DETOX: Natural Cleansing to Remove Body Toxins
Dr. Nina Mikirova
This article was first published in Health Hunters, November 2011
Have you ever washed greasy dishes without hot water or dish soap? The dishes don’t get clean, do they? When toxic metals and chemical food additives get inside your body, it takes a strong cleanser to scrub your body clean from the inside out. Our modern world is full of toxic chemicals and we are all bio-accumulators. Many of these toxins are retained in our bodies in fat cells and intercellular fluid. A significant number of these toxic chemicals are lipid or fat-soluble and tend to bioaccumulate, particularly in the fatty tissues throughout the body. Over 400 chemicals have been identified in human tissue, with 48 in adipose tissue, at least 40 in milk, 73 in the liver, and over 250 in blood plasma.
These environmental toxins are suspected of playing a role in a number of diseases, including cancer, arthritis, weakened immune system, autism, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and many more. Many doctors truly believe that the process of cleansing and detoxification is virtually one of the most powerful healing therapies. Cleansing, fasting, and detoxification, are different degrees of the same process of reducing toxin intake and enhancing toxin elimination. The process is a key to health and vitality.
There are several methods of detoxification. One of the methods is chelation therapy in which chemicals, that have the ability to bind toxins and remove them, are injected into the bloodstream. In addition to synthetic agents, several natural substances are used to remove toxic metals from the body. They include: alpha-lipoic acid, sulfur-bearing amino acids found in garlic and garlic extracts, alginates, pectins, the sulfur amino acids, N-acetylcysteine and cilantro. Other popular detoxification methods include fasting, alone or with herbal therapies, and sauna therapy.
Sauna baths and steam rooms are great for removing toxins from the skin and regenerating one’s health and energy. The tradition of sauna baths goes back at least as far as ancient Rome, with the famous Roman Bath. Saunas have been a way of life in Finland for over 2000 years. One of the first written descriptions of the Finnish Sauna was in 1112. This tradition was also popular in Russia (Russian Banya), among Native Americans, and in Morocco.
Traditional saunas consist of a small room or space that is heated with a heater that sits in one corner. The heater is powered by electricity, gas, wood or other fuel. In traditional Native American sweat lodges, the space is heated with hot rocks that were previously placed in a fire. It is important that detoxification includes some type of skin cleansing, because our skin is one of our best eliminative organs. Heavy metals can be released through the skin’s pores when we sweat. Research has been done to confirm that sweating out toxins via Sauna Therapy is one of the most effective methods, as sweat contains more toxins than urine alone. It has been documented that our skin’s sweat glands when combined can perform as much detoxification as one or both kidneys.
Saunas are being used by some doctors to stimulate the release of toxins from their patients’ bodies. These chemicals are often toxic to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, and liver. “Sweating it out” reduces chemical stress on the body and generally leads to improved health.
A sauna is an excellent way to benefit from overheating therapy. “Give me a chance to create fever and I will cure any disease,” said the great physician Paramenides, 2,000 years ago. Fever is one of the body’s defense mechanisms and healing forces. In addition to an artificially induced fever, the sauna is specifically conducive to profuse therapeutic sweating. It is generally considered that the skin should eliminate 30% of the body waste
s by way of perspiration. Taking sauna baths regularly will help to restore and revitalize the cleansing activity of the skin.
The therapeutic property of the sauna is attributed to the following facts: overheating stimulates the metabolic processes and inhibits the growth of virus and bacteria; all vital organs are stimulated to increased activity; the body’s healing forces are aided and assisted; and the eliminative, detoxifying, and cleansing capacity of the skin is dramatically increased by the profuse sweating.
Sweat is the most important elimination route for toxins. In today’s society everyone is exposed to toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Repeated use of the sauna can help slowly restore the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. Released toxins are then eliminated from the body by perspiration and through the intestinal tract. Sauna detoxification is thought to lead to the removal of fat-soluble chemicals from the body by encouraging their elimination through sebaceous glands (microscopic glands in the skin that secrete an oily/waxy material) and sweat glands.
THE MAIN BENEFITS OF SAUNA ARE:
- Skin rejuvenation. Sauna use slowly restores elimination through the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and a major eliminative channel. In most people, it is inactive, congested and toxic. Damage to the skin can be caused by continuous use of synthetic clothing, bathing in chlorinated water, and exposure to hundreds of chemicals. Excessive sympathetic nervous system activity and negative emotions cause blood to be withdrawn from the skin, contributing to inactivity of the skin.
