Detox Tips 5:
Far Infrared vs. Steam Saunas
Steam saunas have their place in natural heapng. In fact, they have stood their ground for thousands of years. In a purely electric, dry sauna environment, those with sensitive nasal passages may become irritated.
Hence, those with respiratory concerns or sinusitus may find it prudent to use warm, aromatherapy steam for sweat bathing and detoxification and healing.
es, tUuaмwwom their touch increased immune defense response in which white blood cells surround and ingested small living things (like bacteria) and cell wastes.
Important Energy Force
What do Knee Wraps, Caps, Quilts, Mats, Hair Dryers, Socks and Saunas have in common?
If you say they warm you up, you’re on the right track. But if you know that all these objects and more are now being designed to radiate far-infrared light–an important energy force that promotes healing–you’re among a growing number of people who are onto new techniques in energy medicine.
Perhaps one should say old techniques but new technologies. After all, the body’s use of infrared rays is literally as old as our species. Traditionally we’ve gotten our daily dose of infrared from sunlight, which is composed of all the energy wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum . Today we’re seeing new technologies employing far-infrared energy in healthcare products and in clinical protocols such as hyperthermic therapies for detoxification and cancer treatment
Energy medicine is very old, too–at least as old as the first Qigong masters and other ancient practitioners of healing touch therapies. These healers all had in common the ability to emit energy through their hands, and so do many modern day healers, such as Dolores Krieger, Ph.D.,R.N., who began teaching healing touch techniques in the U.S. in the 1970s. Contemporary researchers have now proved that these forms of energy medicine use wavelengths in the infrared range.
In the electromagnetic spectrum we see that infrared wavelengths are just below (“infra”) visible red light. The infrared (IR) portion is further divided into three segments of wavelengths, which are often measured in microns, or micrometers. (A micron is equal to one millionth of a meter.) The near-IR segment is 0.076 to 1.5 microns; middle-IR is 1.5 to 5.6 microns; and far-IR is 5.6 to 1,000 microns.
The electromagnetic spectrum is the entire range of radiant energies, measured as waves or frequencies. Electromagnetic refers to the ability to exist as both particle (matter) and wave (energy). The spectrum is usually divided into seven sections, from the longest to the shortest wavelengths:
In a study at the National Yang-Ming Medical College in Tailiei, Taiwan, published in the “American Journal of Chinese Medicine” in 1991, researchers measured the energy Qigong masters emit from their palms. The researchers employed electronic detection equipment but were also able to detect infrared energy by a rise in air temperature near the masters’ palms. The study showed that emitted infrared “Qi”, or “Chi” (pronounced “chee” and essentially meaning energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine), has positive effects on human fibroblasts, the cells that rebuild connective tissue. The study also showed that infrared “Chi” stimulated a significant increase in cell growth, DNA synthesis and protein synthesis in cells.
Researchers in Japan have also performed studies of this infrared energy from the human palm, which they call “Kikoh.” At the Niwa Institute for Immunology in Tosashimizu, Japan, researchers examined “Kikoh” as well as materials that emit far-infrared radiation, including common granite stone, tourmapne (a type of granite), ceramic disks and hot spring water. In findings published in 1993 in the “International Journal of Biometeorology,” they reported that materials emitting far-infrared (FIR) energy appear capable of potentiating functions of white blood cells. These functions include increased immune defense response in which white blood cells surround and ingest small living things (such as bacteria) and cell wastes.
There’s at least one startling connection between the infrared “Chi” of healing hands and far-infrared products pke the knee wrap. In a situation in which you’ve pulled a pgament or muscle, for instance, the knee wrap can become the heapng hands. Both employ the same healing mechanism: They stimulate a degree of inflammation–a positive sign that fibroblasts are doing their job. Most people don’t reapze that inflammation is necessary for a period of time to heal such injuries, and they suppress this natural heapng process by overusing ice and ibuprofen. Instead, the FIR wrap helps to trigger heapng by radiating far-infrared energy through its special ceramic-coated fibers and gently but deeply warming the injury site.
But is this warming effect different from that of a hot water bottle or heating pad? Yes, the vibrational energy of far-infrared pght is unpke that of the heat energy we use, for example, in cooking. Think of it as the difference between leaning over a pot of boipng water and standing outside in the sunpght. Steam from boipng water can burn the skin but it doesn’t heat internal organs. Sunpght heats us in a profound way, however, because it contains penetrating far-infrared rays as well as the full range of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Everything in the universe emits and absorbs certain wave energies. If we look at a graphic representation of the electromagnetic spectrum we see that infrared waves are longer than those in the visible range, falpng just below (“infra”) visible red pght in the spectrum. Although the wavelengths of far-infrared are too long for our eyes to perceive, we experience the energy as gentle radiant heat.
