Aubree Steen, FNTP
As most of y’all may know, we decided to add an infrared sauna to our health arsenal here at the practice. It’s complimentary to our members, as the benefits have impressed us tenfold. With our patients, we utilized infrared sauna to mobilize unwanted toxins (including mycotoxins), improve circulation, boost growth hormones, reduce dementia, and more.
An infrared sauna is different than a traditional sauna. Infrared saunas don’t heat the air surrounding you. They use infrared lamps that warm your body directly. Due to their efficiency, they can operate a lower temperature and achieve better results! The beauty about infrared is that it does more than just make us sweet. It promotes cellular autophagy, improves circulation, and has pretty endless health benefits. They’ve been able to prove that within 30 minutes of sauna bathing (sitting in an infrared sauna), reduces blood pressure and increases vascular compliance. Furthermore, their heart rate was increased to a similar pattern as it would be in a medium-intensity exercise.
JAMA Internal Medicine conducted a study of 2,315 healthy middle-aged Finnish men for 20 years. They used the sauna 4-7 times per week for 20 years. At the end of the study, they reduced their cardiovascular disease mortality by 50% and all-cause mortality by 40% compared to those who utilized the therapy once per week. Incredible, right?
Dr. Jari Laukkanen is a cardiologist and leader in sauna innovative therapies, and eloquently summarized some of the top benefits of sauna use for us:
- boosts growth hormone up to 200-300% after a workout. working out muscle with strength training followed by sauna use primes IGF1 and BDNF – those growth and brain neurotropic factors.
- reduces all cause mortality by 40%
- the stress from heat activates heat shock proteins, which are a signaling pathway. these repair misfolded proteins and prevent aggregation that can lead to damaged DNA, oxidative stress, and Alzheimer’s.
- releases endorphins/improves mood to make you happy!
- when used with cold contrast, it improves cardiovascular tone and vitality.
- used as a direct treatment for mental health, lessening physical pain, improving social interactions, and even relaxing the body.
- used as a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain
- reduces Alzheimer’s 65%
- improves endothelial function
So, who shouldn’t use a sauna?
Contraindications for a sauna including: children, the elderly, people with cardiovascular conditions such as hyper/hypotension, congestive heart failure, impaired coronary circulation), diabetes, Parkinsons’, MS, pregnancy, fever, active infections, surgical metal or silicon implants, pharmaceutical drugs (barbiturates, narcotics, beta blockers, antihistamines, diuretics), alcohol, and recreational drugs. Please consult a healthcare provider before jumping into the sauna.
How should I start to use a sauna?
So, start slow! If you’ve never used a sauna before, it’s best to get acclimated. At our practice, we can start you off at 85 degrees, slowly increasing to a max of 131 degrees. You want to start slow, at 20 minutes or so 4 to 7 times a week. You can increase to 30 or 45 minutes if tolerated over time. For the advance, jump in hot and start to sweat like you’re a professional athlete in the Sahara. It’s addictive.
Should I take any supplements?
Yes, please! You’ll start to mobilize toxins as you’re in the sauna. You’ll want to take 500mg of liposomal glutathione (our favorite and most effective brand is Essential Pro), then finish with a vial of Quicksilver’s Hypertonic. It contains 78 trace minerals that fully replenish any minerals and electrolytes you may have lost during the sauna session.