Benefits of Sauna and How to Sauna

saunadachaBenefits of sauna are plentiful. Issue is one must know how to sauna in order to obtain these incredible benefits.

All Scandinavian countries, Russia, Japan, and Korea utilize sauna. The way they use them varies quite a bit; however, the end result is the same: sweating.

To the right, you see my in-laws 70 year old sauna located in rural Russia. It is built out of logs and moss for insulation. We use this sauna hard – in summer and winter. There is a freezing cold canal right by it which is perfect for contrast plunges!

Learn the Benefits of Sauna and How to Sauna with this recorded webinar:
(click video below to have it play)

The benefits of sauna are immense:

  • increased oxygenation to peripheral tissues and cells
  • increased elimination of harmful metabolites, heavy metals and solvents through the skin via sweat
  • decreased burden on the liver due to increased elimination through the skin
  • relaxation and down time
  • warmth
  • increased metabolic rate due to increased temperature
  • increased heart rate which provides heart rate variability

This means that everyone should just jump right in and enjoy the benefits of sauna, right?

No.

Let me give you an example.

Back in college, I was on the University of Washington Crew and sometimes after practice, we’d hit the sauna.

The sauna was especially enjoyable after those frigid winter practices.

We’d pack into the traditional wet sauna (hot rocks with water poured over them) with our gallon of spring water and savor the warmth.

Within five minutes, I was already needing to get out of there.

I felt horrible.

  • dizzy
  • light-headed
  • faint
  • intense fatigue
  • excessively hot
  • very fast heart rate
  • ‘sick’ toxic feeling

Of course, I’d try to tough it out as I couldn’t have my teammates poking fun at me for being such a wimp in the sauna.

I would get out, do a cold shower contrast and then get back in.

That helped some but the benefit was short-lived.

I made it about 10 minutes and that was it.

I was done. Very done.

Why did I have these negative reactions to sauna when my teammates didn’t?

There are many reasons.

  • electrolyte deficient
  • glutathione deficient
  • methylation deficient
  • dehydrated
  • adrenal fatigued
  • omega 3 fatty acid deficient
  • high chemical burden
  • inferior genetics
  • unknown food intolerances and food allergies
  • mitochondrial fatigue
  • possibly hypothyroid

Before I get into discussing the details of each one of these negative reactions, I want to inform you of this key point when using a sauna:

At the first sign of feeling ‘off’, you’re done. Get out of the sauna. Don’t return until the next day. In other words, DON’T PUSH IT

There is not much worse than getting into a sauna and pushing yourself to stay in there longer.

The only thing you are accomplishing is making yourself weaker, sicker, and uncomfortable.

At the first sign of feeling ‘off’ in the sauna, what do you do?

GET OUT.

Who shouldn’t sauna? Period.

Standard Disclosure: As always, discuss with your doctor if a sauna is right for you.

There are many conditions that may worsen from sauna or are just plain contraindicated.

  • Pregnant women
  • High blood pressure
  • Infants
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Menstruation

This is not a complete list.

Can children use sauna?

If your doctor approves yes. Since I am a doctor, I let my sons use sauna. You can see them below – on left and right – wearing their sauna hats. Their cousin, Egor, is in the middle.

saunaboys

What should one do in order to obtain the benefits of sauna?

After receiving approval from your doctor, the best method I’ve discovered over the years is quite comprehensive – and effective.

The easiest way to understand this, and apply it, is likely by putting it into steps.

STEP 1: DAYS PRIOR TO SAUNA

  1. Obtain approval from your doctor
  2. Ensure proper hydration for at least three days consecutively prior to sauna. This requires reduction in caffeine ideally and restoration of electrolytes. Drink filtered water when you wake up and throughout the day. If you wait until you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. A couple liters a day of water is a good estimate. This amount varies tremendously depending where you live and your lifestyle.
  3. Ensure proper sleep for at least a few nights prior to your first sauna. If you’re exhausted, you will only get worse from sauna.
  4. Healthy oils. Get some healthy oils in you – cold-water fish oil, primrose oil, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee are all great. These are needed to protect and build your cell membranes and protect your brain.
  5. Eat well. If you’re eating terribly and you know it, change it -at least for three consecutive days prior to sauna. If you don’t, you’ll suffer.
  6. Support your adrenals. Consider taking adrenal cortex if needed in the morning.
  7. Support your detoxification system. Consider taking liposomal glutathione daily for at least a few days prior to sauna.
  8. Support your mitochondria. Consider NADH and CoQ10 immediately upon waking. This kickstarts your energy production in the morning. Literally.

STEP 2: DAY OF SAUNA

  1. Upon waking, have a glass of filtered water with electrolytes.
  2. Have a healthy breakfast with protein, fat and some carbs. A protein smoothie is great – with some veggies and/or fruits, seeds and healthy oils.
  3. Try to skip your caffeine. If you’re tired, then consider using NADH + CoQ10 and Adrenal Cortex. Both of these will truly help you in the mornings.
  4. It’s best to sauna anytime prior to a few hours of bedtime. If you sauna too late, it may keep you up at night. For others, it may help you sleep. Take a mental note of how you sleep after sauna and make adjustments if needed.
  5. Make sure you get some good quality oils in you – in the smoothie as explained above or if not, then olive oil on your salad. Healthy fats are needed to protect your cell membranes and brain during sauna.
  6. Take a shot of liposomal glutathione with liposomal vitamin C.
  7. Support your adrenals with adrenal cortex if needed.

STEP 3: THIRTY to SIXTY MINUTES BEFORE SAUNA

  1. Eat a solid snack – but not a full meal. Eat until about 75% full. A blend of protein, fats and carbs is great.
  2. Take 500 mg of extended-release niacin.
  3. Take a shot of liposomal glutathione and liposomal vitamin C
  4. Take a capsule or two of MSM (if you tolerate sulfur). Ideally take a MSM capsule with molybdenum.
  5. If you own the sauna, turn it on. Start out with a low, dry temperature – say around 120 degrees F. Steam, wet, humid saunas are more difficult to tolerate for some.

