I know someone with our disease whose symptoms are most prominently expressed in terms of MCS rather than FM or CFS. She used a sauna and swore by it. She's been in a rather long state of relative remission, and has dismantled it to save room in her home. Others, including myself, whose symptoms are most pronounced in terms of CFS/FM/MCS (in order of severity) find that exposure to high heat for more than a few short minutes, and I do mean 'a few', is quite draining and produces a crash of one degree or another. Maybe it's one of those things that depends on the person. Personally, I have found that the most helpful thing, for me, in terms of detoxing the body is deep tissue massage therapy followed by drinking plenty of water. This seems to push the toxins out of the muscles and surrounding tissues into the bloodstream where they are then removed by the body. Drinking a lot of water after a massage expedites this process. Just my personal experience.
I think I have read somewhere that the usual benefit of sauna isn't the detoxification effect mediated by perspiration increase but the stimulation of immune system like during a fever. There is also the antimicrobial effect of high temperature. The use of malaria in neurosyphilis is well known. I looked at medical articles from this time and they used hot baths as well. I can't imagine how they attained such a high body temperatures. In these articles they claim that they submerged the patients in hot bath and measured their body temperature. After their temperature reached something over 40 C-I don't remember the precise value-they stayed on this temperature for few hours. The procedure was repeated three times a day. Sometimes I try to increase my body temperature by lying in the hot bathtub but it seems to be impossible to increase my temperature measured in the mouth to more than about 38.7 C. Btw cystic forms of borrelias don't start to disintegrate below about 41 C.
There are saunas and then there are Far Infrared Saunas (FIR Saunas). Regular saunas run at a higher temperature and humidity. FIR saunas are dry heat and similar to sunning yourself on the beach. They run at a lower temperature. The rays reach into your skin and pull out more toxins in your sweat.
Anyway, if you have any of the following - adrenal fatigue, partial methylation block, trouble tolerating heat and humidity, trouble detoxing, low minerals, unable to sweat, etc. I would avoid any kind of sauna until you have addressed the underlying issues.
I ran into trouble using a FIR sauna, just for a few minutes, not even up to the recommended temperature. It caused too much detox which I couldn't handle. Let's just say I had chest pains for 2 years after that until I found out I had heavy metals and chelated them out. I was doing everything correctly, drinking lots of water, increasing minerals, etc.
I know someone with our disease whose symptoms are most prominently expressed in terms of MCS rather than FM or CFS. She used a sauna and swore by it. She's been in a rather long state of relative remission, and has dismantled it to save room in her home. Others, including myself, whose symptoms are most pronounced in terms of CFS/FM/MCS (in order of severity) find that exposure to high heat for more than a few short minutes, and I do mean 'a few', is quite draining and produces a crash of one degree or another. Maybe it's one of those things that depends on the person.
I've got a blanket FIR sauna. I used it 3 times a week for several months a while ago with no improvement, but no ill effects either. When I'm really ill I can't use it as it's too much effort to shower and to clean the sauna afterwards.
I might try it again soon in the mornings but not for sweating, rather to increase body temperature. Even in the hot weather we've been having, I spend every morning shivering in bed.
so I guess it would depend on how Toxic you are? Have you done any detox? Start of with small doses and increase, slowly I would say. I think this would depend upon how active you are. Do you sweat a lot now?
Saunas were extensively researched in the 90s, as were cold baths etc, specifically in relation to CFS. I don't think it helps much with detox. The theory I was taught is that it forces the autonomic nervous system to adapt, which over time has a training effect and improves health.
There were three important rules. Never have long saunas. Ten minutes is maximum. Never drop into a pool after a sauna. You could pass out and drown (consider using the buddy systems too). Finally, drink lots of fluid. We have enough blood volume problems as it is.
I don't do saunas any more because of cost and travel issues. Used right they can be good, used conventionally they will harm you.
My mom's boyfriend helped me build a small portable FIR sauna, and I've been using it a couple times a week ever since. Like most CFS treatments, the effects were better initially than they are now, but I never had any negative effects from it.
With disautonomic symptoms like orthostatic intolerance, I couldn't tolerate or a sauna, so the question is closed for me personally.
