Toxin In The Body: The Effects Are Harmful
Detoxification is the act of removing a harmful substance from the body, according to the definition of the word from the Merriam Webster dictionary. In an article by the New York Times it was reported that two major medical organizations – the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Endocrine Society – released a warning about unregulated and toxic substances often times found in common household products. The medical warning focused on endocrine disrupters, or chemicals that mimic sex hormones, which confuse the body. Experts say endocrine disrupters are found in makeup, shampoos, plastics, pesticides, and cash register receipts, among other items. Medical organizations warn that the unregulated substances found in common household items are sometimes connected to health issues such as obesity, infertility, diabetes, genital deformities and breast and prostate cancers. Furthermore, doctors have been finding more and more symptoms of toxicity in people over the years including memory loss, fatigue, metabolic syndrome, hormone imbalances, obesity, and sleep disturbances, according to an article published by the Huffington Post. The article goes on to report that when our body’s liver is overwhelmed with toxins it is not able to function fully, in order to perform its job. The liver cannot easily break down fat soluble hormone disruptors or produce the anti-oxidants that help with preventing cancer. Furthermore, when the liver is busy detoxifying alcohol, it cannot perform the task it needs to do as well either. Additionally, the article goes on to report that toxins that are fat soluble sit in your body fat and a process called glucuronidation is what releases those toxins from cells. When glucuronidation happens, toxins are made water soluble and can then be eliminated by your kidneys. When toxins are made water soluble they are also released from the body through sweat. Regular sauna sits may be beneficial to releasing toxins through sweat
Sauna Sits- A New Use of an Old Practice
Although saunas have gained quickly in popularity in recent years, the use of saunas dates back thousands of years in cultures around the world, most recently the discovery of a bath house in Scotland dating back to the Bronze Age, around 2000 B.C., as reported in an article by the Observer. According to Harvard Health Publications, the Mayans used sweat houses approximately 3,000 years ago. In recent years, fire departments around the United States have been turning to regular sauna use in order to help firefighters remove toxins from their bodies they may have been exposed to when responding to a fire. In an article released by the International Association of Fire and Rescue Service, it was reported that a five-year study of nearly 30,000 firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths. Fire departments in both Texas an Indiana have incorporated saunas into their departments. When firefighters return from a call, they rinse off in the shower, get into some gym clothes and sit on a stationary bicycle inside a sauna. Fire department officials say this is part of a renewed effort to combat health concerns within the profession.
Sweating Out Toxins
Traditional saunas use heat to warm the air around you, while an infrared sauna heats your body directly. Infrared saunas are one of the few mediums that provide infrared heat in a controlled environment. Infrared heat is an invisible electromagnetic wave with a wavelength longer than that of visible light that helps improve blood flow. Saunas cause vigorous sweating and an increased heartrate, similar to the affects triggered by moderate exercise. If you cannot tolerate the heat of a conventional sauna, a more accessible way to achieve these affects would be through an infrared sauna because they produce the same results at lower temperatures. There are scientific studies that support the theory that lead, mercury, arsenic, among other toxins are released through the excretory pathway of sweat. A study released by the Journal of Environmental and Public health showed that heating the body increases the kidney and liver’s detoxification work, which helps aid in greater overall removal of toxins from the body. Furthermore, the rates of expulsion of heavy metals through sweat could match or exceed urinary excretion. As research continues to grow revealing the positive effects sauna sits have on the body, it is no wonder that the popularity of saunas are growing and can be found in doctor’s offices, wellness center, spas and private homes around the world. Talk to your doctor before you incorporate regular sauna sits into your health regimen. When you start with sauna sits, it is recommended that you only spend between five and 10 minutes for your first session. Once you get more acclimated to the heat, you can slowly increase your sauna sits to up to about 20 minutes. In addition to limiting the time spent in a sauna, experts also advise to avoid combining alcohol consumption with sauna use. According to a year-long study of people in Finland who experienced sudden death showed that the person had a sauna within the last three hours in 1.8 percent of cases and in the last 24 hours in 1.7 percent of cases. Many of these people had also consumed alcohol. Instead, no matter the type of sauna you use, it is recommended that you drink about two to four glasses of water after a sauna sit in order to replace the fluids lost from sweating.
Resources: Nicholas Kristof, “Contaminating Our Bodies With Everyday Products,” The New York Times, November 28, 2015; Rose Kumar, M.D., “The Importance of Detoxification for Health,” The Huffington Post, March 4, 2016; “US Fire Departments Turning to Detox Saunas To Fight Off The Cancer Threat- But Are They Effective?,” CTIF, April 8, 2018; Margaret E. Sears, Kathleen J. Kerr, Riina I. Bray, “Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury in Sweat: a Systematic Review,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Volume 2012, Article ID 184745, 10 pages, October, 23, 2011;