STEP 4: JUST BEFORE SAUNA

  1. Prepare a liter or more of filtered water with electrolytes. Ideally prepare it in a glass jar with a lid. Have a few gulps.
  2. Wear a cotton T shirt and cotton shorts. This helps absorb some of the sweat which prevents you from reabsorbing chemicals back through your skin. If you like, you may wear a long sleeve T shirt and light sweat pants.
  3. Consider a sauna hat. This keeps the heat off of your head.
  4. Weigh yourself. Write it down. You need to weigh the same amount after you are finished with your sauna. If you don’t weigh the same, you are dehydrated. You need to drink enough water with electrolytes to get back to your pre-sauna weight.
  5. If you don’t sweat easily or just don’t sweat period, then you need to start sweating. Get on an exercise bike, treadmill, go for a jog, or somehow start sweating. Wearing some warm clothes while exercising will help trigger the sweating. If you still don’t sweat, then your autonomic nervous system is not working right – due to toxicity and/or chemical burden. In time, as you sauna, you will start sweating.

STEP 5: WHILE IN SAUNA

  1. Drink before getting thirsty.
  2. Either lay down or sit. Try to keep your feet off the floor – especially if it is cold. The contrast while in the sauna is not good.
  3. Keep the light on. Do not sauna in the dark as it will trigger the parasympathetic nervous system – and make you more likely to feel faint – especially upon standing.
  4. Focus on breathing. Do belly breathing – full breaths.
  5. Watch for any sign of feeling ‘off’ – GET OUT when this feeling comes on.
  6. When standing up, be aware that you may be light-headed and dizzy. Stand up slowly and near a wall or railing.
  7. The first couple times, only sauna for a maximum of 20 minutes.

STEP 6: CONTRAST HOT to COLD

  1. Contrast is simply shocking your body from the heat of the sauna to cold. This is a very powerful technique and quite effective.
  2. I do not recommend contrast for those just starting out.
  3. Contrast is also not recommended for those with asthma. The fast contrast can trigger an event.
  4. I recommend starting to use contrast after two or three sauna sessions – over a period of a few weeks.
  5. Full body plunges into a very cold bath is most effective. Spas typically have these.
  6. The next most effective is close access to a shower – set to very cold. Just close your eyes, put in your full body and imagine the tropics while doing it ;).
  7. Using a bucket with cold water is also pretty effective.
  8. If you cannot do any strong contrast, then just do local contrast on your head. Get your head under some cold water.
  9. Doing contrast up to three times is great during one sauna session.
  10. Only do contrast if you are feeling strong. Do not do them if you feel weak or tired. Only do as many contrast sessions as you feel you can handle. There is no MACHO in who can do more contrasts or stay in the sauna longer. There is STUPID though.

STEP 7: AFTER SAUNA

  1. Shower with soap and water.
  2. Wash your hair.
  3. Brush your teeth and tongue.
  4. Weigh yourself. If lost weight, drink up the difference with water and electrolytes.
  5. Dress warmly and comfortably.
  6. Wear socks and stocking cap.
  7. Eat a light snack. No dried foods. No cold foods. Soups, broths, steamed veggies are great. Don’t burden your liver with a high protein, high fat meal right now.
  8. Take the rest of the day easy. No more physical activity. Just read, relax, listen to music or even better – sleep.
  9. You likely will continue sweating. If you do, change your clothes before you go to sleep – and ideally take a rinse in the shower before bed.

How often should you sauna?

It depends.

Ideally, I want to sauna once a week. Do I do it? Not yet.

I would do it more if my sauna wasn’t in my garage ;).

I am currently building a wet/dry sauna in our bathroom directly across from our shower. This will enable me and my family to use sauna way more often – and obtain the benefits of contrast hot/cold.

There are times when one has to sauna more – and times when one has to sauna less.

The key is to sauna when you feel somewhat strong. If you need to sauna and you are not feeling strong, do a low heat and short duration sauna.

PHOTO: Here is a distant shot of our sauna located at the back of the garden.

saunalanddacha

 

 

Here is the canal bordering the sauna:

saunacoldplungewide

What type of sauna to use?

One that makes you sweat is a general rule of thumb – with some key points.

The sauna can be wet or dry, infrared, wood burning, hot rocks or electric.

The most critical points to consider are:

  • no solvents or toxic glues used for construction
  • low volatile oil woods ideally
  • ventilation – vent or fan in ceiling and gaps in door to allow air in and out
  • low EMF for those sensitive
  • light inside
  • no insulation unless natural

I’ve used many different types of sauna.

The saunas I currently use are:

  1. Combination wet/dry with hot rocks – powered by wood (in our families cabin in Russia)
  2. Infrared sauna by High Tech Health – their three person sauna is in my office. I’ve had this now for over 10 years.  (click here for details on this infrared sauna – affiliate link). You will save $500 if you mention you were referred by Dr Lynch. Here is the sauna I use at home – for me, my wife and my three boys. I’m wearing a classic Estonian sauna hat. 😉

HighTech Health Sauna and Dr Lynch. The benefits are sauna are seen with this unit.

 

Concluding Remarks:

I have gone from being absolutely intolerant of sauna to being able to enjoy sauna for over 5 hours.

The system above is how I do it – every time.

I am supporting my energy, hydration, detoxification, brain and cell membranes.

The key is to support all systems – and to go incrementally.

Don’t push it.

