied by release of toxic substances from the body. At the same time, you should ensure that the temperature inside the sauna should be in the range of 140°F and 150°F to ensure that it is safe as well as tolerable for ailing people and also individuals who are burdened with excessive toxin load.
While you are perspiring in a sauna, ensure that you replenish the body fluids lost through sweating. This can be done by drinking 8 oz of water at 15 minute intervals while you are still in your sauna. Keep drinking more water even after you have come out of the sauna, because this will facilitate your kidneys to eliminate toxins.
Following the sauna, it is necessary to take a cleansing shower to rinse out the toxic substances released while you were in the sauna and also to prevent the body from absorbing these substances again. Ensure that you also rinse your hair thoroughly. Toxic substances that are released through sweating may cause reactions in other people using the sauna or the exercise room. You should also remove the towels used in the sauna immediately and send them for washing. You need to do the same with towels used to dry your body after a hot shower, because they will be saturated with the toxins excreted from your body.
It is suggested that you go for a massage, physical therapy or any other bodywork after the hot shower, as it will help to unwind the muscles and also promote blood circulation. In turn, these will help to cleanse the body. Deep tissue massage or lymph drainage undertaken physically is especially helpful for mobilizing the toxins in the body. In fact, you should rest your body for some time after you have completed your session in the sauna. Your body requires remaining quiet for some time to regulate as well re-balance itself.
Taking appropriate dietary supplements help cleansing the body through a sauna program, especially when you take enough of foods rich in antioxidants. Oral ingestion of oils aids in binding the toxins in the body, while the bile and the liver get rid of them. In fact, it is essential to seek advice and help from a competent and qualified healthcare practitioner while deciding on the appropriate balance of these nutritional supplements. It is invaluable for people undergoing a detoxification program in a sauna. Nevertheless, if you are unable to avail the services of a healthcare practitioner, you may take the dietary supplements listed below every day.
Calcium: Take 1,000 mg of this mineral supplement daily.
Niacin: Also called vitamin B3, the initial dose of this nutriment should be 100 mg daily and you can increase the dosage by 100 mg every day till the total dosage reaches 1,000 mg. It is important that you should only use the short-acting type of this B vitamin.
Vitamin A: This vitamin should be taken in dosage of 5,000 IU (international units).
Vitamin B complex: The ideal dosage is taking 2 capsules of this vitamin - each capsule enclosing 50 mg of nearly all the B vitamins.
Vitamin B1: The standard dosage of this vitamin for people undergoing sauna program for detoxification is anything between 250 mg and 500 mg, in addition to the amount of vitamin B1 taken through vitamin B complex capsules.
Vitamin C: You should take no less than 1,000 mg of this vitamin daily and gradually increase the dosage to a level up to your bowel tolerance.
Vitamin D: This vitamin should be taken in dosage of 400 IU (international units) every day.
Vitamin E: The ideal daily dosage of this vitamin is 400 IU (international units).
Magnesium: Ideally, people undergoing sauna sessions should daily take anything between 500 mg and 1,000 mg of this essential mineral.
Multi-mineral supplement: Take one or two multi-mineral capsules every day to restore the vital minerals, apart from those mentioned above, which are lost through perspiration while you are using a sauna.
If it is possible to get the services of a professional healthcare practitioner who can supervise the detoxification program and also if your schedule permits it, you should undergo sauna sessions for anything between six to eight weeks. In this case, you will require following maintenance programs for your sauna at least once or twice every week with a view to avoid build up of toxins. However, if you are unable to get a healthcare expert to supervise your sauna program, you should not undergo sauna sessions more than thrice every week.
It has been found that a number of people suffer from skin reactions while they are undergoing detoxification programs in a sauna. These reactions may be of various types - including itching, burning, small abscesses, eczema, and even hives (urticaria). In addition, some people may also experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, mental confusion, panic attacks, anxiety, as well as irritable bowels that may be attributed to the xenobiotics or foreign chemical substances, which are released from the body through sweating during a sauna session. There are others who complain that they have suffered from symptoms that are similar to those experienced by people who have directly come in contact with xenobiotics. It is also possible to successfully treat such reactions caused by detoxification processes by using buffered vitamin C (an amalgamation of vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, a type of potassium). Although such reactions will make you feel uncomfortable, they are a sure sign of the fact that your detoxification program is progressing in the right way.
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