INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY
by Lawrence Wilson, MD
April 2011, The Center For Development
As a holistic physician, I am ever searching for better ways to heal the body that are safe, inexpensive, and powerful enough to handle today’s health disasters. Over the past four years, I have incorporated infrared lamp saunas as a healing and detoxification modality. Rarely have I seen such an impressive aid for healing many diverse conditions.
To learn more about the differences between far infrared and near infrared saunas, click on this link: Near Infrared Versus Far Infrared Saunas.
The infrared lamp sauna was first used about 100 years ago. The electric light bulb had just been invented by Thomas Edison. Early units made use of 40 small regular bulbs. It was found to remove toxins faster than the traditional saunas available. However, it is not well known or understood well at all.
The following is an introduction to a large subject. The following is an excerpt from the book, Sauna Therapy, also available on this site. This provides much more depth, more complete plans, protocols, cautions, case histories and much more.
TYPES OF SAUNAS
· Traditional saunas consist of a small room or space that is heated with a heater that sits in one corner. The heater is powered by electricity, gas, wood or other fuel. In traditional native American sweat lodges, the space is heated with hot rocks that were previously placed in a fire.
· Far infrared saunas use ceramic or metallic elements for heating that mainly emit in the far infrared range. These are usually small electric heating elements that are spread around the sauna space. Some newer ones instead use large sheets of black carbon material that is electrified to give off far infrared energy. All of these, however, tend to give off stray electromagnetic fields that may be harmful to some people.
· Infrared light saunas use incandescent infrared heat lamps for heating. They emit mainly near infrared, some middle infrared and perhaps a tiny amount of far infrared energy. This type of sauna also provides warming and stimulating color therapy. The lights emit a small amount of red, orange and yellow visible light. These particular frequencies draw energy downward in the body and can assist the digestive and eliminative organs to some degree.
While traditional saunas require high temperatures for copious sweating, infrared penetrates the skin and heats from the inside as well as on the skin. This means the air temperature in the sauna can remain cooler, yet one sweats plenty at this lower, more comfortable temperature.
The infrared lamp sauna penetrates deepest due to the fact that the heat source is all concentrated in a small area, and not due to the frequencies of the energy used. The rays may penetrate up to three inches or so, so the air temperature can stay coolest of all the types of saunas with the same effectiveness. While some people like the intense heat of the traditional sauna, many find it difficult to tolerate, especially those when feeling ill.
Near infrared is an antioxidant nutrient, activates the cells, supports metabolic processes and decouples toxins from water molecules. Near infrared is helpful for wound healing and cellular regeneration as well. Near infrared frequencies can also act as amplifiers of other frequencies that are in the vicinity of the heat lamps.
SUPERVISION AND SAFETY
Supervision during a sauna therapy program is helpful. The presence of an attendant or friend close by is also most helpful if you have any type of health condition.
Removing drugs from tissue storage may cause flashbacks or temporary drug effects, the same as when you took the drug. If you have used LSD or other psychotropic drugs, have an attendant near by, as a few have experienced flashbacks or even full-blown LSD trips. In addition, follow the basic safety procedures below:
· Do not take high-dose niacin and do not exercise before using the sauna. Some doctors recommend this because it is the method used in the Hubbard ‘Clear’ sauna detoxification program. However, we find that the niacin is very toxic at high doses. It remains in the body for years, literally. Also, exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is ultimately not helpful in our view.
· Drink 8-16 ounces of only distilled or spring water before a sauna session. I do not recommend any other type of drinking water at this time.
· Also, to replace minerals lost in sweating I only recommend taking kelp (a few large capsules daily) and a good quality sea salt used with cooking. The finest sea salt for most people is called Hawaiian Bamboo Jade sea salt. It is available from www.thespicelab.com. I never recommend drinking water with salt in it. I do not recommend any other mineral supplements or ‘cocktails’ at this time. Most other mineral products are not natural supplements, so they are missing many minerals. Others that are from various earth sources contain too many toxic metals. Kelp contains some toxic metals, but is high in alginates that help to bind and remove the toxic substances in the kelp.
· To prepare for your sauna session, you may preheat a near infrared sauna to about 100 degrees F. or about 40 degrees C. Do not wear much clothing in a near infrared sauna so that the rays will penetrate the skin. A bikini bathing suit is fine, however, if needed. Otherwise do not wear clothing.
· Begin with only 20 minutes in the sauna. After a few weeks, only if you feel well enough to do so, you may increase to 30 or even 40 minutes. Never begin with sessions longer than 20-minutes once a day because this can cause massive healing reactions that are unpleasant and even dangerous.
· If debilitated or very heat sensitive, begin with 15 minutes or less in the sauna. Wipe off your sweat every few minutes if you wish with a small towel. Always leave a sauna at once if you feel very faint, if you stop sweating, or if your heart starts to race.