The supplements I’ve formulated – and what I and my family use for an optimal sauna experience:

If fatigued and needing energy prior to using a sauna:

  • Adrenal Cortex: 1 capsule after breakfast
  • NADH + CoQ10: 1 lozenge by mouth first thing upon waking (if tired and cannot get out of bed only)

 

 ALTERNATIVES TO SAUNA

If you don’t have access to a sauna or lack the funds, there are other things you can do to encourage sweating:

  1. Exercise – low impact, moderate intensity and encourage lots of sweating over a long period of time. Soccer is a great example as is tennis.
  2. Hot Yoga – excellent – but again – duration is key
  3. Moor Mud Bath – these are fantastic and very effective. The key is to do it properly and follow the instructions. I’ve obtained a unique moor mud from Czech Republic – one that famous European spas use. As a former expert in balneotherapy, I know a few things about the quality of moor and how to get the best outcome from it. I’ve written chapters in textbooks on the subject and attended international conferences in balneotherapy. I absolutely love this form of medicine and if I wasn’t focused on research, I would open a healing center utilizing moor mud, peats, clays, salts, mineral waters, food, air, etc. Maybe I still will one day 😉
  4. Epsom Salt Bath – excellent as they provide sulfate and also magnesium. I highly recommend Salt Works for obtaining various salts for bath and spa use – and cooking. They have 40 lb bags of epsom salt for very reasonable rates.
  5. Dead Sea Salt Bath – also excellent.

 

What’s your sauna story? How has sauna been in your life and with your health? What do you find works best?

Share below in the comments.

95 Responses to “Benefits of Sauna and How to Sauna”

  1. Elaine Godinez January 13, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    I am currently using infrared sauna therapy to help detox from a high lead presence in my body. I was tested through a lab following protocol by my functional medicine doctor. I was diagonosed with fibromyalgia many years ago, and am only now getting to the bottom of why. Previously, my traditional medical doctors only offered me prescription drugs and it never really changed anything.

    I am finding that the IR sauna is relieving my pain as well as helping me to eliminate the lead. Because of the positive results I am experiencing, I have opened a studio, Infrared Sauna of Ventura, so that others in my area can try the infrared sauna therapy, too. We also use massage therapy in combination with the sauna with excellent results.

  2. Jill January 13, 2015 at 5:53 am #

    I’m wondering if doing hot yoga, such as Bikram, has the same effects as using the sauna? Thanks for all the terrific information you provide!

    • Dr Lynch January 13, 2015 at 7:12 am #

      Jill –

      Yes it does 😉

  3. Drew Todd January 13, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    Hi Dr Ben

    Thanks for the great article. I usually sauna for 10 mins and then go into the steam room for 10. Are saunas generally better than steam rooms and hence is it better to stick to a longer time in sauna only and not bother with the steam room or are both equally beneficial?

    Thanks.

    Drew

    • Dr Lynch January 13, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      Drew –

      The key is duration. I prefer lower heat for longer periods of time.

      It’s all about how much you can sweat out.

      Steam rooms are typically much harder to stay in long term while saunas can be ok if the temperature is not too hot.

      As you said, longer in the sauna and skip the steam room is what you should do.

      Steam rooms are great if you have a chronic cough and need to get it out and finished with.

  4. kavita January 13, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    hi i am homo c677t i got 7 misscariges can i use sauna?

  5. mary January 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    I’m one of those individuals who rarely perspires. I can sit in our IR sauna at 128 degrees for 25 minutes and I barely get warm but can get light headed so I get out. I’ve been doing this once sometimes twice a week for the 6 months and my ability to sweat doesn’t seem to increase. I do have moderate mercury, silver and uranium toxicity and MTHFR. My liver is already overtaxed so adding all the supplements you mentioned is not an option, it just makes things worse. Do I need to lower the temp? Stay in longer?

    • Dr Lynch January 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

      Mary –

      I would turn the sauna down to 120 degrees, prepare for the sauna as explained in detail above and then for the supplement – you will have to add the electrolytes. Start with that one – along with all the prep work as explained.

  6. Linda January 13, 2015 at 11:18 pm #

    Hi Dr. Ben,
    I have been recently dianosed with chronic lyme disease and through 23andMe I just found out I am heterozygous for A1298C and C677T. I also have a meningioma (diagnosed about 8 years ago) which is stable and I want to keep it that way. Are infrared saunas safe for people with meningiomas? I have not found anyone who can help me. What would be your recommendation for me, please. Also, so you know the difference between near and far infared saunas? Thank you. Linda

  7. Linda January 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Hi Dr. Ben,
    I have recently been diagnosed with chronic lyme disease and more recently found out through 23andMe that I have heterozygous MTHFR C677T and A1298C. I also have a meningioma. Would it be safe for me to use a sauna to detox? What is the difference between near and far saunas? Thanks

    • gina April 30, 2016 at 2:47 am #

      Hi LInda,

      I am in the same situation as you re: meningioma and sauna. What did you discover?

  8. Ashley Sears January 15, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    Just joined a gym that has a sauna, for this reason exactly, but to be honest the supplementation info is a bit daunting. I’ve been diagnosed with MTHFR for 8 years. Hypopthyroid for 16 years. What’s the best way to start with the supplements. Only taking b12 at the moment in addition to levothyroxine. Want to get the benefits from sauna without overdoing or missing vital supplements.

    • Dr Lynch January 15, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      Ashley –

      The key ones are:
      – electrolytes
      – healthy oils
      – niacin
      – glutathione

      The ones I have are vital and create a very successful experience while in the sauna.

      You can start out with just the electrolytes but it won’t be as effective.

      I’ve done trial and error with various things over a 10+ year period – and the list above is what I’ve found to be successful – for me and my family – and some of my friends – and past patients.

      Only taking B12 – definitely need more support.

      Start with one – and move up as comfortable and tolerated.

      • Ashley January 16, 2015 at 12:47 am #

        Thanks so much, I’ll get on it. It’s so nice to have your site as resource after having doctors do anything from putting me on 1000mcg of folic acid to tell me to “don’t worry about it kid” Just with the b12 and gluten free diet I feel better! Keep fighting the good fight!

