Sauna 101

Our Toxic Load

Today we are all exposed to hundreds of chemicals during the course of a day and they affect our life. Our highly polluted environment has been created as a result of intensive and continued chemical use since World War II. Scientists estimate that everyone alive today carries within his or her body at least 700 contaminants, most of which have not been well studied.*

This is true no matter where we live since many chemicals attach to dust particles and/or catch air and water currents, traveling far from where they are produced or used. When exposed, our bodies have no alternative but to absorb these chemicals and, if unable to excrete them, store them for long periods of time.

Before we are even born, synthetic chemicals and heavy metals of all kinds begin building up in our bodies. After birth we are exposed to these chemicals through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and bathe in. As these toxins accumulate they make us more prone to chronic disease, more prone to mental decline, and they age the body prematurely as they prevent cells from regenerating efficiently. This chemical “body burden” is the focus of why a sauna is a necessity.

Benefits of a Sauna

A sauna is a solid investment in a healthier lifestyle. A sauna induces sweating which removes chemicals and heavy metals that are stored in the fat cells, and trapped in the connective tissue and the brain. Some of the chemicals residing in our bodies are petroleum-based products, some are pesticides and herbicides, some are byproducts of the manufacture and incineration of plastics or of industrial production, and many are found in the wide variety of consumer products used.

Scientific studies show that small exposures to chemicals – once considered harmless – are indeed capable of causing subtle cellular changes. New evidence shows that these subtle changes can raise the risk for birth defects, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental illness, and other health problems. In addition, the cumulative effect of the full burden of chemicals we carry increases our risks. This toxic burden puts a great deal of stress on the body as it tries to reduce this load.

It has been estimated that 15 minutes of sweating in a sauna eliminates as much toxic waste as 24 hours of normal kidney function. In addition the liver, kidneys, and lungs can be damaged by chronic exposure to environmental toxins so that the body’s ability to eliminate toxins becomes impaired. As the toxins are eliminated by regular use of a sauna these organs can be strengthened and regenerated. Thus, they can more efficiently eliminate future toxic exposures that we all face everyday. Regular sauna treatments combined with a healthy diet, the use of non-toxic body care and cleaning products, and moderate exercise will help create better health for you and your family.

One of the most important times in your life to use a sauna for detoxification is when you start preparing for having a child. Both the future father and future mother should do a detoxification program before getting pregnant as the mother downloads toxic waste into the baby while pregnant and the father’s sperm health is affected by toxicity. Detoxification through sauna use gives you the opportunity to have the healthiest baby possible and your preventative efforts will give lifelong benefits.

Heavenly Heat

The Heavenly Heat sauna that we recommend stands alone as the safest sauna available today. Heavenly Heat offers a unique combination of Finnish stone heat and far infrared heat or just far infrared heat alone. To determine if you want a combination of the two heat elements or the far infrared alone in order to create the most comfortable and most effective sauna for detoxification, see below.*

Unlike other saunas, Heavenly Heat saunas are built using absolutely no plywood, glues, plexiglass, adhesives, putty, stains, or high terpine containing woods. Bob Morgan owner of Heavenly Heat builds saunas for the chemically and electromagnetically sensitive, which means they provide an ideal environment for eliminating toxic substances from the body. Many saunas are constructed with materials that outgas chemicals such as plywood, adhesives, and glues that contain biocides while claiming to be built with non-toxic materials. While detoxifying, the last thing you want to do is sweat out one toxin and inhale the fumes of another! Heavenly Heat’s use of non-corrosive steel screws and thicker paneling assures that each sauna has both the clean air that is essential for effective detox, as well as the strength needed to last for decades.

Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, M.D. (autism and detoxification specialist) has written: “Peer reviewed literature shows that sweating during sauna therapy eliminates high levels of toxic metals, organic compounds, dioxin, and other toxins.” Dr. Klinghardt recommends Heavenly Heat saunas exclusively.

Dr. William Rea, founder of The Environmental Health Center – Dallas, is considered an expert on chemical sensitivity. He has put thousands of severely chemically injured patients through sauna detoxification. He has used a Heavenly Heat sauna since 1994.


