We live in a toxic world. Every man, woman, and infant child has hundreds of chemicals and heavy metals in their body – exposed prenatally, in utero, and of course every day after that. One in six women on earth is mercury toxic, and that doesn’t even count the other metals and chemicals that are stored in her body that are easily transmitted to the growing fetus. We know much more about the effects of heavy metal toxins than we do about the chemical toxins in our environment. At least there are a limited number of metal poisons – but the number of chemical poisons is seemingly endless!
The Environmental Working Group published an astonishing article recently showing how toxic we really are. And the scary thing is that most of these chemicals in our bodies have not been tested for safety in humans, definitely not in children, and absolutely not in the combinations that are in our bodies. We are now made up of a toxic soup, and no one knows how each individual recipe will play out. Most of these chemicals have carcinogenic potential, and many of them are EDC’s – endocrine disrupting chemicals – causing hormone related cancers in adults (breast, prostate, etc) and early-onset puberty symptoms in children, which may progress to cancers at even younger ages than in their parents.
We know that children on the autism spectrum are genetically “poor detoxifiers”, so they are often more affected than most by the toxic soup. It is no surprise that some children on the spectrum show astonishingly high levels of hormones at early ages – they are poisoned. We can chelate heavy metals such as mercury out of the body, but we cannot chelate chemicals. They are harder to remove. Chemicals typically store in the body fat, doing their insidious damage as they stay there year after year.
Plastics and plastic-like chemicals (such as pthalates and parabens) are a common source of chemical toxicity– found in the plastic water bottles that we all use, plastic baby bottles and pacifiers, plastic food storage bags and containers, and even in our skin creams and lotions (including diaper rash ointments) and cosmetics.
Pesticides are another common source of toxicity. Kids are much more sensitive to these chemicals than adults – their detoxification pathways don’t mature until years after birth, and their smaller body weights make them more strongly affected pound-for-pound. It is important to eat organic foods for many reasons. Please see the list of the “dirty dozen”, which are the most important fruits and vegetables to eat organic, because they store pesticide residues more than the other foods. Organophosphate pesticides contribute to the overall “body burden” of toxins that disrupt human biochemistry at many crucial junctions, eventually tipping over the balance from health into disease.
Books such as “Detoxify or Die” by Sherry Rogers, M.D., give the toxin story in graphic detail. It can be overwhelming to read, and even harder to figure out what to do to live in this world while sensibly minimizing risk.
The Developmental Spectrums list of “General Do’s and Don’ts” is a good place to start. Avoiding sea food and eating organic produce, drinking purified water, and using natural cleaning chemicals, are all good steps to take. Testing your house and your body for toxic overload is a smart thing to do. Dr. Mielke can order a comprehensive battery of tests to assess your particular toxic profile.
Again, for heavy metal toxins such as mercury and lead, we can chelate to help remove them. But for chemicals, what can we do?
Fortunately, there is a safe and natural way to remove toxic chemicals from your body. It is called Far-Infra Red (FAR-IR) Sauna Therapy. This therapy mobilizes the toxins in the body fat by exposing it to a low dose of safe FAR-IR radiation that superficially penetrates the body and generates heat which causes the sweat glands to go into overdrive, and sweat out the toxins. The temperatures in the FAR-IR saunas are much lower than traditional saunas, so they are safe for children and the elderly and even most people with health problems. It is possible to generate a “good sweat” in the FAR-IR sauna at 100 – 120 degrees F, which can be the same temperatures that are seen in some places on a hot summer day. All adult patients who are not patients of the clinic already are required to obtain a medical clearance from their primary care doctor before initiating a sauna detoxification protocol. Of course, if you start to feel dizzy while in the sauna, you can take a break, the temperature can be lowered, or the session stopped. It is not unusual for a session of sauna therapy to make your heart pound as if it was getting a great work-out, as it tries to cool off the body. It has been estimated that a 30 minute session in the sauna may burn up to 600 calories as your body sweats and detoxifies, so sauna can even be good for weight loss. Also, removing some of the chemical toxins that interfere with proper glucose metabolism can also help optimize weight. Some severely chemically poisoned people cannot sweat properly at first, so they may have to start slowly and work up gradually in time and temperature to achieve optimal detoxification.
Because the FAR-IR sauna generates a lot of sweat, it is important to towel off the sweat while in the sauna, so that the toxins are removed from the body and don’t just soak back in. After fully cooling off (which can take 30-60 minutes after the session is over), a nice shower at home with organic soap completes the toxin removal process. Patients in the sauna sit and lean and put their feet on clean towels, so that no part of their body is touching the porous, non-toxic wood in the sauna. It is important to be well-hydrated before going in to the sauna, and to drink at least a liter of water (and often more) while in a 30 minute session. Afterwards, it is a good idea to take extra glutathione and vitamin C to help the body excrete any residual toxins that may have been “stirred up” in the process, along with an extra dose of minerals including magnesium and potassium to replace what may have been lost in the detox process.
The real advantages of sauna detoxification protocols are that they are completely natural. No medication is needed. After all, sweating is one of the major “exit” pathways of the body for toxins (after “pee and poop”), but in today’s sedentary society, it is often under-utilized. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and so it is possible in a well-designed sauna that heats the body evenly, to generate a great deal of detoxification in a short amount of time. Another huge advantage is that sweating removes chemical and heavy metal toxins at the same time. No other treatment does that. Remember, chelation only removes metals – it doesn’t touch chemical toxins. So sauna gives us a nice “two for one” detox package.
Dr. William Rae, one of the true experts and pioneers in the detoxification movement, has said that if someone completes at least 90 sauna treatments, they can move the toxic load in their body back by 20 years. That can pay real dividends in prolonging health and vigor in one’s later years. For toxic children with physical and neurologic health issues, such as autism spectrum disorders, sauna therapy can play a vital role in their recovery.
Overall, Far Infra Red Sauna therapy is an important part of anyone’s comprehensive detoxification protocol – for health maintenance, or illness recovery. Sauna therapy can be done alone, or is possibly even more effective after a session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which helps rev-up the metabolism and the detoxification machinery with oxygen, after which the sauna helps to “sweat it out”.
Dr. Mielke can give you a personal recommendation for a sauna. Your health may depend on it.