Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a sister syndrome to Fibromyalgia with many of the same symptoms but with the major one of fatigue rather than pain. It is often characterized by a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals which prevents proper assimilation of nutrients (so it is a cycle of reducing vitality) and detoxification of by-products of metabolism and external toxins. Often, the end result is an excessive accumulation of mercury and other toxic heavy metals in various organs of the body. These toxic metals are found in increasing amounts in our environment and food and in dental amalgams. Toxic metals are absorbed and replace the vital elements when there is a deficiency of the good minerals. The metabolic functioning of the cellular energy factories, mitochondria, become heavily compromised and effectively begin to shut down. This is know as the Cell Danger Response and is talked about in my book ‘The Scar that Won’t Heal’ in more detail[i].
If you are concerned that they cost a lot then you should be pleasantly surprised. You can buy the portable (collapsible material) type for just over £100. To buy a more permanent wooden structure will cost more but you can get good second hand ones for around £500. Obviously it depends on size and quality. Running costs are also surprisingly low as the ceramic heating element is around 1400W.
A few caveats; firstly more is not necessarily better. According to Dr Brian Clement, head of the world-famous Hippocrates Institute[i] “if you’ve never taken a sauna before, you only want to spend a few minutes in there—about four minutes tops. Then, for each subsequent sauna, add about 30 seconds, and slowly work your way up to somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes”. What can happen if you overdo is that you will overwhelm your detoxification mechanisms and become quite unwell. This happened to me when I had my first sauna in a spa – because I’d paid to be there for the day I thought I’d make the most of it. I came away feeling great – I’d spent probably around 2 hours in there all told. But the next day my fibroid was painfully enlarged and I felt very sluggish due to lymph blockage. (Fibroids are another sign of toxicity – usually heavy metals – stored in the fatty tissue of the uterine fibroid). It took me nearly a week to get back to normal.
Also, be aware that a lot of sauna manufacturer’s claims are unfounded- the idea that you sweat 20% toxins has not been proven and is a bit unlikely. It does certainly enhance fat soluble toxin removal from your body – apart from heavy metals that includes pesticides, PCB’s, POP’s (persistent organic pollutants), and some minerals like calcium – but usually it will be the non-natural forms added to foods rather than natural calcium which means it is not a problem. However, you should always replenish your body afterwards – “The three electrolytes that you need to take when you’re taking saunas, are calcium, magnesium, and potassium… These should be whole food ionic forms…. “i Chemical supplements like those sold in supermarkets are often made of petrochemicals and non-assimilable forms– try the wholefood varieties instead like chlorella, kelp, raw cacao, maca, etc. Mineral water can also be beneficial, especially those containing electrolytes as can spraying with Magnesium oil (hydrolysed spray version absorbed by the skin – better if your gut is compromised).
You can also boost the detox effect by getting a massage just after the sauna. In my practice I have installed a sauna that people can have a look at prior to buying one for themselves – it is not a good idea to share a sauna – this can be a problem in spa’s where they are not cleaned regularly enough. If someone’s sweat is in there make sure you sit on towels and wipe down afterwards (and shower of course). If you do have a massage make sure you don’t go for the sometimes heavily perfumed/ chemical products made by the big companies to entice you. I use only natural massage wax in my clinic made with natural essential oils and which doesn’t go everywhere (often a problem when hot) and usually magnesium spray as it adds a lovely muscle relaxant effect. This is particularly valuable for my Fibromyalgia clients whose muscles are often in spasm.
Please also note that the sauna will not necessarily replace a full detoxification protocol if you are unwell with CFRS, which represents a high level of toxicity. You should consult a nutritional therapist in conjunction with your sauna use in order to maintain a controlled detoxification process AND look at your stress issues with a psychotherapist. Better still consult a qualified Chrysalis Effect Practitioner or similar who deals with all these issues together – I am one – see my specialist website for more details www.mecfsrecovery.co.uk).
[i] The Scar that Won’t Heal available on amazon here. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scar-that-wont-Heal-Unresolved/dp/1517558921/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474016017&sr=8-1&keywords=Patricia+worby.
See also http://www.fernlifecenter.com/spa/far-infrared-sauna-treatment/ for much more information.