We are directly and passively exposed to thousands of toxins every day. Scientific organizations, such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG), estimate that babies born today already carry as many as 200 different chemicals!
I live in Los Angeles, CA, a noticeably polluted and smoggy city, but toxins are everywhere. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, soaps, emulsifiers, house hold cleaning products, health and beauty aids, makeup, the paint on the walls in our homes, even on the furniture we have in our offices. There are literally thousands of chemicals our patients are exposed to on a daily basis and scientist and clinicians, like me, are just beginning to understand how deeply they affect the body and its ability to function optimally.
Every year, I have more and more patients coming into my practice, struggling with unexplained issues such as hormonal imbalances, allergies, depression, anxiety, eczema and a variety of autoimmune diseases. I am also finding that it is increasingly difficult to use the least invasive methods of support, like dietary interventions and lifestyle modifications, and get the results I used to.
The esteemed environmental medicine specialist, Walter Crinnion, ND, recently told me that if today’s practitioners are not considering the environmental burden on their patient’s clinical presentation, they will undoubtedly miss the true cause of the problems. Environmental toxins, from a clinical perspective, aren’t something any of us can ignore anymore.
I am a huge proponent of reducing exposure wherever it’s possible, however we don’t always have the control to eliminate all contact with environmental toxins. Education on how to reduce exposure is crucial and there are preventive and treatment strategies we can use to help our patients lighten the toxic burden.
I know this is a category of it’s own but sleep is crucial for optimizing natural detoxifying processes! Encouraging patients to create an evening routine that allows them to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night does more than just set the tone for the next day.
I also always suggest my patients:
● Eat as organic as possible
● Switch from conventional to eco- and people-friendly household cleaning products
● Change to natural or non-toxic health and beauty aids
● Consider filtering all household water sources
● Take Epsom salt baths three to four times a week
● Dry skin brush daily, five minutes brushing toward the heart
● Drink 2.5 to three liters of water daily
All these little tips add up and help even the playing field of overall body burden.
But wait, there is more! I have discovered a powerful, legitimate and innovative modality that is easy, relaxing and affordable, and helps people overcome environmental exposure: infrared saunas!
What is Infrared Therapy and How is it Different Than a Traditional Sauna?
Ever get in a car on a sunny day in winter to be surprised and relieved by the warmth? That’s the infrared light from the sun. Traditional saunas emit direct heat; an infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses light to create heat.
Infrared saunas also run at a much milder temperature. However, unlike conventional saunas, the heat of infrared saunas travels much deeper into the body. This deep heat causes a more vigorous sweat at a lower, more comfortable temperature.
Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal and detoxify. Sweat carries toxins out of the body and pushes them through the pores, which play an unexpected role in the cleansing process. Researchers have identified many toxic substances, including heavy metals, which are secreted from the body through the sweat. The more we can safely sweat (while maintaining adequate hydration), the more toxins can be released. Some studies also show sweat from infrared saunas containing high levels or arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
Neurologist Dr. Deitrich Klinghardt found that sweat of people using a conventional sauna was about 97 percent water and 3 percent toxins. Infrared saunas produced a sweat that was only 80 to 85 percent water. The remaining 15 to 20 percent was made up of heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid and fat-soluble toxins.
The benefits of infrared saunas go way beyond detoxification. Infrared saunas help our bodies release a number of toxins and other environmental chemicals. They also can help with cell health, pain relief, high blood pressure, circulation, anti-aging and even weight loss.
I should mention, not all infrared saunas are created equal. Most infrared saunas only offer far infrared heat. I actually bought a Sunlighten sauna that offers near, mid and far wavelengths.
I found that the different wavelengths can also be used for more comprehensive and specific treatments in my office. For instance:
● Near is the shortest infrared wavelength and it penetrates the skin’s surface more effectively than the other two. Scientific research shows that when delivered at the vital wavelength of 880 nm, near infrared levels promote skin renewal, cell health, pain relief and wound healing.
● The mid infrared level is a wavelength that can penetrate deeper into the body’s soft tissue where inflammation occurs. Mid infrared levels help with pain relief, improved circulation and weight loss.
● Far is the longest wavelength. The far infrared levels reach the deepest into the body, where toxins are stored. This level helps with weight loss, detoxification, blood pressure reduction and relaxation.
Infrared saunas with three independent heating mechanisms can be programmed to generate any combination of infrared wavelengths to achieve specific results. You can create specific plans for patients looking for support with: detoxification, relaxation, anti-aging, cardiovascular, weight loss, pain relief or completely customize for their current condition.
The clinical evidence surrounding infrared sauna technology makes this a smart modality to incorporate for clinical effectiveness in your own practice, and you could also use it as a revenue generator. An example of a cost effective treatment plan would be offering 40-minute session for $40. You can book up to eight sessions in an eight-hour workday. (Or 16 if you offer 30-minute sessions.) Over a few weeks, the sauna pays for itself and you have just brought in a modality that can help your patients and your community detoxify passively and truly heal from the inside out.
Environmental Working Group, November 23, 2009, Pollution in Minority Newborns: BPA and Other Cord Blood Pollutants, ewg.org.
J Environ Public Health, Sears ME1, Kerr KJ, Bray RI, Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review, 2012;2012:184745. doi: 10.1155/2012/184745. Epub 2012 Feb 22.
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