MAXIMIZE YOUR FITNESS NOW WITH BEN'S FREE IPHONE & ANDROID PHONE APP  HOOK ME UP!

Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness.

Pinterest

New feature! Push the play button above or click here to subscribe for free in iTunes to get the audio version of this post. Let me know in the comments section if you find this feature oh-so-handy-dandy. 

I will be the first to admit that I spent most of my life not really understanding the difference between a “regular” sauna and an infrared sauna.

While I’ve certainly covered wet saunas vs. dry saunas on a heat acclimation webinar for USA Triathlon, and I’ve thoroughly discussed the myriad of benefits from heat exposure (from dry saunas to steam rooms to those dorky sauna suits) in a very popular interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick

…until the recent show “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More” I’d never really delved into the concept of infrared saunas on the podcast either.

But now that I’m spending at least two and, based on the results of this Finnish longevity study, as many as five days per week in an infrared sauna, I figured it was high time I filled you in on what I’m doing with infrared, why, and three ways to biohack your sauna for more heat, more sweat, and bigger benefits.

———————————-

Why You Should Use A Far Infrared Sauna

First, you should know that this article isn’t really going to delve into the nitty-gritty of why heat therapy and saunas are beneficial, because I’ve covered that in great detail before.

But before learning how to biohack your sauna experience, it is important for you to have a basic idea of what an infrared sauna is, and how it differs from dry saunas or steam rooms, especially if you haven’t jumped on the sauna bandwagon yet.

Basically, an infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses light to create heat. These saunas are sometimes also called far-infrared saunas, and the “far” simply describes where the infrared waves fall on the light spectrum.

A traditional “dry sauna” uses heat from rocks or other heating elements to warm the air, which in turn warms your body. So a dry sauna must rely only on indirect means of heat: first, convection (air currents) and then, conduction (direct contact of hot air with the skin) to produce its heating effect.

But because an infrared sauna instead relies upon light, it can heat your body directly without significantly warming the air around you, and the light waves from the infrared sauna penetrate deep (2-6 inches) into your body for a heating effect that allows more activation of your sweat glands compared to dry sauna. So an infrared sauna doesn't feel as hot as a dry sauna, but you sweat as much or more.

In the book Beyond Antibiotics, Dr. Michael A. Schmidt explains the benefits of the slightly lower temperature of an infrared sauna like this:

“Saunas are being used by some doctors to stimulate the release of toxins from the bodies of their patients. They have found that a lower temperature (105º-130ºF) sauna taken for a longer duration is most beneficial. These low temperatures stimulate a fat sweat, which eliminates toxins stored in fat, as opposed to the high temperature sauna, which encourages a water sweat.”

Interestingly, the far infrared rays you get in an infrared sauna consist of similar wavelengths that are emitted naturally by the human body (yes, your body emits it's own light radiation). This is one potential explanation of why many people feel so energetically rejuvenated and balanced from contact with far infrared waves in an infrared sauna compared to feeling “drained and dehydrated” after a dry sauna experience. Tests have shown that the energy output in an infrared sauna is tuned so closely to your body’s own infrared radiation that you absorb as much as 93% of the far infrared waves that reach your skin.

infrared

So how does a far infrared sauna actually generate heat and invisible light?

Far infrared saunas typically use either a carbon or ceramic heater, which do not turn red hot like the heating elements inside a conventional dry sauna, but instead produce invisible, far infrared heat. This is the same type of heat as produced by the sun, but without any of the effects of solar radiation. For years, many folks in the alternative health community have sworn by using infrared heat lamps as a source of far infrared heat, but these lamps can be cumbersome, they can get extremely hot to the touch and they  can be difficult to maintain at a constant temperature compared to an infrared sauna.

So basically, an infrared sauna is like having a tiny little temperature-controlled sunshine inside an enclosed room, without the UV radiation.

