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ME/CFS: In Free Fall Through the Looking Glass
Jody Smith continues to try to put into words the horror of the altered state that hobbles the brains of those with ME/CFS...
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  1. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I am thinking about trying a FIR sauna, at a spa. I would be able to use it all I wanted during one day.

    Some people get sick from using FIR saunas though. So pushing it too hard might not be a good idea.

    How soon after I use the sauna would symptoms likely appear?

    What kind of experiences have other people had with using FIR saunas?

    Thanks very much for your help!

    Best, Lisa
  2. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hi Lisa,

    FIR saunas can be a touchy thing for me, even after having done dozens of them over the post several months. Sometimes a 20-minute sauna can leave me feeling much better, sometimes the same length sauna can leave me feeling a bit depleted. Either result can sometimes be followed by a headache and/or less than normal sleep that night (generally worse, but sometimes better).

    Just when I think I don't want to do them anymore, I can find myself feeling toxic, and remembering that only a FIR sauna has the ability to pull me out of that kind of feeling. And it usually works. In short, the effects can be really variable, and it's often difficult to tell what results might occur at any given time or any given day.

    One thing I discovered recently, is that I can be pretty sure I won't have any lingering after effects if I get out of the sauna just before I start sweating. That may seem counter-intuitive to what we would expect from a sauna, but I've found the FIR waves seem to have the ability to calm my agitated neurological system, and lead to a gentle relaxing, and I'm assuming, detoxification process.

    I seem to remember Forbearance mentioning once she could be in a FIR sauna for only 30 seconds before feeling overwhelmed by a detox reaction. So this appears to be a very individual thing. I would recommend starting out slowly. When I do them for only 10 minutes or so (without sweating), I don't even have to get out of my street clothes.

    Hope some of this helps. BTW, you might be interested in this post touching on Chinese foot reflexology.

    Best Regards, Wayne
  3. caledonia

    caledonia

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    FIR = Far Infrared Sauna, nothing to do with wood or even moist heat. This is like sitting in the sun at the beach.

    I had a very bad reaction to FIR. I was in it for about two minutes, until I just start started sweating. I had anxiety, heart palps,, etc. I was doing all the extra water and minerals you're supposed to do. This was before I did methylation or adrenal support. I also do a lot more magnesium now as a matter of course. I think I would do better now that I've done that.

    I tolerate heat better and can sweat in the summer now and it actually feels good. If you're at that stage, I think it would be ok. The reactions I had were either started in the sauna or immediately afterwards.

    If I were to try again, I would start with 15-30 seconds to test things out, and gradually increase from there as tolerated. Maybe do it once a week or a few times a week, not every day.
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Hey 5150, perhaps you won't feel so stupid after you hear about my evening. Just a couple hours ago I hung a fly swatter up on the entry coat rack instead of on an out of the way hook beside the refrigerator. Also (a couple hours ago) I lost track of something I could have sworn I left on my bed, and when I looked, it wasn't there. I couldn't believe what I could possibly have done with it. So I went into the other room to look for it, couldn't find it, and then thankfully ended up spacing it out and forgetting about it. When I came back to my bedroom, there it was on the bed, about two feet away from where I thought it was supposed to be. And it wasn't even small! Oh well... :rolleyes:
  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    My experience was that I didn't sweat in the FIR sauna and I didn't start to sweat in any of the subsequent sessions. Felt much worse afterwards and as I had to leave my home to use it the journey wasn't worth the hassle.

    Some people who don't sweat have reported that after a few sessions that they do start to sweat again. This didn't happen to me which is why I gave up.

    In the Summer not sweating causes huge problems with heat intolerance. Maybe if I had a FIR sauna in my home and it was winter then I would keep trying.
  6. justy

    justy Senior Member

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  7. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    One thing that I've heard about FIR saunas is that (as with all detox treatments) it's best to do them only in good locations. Erik actually bought one of these, but stopped using it when the place he was keeping it stopped being pristine. I met another person who owned a FIR sauna and had a terrible reaction when using it in a bad place.

