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Sauna and detoxification >>

Reading time: approx 6,5 min 

Introduction

"For a human subtropical low altitude air-breathing animal, most of the planet earth represents a hostile place."          

Mike Tipton

 

In our perception, we have this wonderful image of the blue planet we live on. However, we are constrained to only about fifteen per cent of it.

Everything else is either water or mountains, ice or desert. Because we settled in parts of the planet that are different from our tropical origin, we have to fight the environment and its peculiarities all the time. Therefore, as an animal of tropical origin, we are continually facing challenges, explains Mike Tipton, a professor at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

One such challenge – indeed, a key one for all living beings - is to ensure an adequate internal temperature. As a result, various systems have developed through evolution to enable preservation and survival, even in extreme temperature environments. Humans are no exception. Many evolutionarily preserved mechanisms (inherited from earlier organisms) are interconnected with some specific to humans and provide temperature balance in a relatively narrow range regardless of external or internal influence. Throughout our history, we relied on them until, at some point, someone with a larger prefrontal cortex (smarter) came along and invented tools, fire control, clothing, air conditioning, and things became more complicated. Suddenly, we no longer need as much energy for finding food or covering distances. Due to increasingly efficient clothing and air-conditioned bedrooms, our thermoregulation system is becoming less necessary and consequently less responsive. Thus, on the one hand, these inventions made survival easier and made life more bearable, comfortable, and - some would even say - more worth living. On the other hand, the comfort which we get has its price.

Namely, the body's processes that are no longer evolutionarily necessary for survival are either stop, or their activity reduces in line with current needs. The fact that we have lost our tail somewhere in the evolutionary path or the ability to move our ears in the direction of sound does not significantly affect our survival abilities or health. However, reducing our ability to adapt to thermal stress can have much more undesirable consequences. Body temperature regulation is an essential homeostatic function (1) in the so-called homoeothermic animals (those that maintain a stable body temperature by regulating metabolic processes), including humans. As we will see later, this function is strongly related to many other metabolic processes in our body. Its weakening may cause a decline of other metabolic processes and thus overall health. In other words, the comfort we enjoy and strive for so much weakens our body, drives disease and shortens our lives. This is perhaps the book's first meaningful message and one worth remembering.

Of course, one is not expected to give up comfort or progress. On the contrary, artificial intelligence and accelerated automation will make things even worse in this regard.

It is no secret that lack of physical activity, besides an unhealthy diet, is one of the leading causes of chronic diseases. (2) But, we know almost nothing about whether the lack of other evolutionary challenges is significant. For example, we know very little about the lack of temperature fluctuations and the associated potential problems. We don't ask ourselves about this. Nor is much written about in scientific articles - as though this issue has been forgotten in professional circles. Of course, it just seems that way. There is an extensive body of evidence and articles on the positive effects of short-term heat or cold shock or the body's heat adaptation. So, we may presume that if something is good for our body, the lack of it can mean "not good" or even harmful. Even fatal for many, as the impaired thermoregulatory systems, especially in the elderly, causes many premature deaths every year. (3) Additionally, given the environmental developments and the growth of extreme weather events, the situation is expected to worsen (4).

Of course, now it is clear which way the wind is blowing, or the penny has dropped, you might say. You would like to sell us a sauna! 

Yeah, I admit, you got me. I would like to "sell" something to you, but not necessarily a sauna. Rather, the idea of sauna bathing – for free!

Maybe at this point, a question has come to you: "Why? Why would someone like to "sell" me sauna bathing? Especially for free. What will he get out of it?" 

Well, I have at least two strong motives. Before I introduce them, let me first answer what YOU can get out of it.

Starting us off: the sauna has a positive effect on thermoregulatory mechanisms and promotes their functioning. As a result, it is easier to tolerate extreme temperatures, according to the studies and my personal experience. But it's not just that.

Imagine if there was a pill that offered you: 

- deep relaxation and better sleep,

- more effective detoxification,

- muscle gain and fat loss, 

- a reduction in arthritic and other chronic pain,

- healthier skin and faster skin rejuvenation, 

- a strengthened immune system, 

- improved insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance,

- improved athletic endurance and quicker recovery 

- better cardiovascular health 

- better cognitive and brain health 

- extended longevity, slower ageing, and more?

You would probably call it a magic pill. The inventor would likely receive the most significant scientific recognition award. Not to mention the pharmaceutical industry would kill (metaphorically speaking, of course) for patents. More sceptical people would probably declare such a pill as snake oil or a conspiracy theory. Of course, such a miracle pill does not exist. However, there is a simple and effective method that can bring you all the listed effects. Yes, you guessed it, I'm talking about sauna bathing.

The times when a sauna was used only for detox and relaxation are long gone. There is a growing body of scientific literature evidence to support the claims mentioned above and other beneficial effects of sauna bathing. It is important to emphasise that these effects do not happen because the sauna is a unique shape or form, made of special materials or is a miraculous device in any way. The effects attributed to the use of the sauna are due to the human body's natural characteristics. 

Acute exposure to heat in a sauna (or under a truck tarp, which I do not recommend) causes the body to respond in self-defence to heat stress and thus prevent injuries. Heat activates the body's mechanisms that have survived through evolution and allow us to exist. These are intensely active for some time after each sauna bathing. However, with regular use, they become more and more involved and help improve health and well-being. So, if we want to understand the effects of a sauna, we must understand our own body and what happens to it inside the sauna. 

Now let me answer another question: what do I, the writer of these lines, gain from selling you sauna bathing? If you've been thinking it's about selling this book, let me tell you that's not the correct answer - although I will not deny that I will be pleased if you buy it, as it will help me to explore and further expand my mission. However, you do not need this book or any other book to use the sauna. And I should also be clear that I do not manufacture or sell saunas.

There are two fundamental reasons; both are distinctly selfish. Let me introduce the first with a question; Have you ever experienced something you were so excited about that you wanted the whole world to know, and it would make you inwardly happy because you know you helped someone with it? If you are, then you understand my first reason.

The second comes from thinking about the world we live in and the situation we find ourselves in. The world is becoming increasingly unstable. The political situation, the climate crisis, and the rapid development of technology push us to the brink. More intelligent and wiser people think the only alternative we have is to radically reinvent the world because otherwise, the world as we know it will no longer exist. Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat relies on human solidarity and mutual assistance. This, however, seems unrealistic at the given moment. Although scientifically refuted, the religion of individualism nourished by increasingly present fear is too firmly anchored in the subconscious. It is becoming dominant even where it was unknown until yesterday.

Our emotional part of the mind does not seem to follow the rational mind's development and vice versa. Hence the epidemic of drugs, crime and aggression. The world's instability is a direct consequence of the mind's instability, primarily due to the body's instability and its disturbed homeostasis. In connection with meditation, the sauna helps increase and strengthen the body and mind's necessary stability. In short, they make you better. As a result, the normality and joyfulness of the world increases. That is why both activities together are more important than ever before! And even though I never participated in a beauty contest, I always wanted to do something that could make the world a better place. And the world can only be better if a man is better – a man can only be better if his mind is better, more stable. And here we are again at the sauna, which can help with that. Knowing about this is a privilege I want to share with you. And if a book can help convey that knowledge, it's the least I can do to write it. So I did.

 

Reading time: approx 6,5 min 

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