Many of us in the modern world can be exposed to toxins from various sources. The CDC routinely monitors the levels of many different types of toxins that can affect humans, including plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, and manufacturing by products. They have found that many of these toxins are present in our soil, air, and food chains (Crinnon, 2010).
Of course if you suspect you have been exposed to any toxins, you should visit your physician and get appropriate testing. It can be difficult to treat some exposures and there are a variety of ways to try and flush these out of our systems, including special diets, medications, and chelation therapy. Current research now suggests that the use of sauna can also help to eliminated toxins from our bodies.
In a systemic review of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury levels, researchers found that these toxins are present in higher levels in sweat when patients had exposure, suggesting that sweating can help to eliminate them from our bodies (Sear et al, 2012). These four chemical elements are not considered to have any beneficial effect on humans, and are probable carcinogens, with high exposures resulting in multisystemic ailments, including developmental delays in children. Exposure can result from water and food contamination, industrial processes, smoking, poor air quality, contaminated household products and toys, as well as sources such as paint and gasoline.
When Sears and colleagues (2012) reviewed several studies, they found that all these elements can be excreted via sweat, which can match or exceed the levels excreted by urine. This was especially true when these elements were absorbed through the skin from the environment. While citing the need for further clinical studies, the authors concluded after reviewing 24 published studies that sauna has great potential for assisting in detoxification of heavy metals and toxins.
While looking at pesticide levels in sweat, another study found that not only can sweat help identify the presence of pesticides (often better than blood levels), but that sweating may be a viable tool to help eliminate some pesticides from our systems (Genuis et al, 2016).
Some workers are also exposed to more types of toxins, especially emergency responders. When police officers exposed to methamphetamine were given a program of nutritional support and sauna, they had clinically significant reductions in symptoms and neurotoxicity scores (Ross & Sternquist, 2012). Firefighters have also begun using sauna as a way to detox from exposure to chemicals during their work (Rusk, 2019). There is currently a clinical trial underway by the University of Arizona to determine how sauna can specifically help firefighters (University of Arizona, 2019).
Sauna is not only relaxing, but could help you detox from the toxins we are exposed to in modern day life. The Salt Oasis Kingsport offers an infrared sauna with affordable packages for frequent use.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. Do not make any changes to your healthcare or treatment without consulting your physician.
Crinnon, WJ. 2010. The CDC fourth national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: what it tells us about our toxic burden and how it assist environmental medicine physicians. Alternative Medicine Review, Jul; 15(2): 101-9
Sears M. E., Kerr K. J., Bray R. I. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012;2012:10. doi: 10.1155/2012/184745.184745
Genuis S. J., Lane K., Birkholz D. Human elimination of organochlorine pesticides: blood, urine, and sweat study. BioMed Research International. 2016;2016:10. doi: 10.1155/2016/1624643.1624643
Ross G. H., Sternquist M. C. Methamphetamine exposure and chronic illness in police officers: significant improvement with sauna-based detoxification therapy. Toxicology & Industrial Health. 2012;28(8):758–768. doi: 10.1177/0748233711425070
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03429348 University of Arizona, 2019.