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A Holistic Approach to Detoxification

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A Holistic Approach to Detoxification

Far infrared saunas a safe an effective way to detoxify what is making us sick


By Krystle Shapiro, LMT

Health concerns are on everyone’s mind with the rise of so many symptoms and chronic conditions plaguing people today with very little resolution for long term wellness. With my background in massage therapy, especially studying anatomy, physiology, muscles, bones, and pathology, I began researching into the benefits of massage and how massage would help to alleviate many symptoms I was seeing in my clients. My studies have furthered my research into nutrition, especially the importance of detoxification, and environmental factors that create many of the causes for illness.

Several years ago I purchased a far infrared sauna with the intention of adding sauna therapy to my practice. My research about FIR saunas proved auspicious as I came to learn the value of dry heat sauna as a valuable preventive as well as curative therapy for many conditions. I wish to share with you the astounding benefits of regularly using a FIR sauna to improve health and well being. I have gathered the following information from the sources listed at the end of this article.

Light is something we all need to be well. We receive light and warmth from the sun. All living beings benefit from light and warmth, and plants require light to carry on photosynthesis. The sun emits its rays as waves of light. We understand ultraviolet light and its potential to damage our skin and vision. But other light waves are also emitted from the sun in the form of gamma rays, X-rays, visible light, and infrared.

Sunlight, natural light, is important for the human body as it stimulates the endocrine system (our autonomic or automatic system that controls breathing, digestion, body temperature, etc.), metabolic processes, and enzyme reactions. We even receive benefit from the foods we eat that are dependent upon sunlight for proper processing of nutrients, as in the example of plants requiring sunlight for photosynthesis. We understand the effects of light deprivation, especially in northern regions where low light exposure may cause some people to suffer depression, fatigue, and suppressed immune function as well as other conditions. The use of light boxes often helps people who suffer this light deprivation.

Far infrared light is natural to the human body. In fact, each of us emits FIR energy. This type of light is not seen as light, however, but rather is felt as heat. The waves are the longest in the red spectrum and have the ability to penetrate into the body and create warmth. These are the safest and most beneficial waves.

Saunas most people are familiar with are moist or wet saunas that require heating rocks and splashing water on them during a session. Oftentimes the temperature in these saunas can become quite high and may not be regulated. Overheating can occur. As well, our bodies do not sweat as profusely in wet, hot saunas as they must compete in the external moisture. In contrast, a FIR sauna is dry heat, and profuse sweating can occur with lower temperatures, for many 110-120 degrees. The reason is that FIR waves penetrate up to one and one-half inches into the body. These warming waves create a vibration within the body, exciting the energy of our molecules. This warming creates a dilation of vessels, improves the flow of fluids, and the vibration causes a breaking up of water molecules to release more oxygen into the system. As well, when our cells receive this gentle stimulation, they begin to release stored toxins which can then be eliminated by the liver and bowel. Our skin is also an organ of detoxification in the form of sweating

The human body accumulates toxins every day from air, water, and food sources. It takes a huge amount of nutrients to detoxify these substances, and oftentimes, because we all face tremendous exposure, our detoxification systems become clogged, backed up, or unable to rid these substances because it lacks the nutritional components to effectively do so (bringing into our awareness the importance of eating better foods).

Sweat therapy has been practiced around the world, but is currently gaining popularity in the United States. Many toxins are fat soluble and are drawn to sweat and expelled through the skin. And since the accumulation of toxins contributes to illness, sweating becomes a valuable consideration to practice often.

Here are some of the benefits of using a FIR sauna:

Improvement in oxygen delivery

Improvement in circulation and cardiovascular conditioning

Muscle relaxation

Reduction of pain, achiness, and discomfort

Improvement of skin tone and elasticity

Improved skin conditions from improved blood circulation and the removal of toxins improving conditions of acne, rashes, burns, skin lesions

Improvement in weight management by the burning of calories (a person can sweat as much as 500 grams in a sauna, mostly water which can be replaced with rehydration, but the fat loss remains)

Improvement with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome by the removal of toxic overloads

Another benefit of FIR sauna is that the lower temperatures are easy on the eyes and breath. It is easier to breathe in dry heat versus moist heat. Many hospitals use FIR warmers in the nursery for newborns. Research has revealed that when using a conventional sauna, sweat contains about 95 to 97 percent water. In users of a FIR sauna, sweat contained 80 to 85 percent water and the non-water portion was principally cholesterol, fat soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid. These high amounts of heavy metals will not be eliminated in sweat from normal exercise.

Toxic overload will bring on the following symptoms: fatigue, headaches, joint or muscle pain, frequent colds and flu, signs of allergy and hormonal imbalance, chemical sensitivity, sinus congestion, psoriasis and other skin conditions, loss of dexterity, insomnia, and more. Psychological symptoms include poor concentration, memory loss, mood changes, mental confusion and changes in behavior. These are great reasons to consider FIR sauna therapy as a regular part of one’s health care regimen.

I love to sit in my sauna sometimes to be quiet and meditate, sometimes to listen to music or a book on tape, or to read, often a novel, but mostly science texts about how we can improve health through massage, sauna, and proper nutrition.  I set it at 120 degrees for thirty minutes. It is always best to begin with low temperatures for a short duration to see how your body responds. Some people take a long time to sweat as their bodies become accustomed to the warming. Over time, temperature and session duration can increase. As with all new practices, it is always best to check with your medical health provider to discuss the use of sauna therapy.

With so many benefits to using a FIR sauna regularly, it becomes an affordable investment in health and well being by restoring healthy function to our physical systems, removing toxins which also reduces our acidity (a major cause of illness), and bathing us in nurturing warmth of the safest most natural kind.

Krystle Shapiro is a licensed medical massage therapist with Touchstone Massage Therapies in Sandpoint and is the founding member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council. She may be reached at 208/290-6760 or at sandpointwellnesscouncil.com.

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Sandpoint Wellness Counci Sandpoint Wellness Counci The Sandpoint Wellness Council is an association of independent, complementary wellness practitioners located in Sandpoint dedicated to holistic health care. Pictured are: Owen Marcus, Penny Waters, Robin and Layman Mize, Ilani Kopiecki, Krystle Shapiro and Mario Roxas

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