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Sauna, a Scandinavian word, is an ancient form of heat therapy that is used in many cultures around the world. The word “sauna” refers to DRY heat, although steam may be added in traditional saunas, usually by sprinkling water on hot rocks.
A sauna has two components, a heat source and an enclosure to contain the heat. The heat source may be a wood, gas or electric furnace, or hot rocks, and more recently, far infrared emitters or electric infrared lamps. Enclosures can encompass the entire body such as a sweat lodge or a sauna room. Also available are sauna enclosures which are cabinets where one’s head remains outside. And in the last 10 years, there are portable curtain enclosures that can promote enough heat in the sauna for a good physical outcome.
The basic idea of a sauna is to heat the body several degrees. The body then attempts to reduce its temperature by driving blood to the surface and by sweating. Heating the body, and the body’s response to heating, causes many beneficial physiological effects. Modern infrared adds an additional set of benefits. Color therapy provided by infrared heat lamps in an infrared lamp sauna adds even more benefits.
Sauna dramatically improves circulation and relieves internal congestion.Heating the body helps destroy bacteria, viruses and tumors. Sweating promotes the elimination of toxic metals and chemicals, radioactive particles and other toxins. The skin’s ability to eliminate poisons increases. Saunas offer many of the benefits of exercise while requiring less exertion.
Heated enclosures have been used by all indigenous cultures for thousands of years. The sauna heat bath has five primary uses:
1. Relaxation - The warm heat of a sauna relaxes the muscles and nervous system.
2. Health Maintenance - Periodic use of a sauna or sweat lodge (once a week) enhances circulation, which nourishes the glands and cleanses the skin.
3. Social Interaction - In Native American, Scandinavian, and many other cultures, the communal sauna, baths and sweat lodges are places of gathering for families and other groups.
4. Spiritual Development - Native American and other groups use the sweat lodge and heat baths for sacred ceremonies. Together with others or alone, the sauna is a marvelous place to contemplate, meditate, pray and release fears and negativity.
5. Healing - Spending from 30 minutes to several hours a day in a sauna is usually a powerful yet very safe healing modality. Standard medical therapies may focus too much on symptom relief, while ignoring deeper causes that the sauna addresses. Sauna can eliminate organic chemicals, remove toxic metals, clear biological toxins, eliminate ionizing radiation, and be used as an anti-aging therapy.
The FDA approves of saunas as therapeutic devices. Sauna therapy can be of tremendous value for a wide variety of conditions. It can be used by most people of any age. Simple but powerful, it can usually be done right in the home. Unlike hot baths and steam rooms, saunas require almost no maintenance and are simple and inexpensive to operate.
The most effective and updated version of sauna therapy is a NEAR-infrared sauna. Throwing water on hot rocks and far-infrared saunas are less effective, older methods of sauna therapy. The best near-infrared company I can find in the USA, of which Dr. Wilson approves as well, is a family company in Missouri called Sauna Space. They make a variety of near-infrared home saunas and call their most popular model a “pocket sauna” because it is compact and fits into most spaces. They serve a broad spectrum of clientele and their website clearly explains the different near-infrared options they have to offer. See www.saunaspace.com for more information.
Most of the above material is from the book “Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Heaing” by Lawrence Wilson, M.D. The book is sold on the website of Sauna Space (as well as on Amazon and other popular sites). I highly recommend it as a practical guide for therapeutic near-infrared sauna use.
Brian, the owner of Sauna Space, has been great about returning calls and answering clients questions, so don’t hesitate to call the customer service number listed on his website if you have any questions. He and his family are also completely familiar with the Nutritional Balancing program.