  9. Holly January 16, 2015 at 4:32 am #

    Dr. Lynch,

    Is sauna – especially IR – considered safe for nursing mothers? I have both mutations, as does my husband, who saunas, and would like to unburden my toxic load, but I’m concerned about the toxins entering my breast milk.

    That said, my baby must already have ingested toxins from my milk. I’m wondering if doing a sauna a few times, then expressing the milk afterwards, would make subsequent milk healthier for my child.

    What would the general recommendation be? I have not found research about nursing mothers and far infrared.

    Thank you VERY much in advance.

    • Dr Lynch January 16, 2015 at 10:26 am #

      Holly –

      That’s a great question.

      I believe it would be beneficial to sauna while breast feeding – especially if you express your milk afterwards.

      I would breastfeed prior to getting into the sauna – or pump – and then wait some time after sauna.

      You will be eliminating a lot of chemicals/compounds via sweat which would otherwise get into the breastmilk.

      Yes, you will also put more into the breastmilk as well.

      It’s a tough balance – but overall the benefit of sauna outweighs not doing it at all because baby is getting the chemicals/compounds regardless.

      My wife did sauna while breastfeeding all three of our boys. They’re doing quite well 😉

      Of course, I have to throw a big disclaimer on this because every one is different and for some women, doing sauna and breast feeding may be not recommended – and you need to discuss with your physician prior to doing it.

      • Holly January 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

        Roger that disclaimer. And thank you for sharing your family’s experience.

        This site might have saved our child. I found out about our mutations early in my pregnancy and switched to methylfolate right then and there. (Never did take folic acid, as my instincts told me not to do so.) She was born healthy (albeit attached to a short cord) and continues to thrive.

        We moved overseas and took your supplements with us. The quality of the food choices was dismal, so we were quite grateful for our “insurance pills.”

        Thank you so, so very much for doing what you do. You have made a difference in our lives.

  10. Jeanne January 20, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    Dr. Lynch, what do you think about using a Biomat in addition or instead of IR Sauna?

    • Dr Lynch January 20, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

      Havent looked into it too much.

      I definitely wouldnt say anything is better than a sauna – it’s too powerful.

  11. carla January 21, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    thank you for this excellent article. I have a high quality IFR sauna that I have been using for years. I tend to get into it about 3-5 times a week for 20 minutes always in the morning after supplements, Liposomal Vit C & glutathione no food except 2 T of hydrolized collagen.
    I notice that no matter the temperature, usuall 120+ it takes me about 5 minutes to start sweating. When i am in the sauna less, it takes longer. so, my questions are, how much time is ideal for sweating (i guess it’s not 5 minutes) and what can i do beyond my current regime to encourage more sweating. Morning is better for me rather than evening is that okay to get the benefits? Is there anything else you might recommend. Thank you very much.

    • Dr Lynch January 21, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

      Carla –

      Great comment.

      This is why I recommend:
      – MSM Plus Molybdenum
      – Niacin 500 mg

      Both of these are vasodilators – as well as support other functions.

      Niacin helps mobilize triglycerides which helps mobilize stored toxins which can then be sweated out.

      MSM helps provide sulfur which helps sulfation pathway and also eliminate toxins.

      I use the word ‘toxin’s because people get it – but it is not technically correct. It is more correct to use harmful metabolites, xenobiotics, chemicals.

      Do try a capsule or two of MSM Plus Molybdenum and a capsule of Niacin 500 mg prior to your next sauna.

      I recommend the MSM Plus Molybdenum as the molybdenum helps process sulfur bonds – and helps prevent/reduce sulfite buildup.

      Morning is great – as long as you don’t sauna too hard or too long – and you’re not pushing yourself physically too much.

      You want to sweat as long as you are comfortable – longer the better as long as you feel good.

      Ensure you are taking electrolytes also – if you don’t, your body will stop sweating to preserve water.

      Do report back and comment how it works out 😉

      • Renee October 6, 2015 at 11:29 am #

        If you have discovered snps relating to sulphur metabolism (I’ve always be intolerant of sulphatites, SO2) should you be careful with MSM? And what about Epsom Salt Baths? I’d be grateful for an answer because I don’t have access to a sauna, but I can bath 😉

        • Dr. Aron October 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

          Renee – If you are sensitive to sulfates/sulfites, you will want to be careful with MSM because it contains sulphur. Epsom salt also contains sulphur, but you can try it for a short period (5-10 min.) and get out at the first sign of dizziness, nausea, or discomfort. Less is more in this case. Sulphur sensitivity could point to oxidative stress from low antioxidants caused by deficiencies in Vitamin C and/or E, low glutathione, leaky gut, chronic infection, poor diet, and other factors. This is something you will want to investigate with your doctor. You can also consider a trial with molybdenum for a week to see how you do.

  12. Judy January 21, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Dr. Lynch,
    Recently met a man whose wife uses a sauna to help detox from mercury exposure. He said it is one of three therapies that have actually helped her. He has Celiac Disease and has found the sauna to be beneficial for himself, as well.
    Thank you for sharing your expertise. I sincerely mean it when I say, you are making the world a better place.
    Thank you, from myself and for my children:)
    Judy

  13. Terry Karnecki January 21, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Does seating in a sauna help to detox from heavy metals?

  14. Chris January 22, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    Great. I use a far Infrared Sauna. I sweat like hell. When i do my uphill sprints before i fly true the day like air. For some reason the light is important. I researched the far infrared saunas. The information is still slim, but the effect is 5 fold better than normal sauna. I have 10 years+ normal sauna experience and still love it.

    Normal sauna pulls out -+10% Toxins. Infrared much more. Some say they tested it say 5 to 10 times more. But i have not seen the proof. Can only say i feel fantastic.

    In public saunas they use chemicals than essential oils. Poor. Be carefull.

