Take Advantage of Sweat to Release
an Avalanche of Toxins from Your Body
February 27th, 2013 by Holly Cornish
The ability to sweat a lot isn’t what most people call a talent, or even a benefit. We live in a culture that doesn’t want to see it and doesn’t want to smell it.
But sweat, it turns out, can save your life.
Continued below. . .
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The reality of sweating
When you sweat, there’s a lot more happening than just the visible signs of perspiration.
Your sweat glands — nearly two million of them — are dispersed throughout almost all the skin on your body. They’re found in the layer known as the dermis. Nerve cells within the dermis control sweating.
Most people think of sweat as a way to stay cool when you overheat. But in fact, your body sweats continuously. Or at least, that’s the case if you’re healthy. The amount of sweat you produce is heavily affected by several things. These include not only air temperature and your activity level, but also — a surprising one — your emotional state.
Sweat itself is made up primarily of water. It also contains minerals, lactic acid, ammonia, urea, and sugar. Sweat levels increase for most people when they exercise, when the weather (or room temperature) is really hot, or when they’re particularly angry or upset. Sweat levels can also increase when you’re ill — a fever being the obvious case.
Sweat comes in two varieties: Active and passive. Active sweating happens when you exercise, and it invigorates your body. Passive sweating, which has more of a therapeutic effect, happens when your core body temperature rises (usually because the air around you is hot, as in a traditional sauna or a steam room). The more advanced far infrared saunas are something else. They induce a passive sweat by heating the body directly, not just the air.
In both active and passive sweating, your breath quickens, your circulation improves, and your metabolism speeds up. This combination of responses contributes to getting your body back to a normal temperature.
In fact, temperature regulation is the most important benefit to sweating. On average, you burn approximately 2,500 calories in a single day. That means your body generates enough heat from oxidation to boil somewhere around 25 quarts of water. Since your body can’t tolerate that kind of heat, you have a built-in cooling system. Sweating slows down the rate at which your body burns calories. It also helps blood vessels within your skin dilate in order to release heat. Sweat brings your body temperature back to normal.
8 more healing benefits of sweat
Beyond temperature regulation, your body benefits from sweating in several other ways:
Energy boost: Sweating through exercise releases endorphins that prompt an energy boost.
Immune system boost: The theory is that as your body heats up, you generate more white blood cells. In turn, this strengthens your immune system.
Cardiovascular benefits: Along with increasing the dilation of your blood vessels, your heart gets a workout each time you sweat. Your heart is a muscle, after all.
Stress relief: Sweating is also relaxing. It’s an effective stress reliever and helps get rid of fatigue in your body brought on by muscle tension.
Pain relief: As the body heats up and starts sweating, circulation improves and those energy-boosting endorphins are released. But endorphins are also a natural pain-relieving chemical and help limit any discomfort you might feel from sore muscles or arthritis.
Healthier skin: The November 5, 2001 issue of Nature Immunology, an online publication, cited work from Eberhard Karls University in Germany on the contents of human sweat. One ingredient the researchers discovered is something called dermcidin, an anti-microbial (antibiotic) peptide. Dermcidin plays a role in limiting the spread of disease-causing bacteria that lead to skin infections like impetigo. Also, some experts say heavy, regular sweating can slow the early signs of skin damage and aging.
Weight loss: Sweating doesn’t necessarily speed weight loss in the way many people think. What it actually does is force you to lose water, which does indeed result in a temporary weight loss. But even if the numbers on the scale change, you need to replace that water loss by drinking water — otherwise, you risk dehydration. But sweating does contribute to the weight loss process. When you exercise and your body heats up, water-soluble fat leaves your body through sweat.
Detoxification: According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, author of “Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing,” cells that are damaged by toxic metals and other chemicals tend to be weaker than normal cells. When you heat these weaker cells, you speed up their death. This hastens the removal of metals and chemicals that may have been trapped in those damaged cells.
Detoxification through sweat plays an important role in disease prevention and treatment. Toxins, we know, cause a host of problems — cancer being one of them. Regular sweating helps you reduce this toxic load. In fact, as much as 30% of your body’s waste gets removed through sweat. We see a lot of other cultures use this principle as a healing technique (think of Native American sweat lodges, for example). The second someone starts to feel ill, they’re sent to a dry sauna. There’s an old saying that a good sweat has the power to stop a cold in its tracks.
Jumpstart your ability to sweat
It’s not common, but some people have a very hard time sweating. That puts their health at risk, because they’re more disposed to become overheated and have a harder time getting rid of toxins.
If you engage in a physical activity and your face turns beet red while those around you sweat, it’s a reason to be concerned. Sometimes a thyroid problem plays a role, so if you have considerable trouble sweating, it’s worth asking a doctor to test your thyroid function.
Dehydration is another reason for limited sweating. Drink at least the recommended eight glasses of water a day to get your body back on track.
If you’ve already got these things in check, there are a few ways to jumpstart your ability to sweat. I’m fond of saunas, especially if they’re far infrared, because infrared has the ability to heat the body directly, instead of just heating the air, thereby giving you a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level where toxins reside. Wet saunas are another proven way to help your body release toxins through sweat.
Here at Cancer Defeated, we’re long-term fans of infrared saunas. (Learn more in Issue #263. ) The detoxification and health benefits are proven, they’re used in many reputable clinics, and you can even install one in your home if you wish. Sunlighten is an excellent, cutting-edge manufacturer that offers clinically backed full-spectrum infrared saunas. Visit their website or call 1-877-292-0020.
Another way to work up a sweat is to soak yourself for 20 minutes in a warm detox bath with epsom salts. Wrap up in warm towels after you step out of the bath.
Or put cayenne pepper and fresh lemon juice in your water. Drink it throughout the day to get your blood flowing and induce sweat. This is a time-honored detox secret (cheap, too!) I’ve used it myself.
You can also chug bentonite clay, a supplement known to help induce sweating. I haven’t tried it myself, nor know anyone who has, so this one is your call. From what I can learn on the Web it appears to be safe.
A lot of people these days also report amazing benefits from hot yoga — essentially, the practice of regular yoga but at temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to overdo it — and do keep yourself hydrated.
Don’t give up if you can’t break a decent sweat on the first try. I’ve heard reports of very ill people having “breakthrough sweats,” where they try something like a hot sauna for several days without effect, until one day — maybe after as many as six days of trying — sweat will suddenly start pouring out of them. Think of it as getting yourself unclogged.
Take note — a cancer diagnosis might actually increase the amount of sweat you produce. Some medicines and cancer drugs prompt this reaction as well. If that’s the case, listen to your body and let it sweat.
And of course, any time you induce yourself to sweat, you want to make sure to replenish your body by drinking lots of water and taking mineral supplements.
Lee Euler, Publisher