In an infrared sauna, only 20 percent of the energy from the light is used to heat the air, leaving the rest of the energy to heat the body. The temperature inside a typical infrared sauna is adjustable and averages about 100°F to 140°F, depending on how long you warm the sauna up before getting in, and what you put the temperature setting at. Many people actually find the lower levels of heat in an infrared to be more comfortable than a dry sauna. But although the temperature is slightly lower, you still sweat a ton in an infrared sauna, which is why they’re so popular for detoxification. However, a typical infrared sauna is still not quite hot enough for me, because I'm not just in there to detoxify, but also to produce a crap-ton of heat shock proteins, stress resilience and cardiovascular blood flow, so you’ll find out what I do about the need for more heat shortly.

So do the things actually work?

As the Mayo Clinic has reported here, several studies have looked at using infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and these studies have indeed found some evidence of benefit. For athletes using a sauna post-exercise, those benefits can extend to being as powerful as illegal performance enhancing drugs.

No adverse effects have ever been reported with infrared saunas, and until I recently began using an infrared sauna, I’d already been using infrared therapy with a heating mat called a “Biomat” for the past two years. But even though a Biomat offers you a relaxing, warm surface to curl-up on for something like a soothing afternoon nap, it doesn’t hold a candle to the biohacked sauna experience you’re about to discover.

——————————-

The Problem With Infrared Saunas

Unfortunately, for most people, it's not the slightly lower levels of heat that tend to be the problem with an infrared sauna. Instead, it's the fact that most infrared saunas are concentrated hothouses chock full of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), basically turning what is supposed to be a detoxification and longevity-enhancing experience into the equivalent of hanging out in a a microwave or perched inside a giant WiFi router, leaving you with cell damage, brain fog and inflammation after your sauna session.

You’ve probably heard of EMF before, but here's a quick reminder: EMF are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second. Unless you live on a pristine Himalayan mountaintop, the electromagnetic fields you probably encounter daily are from things such as power lines, radar and microwave towers, television and computer screens, motors, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, cell phones, electric blankets, house wiring and hundreds of other common electrical devices. For more detail on common environmental EMF’s lurking in your home and office, and also practical instructions on how to mitigate them, I'd recommend you check out my book “How To Biohack The Ultimate Healthy Home”.

Anyways, deleterious health effects associated with EMF include:

  • Memory Loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of Energy
  • Irritability
  • Inability To Concentrate
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches

In case you want to investigate this more for yourself, the following are links to more information about the effects of EMF:

1) US Center for Disease Control Fact Sheet about EMF
2) World Health Organization – International EMF Project
3) Waveguide
4) Good Mercola article on EMF
5) General EMF Info
6) EMF Journal Action Alert regarding EMF levels and Cell Phone use

Also, here’s an excerpt from Peter Asmus's book “Introduction to Energy in California”:

“Remember when people who spoke of cigarettes causing cancer were derided as being alarmist nuts? (If you do remember that, you are at least 55 years old!) Today people who assert that there could be, let alone that there is, a risk associated with cell phone use are viewed as a bit wacky. Well, the Marlboro man died of lung cancer and it appears there is a growing body of information to suggest that the Nokia man might be saddled with dementia or Alzheimers (among others) for the privilege!

Consider the following findings:
• 3% of the population may have severe reactions to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) thought by some to shorten life expectancy.
• Young people who start using cell phones before the age of 20 have a five-fold increase in brain cancer risk.
• Up to one-third of the population may suffer from electrical hypersensitivity from EMF exposure.”

And finally, for the ultimate guide to EMF, I'd recommend the book “Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution“.

Anyways, it can be touch to generate infrared light without also generating EMF. As I’ve mentioned before on a podcast, this is the reason the infrared Biomat that I use comes with a built-in EMF blocker between the wall outlet and the controller device. And I’d settle for nothing less on an infrared sauna.