  15. Doris January 22, 2015 at 2:56 am #

    Dr Lynch,
    What is your opinion on sauna for someone with a tendency for varicose veins ? Would sauna make that problem worse ?
    Thanks,
    Doris

    • Dr Lynch January 22, 2015 at 3:30 am #

      Hi Doris –

      I think it is fine.

      It may make them worse initially – but if you perform the contrast as discussed, it may really help them.

      I highly recommend Horse Chestnut herb and vitamin C for varicose veins.

  16. Judith January 22, 2015 at 3:57 am #

    Low heat (103) for 10 minutes daily is the safest way to detox with an infrared sauna.
    Higher heat and longer times can be too stressful, especially for those who are ill.
    I like the Heavenly Heat Saunas, Bob the owner is very knowledgable and helpful.

    • Dr Lynch January 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

      Agreed, Judith. Starting lower and slower – and working up is key. Heavenly Heat is also great – and Bob is a fantastic guy. I’ve seen his saunas and spoke with him on the phone a number of times. I personally use the High Tech Health one – and have for years. There are a few good companies out there. Bob’s included.

  17. Tina January 22, 2015 at 4:02 am #

    What is your opinion on far infrared vs near infrared? I have read that EMR is higher in the far infrared and to avoid them, but most places, including our local health food store have far.

  18. Deb January 22, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    I have a infar red sauna but have not used it for several years due to having rosacea, adrenal issues and having hypothyroidism. Would it make these worse by doing it?

    Thanks

  19. Myrna January 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Dr Lynch, What’s the best test and lab for MTHFR? Also if taking salt bath at home how much salt and other ingredients to put in water?(am on a SIBO and Candida cleanse/detox for 2 months now with heavy die off – skin itchy and rash like marks)

    Do you think there’s a big difference between regular health club saunas vs IR saunas?

    Thanks so much!

    Myrna

  20. Debra E January 22, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    I was wondering the reasoning behind washing with soap after sweating? Would just a good rinse in the shower be sufficient?

    • Dr Lynch January 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

      Because one is now covered in waste which was formerly inside of you and now on your skin. There are oils and volatile oils which have come out through your skin and must be washed off so they do not get reabsorbed.

      • Debra E January 22, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

        So a rinse would be just ok but washing with soap would be much better?

  21. Kathleen January 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    I’m 56 years old. I have one kidney because I donated to my daughter. From what I have read, the IR sauna actually helps the burden on your kidneys or in my case kidney. Would you agree? Is there any reason I should not be able to take a sauna. Also I sat in the sauna for 45 min at 135 and was just starting to sweat. I just turn red. This seems to be the same when I exercise. No matter the length or intensity I very rarely sweat although my stamina is not great. I rarely drink anything other than water, limited caffeine, herbal teas. Should I do all these supplements or reduce them? Is it safe for my daughter with a kidney transplant

  22. AmyLu Riley January 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    Dr. Lynch,

    Can you please explain why sauna is contraindicated during menstruation?

    Thank you for your great article!

    • Dr Lynch January 23, 2015 at 6:29 am #

      Menstruation is a very depleting time of the month. Also the increased heat causes increased blood flow – which then can cause increased blood loss.

      It is definitely not a good time to do a sauna – even if you have light menses. If you have light menses or no menses, then you may be so depleted that your body cannot perform menses well enough. I see this commonly in undernourished women, vegetarians or those who are exercising too hard.

  23. AmyLu Riley January 23, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Dr. Lynch,

    Thank you for your response.

  24. Amy January 24, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Is it OK to get a message before you go in the sauna. I have on occasion had a message and then quickly just washed off with water then gotten in the infared sauna wet, then had my full shower with soap and water after the sauna. Is this too much in one day? obviously drinking more fluids on a day like this is required.

  25. Ingri January 25, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    Dr Lynch
    I am very interested in your comprehensive approach to sauna-ing!
    I am presently tweeking my methylation cycle with Thorn’s Methyl-Guard (3) and
    molybdenum – addressing leaky gut with Intestinal Repair Complex by Biogenesis – recently changed my hypothyroid diagnosis to Hashimoto’s – now, using Thyroid PX
    (x2) with 16-32 MG NatureThroid.
    I have a veggie smoothie almost every day with coco oil/Warrior Force protein/Vit C/
    Turmeric/nettle —it varies – started using electrolytes.
    Wondering if there are some “sauna” supplements I don’t need or shouldn’t take?
    Eg Glutathione along with the Methyl-Guard? How about NADH & CoQ10? What are
    they? Any other suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Ingri

    • Dr Lynch January 27, 2015 at 8:02 am #

      Ingri –

      You will definitely do much better with the Optimal liposomal glutathione.

      I do not think the NADH + CoQ10 is needed for most people prior to sauna.

      The Optimal Electrolytes are definitely.

  26. Drew Todd January 28, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Dr Ben

    Just wondering -…

    Is it ‘safe’ to take your Ahwagandha, Magnesium Plus and GABA supplements that you recommend for sleep relief if I am MAO-A +/+ and COMT +/-? I have been on L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP for a while and it would appear it has caused havoc in this department. Was interested in your MAO post today which shed some light on this!

    Do you know of any practitioners who specialise in MAO-A and COMT SNP’s in the UK, preferably London area?

    Many thanks.

    Best wishes.

    • Dr Lynch January 28, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

      Hi Drew –

      Those are safe recommendations – yes. I’d also consider Niacin 500 mg sustained release and 5-HTP 50 mg if you are not on MAO inhibitors or SSRI’s.

      GABA can work but may be a bit too strong for some – and make one feel ‘hung over’ in the AM. Try it – and if you feel this way – then that is likely the culprit.

      I’d stop the Tryptophan for now – and evaluate how this with your doctor. All of it.

      MAOA SNP – depends on which variant

      MAOA R297R G = faster elimination of histamine and serotonin // T = slower elimination.

      MAOA is X linked – so men’s MAOA is slower and women’s is faster.