I have heard that their reputed benefits from releasing toxins is exaggerated, because most toxins won't come out in sweat. The sweating cleans out your pores of oil and debris but I think you lose more in terms of water and electrolytes than you gain in terms of a purer system and better physical health. However, if saunas are tolerable for you, there may be a spiritual benefit from the way in which the experience can alter consciousness. Native Americans used them this way in a context of consecration and prayer, and this may have been the key to the effects they valued: purification, clarification of the mind and one's purpose, and a return to a state of unity.
Hi, I also have a lot of autonomic dysfunction and could not tolerate an ordinary sauna. However, I use an FIR sauna with great benefit. It is very best trick in my pocket to get help overnight from toxicity symptoms. I use an FIR "mat" sauna (BioMat) and it has 8 temperature settings so I can adjust to my comfort level.
Sushi, Is that the far infared light/heat waves that your body likes? I think mine does too, which I get from being covered up in the sunlight (when it is not too hot out). The heat from the sun has those additional rays your devices do, which are good for the system. What benefits do you feel you get?
I've written fairly extensively here about my own experiences with saunas, a few times. Advanced search posts by me with "sauna" in them should find them (one day maybe I'll index some of this stuff better).
Anyway I'm one of those who found FIR saunas very helpful and although I was doing a lot of things at the same time, I consider the FIR sauna to have been crucial in my own 'recovery' (I gradually regained most of my function during those 2 years or so but I'm still left with immune abnormalities that I have to manage in order to stave off relapse, and I still do frequently begin to relapse when I'm unable to avoid situations of mold or perfumes etc).
Key things I was advised about the process, from multiple sources including Dr Myhill's site, a doctor affiliated with her, and Allergy UK.
First (as confirmed by my experiences) anything less than your own personal FIR sauna is no good. They are actually not too expensive. Public saunas, I found, were disastrous. One explanation given was: when our pores are opened, we are vulnerable to toxic exposure from (eg) the makeup and anti-perspirants used by other people who have used that sauna. We're wandering into a chemical stew and opening our pores. The other angle is of course that intense saunas put a lot of pressure on the body, whereas FIR saunas, carefully managed, are less intense but more targeted for detox purposes.
I too have heard that FIR saunas don't really sweat out toxins as claimed, however the people making that argument always seem to be those who also claim that the very idea of chemical toxicity being a health problem is quackery, and they don't believe any of this stuff - so I decided to see for myself, and having done so, I now take the "debunking" of these sort of treatments with a large pinch of salt.
I started to see results after several unproductive sessions, maybe it kicked in on the fourth or fifth - and I could feel the difference in my response as it was happening. I could also smell that my sweat was different on these occasions. I did take a kind of cool plunge bath to wash off the sweat, mainly because I was worried about infecting things with the sweat and I wanted to wash it away rather than "reinfecting" myself. This was OK for me, but I think people who are more physically challenged (eg with more severe orthostatic intolerance than my own) would not be able to this, as many have stated is the case.
Finally, the crucial point that I haven't seen emphasised: while detoxing one is also losing lots of valuable minerals as well as the toxins, and of course losing fluids too. So it's crucial to replace the lost fluids (with lots of filtered water), to have a targeted supplementation regime, and to replace salts etc, and this supplementation regime should also be tailored to the individual's vitamin deficiencies etc. Constructing this supplementation regime is complex as it varies from individual to individual and some of the tests are fairly expensive - and of course very few doctors understand the immune biochemistry involved so it's hard to find one and they aren't cheap (but very good value in my experience).
So in summary: the whole thing will likely often not be effective without a program directed by the right kind of physician, but in my experience, I believe it was a valuable part of my own recovery. Based on what many people have said about their bad experiences with this and other treatments, I think it's most likely that the most severely affected CCC ME patients will not be able to tolerate this treatment sufficiently to gain benefit from it, or at least, they would require extremely good supervision and a lot of supplementation in order to do so. Until I hear of someone who has recovered from severe ME (rather than "MCS") with FIR+supplement programmes, then I have to consider that it's only a proven treatment for some milder cases - but a lot of us have benefited from it, that's for sure. It is certainly one of those things that has to be done in the right way and which requires some perseverance to get it working.
Oh and finally: any benefits I got from it were certainly not spiritual or meditational IMO. I used to watch films while detoxing, and there was nothing particularly spiritual about my experience. Speaking as someone who's had quite a lot of spiritual experience, I think I'd have recognised if that were a factor for me with this treatment.