Saunas are heat therapy treatments that have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and improve health. There are several different types of saunas, including traditional dry saunas, infrared saunas, and steam saunas.

One of the primary ways that saunas support detoxification is by increasing sweating. We discussed on the previous page that sweating aids the body in eliminating waste products and toxins through the skin. When we sweat, we release a variety of toxins and impurities, including heavy metals like lead and mercury, environmental pollutants like phthalates and BPA, and other chemicals that have accumulated in the body.

In addition to increasing sweating, saunas may also promote detoxification by increasing blood flow and lymphatic flow. We also discussed these benefits in the exercise chapter . Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow to the skin and other organs. This increased blood flow can help to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells, while also carrying away waste products and toxins.

Types of Sauna

Dry Sauna

Dry saunas, also known as Finnish saunas, are heated to high temperatures (usually between 170-190°F) using an electric or wood-fired stove. The dry heat causes the body to sweat profusely, which can help to eliminate toxins and impurities through the skin.

Infrared Sauna

An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses infrared lamps to heat the body directly, rather than heating the air around the body, as traditional saunas do. Infrared saunas emit infrared radiation, which is absorbed by the skin and penetrates deeper into the body’s tissues, producing a range of health benefits, including supporting detoxification.

Similar to traditional saunas, infrared saunas encourage sweating, which can aid in the elimination of toxins.

Infrared radiation penetrates deeper into the body’s tissues than traditional saunas, which can lead to increased blood flow and oxygenation to the tissues. This increased circulation can help support the body’s natural detoxification processes by delivering nutrients and oxygen to the cells and carrying away waste products and toxins.

Infrared radiation has been shown to stimulate the production of heat shock proteins, which are proteins that help protect cells from damage and aid in the elimination of toxins. Heat shock proteins are produced in response to stressors such as heat and radiation, and studies have suggested that they may play a role in supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Steam Sauna

A steam sauna, also known as a steam room, is a type of sauna that uses moist heat to create a high-humidity environment. The temperature in a steam sauna typically ranges from 100-120°F, and the humidity can reach 100%. Steam saunas induce sweating and promote the elimination of toxins.

In addition to supporting detoxification through sweating, steam saunas may also have other health benefits. The moist heat in steam saunas can help open up the pores, increase blood flow, and promote relaxation. Some studies have suggested that steam saunas may have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

Furthermore, the high humidity in steam saunas can help soothe respiratory conditions such as asthma and allergies by moisturizing the airways and promoting easier breathing. Steam saunas may also help alleviate muscle and joint pain by increasing blood flow and promoting relaxation.

Other Types of Hydrotherapy

  1. Contrast hydrotherapy: This involves alternating between hot and cold water to stimulate circulation and support detoxification. The heat from the hot water dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow, while the cold water constricts blood vessels and helps to flush out toxins.
  2. Foot baths: Immersing the feet in warm water with added salts, essential oils, or other natural ingredients can help to draw toxins out of the body through the feet. This can also promote relaxation and improve circulation.
  3. Colon hydrotherapy: This involves using water to flush out the colon and remove waste and toxins from the body. Colon hydrotherapy should only be performed by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
  4. Hot springs and mineral baths: Natural hot springs and mineral baths are rich in minerals and trace elements that can support detoxification and overall health. The heat and buoyancy of the water can also promote relaxation and relieve stress.
  5. Hydrotherapy showers: These showers use water pressure and temperature to stimulate circulation and promote detoxification. They may involve alternating between hot and cold water or using pulsating water jets to massage and stimulate the body.