Let it All Out!: External Mechanisms Spur Physical Detoxification
Jan 05, 2016 03:17AM
By Ariana Rawls Fine
In our daily lives, we are bombarded with toxic matter, whether the source is alcohol, cigarettes, chemicals in the environment, household cleaners, the effects of stress or others. A regular detoxification program to combat modern-day life’s toxins can improve our mental, physical and emotional health. A plethora of practitioners offer expert guidance to determine the most appropriate food or supplement-based internal cleanse for our needs, schedules and patience level, but we can augment our internal detox process by using external modalities, such as salt, heat, vibration and others.
Used for thousands of years as a natural and powerful health therapy, salt can be particularly helpful with respiratory detoxification and overall health. Floatation centers like Westport’s iFloat and Trumbull’s PuREST use up to 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt—a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate—mixed with a warm solution of water in float tanks to produce a high buoyancy effect. Soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt has been shown to increase magnesium and sulfate levels in the body. Magnesium can help with reducing inflammation, improving muscle and nerve function, and preventing artery hardenings. The sulfates found in Epsom salt also assist with flushing out toxins and heavy metals. The use of essential oils in a soaking bath will intensify the cleansing effects for the body and its systems.
Himalayan rock salt, used in another form of salt therapy, has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Salt caves, such as Saltana Cave in Ridgefield and Salt of the Earth Sanctuary in Woodbury, offer their clients the healing benefits of a rock salt rich in trace elements and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iodine, bromine, copper, selenium and iron. Modeled after salt caves in Eastern Europe, the indoor salt room combines speleotherapy—the use of salt cave and mine microclimates to treat diseases—and halotherapy, which utilizes a salt vaporizer to push dry aerosol salt vapor into the air to help with various respiratory and skin issues, allergies and other conditions. A session in a salt cave involves relaxing in a gravity chair with your feet up while breathing in the healing, detoxifying salt air.
Heat is known to increase circulation while triggering the body to get rid of toxins through the sweating process. During a sauna treatment, the sweating is more intense, which can diminish the amount of detoxification time needed. Infrared sauna can be found at places such as Stamford’s 7eFit Spa, Monroe’s Muktinath Holistic Center and Danbury’s Worden Wellness Center. According to Fairfield’s Whole-Body Medicine practice, the heat in an infrared sauna “is generated by ceramic or metallic heating elements. The temperatures in infrared saunas are lower than those of traditional saunas, ranging from about 110 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.” Sauna detoxification programs—which can be several minutes a day to hours with varying frequency—are planned according to each individual’s state of health, tolerance and availability. It will also vary based on whether you are using an infrared or traditional sauna. Consult a your doctor before undertaking a sauna detoxification program or following an expert-designed program that may include nutritional and supplement support.
In order to increase the efficacy of a detoxification program, we can help ourselves in several ways. For example, exercising for a short time or getting a light massage before a sauna session can increase blood circulation, which can, in turn, bring more toxins to the surface for disposal through the sweating process. Increasing doses of vitamin B3—also known as niacin—promotes microcirculation while digestive enzymes can aid in breaking up “trapped” toxins in tissue that the body would otherwise have trouble accessing to clean up.
Although most of us are good candidates for sauna detoxification, a medical doctor, naturopath or nurse practitioner should be consulted for those with any conditions or on medications, as well as those that are chemically sensitive. The sauna protocol can be adapted for children but their detox protocol should be supervised by medical personnel.
Building on the efficacy of infrared heat, BioMat is a mat that uses a combination of far infrared rays, negative ion therapy and amethyst crystals to increase circulation, raise the body temperature and stimulate the sweating process to boost the immune system. In addition to use in hospitals and health clinics, the BioMat—an FDA-registered Class II medical device—is available for home use and is used in various area businesses, including Salt of the Earth in Woodbury, Yoga For Everybody in Fairfield, and Presence of Wellness in Monroe. Whether used at a facility or at home, a session lying down on the mat usually lasts 15 to 45 minutes.
Norwalk’s Kure Spa—the first Vibrosaun-authorized clinic in the United States—offers the Vibrosaun machine, which combines dry sauna heat and a padded vibrating bed. The bed, used for decades in Australia and Europe, has been shown to help with weight loss, chronic pain, detoxification, and a myriad of other conditions such as sports injuries and insomnia. The heat and vibrations from the machine dilate blood vessels, relax muscles, and increase pulse rates and blood flow. By increasing functioning of the kidneys and lymphatic system, the machine is useful in helping with toxin removal, such as lactic and uric acids. People on blood thinners should consult with a doctor while utilizing
The Vibrosaun machine is not recommended for pregnant women, those with circulatory or vascular diseases, cancer, infectious diseases or pacemakers. A session usually lasts 30-45 minutes with five to eight initial sessions normally recommended. Vibrosaun is not recommended for those younger than 16 years of age.
Other vibration therapies, such as ionic foot baths, draw out toxins by working to discharge those underneath the skin. In addition to improving blood circulation and reducing cellulite, the FDA-approved TORC technology available at 7eFit Spa in Stamford can help with lymphatic drainage, muscle building and fat cell reduction. The treatment uses bioelectric feedback to contract muscles, offering the body a targeted passive “workout”.
Whichever non-food focused detoxification strategy is chosen, it is best to consult with a health practitioner if underlying conditions exist to ensure that we select the program that is most appropriate for our minds, bodies and souls.
Ariana Rawls Fine is editor of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County. She resides in Stratford with her family.