Detox Diets For Dummies
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Saunas are great for flushing out the toxins that build up in your body’s fat cells. Your kidneys are detoxification powerhouses, and the intense sweating you can enjoy while spending time in a sauna can clear out about one-third of the toxic material that your kidneys remove from your bloodstream.

Multiple studies have shown that saunas are effective in removing solvents, organic chemicals, PCBs, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metal toxins from the human body.

The health benefits of using a sauna don’t stop at detoxification, although they do fit in with the core values of a detoxified lifestyle. For instance, the high temperatures of a sauna can give your immune system a boost. The number of white blood cells that fight infections increases as much as 58 percent with the levels of increased temperature you get in a sauna. And that’s just the beginning.

Your T cells (another important part of your immune system) and antibodies can increase by as much as 2,000 percent. Also, a lot of microbes just can’t take the heat; many of them die off at temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Sauna treatments are often used to help people suffering from the common cold, and the success levels are high.

Increased temperatures also help your body to secrete endorphins, which are the “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Endorphins also make great painkillers, so it’s very common for people suffering from chronic and acute pain to get quite a bit of relief from sitting in a sauna.

Studies have shown sauna to be effective in reducing the symptoms of a range of conditions, from arthritis to chronic fatigue syndrome to fibromyalgia. Research has also supported the use of sauna to help with glaucoma, anorexia, chronic obstructive lung disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. If all that weren’t enough, saunas can even help people quit smoking and kick drug addictions.

If you spend time in a sauna, your cardiovascular system will also thank you. Here are just a few of the benefits you can get from regular sauna sessions:

  • Stronger heart muscle contractions

  • Improved function of the cells that line your arteries, which are extremely important in helping to keep cardiovascular disease at bay

  • Reduced incidence of abnormal heart beats

  • Lower blood pressure resulting from a healthy enlarging of the blood vessels

  • Increased blood plasma and number of red blood cells, which helps with oxygen distribution and increases exercise tolerance

  • Increased fat metabolism, which leads to weight loss

In addition to increased fat metablosim, a second mechanism for weight loss is also related to saunas. When you sweat heavily in a sauna and flush the toxins out of your fat cells, that process allows the fat cells to reduce in size, which can be a big help with weight loss.

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Dr. Gerald Don Wootan, DO, M.Ed., is a board-certified osteopathic physician and the medical director of Jenks Health Team, a medical practice that specializes in integrative medicine with an emphasis on natural detoxification and nutritional supplementation. M. Brittain Phillips is a freelance writer.

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