Despite many attempts to live otherwise, our bodies face a constant bombardment of toxins: Fast food, cigarettes and unnatural beverages are all obvious sources of preservatives, additives and chemicals, but the true onslaught comes from environmental pollutants in our air, water and soil. When you add poor exercise regiments to the equation, the body is simply not capable of keeping up with the removal of these toxins.
In October of 2006 National Geographic Magazine published an article titled “The Pollution Within”, in which the author, David Ewing Duncan, went on a chemical journey to find out what chemicals were lurking in his body. The results were overwhelming. Not only did he find high levels of flame retardants, pesticides, and dioxins that were perhaps acquired more recently, he even found high levels of DDE and PCBs that were likely absorbed as a child and have yet to be removed from his body. The article takes an extensive look at the astonishing levels of chemicals in our everyday environment that find their way into our bodies.
A sauna will not only aid the liver and kidneys by assisting them with the process of detoxification, in some cases it is the only way to detoxify fat stored poisons. In essence using a sauna will loosen those stored toxins, which are then deposited temporarily into the bloodstream (this is why some people who use the sauna for the first time experience a really bad head ache from the toxins entering the bloodstream). As the core of the body heats up, the blood is pumped out to the surface to be cooled. The toxins are then expelled through the pores in the sweat solution, via the body’s natural detoxification process.
This is one of the most important things to understand about what a sauna does. Instead of introducing foreign agents into your body in an attempt to cure the ailment, a sauna helps to stimulate the powerful healing and detoxification abilities that the body already has. While nothing can replace healthy living and good exercise, using a sauna can help keep your body’s defense mechanisms active and functional.
“Traditional wisdom has suggested that saunas work largely by promoting detoxification through the sweat… Saunas also stimulate cells to release toxins which can then be eliminated by the liver and bowel. Several published studies have now shown that this hypothermic therapy can bring about the rapid removal of a wide range of toxic substances from the human body.” John C. Cline, M.D., B.Sc., C.C.F.P., A.B.C.T., Medical Director of the Cline Medical Centre and Oceanside Functional Medicine Research Institute, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
When it comes to detoxification, the skin is one of the most powerful eliminative organs of the body. Unfortunately, for most people it is both overly burdened and inactive. This is what using a sauna can change. With sedentary living and the addition of chemicals to the skin through soaps, detergents, deodorants and lotions, the skin cannot carry out its designated functions. Sun damage also seriously impedes the skin’s capacity for detoxification. A sauna can increase circulation and oxygenate the skin, restoring its detoxifying properties.