    The thing about FIR is, apparently, that it penetrates very deeply into the tissue. This seems an important thing. I'm wondering if it might be especially helpful for getting toxins out of the brain?

    I am thinking that I will give this a try sometime soon, and will report back on how it goes.
  8. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    I can't say that I have ever tried a FIR sauna. I do well in an ordinary hot air sauna and I find hot tub very helpful and relieving of pain. I often sit in the hot-tub get hot, dive in the swimming pool and back to the hot-tub for several such cycles. My only remaining problems are neurological and neurological pain and joint pain where I have old injuries along with a damaged spine and disks. Where can a FIR sauna be found to try out? What kind of facility typically has these?
  9. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    I tried a FIR in a chiropractor's office and unfortunately stayed in for 20 minutes. Looking back I can't fathom why I was so careless. I only had a mild sweat. It induced a detox reaction that lasted for about 4 days, got very very tired etc. so that was way too much.

    I did an ionic footbath once and that caused me to detox for about 3 days afterwards too.

    I ended buying a cheap portable FIR on-line for about $200. It looks like something from a 1950's sci-fi movie, with a shiny silver cover. You sit on a little chair inside and your head sticks out the top. I've only used it once, for about 5 minutes, which I tolerated okay. It folds up and I have it sitting in a corner for sometime when I feel like detoxing again. It's become part of the furniture now actually, sort of like the exercise equipment people buy and never use.

    Mary
  10. alexx

    alexx

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    Hee nice thread!
  11. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    The one I found was at a spa, which has massage treatments and so forth. I've never seen one at any other spas though.

    I wonder what the difference is between a FIR sauna and a regular sauna. Has anyone tried both?

    I have a vague sense that the FIR is better because it penetrates deeper into the tissues?

    One time, I was at a hot spring place, Tecopa (near Death Valley). I overheard someone saying something to the effect that the water has particular healing qualities because it acts like a FIR sauna. And I do think that that water penetrated very deep into my system and caused detox that other spa water (or just baths) do not.

    I found that this water was especially helpful for me if I put my head in it. Detoxing the brain is important, for me.

    So I wonder if a FIR sauna that allowed the head to be inside might be preferable?

    Best, Lisa
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    FIR Saunas - Clay Foot Baths

    Hi Lisa,

    Just a couple comments this morning. My understanding is that Ayurvedic medicine does not believe it's a good idea to get the head warm/hot (I don't remember the reason why). I visited a nearby Ayurvedic healing place that had a FIR sauna, and they said they suggest patients use ice/cold packs on their neck/head areas while they do a sauna. I've often wondered if some of the headaches I can easily get from FIR saunas are a result of an exacerbation of brain inflammation.

    I do believe FIR saunas have a place for me, but even after all this time, I'm still not sure what that place is, or how best to incorporate them. As I'm about to embark on some pretty aggressive Lyme treatment protocols that should initiate some significant dieoff, I'm looking more toward clay foot baths to help with detoxification, especially if symptoms become severe. I've found clay foot baths to be very effective to use, with the added benefit of being able to control detox symptoms much better than I can do with FIR saunas.

    Hope you're doing well Lisa.

    Best Regards, Wayne
  13. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I've tried FIR and conventional saunas. Both make me feel terrible. Probably the conventional sauna is worse for me. I've tried all the obvious things with saunas (before and after).
  14. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    Lisa - FIR saunas are quite different than regular saunas because of the far infrared rays. They don't need to be as hot as regular saunas, the rays do penetrate deeper, and they're supposed to be very good for detoxing and healing. There's lots of info on-line about them. I know they're recommended by Dr. SArah Myhill in the UK. As I said earlier, 20 minutes in a FIR sauna wiped me out for 4 days and it was not that hot, I barely broke a sweat. I could tolerate a regular plain heat sauna much easier.

