Why do you use a sauna or contemplate using one? If you are like most people it’s either for detoxification or for a particular health concern. What if I told you that you had it all wrong?!? Now before you stop reading let me explain what I mean and how near infrared saunas really work.
Think BIG picture. This is sometimes hard to do as we are conditioned and taught to focus on our symptom or complaint but this is not the only way. When I say think big I mean to think about why you have a problem. This “why” is what needs to be addressed if you want to have complete success with your sauna therapy.
If you’ve had your chronic stress/problem around long enough, you’ve asked this WHY question in one form or another. This chart starts to explain how you got to this point.
At some point in our lives, we were at our best when it came to our health and our symptoms. Perhaps this was in very early childhood, perhaps not that long ago. The point is that we had a time when things were normal and that is our starting point. In the diagram, you will see that represented by the highest point on the dotted line.
Then ‘life’ happens and the stress comes. At first, it’s slow and intermittent, but gradually it builds until it starts to affect your health. At first, though, you don’t feel it. You might know it’s there but you don’t feel a symptom in the body with perhaps the exception of a few sleepless nights.
It’s also important to point out again that your deconstructive stresses represented by the orange arrow can be emotional, physical, or chemical. Your body doesn’t care what type of stress it is. All it cares about is trying to deal with it and the stress response is the same regardless of whether your stress is physical, emotional, or chemical.
If the stress is short or not too intense, our healing and innate constructive forces will deal with it and this is represented by the green arrow. No user manual is required and the body knows exactly what to do. These healing forces are always present in the body even when our stress is particularly overwhelming. In fact, this overwhelming stress is the key. Our bodies only have a certain amount or threshold of healing they can do. This is always fluctuating and in a delicate balance with the deconstructive stresses. When your deconstructive stresses overwhelm your constructive forces for some time is when you have trouble and, eventually, you drop below the orange symptom line and, for the very first time, you have a symptom.
Let’s assume its high blood pressure. If you are like most people, you will do one of two things.
The first thing most people would do is look at their life, acknowledge they have been recently stressed, and then vow to reduce the stress and, in turn, the blood pressure. In theory, this is great. In practice, it’s just a Band-Aid, as the person is not looking at a permanent lifestyle change; they just want the high blood pressure to go away. In no time, the stress will build back up again and, in turn, the blood pressure will build back up as well.
The second option is to go on blood pressure medications. In this option, the blood pressure will come down, but it will do so at a cost. The problem is that the blood pressure was high as it was an intelligent response of the body to help you contain your stress. If a crocodile jumps out at you one of the very first responses your body has is to raise your blood pressure. We need this increased blood pressure to help us survive the attack.
When you take blood pressure medications, you lower your blood pressure and, in turn, decrease your ability to deal with stress. This is neither intelligent nor helpful in the long term.
Now there can be exceptions. If someone’s blood pressure is 220/120 they are at risk of things like a stroke, and they should take the medication. However, they should only take it with the understanding that they need to work on the cause of the problem, which is the stress, so that they can come OFF the medication at some future point. Far too many people buy into the idea that once you’re on a medication you’re on it for life. This is not true for the majority of people IF you fix the underlying root causes.
With both options, you will notice when you look at the diagram that you will come up above the symptom line. Of course, the person will be happy, but this will be short lived.
Because the stresses have never been dealt with, eventually the blood pressure will come back, and they will drop below the symptom line again.
At this point, the person evaluates their options again and they may increase their blood pressure medication or they may go on a three-week holiday. Again, notice that most people don’t make the permanent lifestyle changes that are required to truly deal with this problem. Unfortunately, the person will now start going round and round with blood pressure problems and will never be able to truly fix the issue.
The only true solution to these self-induced stress-based problems it to recognize that our bodies are doing the best they can with the constructive green arrow. We are not broken internally and our body knows exactly what to do and is doing its absolute best.
The other half of the equation, the orange arrow, is where success will come from. We need to address our stress. Remember the problem is not so much that our body has pathology in it, it’s that our pathological lifestyles are causing our problems.
This is where near infrared saunas “shine”. What they do as a primary mechanism is force your body to go to the relaxed parasympathetic nervous system which is where ALL healing occurs. From a root cause perspective this is key and how they work and benefit you. When you are truly relaxed and in this healing stage things like detoxification can occur along with digestion, heart function, weight loss etc. You can read more on our website for the finer details but it’s really important to have this big vision in mind and make sure that you AND your family are getting the fully benefits of near infrared sauna therapy.
Do use your sauna for whatever health condition you wish but don’t forget to think BIG. There is far more on the line than just your “symptom”.
Dr Todd Lizon