      Riboflavin is also key for MAO – so consider our B Minus supplement or the Riboflavin

      Also B1 is needed to reduce aldehydes/histamines. We have a Thiamine 50 mg or just use the B Minus.

      Reduce histamine-containing foods –
      http://www.seekinghealth.com/blog/is-your-body-antihistamines/

      COMT = same recommendations as above for now.

      Don’t know of specific docs in UK – not yet. Will know more in April after my conference there.

  27. Myrna January 28, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    Does biomat(infrared) do the same thing as infrared sauna?

  28. Drew Todd January 29, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Thanks for this information Dr Ben.

    Re the 5-HTP you recommended: I was recently taking it (75mg – 3 x a day) in the Apex product Serotone (http://www.apexenergetics.com/products/k38) and started having even worse sleep problems and was even struggling to fall asleep when going to bed which never used to be an issue for me – I only used to experience early morning wake ups (±3am) unable to go back to sleep. We are not sure if this was due to the Serotone which we note has v high levels of B12 and includes Folate? Have heard that 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan can be a problem for MAO A and COMT. Is this true?

    We are trying to address my dire sleep situation so in addition to your Magnesium Plus, GABA and Ashwagandha products, exactly which of your Seeking Health B Vitamins (and what dosage and when) should be taken and which avoided (if any) with my MAO A / R297R T +/+ and COMT / V158M +/- and COMT / H62H +/- SNP’s?

    Will pass on the info to my practitioner who is new to working with MAO A and COMT etc.

    Many thanks.

    • Dr Lynch January 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Drew –

      I can see sleep issues from that formula.

      I’d stop that with permission from your doctor.

      I’d focus on Magnesium Plus, GABA and Ashwagandha however – that may not be enough.

      Here’s what I’d do to myself personally if I had sleep issues – but I don’t know your history at all – so not sure if good for you or not:
      – Adrenal Cortex – 50 mg in day with protein breakfast and fats
      – Optimal Adrenal – 3 capsules if I’m stressed out and nervous/anxious/cant focus – as needed but not within 5 hrs going to bed
      – reduce histamine containing foods – and reduce histamine in GI – http://www.seekinghealth.com/blog/probiotics-histamine-production/ and http://www.seekinghealth.com/blog/is-your-body-antihistamines/
      – Optimal Start – 2 to 3 capsules twice daily with food – breakfast and lunch
      – Complex carbs for dinner – some beans/quinoa and less tyrosine containing foods
      – Magnesium Plus 1 capsule, Magnesium Plus 1 capsule, Ashwagandha 1 capsule and Niacin 500 mg sustained release – 30 minutes before bed

      I wouldnt do 5-HTP with the T allele. You may have too much serotonin – which is why I’m recommending to lower histamine.

      Lot of issues why not sleeping – but that’s where I would personally start

      • Drew Todd January 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

        Thanks for this Dr Ben, will pass on info to my FMP.

        So no B Vitamins except Niacin and the B6 in Magnesium Plus (and no Riboflavin or Thiamin that you originally suggested previously above)?

        What are your thoughts on some L-Theanine or best avoided with my SNP combo?

        • Drew Todd January 30, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

          Sorry Dr Ben, further to my post above, we studied the ingredients in Optimal Start and found all the B VItamins we were querying except B12. I assume B12 should be avoided for people with MAO A / R297R T +/+ and COMT / V158M +/- and COMT / H62H +/- SNP’s as you haven’t suggested it?

          What are your thoughts on L-Theanine?

          My FMP has also prescribed Nitric Balance and Neuroflam by Apex (www.apexenergetics.com/products/k62) (www.apexenergetics.com/products/k46) which I have been taking for a while. Are these suitable for my SNP’s?

          I am also on Biocidin and PRP Cytokines to address Gut Dysbiosis – is that ok?

          Many thanks. Have ordered your recommended Seeking Health products. Sorry about all the questions – just desperate to get some sleep so healing can progress…

  29. Patricia Santhuff February 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    Boy, I’m really glad to have found this — but really unhappy too. I was counting on Infrared Sauna to help me detox. I have severe detoxification (methylation) issues, am in constant pain, and unable to physically do much at all because my muscles fatigue very quickly and give out — I have to sit down and rest them. Just getting dinner made is a struggle.

    But I also have high blood pressure. So you’re saying you would recommend NO saunas for me?? (LOL — and don’t suggest I ask my MD, he’s clueless and not terribly interested in the genetic stuff anyway, but otherwise fairly open to alternative healthcare.)

    I have another very important question, though it may be midguided. If nitrous oxide is very bad for us, what about nitroglycerine? I haven’t ever used it, but I have it on hand if I need it. Is it safe for me with homozygous MTHFR C677T?

    Thanks in advance and thanks for all you do, Dr. Ben.

    • Dr Lynch February 4, 2015 at 4:58 am #

      Patricia –

      You have to be cleared by your physician if using sauna with high blood pressure.

      Using a lower temperature, shorter duration sauna protocol can be supportive for those with higher blood pressure.
      Must be monitored though.

      If you fatigue very quickly, you should really consider the Optimal Electrolyte and Adrenal Cortex. Those two could really make a big difference for you. I’d also consider adding in the Optimal Liposomal Glutathione.

      Using nitroglycerin is needed – and is useful in emergency situations. Using often makes it not work anymore.

      Again – the above supplements could really make a difference for you.

      Start with those – and also look for a well-trained doc here:
      http://seekinghealth.org/physician-directory/

  30. Amber February 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    Hi Dr Ben
    My husband has the opposite problem- excessive sweat! He has 2 copies of the MTHFR C677T mutation and sweats excessively any time the temperature is remotely warm or he exerts himself at all physically. His sweating is to the point where he feels uncomfortable and embarrassed when out in public. Could you offer any clues as to why he sweats so frofusely? He has tried going off coffee, taking homeopathics, herbs and detoxing but this made no difference.