- Enhanced sweating. Sweating in a sauna is a by-product of applying heat to the body. The sweating process gently and safely helps eliminate all heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Medical studies demonstrate that most toxins can be eliminated through the skin, relieving the burden on the kidneys and liver. Sweating during sauna therapy is a great way to reduce the fluid levels in the blood, causing the toxin rich intercellular fluid to be available for detoxification. Sweating increases dramatically in most people after several months of sauna use.
- Exercise benefits. Saunas provide many of the benefits of exercise with much less expenditure of energy. These include enhanced circulation and oxidation of the tissues. Repeated sauna use can lower elevated blood pressure and improve the elasticity of the arteries. Saunas are helpful for cardiovascular rehabilitation, arthritis, allergies, skin conditions and chemical sensitivity. Cholesterol level mean reduction was found after sauna therapy. The sauna therapy resulted in improvements in psychological test scores.
- Decongesting the internal organs. Heating the body powerfully shunts blood toward the skin to dissipate heat. This decongests the internal organs and greatly stimulates circulation. The sauna has an effect on oxygenating and hydrating the cells and organs, and improving circulation. Sinuses, joints and many other tissues benefit greatly.
- Fever therapy (hyperthermia) for infections. Our bodies naturally develop a fever when we are ill in order to enhance our metabolism and to help destroy viruses. Raising body temperature powerfully assists the body to kill parasites such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It helps people with low body temperature to fight chronic infections in the sinuses, ears, eyes, bladder, throat, and intestines.
- Tumor cells and mutated cell elimination. Hyperthermia also helps to kill abnormal cells. Toxin-burdened cells and tumors are weaker than normal cells and tolerate heat poorly. Raising body temperature hastens their death. Though not a conventional method, hyperthermia is a researched therapy for cancer. Heat also disables or kills cells that have been mutated by radiation or damaged by other toxins.
- Inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system. This is a tremendous benefit not offered by many therapies. It enables the body to relax, heal and regenerate itself much faster, causing recovery from many types of ailments.
- Elimination of fat cell store toxins. Most environmental contaminants are fat soluble. Thus they have an affinity for body lipids or fatty tissue. Sauna therapy increases metabolism, which burns fat for energy, releasing some toxins for removal. The body uses metabolic systems, particularly the liver, to convert fat-soluble substances into water-soluble chemicals to facilitate excretion. The physical heat from the sauna helps liquefy fat, further breaking down the chemical lock on the toxic molecules. It is this “fat sweat” that makes saunas so efficient at eliminating toxins.
- Elimination of toxic metals from the body. Concentrations of zinc, copper, iron, nickel, cadmium, lead, manganese, sodium, and chloride were determined after collections utilizing a total body wash down technique (sweating in sauna). The results demonstrated that the concentrations of nickel and cadmium in sweat were higher than those reported for urine, with similar results for lead. The loss of toxic trace metals in sweat could have therapeutic importance.
Saunas are safe for most people as long as the sauna user follows a few simple rules: stay inside the sauna for no more than 30 minutes at a time; lie down or sit for at least 10 minutes after using the sauna; make sure you drink plenty of mineralized water before and after the sauna; always relax after a sauna session to allow the body to readjust. While using the sauna, it is important to take frequent showers in order to cool down as well as to remove substances from the skin and prevent their re-absorption. Some people feel fatigue after sessions, and this is normal. Patients often experience general health improvements upon completion of sauna therapy, such as increased mental clarity, restored energy levels, fewer allergies, improved sleeping patterns, and lowered blood pressure.
There has been demonstrable evidence of restored immune functions as well. In a German study, 22 kindergarten children who took a weekly sauna
were compared with a control group in which the children took no saunas. The children were followed for 18 months and a careful record was made of their incidence of ear infections, colds, and upper respiratory problems. Children who did not take saunas suffered from twice the number of sick days as their counterparts. The conclusion of this study is that children who used sauna therapy regularly have an improved resistance to infections.
Ridding your body of years of accumulated toxins is important and will help you remain healthy. The Riordan Clinic recommends infrared sauna therapy, chelation, and guided detoxification programs as effective ways to remove toxins that have accumulated in the body. To find out if any of these therapies are for you, make an appointment with a Riordan Clinic physician today by calling 316-682-3100.