· Shower off or you can towel off if you do not have time for a shower, although showering is best. Use as little soap as needed. An excellent soap and shampoo is J.R. Liggett’s Bar Shampoo, which can be used as a soap as well. It is available in health food stores or on the internet.
· Always relax after a sauna session to allow the body to readjust. Always rest for 10 to 15 minutes after a sauna session. Do not go right back to daily activities.
· It is best to use a sauna first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. These are the times one is most relaxed and it will be most effective. The more one relaxes, the more one will sweat.
· Always consult a health professional if you have a chronic illness and are not sure about sauna use. However, we have found no problems with using a sauna with people who have diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Near infrared sauna sessions are fabulous for those with cancer. To read more about this, read Cancer And AlternativeTherapies.
· Pregnant women and children under five should avoid saunas. Young children must be accompanied by an adult.
· Continue prescribed medication while taking saunas, unless directed otherwise.
· Use a sauna twice a week to twice a day. However, always begin with a maximum of one session daily for no more than one-half hour. If one is very debilitated, begin with once a week. Work up to daily use as you are able to do so.
· Healing reactions are temporary symptoms that occur as toxic substances are eliminated and chronic infections heal. Symptoms vary from mild odors, tastes or rashes are very common and usually pass quickly. Some people feel great fatigue after sessions and this is normal. Some people have bowel changes, aches, pains or headaches.
· Old infections may flare up as they are healed due to repeated sauna use. Usually only rest and natural remedies are needed to help infections resolve faster.
· Almost all healing symptoms are benign and will pass quickly. Consult a knowledgeable practitioner if any cause concern.
· Much more about sauna protocols, cautions, contraindications and other information is found in Sauna Therapy by Dr. Wilson, available from this website or from other book sellers.
GETTING STARTED WITH A SAUNA
I would like to help set up a near infrared sauna in every home. Here are several options:
1. Buy the near infrared sauna we offer. It is a kit that assembles in about an hour and works very well indoors. Click here for more on this sauna.
2. Buy a near infrared sauna from several other sauna builders around the nation and the world. Click here for a list of others offering near infrared saunas.
3. Build your own near infrared sauna. This website offers:
· Free sauna plans.
· A book, Sauna Therapy, with many more plans.
· Sauna parts, such as a fully wired electrical unit with three heat lamps that can be placed in a closet or other enclosed space. Call 1 (888) 330-6456 for more information.
· Convert a traditional sauna or a far infrared sauna to a near infrared light sauna. See below for directions.
CONVERTING A TRADITIONAL OR FAR INFRARED SAUNA TO A NEAR INFRARED LAMP SAUNA
A near infrared light sauna offers wonderful benefits not available in a traditional or far infrared type of sauna including color therapy, near-infrared healing energy and other beneficial frequencies.
If you already own a traditional sauna or a far infrared sauna and wish to convert it by adding the infrared heat lamps, this can be done in most cases. There are a few requirements and a few cautions.
1.Your sauna needs to be close to or greater than 48 inches long in one dimension. This way you will be sure to be able to sit far enough away from the lamps for comfort. You could make a hole in the wall of the sauna and recess the lamps, but this is much harder and may not work well.
2. We recommend modifying the bench arrangement in a traditional or far infrared sauna. Thus, the bench must be removable for the best conversion although this is not absolutely necessary.
Since one needs to rotate in the electric light sauna, it is best to remove the bench and place a small bench in the middle of the sauna so you can rotate in all directions most easily.
You may still use the original heating system that came with your sauna to help preheat your sauna. Once it has warmed up, you can leave it on or perhaps just use the lamps for heating.
NOTES ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFRARED HEAT LAMPS AND SIMPLE RED LIGHT BULBS
It is the infrared range, not the red color that is important. Red light, in fact, is harmful, but not infrared. There is a little red in the infrared heat lamps, but not much, in fact. It is mostly orange and yellow with a little red and mostly infrared coming from the lamps. This is subtle but important to point out.
I spoke with a woman who experienced this. She shined a red heat lamp on her puppies and noticed how calm and happy they became. Then she used just a red lamp from the store. Then animals did not like it at all. She concluded there was a difference in the lights, but she did not know what it was.
Here is the difference. Infrared looks like red to the eye. It is different, however, and the heat lamp is “tuned” to produce a lot of infrared with a special filament design. In contrast, a red light bulb is just an incandescent lamp with a red filter. They are quite opposite in their effects.
Infrared is healing, while red is highly irritating and stimulating. If one sat in sauna with just red lights, many would hate the sauna. Instead, most people report they are calmed and healed by the infrared sauna frequencies. The small bit of red light does not bother them.
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