  31. Michael February 4, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Hi Dr. Ben,

    I can’t figure out how to send a private message. I was was considering consulting with Shawn Bean for genetic analysis of 22andme for methylation blockages but saw some things that concerned me. Can you recommend him? Thank you for your time and I’m sorry if this wasn’t the right place to post.

  32. Leo Troy February 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    Hello Dr Ben very good article, so important to detoxifying the body, and spirit. Not all of us Naturopaths are Doctors, many of us are Naturopath Nutritionist. Nutritionists often address the path ways, that allow nutrients to be fully expressed, but many times we don’t address pathways that allow elimination of toxins. Your article on saunas was very comprehensive regarding detoxing pathways, with sweating. I for many years ran a sweat lodge, gathering in a circle to pray, and cleanse the body and spirit simultaneously, I found there is few better ways, to move from the grip of stagnation, that prevents health from truly expressing itself. Thanks for all the tips in using this natural method of detoxing. I enjoyed this information ! Many Blessing to you and yours . Leo J Troy N.C

  33. Leo Troy February 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Hello Dr Ben, As a natural option care giver, and a Naturopath Nutritionist, that promotes self heath initiatives. I often teach the importance of self monitoring. In regarding to concerns with high blood pressure and taking saunas. As you stated short duration’s are very important, primarily because of the increased heart rate. Along with checking with your Doctor, and self monitoring being key to being safe. High blood pressures are often a result of left ventricular failure, and a reflection of Electrolyte Stress ( excess electrolytes) which are often a problem with kidney function. Angiotensin conversions are malfunctioning. Aldosterone a hormone responsible for regulating electrolytes, causes NA reabsorption in exchange for K, that causes cascades that effect the whole chain of electrolytes. Not being able to regulate electrolytes with proper renal excretion NA,(sodium) K,(potassium), and CL,(chloride), build up as electrolytes stress (excess), causing hypertension. The skin is often referred as the second kidney and with sweating we can increase the elimination of not only excess electrolytes, but also excess ammonium and ammonia. But as stated check with your Doctor and most certainly self monitor. Thanks again Dr Ben for this incredible informative article. Best Regards Leo J Troy N.C. ANMCB.

  34. Drew Todd February 9, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    Hi Dr Ben

    Is it safe to sauna and exercise with stage 4 adrenal fatigue and chronic sleep issues? Best wishes. Drew

  35. Jenny March 11, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Hi Dr. Ben,

    Do you have an update on the water filters? I’m on a well so I don’t think I need to worry about fluoride, but I do consider parasites a potential issue. Do you have a recommendation for what to use with a well?

    • Dr Lynch March 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Jenny –

      I am using the Berkey now since December and really enjoying it. I believe both Akai and Berkey remove parasites – but you’d need to confirm with them.

      Well water can sometimes be a real mess- so first need to have it tested by your local well companies.

      Then see what they recommend.

  36. Lynn March 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    I have Hashimoto’s and am wondering if I can sauna? I was going to test through your company for the mthfr but it’s no longer available. I do take your B12 supplement and your iron supplement. My ferritin is always low and your supplement is the only iron supplement out there that I’ve actually felt results from, so thank you for that. I’ve actually been able to start exercising 30 minutes per day because of the iron tablet. I saw a company called SaunaRay and was thinking about buying their 2 person far infrared sauna. They are a small company out of Canada. Have you heard of them?

  37. Missy March 25, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    Hi Dr. Ben,
    Is rebounding also a good option to help with detox? Dry skin brushing?

    Thanks for all you do!

  38. Alexandra Dib March 26, 2015 at 12:53 am #

    Dear Dr. Lynch,

    I am C677T Homozygous and have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroid as well. I take Vessel Care, along with other supplements suggested by my holistic nutritionist (she does the Bioenergetic EAV to determine what I need periodically). My question is, I started doing the infrared saunas, as well as the fit body wrap (also infra red) and feel fine after (although the place I go to is bare bones, no cold water bath, etc…). However, and I experience this as well with any sort of food/herbal detoxing, i get extremely bloated/edema and fatiqued, and my scalp starts flaking like crazy! I know it is from detoxing, so I did a foot bath and will do dry brushing and a bio-electric lymphatic drainage, but I was wondering what other suggestions you have to get the toxins OUT? Is this bc of the MTHFR? I sweat a lot during the saunas/wraps and I thought that would be enough? I also just purchased a rebounder which I hope will get the lymphatic system working better. Thanks in advance for your help! Alexandra

  39. Rick May 4, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    Great information for sauna. I am trying it more times for my health.
    Shared with friends. Thanks

  40. ingri May 5, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    Dr Lynch

    We had our well water tested through DrData (via your info) – looks good except
    the arsenic level is 17 ppb. I’m planning to get a Berkey filter with an arsenic filter.
    I have Hashimotos – am doing a methylation protocol -and- working on a leaky gut.
    How significant is this arsenic level? Thank-you.

  41. Paula June 1, 2015 at 5:41 am #

    Dr. Lynch, thank you for your site. I have been trying to find out about sauna types for some time. My ?s are: 1) Is infrared truly more effective in removing toxins / going deeper, as I find stated? 2) If we choose infrared, which is better, near or far infrared?? 3) is an inexpensive portable unit worthwhile, at least to try first (starting about $4oo)? 4) If I am concerned about some mild effects of EMF that I suspect at times, is far infrared safe for me? It is so confusing to listen to all the arguments presented by the dealers for their own products, and we cannot waste the money on something that is not good. Thank you for answering any or all of these ?s! And thank you for the protocol advice.

  42. AnnMarie August 10, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

    Hello, I am trying to find epsom salts in bulk and followed the link in your article above. It took me to a company in Anguilla, and they don’t sell in bulk. I was wondering if you are recommending a different company in the US for Salt Works, vs. the one your link goes to? Is this the proper link? http://www.saltworks.us/ultra-epsom-salt-wholesale.html#.Vcjliij9Vw4

  43. cassandra August 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    I am wondering if I should put the sauna on hold because I am nursing (16 month old son)? I haven’t received an answer either direction from my OB or lactation consultant. Because my son still wakes up several times at night, my sleep is not deep or interrupted which seems like a contraindication to me? How many months in advance would be healthy to detox via sauna preconception for our next child?