    Mary
  15. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Lisa,
    http://www.medicalinsider.com/toxicity3.html ...down under "Light (EMR) Therapies" there's a good lot of info.

    The doctor who did my chelation offers the tunnel type of FIR sauna (shown on that site) for use at home. I haven't used one because she didn't have them back then. I'd like to try one though :)

    Anne.
  16. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I've done well with FIR though I keep the heat medium, have my head out (I have a BioMAT and put a down comforter on top so it is not the usual cabinet). But, I did find that you have to slowly condition yourself to FIR--starting with about 5 or 10 minutes at low heat. The instructions that came with the BioMat suggested how to pace your "build-up" and that has worked for me.

    I now use it for about 45 minutes, beginning at a higher heat, then when it feels right, lowering the heat to medium. It helps me a lot with detox, plain old feeling lousy, and any pain. That said, I can't use it every day or it is too much (I usually do it every other day), I keep water with electrolytes within reach and drink a good deal.

    I have used a cabinet style at a clinic and it did not have adjustable heat and 10 minutes wiped me out.

    Sushi
  17. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    This is good advice, with CFS I think it is essential to experiment with short times, and condition yourself to a FIR sauna. A few minutes at first, then gradually learn what you can tolerate. I have a nice 4-person FIR sauna sitting in my garage, bought back before I was disabled. I did use it off and on a few years ago, and it was very nice on cold winter days, a good way to warm up the insides. Also good for back pain, I had an employee with back problems who would use it every morning at one time. But for detox, mixed reviews. When I over-used the sauna, I lost too much weight and took years to gain that back. That's why it is now sitting in the garage, although eventually I plan to pull it out and try it again, now that a B12 protocol is helping, maybe detox will work better. Personally I think the uniform advice to detox with FIR given by some alt health practitioners is naive, they should learn about pathologic detoxers (ME/CFS patients) and the risks of FIR sauna if you don't process toxins well. But some people do well with FIR, you just have have to experiment carefully.
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    One much cheaper and easier way to getting the healthy far infrared rays into your tissues is simply buying an far infrared ceramic heater. These heaters use exactly the same ceramic bulbs as found in far infrared saunas.

    The type of far infrared ceramic heater I mean are these.

    So instead of sitting inside a large pine cabinet sauna to get this infrared heat on you, you just simply sit near the ceramic heater, with your shirt off, so that the these healthy rays can warm you skin and deeper tissues. There is no need to sit inside a pine cabinet!

    I found that these far infrared ceramic heater are also a good treatment for SAD (seasonal affective disorder); see here.

    (Note: don't confuse these above "far infrared ceramic heaters" with fan heaters that are also sometimes called "ceramic heaters". The latter will not work at all for this purpose, they only blow out hot air, and no infrared rays at all.)
  19. citybug

    citybug Senior Member

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    The lamps used in acupuncture offices are also FIR and available for sale. I think they are good for releasing toxins from fat and strengthening bone, because the ceramic plate makes the waves penetrate into deeper layers. But I think heating your brain is a very bad idea. I once burnt a deep area of skin on my hip by using an acupuncture lamp closer than the directions said, several times.
  20. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Himalayan Salt Before Doing a Sauna

    I recently met a man who does a lot of saunas (as treatment for Lyme). After sharing some of the difficulties I have with saunas, he immediately suggested I ingest a good amount of salt before going in. Yesterday, I did 1/4 tsp. of Himalayan salt, and had a much greater stamina than usual. Went for 27 minutes instead of my usual 20 min. or so. It didn't disrupt my sleep or give me a headache.

    I was so encouraged, I decided to do another 1/4 tsp of salt and 25-minute sauna today. Very rarely have I tried two consecutive days of saunas, but it went very well again. I don't feel the least bit enervated from these two saunas, and this experience is giving me a lot more confidence going forward as I intensify my Lyme baceria die-off protocols. However.... we'll see what tomorrow brings.

    Wayne

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