If you have heart trouble, have high blood pressure, are battling life-threatening illness, are extremely chemically sensitive, or are very weak then the heat from a typical sauna can be devastating. Therefore, heart patients and very chemically sensitive people should only use the far infrared heat. Far infrared rays are at the end of the infrared spectrum and are the longest and most healing rays. The far infrared sauna is safer, allows a much more tolerable operating temperature, lowers lactic acid (the acid that accumulates and causes pain in muscles when overdoing it during exercising), stimulates endorphins (the happy hormones of the brain), kills organisms like bacteria and parasites, penetrates tissues, detoxifies cells by vibrating ionic bonds, stops swelling, improves lymphatic flow and blood circulation, and attracts calcium to cell membranes where it is needed for healing. Doctors at Mayo Clinic did a study using far infrared saunas with their most critical end stage congestive heart failure patients and in three weeks the patients had improved heart health and those results came with no side effects. The far infrared rays penetrate the tissues about 1.5 inches deep and pull the chemicals out of the subcutaneous (right under the skin) fat storage directly into the sweat. Therefore the toxins go directly to the sweat, which is in contrast to the high heat traditional saunas that force chemicals out of deeper fat storage into the bloodstream. This then can cause detox reactions and symptoms if a persons kidneys, liver, colon, and lungs are too weak to handle the load.

If other family members will be using the sauna then the combination of Finnish stone heat and far infrared heat may be desirable. Many people turn on the Finnish stone heat and the far infrared heat before entering the sauna to get the temperature to the desired level and then they turn the Finnish stone heat off. Other people leave both on and desire the higher temperatures. What must be understood is if you have a heart condition, are critically ill, or are extremely chemically sensitive only use the far infrared portion of the sauna. When you recover you can opt to use both heaters.

For more information on using the sauna and how heart patients and others with no medical alternatives have used the sauna as a major vehicle to help them recover, please read Detoxify or Die by Dr. Sherry Rogers, M.D. pp. 191- 318. If you have heart trouble also read The High Blood Pressure Hoax and The Cholesterol Hoax by Dr. Sherry Rogers, M.D. (You can call 1-800-846-6687 or go to Prestige Publishing to order.)

Important note: Please do not let the titles deter you from reading these books if you are interested in the information. Although Three Branches believes the titles are extreme, we find the information inside eye opening and invaluable. Yet, there are a couple of caveats to the information in the reading list above:

  1. We do not recommend the sauna that is recommended in these books because the Heavenly Heat sauna is made of better quality materials.
  2. We do not recommend synthetic supplements as a rule, but for intensive sauna detox programs some may be necessary. Overall it is better to try to concentrate on as many whole food sources of supplements as possible.

If you are generally healthy and not on any prescription medications, then you can just jump in the sauna and start sweating! If you want to start a sauna program for detoxification, which involves getting in the sauna daily or several times a week, then beginning a sauna program involves some education.

It is important to realize that when you sweat out toxic waste, you are also losing large amounts of valuable minerals. Compensating for this loss of minerals that are flushed out by sweating is imperative. “Sauna 101” offers nutritional protocols to complement frequent sauna usage. At the very least you want to take something like pH Perfect or Greens Mix (or both) to replenish lost minerals.

Not all people are able to sweat. If you are a person like this, then it is very important to go very slowly with the sauna program. First of all, you should only use the far infrared heating elements. People who do not sweat have a damaged autonomic nervous system. The sweating mechanism can be restored through a careful incremental approach to the sauna. If you go too fast and stay in a very hot sauna without sweating, then heat stroke can occur. Sweating enables the body to take the heat. If there is no sweat, the body heats up and then you have a problem. The efficacy of evaporation through sweating as a mechanism of heat loss depends on the condition of the skin and sweat glands, the function of the lungs, the ambient temperature, humidity, air movement, and whether or not the person is acclimated to the high temperatures. For example, evaporation does not occur when the ambient humidity exceeds 75% and is less effective in individuals who are not acclimated. Non-acclimated individuals can only produce 1 L of sweat per hour, which only dispels 580 kcal of heat per hour, whereas acclimated individuals can produce 2-3 L of sweat per hour and can dissipate as much as 1740 kcal of heat per hour through evaporation. Acclimation to the hot temperatures in the sauna usually occurs over 7-10 days and enables individuals to reduce the threshold at which sweating begins, increase sweat production, and increase the capacity of the sweat glands to reabsorb sweat sodium, thereby increasing the efficiency of heat dissipation.

If you are elderly, have chronic illness, immune disorders, chemical sensitivity, or know that you have had exposure to very toxic chemicals, then improper use of the sauna (too high heat) without proper precautions and preparations can create serious symptoms as you mobilize the chemicals out of the body. If only the far infrared sauna is used this problem is eliminated.

You should consult with your doctor about your intention to use a sauna if you have any metal parts in your body, if you are on prescription medications, if you have sustained an injury and it is still swollen or inflamed, or if you have any condition that you are consulting with a doctor about.

*Onstot J, Ayling R, Stanley J. Characterization of HRGC/MS Unidentified Peaks from the Analysis of Human Adipose Tissue. Volume 1: Technical Approach. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances (560/6-87-002a), 1987.

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