If you’ve read some of our past articles, you know that we write a lot about the prevalence of toxins in our modern world.
Our bodies are burdened by so many toxins on a daily basis that learning to live a detoxifying lifestyle is nearly mandatory for maintaining peak health and performance.
The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the average American has over 700 different chemicals in his or her body at any given time. 2,300 new chemicals are introduced into the commercial market every year, and the average women willingly puts 168 toxic chemicals on her body every day.
It’s easy to forget about all of these chemicals because most of them don’t cause serious short-term harm. And besides, product manufacturers and policy pundits are excellent at convincing us that there’s nothing harmful about their products and practices at all.
But none of this changes the unfortunate truth of the matter: industrial toxins left to accumulate in the body over time will undermine its defenses, inevitably leading to serious health issues like cancer, dementia, immune dysfunction, and more.
Luckily, there’s plenty of lifestyle choices you can make that supercharge the body’s detoxification mechanisms and ensure that your body is protected from damaging heavy metals and toxins. Some of them are even profoundly enjoyable, like infrared sauna therapy.
Healing with light and heat
You may already be familiar with the healing power of saunas. Besides being wonderfully rejuvenating, they can also raise levels of hormones associated with high performance, ameliorate hypertension, and reduce the incidence of illness. They’re excellent for reducing systemic inflammation, and thus work wonders for natural pain relief.
Infrared saunas take all of these benefits to an even deeper level…literally. They feature not only the detoxifying heat of normal saunas, but also a profusion of infrared rays of light, which penetrate the skin and bring healing deep into the body.
The deep detoxification process that occurs in an infrared sauna rids the body of a wide array of toxins, including hard-to-shake ones like heavy metals.
This deep detoxification process rids the body of a wide array of toxins, including hard-to-shake ones like heavy metals. A study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that sweating induced by infrared sauna therapy leads to the excretion of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
Sweating is always a great way to remove toxins from the body, but a greater quantity of toxins leaves the body when you sweat in an infrared sauna. While 95-97% of the sweat generated in a conventional sauna is water, this number drops to 80-85% in an infrared sauna (meaning that a whopping 15-20% is excreted toxins).
This is great news, because induced detoxification takes a huge burden off of the body’s immune system, and thus leaves you less vulnerable to disease and infection.
And detoxification isn’t just about preventing illness in the short-term either. Research suggests that infrared saunas and other detox practices are a great way to prevent serious health conditions like cancer.
After all, cancer originates from mutated cells in the body. The immune system would normally eliminate these cells before they become an issue, but is unable to do so when overwhelmed by external toxins. By accelerating the excretion of toxins from the body, infrared sauna therapy frees up the immune system’s resources, so that it can eradicate mutated cells before they turn cancerous.
Infrared sauna therapy has even been shown to help after the development of cancer has occurred. A study in Lancet Oncology discussed hyperthermia (heat therapy) as a promising adjunct for conventional cancer treatment. According to researchers, heat treatments like infrared sauna therapy can reduce the size of existing tumors and improve the survival rate of patients.
Other research corroborates this data, and further demonstrates that infrared saunas can directly kill cancer cells, activate the immune system’s killer cells, T-cells, and macrophages, and even improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood (which also helps inhibit cancer cell growth).
Near or far infrared?
If you’ve done any research on the subject, you’ve probably noticed that saunas come in both the near infrared and far infrared variety.
There’s a lot of confusion over the differences and potential advantages of these infrared sauna types—and the available information is further complicated by the sales gimmicks of those trying to sell you each type.
Suffice it to say that there are subtle differences between them, but that both can effectively confer the benefits discussed above. Far infrared saunas do emit low level EMF’s, though—a potential disadvantage, given that electropollution can be as toxifying as physical chemicals.
Near infrared saunas penetrate deeper into the skin, and are also characterized by a more focused, full-spectrum beam of infrared light, and thus some experts argue that they offer greater benefits.
Comparison research has not yet been conducted, however, and it’s important to remember that even the simple act of heating the body and sweating profusely for 20-30 minutes is exceptionally detoxifying. Whatever type of sauna you choose (even if you only have access to a normal, non-infrared sauna), your body is bound to benefit.