Two months ago, during the depths of the New Zealand winter, our family needed to prepare for an active holiday of cycling, running, walking and swimming our way around the tiny tropical nation of Vanuatu. The big challenge was to survive going from winter to 30 degree heat and 90% humidity. Our solution was to spend time in a sauna two to three times a week during the month or so leading up to our departure.
Photo: Alofa enjoying a mid-winter dip in Vanuatu
Progress prior to departure was significant: My sauna tolerance increased from just 15 minutes to over an hour without having to go out for a cold shower.
The benefits of a regular sauna go well beyond preparing for a mid winter tropical holiday:
Benefits from regular use of a sauna
- Helps remove all toxic metals safely and rapidly from the body.
- Helps remove thousands of toxic chemicals from the body in a gentle and safe manner.
- Helps improve infections, both chronic and acute, by heating the body one or two degrees to improve immune system activity.
- Helps remove debris and congestion in and on the skin to regenerate the skin as the major eliminative organ of the body.
- Shunts the blood to the body surface to reduce heat. This helps decongest the internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas for improved organ function.
- Moves blood throughout the body for improved circulation and oxygenation of the body.
- Moves the lymph throughout the body for improved lymphatic drainage.
- Beneficial for many serious conditions including heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, infections and much more.
Benefits there may be; but these depend on proper use of the sauna. Here is the procedure I recommend:
How to use the Sauna
If you have a medical condition, like diabetes or heart disease, please take extra care, avoiding extremes while the body acclimatises to the heat and cold cycles. Have company with you at all times.
- Begin with a warm shower, using soap to clean the skin and scalp then enter the sauna with wet skin and hair.
- Remain in the sauna until sweating freely with the capillaries and sweat glands fully dilated. How long this takes depends on how hot the sauna is.
- Take the coldest shower you can get out of the tap. Cool the entire body as quickly as possible so that the capillaries and pores of the skin clamp tight.
- Return to the sauna and remain there until again sweating profusely.
- Repeat the cold shower and then repeat the sauna for maybe a few more cycles (Be conservative for the first few times while you acclimatise).
- Start the final shower with a warm one, soaping the body thoroughly to clean the skin pores while they are open, and then finish with a cold shower to clamp the pores tight for the last time.
By about three weeks of regular use, your heat tolerance will be much better than before and you may notice subtle improvements to health such as better sleep, calmer nerves and smoother skin. Fingers and toes may be warmer than usual despite the cold winter weather (This winter has been the first in a long time that I have not suffered chill blains).