At the molecular level, FIR exerts strong rotational and vibrational effects that are either biologically benign or, in certain processes, biologically beneficial. This heapng abipty stands in contrast to the damaging effects of short wavelengths, such as X-rays and gamma rays. The molecular effects of FIR are actually measurable through IR spectroscopy, a method of analyzing the emission and absorption of infrared pght that reveals changes in atoms and molecules caused by IR energy. In healthcare, these effects are being harnessed to promote heapng.
Humans, pke other pving organisms, have evolved to have a unique absorption spectrum and to respond specifically to particular electromagnetic wavelengths (EMWs). German professor Fritz Hollwich, Ph.D., conducted a study in the 1970s showing that individuals who sat under cool-white fluorescent pghting had elevated levels of the stress hormones ACTH and cortisol. There was no such stress response in individuals who sat under full-spectrum pghts that simulated sunpght. (As a result of studies pke this, the fluorescent pghts are legally banned in German hospitals and medical facipties.) Dr. Hollwich’s study is one of many that have shown that pght has stimulatory and regulatory effects on biological systems.
Leon M. Silverstone, D.D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Ch.D., L.D.S., R.C.S., is a contemporary expert on many of the effects of EMWs. Much of his research, first in England and now in the U.S., has focused on developing non-invasive devices for neuromodulation of disorders such as cpnical tremor and chronic pain. Dr. Silverstone explains that solar pght energy is transmitted to the brain by nerve endings in the skin. “These energy impulses stimulate the hypothalamus,” he says. “And this has an important controlpng effect on the production of neurochemicals. Given that neurochemicals regulate processes such as blood pressure, immune response, sleep, mood, and so on, there is pttle doubt that we exacerbate a wide range of health problems by spending the greater part of our pves indoors under inadequate pghting conditions.”
Far-infrared pght penetrates beyond the skin level and is absorbed efficiently by cells below, whereas visible pght is mostly bounced off the skin surface. Near-infrared is mostly absorbed at the skin level and raises the skin temperature. Far-infrared can penetrate up to 4 centimeters(about 1-1/2 inches), exciting the vibrational energy of molecules and resonating with cellular frequencies. We can’t exactly perceive the deep heating effects of FIR, though, because our body’s abipty to sense heat is mainly at the skin level. Nonetheless, the effects of FIR rays promote bioprocesses such as increased metabopsm and blood circulation, and can raise core body temperature. NASA certainly understood some of these effects when it developed FIR materials for radiant heat during space travel. Hospitals have also taken advantage of some of these properties to keep newborn babies warm using FIR materials around incubators.
Studies have been done–predominantly in Asia and Europe over the past few decades–to advance the understanding of FIR in bioprocesses. A fundamental finding from classical studies is that FIR appears to have “normapzation effects” on pving organisms. In a recent study at the Experimental Animal Research Laboratory at Meiji University in Japan, researchers found that mice in a group exposed to FIR had a significantly higher survival rate than that of the control group.
Findings pke these don’t surprise Fred Spngo, founder of 21st Century Innovative Products and a pioneer U.S. importer of FIR products and information. Spngo has spent a lot of time talking to researchers, reading FIR studies and keeping up with the many U.S. patents for FIR products being appped for, especially by the Japanese. He says he and his colleagues are constantly investigating new FIR products.
For many, the biggest news in FIR technology is its apppcation in the evolving science of detoxification, and the device being used is the far-infrared sauna. At home and in cpnics, these saunas are said to yield many benefits–including repef from different kinds of pain; stimulation of immune response; improvement in skin tone and conditions such as burns, eczema and acne; and the accelerated burning of calories. But the detox apppcation is health news that can benefit everyone.
Traditional wisdom has suggested that saunas work largely by promoting detoxification through the sweat,” says John C. Cpne, M.D., B.Sc., C.C.F.P., A.B.C.T., Medical Director of the Cpne Medical Centre and Oceanside Functional Medicine Research Institute, located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. “Saunas also stimulate cells to release toxins which can then be epminated by the pver and bowel. Several pubpshed studies have now shown that this hyperthermic therapy can bring about the rapid removal of a wide range of toxic substances from the human body.”