    • Dr. Aron August 30, 2015 at 5:18 am #

      Cassandra – sauna while nursing is generally not contraindicated. Being sleep deprived is not a contraindication to sauna either. However, with any hyperthermia treatment like sauna, it is best to start low and increase slowly. Stay hydrated and make sure to discontinue with any signs of nausea, dizziness, or numbness/tingling. Detoxification is constantly happening in the body. Sauna is one way to help remove toxins and would be beneficial to start as soon as possible. Once pregnant, you will want to avoid hyperthermia treatments like sauna.

      • Cassandra August 30, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

        Thank you very much!

  44. sharon September 4, 2015 at 4:20 am #

    I have more than 10 heavy metals in red zone from dmps challenge and lead in my blood. After taking small dose of zeolite had horrible reaction. Also was told my detox enzymes not working very well. In this case… what do you think of sauna for detox?

  45. sharon September 4, 2015 at 4:22 am #

    ps… i was born with only one kidney, too

    • Dr. Aron September 11, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

      Hi Sharon – Sauna can be very effective for heavy metal toxicity, but I would recommend finding a professional who can help you with this process given your medical history. One place you can start is by minimizing your total body burden. See this article by Dr. Lynch. You can find professionals who have completed training with Dr. Lynch in the physician directory.

  46. Bonnie Wolf December 28, 2015 at 4:32 am #

    Hi — Does the biomat detoxify the body safely and effectively? Appreciatively, Bonnie

  47. Jes January 17, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    Hi,

    Help! Whenever I use the sauna I have cold sweats! I could feel it slowly coming it out of my pores. This is quite odd to me, and not sure if anyone else is having similar issue. Should this be cause for concerns? What does this mean?

  48. Patricia February 2, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Dr. Lynch,
    I have MTHFR and am currently on MethyAssist via Pure Encapsulations and also take TMG 500mg BID. Are there any precautions or contraindications regarding my using a sauna(far infrared.)
    Thanks so much for your work and advice.

  49. Erin February 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    I am looking in to buying a sauna. Is cedar a safe building material for the sauna? There are so many options to narrow down!

    • Dr Lynch March 8, 2016 at 7:10 am #

      It is ok to build out of cedar – many are.

      It’s best to use something neutral though like poplar or birch.

  50. Amy March 9, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    I am looking to get a portable sauna for a while before I invest in something expensive. Can a portable sauna be shared (Is it sanitary)? I tried to search online, but couldn’t find an answer. Thanks! 🙂

  51. Mike 34 April 5, 2016 at 3:21 am #

    Hello. I am a fan of using sauna and steam as well. My son comes with me to the pool when I go. Is it OK that he joins me in there? He is 6.

  52. Jane May 12, 2016 at 5:47 am #

    Hello Dr Ben, Can you please tell me if Near and Mid are safe to use on my sauna, or should I just stick to the infrared setting?
    thank you

  53. Marla August 4, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    Hi Dr. Lynch,

    I recently received a diagnosis of Stage-3 Kidney Disease. Is is safe for me to continue practicing Hot Yoga and Barre classes? I sweat profusely in these classes. I do not have high blood pressure or diabetes.

  54. Brad August 20, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    Why is it important to keep the heat of the sauna off of your head?

    • Dr Lynch August 26, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      I’m not sure of the exact reason – but my guess is it helps allow you to stay in the sauna longer which is more beneficial. A hot head doesn’t detox you.

      Heat on the head may also increase risk for falling down – increased temperature. I’ve also known patients prone to headaches without a sauna hat – but with they are ok.

  55. Tara Lekakis November 8, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    Hi Dr and team,
    I am heterozygous for both genes and had one miscarriage and very recently an ectopic pregnancy in a matter of 6 months. I support myself nutritionally and supplement according to methylation process but I am considering purchasing an infared sauna to further support my detoxification process, I do not have high levels of heavy metal etc in system but I would like to know how often to use a infared sauna for ‘managment’ and general well being and can one use an infared sauna too much? some sites recommend 3 per week. I feel great from using a sauna.

    • Dr Lynch November 15, 2016 at 9:16 am #

      Use what feels right to you – some weeks you can do 3x week – others you wont be able to. just listen to your body and what you can handle. Dont force it!

  56. Valerie Raucci November 15, 2016 at 1:08 am #

    What about heart transplants and sauna use.
    Young and healthy 57 year old man
    11 years post op heart transplant?
    Can’t find any research.
    Medical field will just say no

  57. Heather December 12, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

    Hi Dr Lynch!
    Bloodwork just came back & ferritin is at a very low 6…
    Could doing sauna sessions hurt me?
    I’ve read about the benefits to doing sauna sessions if iron is too high,
    But can’t find much on if too low…

    • Dr Lynch December 15, 2016 at 3:26 am #

      Need to discuss with your health professional.

      Low iron could make one more dizzy in the sauna. Pay attention to this.

      The sauna could increase oxygenation to your tissues and cells which is useful in those with low oxygen. Just make sure you don’t get dizzy and fall down. Stay hydrated with electrolytes as well.

  58. Denise March 29, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    I have a friend who is selling an infrared sauna. The only place I have for it is my garage. I live in Las Vegas where it gets extremely hot. Is it safe to have and use an IR sauna in the garage? Thanks!

    • Dr Lynch May 29, 2017 at 5:18 am #

      as long as there are no gas and other fumes in there – and air is pretty clean.

  59. AWF June 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    I’m curious what your perspective is on those TTC – are saunas safe for females to use while TTC? There seems to be disagreement on this subject.

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