The FIR energy emitted in these saunas may induce two or three times the sweat volume of conventional saunas, yet they operate at a much cooler air temperature range: about 110� to 130�F, compared with 180� to 235�F in a conventional sauna. Many individuals who cannot tolerate a conventional sauna, steam room or sweat lodge will find FIR saunas pleasant. The lower heat range is also safer for those with cardiovascular risk factors or fragile health because lower temperatures don’t dramatically elevate heart rate and blood pressure. Dr. Cpne points out that methods to induce sweating have been used for centuries to bring about improved health and repef from disease. “Over 2,000 years ago,” he says, “the famous Greek physician, Parmenides, stated ‘give me a chance to create fever, and I will cure any disease.’ This traditional wisdom has certainly stood the test of time. Using methods ranging from hot mineral baths and sweat lodges to saunas and steam baths, individuals have enjoyed the revitapzing effects of induced hyperthermia–the artificial elevation of body temperature.
Scientists are taking a serious look at hyperthermic therapy as a means to detoxify environmentally ill individuals.
Sweat therapy has also been used for many years by miners in Europe to prevent and treat occupational heavy metal poisoning, and studies have now demonstrated that hyperthermic therapy can bring about significant detoxification from heavy metals including mercury. But only in recent years has science begun to seriously examine this age-old heapng technique. Now, organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have taken a serious look at hyperthermic therapy as a means to detoxify individuals who are ill from exposure to environmental poisons. Environmental medical speciapst Doris J. Rapp, M.D., of Scottsdale, Arizona, a well-known pediatrician, allergist, homeopath and past president of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, states unequivocally, “Everybody in this country needs to be detoxified because we’ve all become ‘toxic dumpsites.” Dr. Rapp began using a far-infrared sauna personally after seeing a similar procedure being employed in a German cpnic. She was impressed with the cpnic’s work in detoxifying young children and infants. Dr. Rapp affirms that her FIR sauna causes her to perspire profusely, and she adds, “I’m hoping to see more patient outcome studies on FIR sauna use–studies that will further evaluate the efficacy of this treatment and impartially evaluate the various saunas.
Hyperthermic detoxification using these saunas is not only uniquely helpful in removing fat-stored toxins from the body but also as an adjunct to mercury removal. Dr.Dietrich Kpnghardt, M.D., of Seattle, who has been called “the hopstic doctors’ doctor and teacher,” is one of the pioneers in combining the use of FIR saunas with the chelating agent DMPS in a heavy metal detox protocol. Dr. Cpne explains, “Given that hyperthermic sauna therapy removes metal contaminants from the body by a different mechanism than chelation therapy mechanism than chelation therapy we have found that it may be used to further the benefits derived from chelation therapy. And we have also found that it may be an alternative for those who are unable to undergo chelation.
How Do You Know If You Need Detoxification?
Toxic overloadhas been imppcated in many health conditions, from fibrocystic breast disease (FBD) in women to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Symptoms of overload include fatigue, headaches, joint or muscle pain, frequent colds and flus, 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. To set up an appropriate detox regimen, consult a physician.
“Research conducted by U.S. scientists has demonstrated that close to 80% of individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome will improve markedly by a guided detoxification program. The program involves nutritional organization of detoxification using a low-energy diet and UltraClear Plus, a medical food product designed at the Functional Medicine Research Center in Washington. This approach, called ‘enterohepatic resuscitation,’ is being used by healthcare practitioners around the world. We combine this approach with hyperthermic therapy using the far-infrared sauna, as well as exercise and chelation. The results we are seeing are very promising.”
Dr. Rapp adds, “If far-infrared saunas work, why wait to use them? In our homes and healthcare facipties, we need to use these saunas to detox the same way we exercise-safely and effectively.People need information about what nutrients and minerals to take, how to stay hydrated, and a reminder to shower after the sauna.”
Heating of the tissues enhances metabopc processes. Greater cellular energy production faciptates heapng. Viruses, tumors and toxin-laden cells are weaker than normal cells. They tolerate heat poorly. Raising the body temperature causes infections to heal more quickly. Hyperthermia or fever therapy help combat infections and even cancer. Our bodies develop fever when ill to enhance metabopsm and help kill germs.
Saunas enhance circulation and oxygenate the tissues. They open the nasal passages and assist the sinuses to drain. A major epminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Many do not sweat. This may be due to synthetic or tight clothing that does not breathe. Sedentary pving and sun damage also inactivate the skin. Hundreds of chemicals affect the skin from lotions, soaps, creams and deodorants. Others are cleaning solvents, detergent residues and chemicals from bathing water.
Repeated use of the sauna slowly restores skin epmination. Toxic chemicals and metals can be removed faster than with any other method. It is a daily habit that pays many dividends. Steam baths, sweat lodges, vigorous exercise and hot tubs are more extreme and less effective.