So for my own personal infrared sauna, I chose a model that has a type of heater called a “True Wave II”, which contains a carbon based infrared heater with virtually no EMF. It’s made by a company called “Clearlight”, using a manufacturing process that allows them to cancel out EMF to levels that are nearly undetectable.

Using ultra-sensitive EMF testing equipment, all of the True Wave heaters inside a Clearlight sauna are tested to ensure low and safe levels of EMF. EMF is measured in milligauss (mG), and when measuring with a gauss meter (a simple technique I describe here), your exposure to EMF should not exceed 3 milligauss. This level is based on recommendations from both the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and also the Swedish standards for EMF.

Now I'm not really comfortable even getting very close to 3mG, so I was pretty pleased to find out that the EMF levels measured inside my Clearlight Infrared Sauna all around my seated position are at nearly 0mG. If I use a Tri-Field EMF meter and measure directly on top of the heaters (and I'm definitely not sitting on top of the heaters!), the heaters have an average EMF output of about 2.5mG. That’s compared to over 100mg for other carbon based heaters in standard infrared saunas.

You can see the testing below performed by EMF testing lab “VitaTech Electromagnetics”. It’s pretty shocking how high the levels of EMF are in some saunas. You can download the full test report .pdf fromVitaTech by clicking here. The EMF readings below are measured directly on the heater, and again, it's important to understand that where you are seated in the sauna, the levels are virtually zero, since you do not sit on top of the heater.

emf reading

Since I like to move around, exercise, do Bikram yoga, and even occasionally drag an exercise bike or a kettlebell into my sauna, the Clearlight model I chose is the “Sanctuary Y model” which is is the only combination personal hot yoga room and infrared sauna available on the market. You can leave in the two 35″ benches and you have a state-of-the-art full spectrum infrared sauna for lounging and reading, or you can remove the benches and have your own private hot yoga room with built-in heated yoga mat floor. Even though the EMF levels are rock bottom, the True Wave Full Spectrum heater system in the Clearlight delivers over 20 times the power of any other infrared sauna, but that’s still not enough for me, so I’ll fill you in on my hacks in just a moment.

Anyways, before we move on, here’s how to get a fat discount at the same place I bought my Clearlight sauna:

You can click here to get a sauna directly from Clearlight (use code “BEN”, which gets you $450 off regular pricing, free shipping ($550) and a free ergonomic backrest (reg.$70.) Or call 800.317.5070 and tell them you want the “Ben Greenfield Special” – they’ll hook you up).

OK, let's summarize what we know so far.

1) Infrared saunas are a great way to heat your body “from the inside out”, which gives you not just heat and sweat benefits, but also detox benefits.

2) Most infrared saunas are concentrated sources of EMF, so I use the low-EMF “Clearlight” brand.

3) My sauna still isn't hot enough for my personal preferences.

Now it’s time to move on to the fun stuff: three ways to biohack your sauna experience. This is where things get really interesting.

————————————

Sauna Biohack #1. Hack Your Sauna Hotter

Even though far infared saunas do a dang good job heating you “from the inside out” and producing the subsequent detoxification effect, there is one problem: even you sweat more quickly in an infrared sauna than you will in a dry sauna, and you will keep on sweating for a longer period of time, infrared saunas simply don’t get as hot inside as a traditional dry sauna.

Most of the heat escapes the sauna by rising and escaping out the ceiling. And I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to miss out on many of the positive physiological responses to uncomfortable heat, such as the production of heat shock proteins and stress resilience, the production of nitric oxide and enhanced blood flow, the increase in cardiovascular performance, the increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor and all the other cool (or hot?) things I discuss in my podcast episode with Dr. Rhonda Patrick “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Heat Exposure To Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle And Think Better.”

So you're about to learn how you can get an extra 10 degrees out of your sauna, and save a lot of electricity as a bonus.

It’s important to understand that most of the heat escapes an infrared sauna by rising and escaping out of the ceiling. The most important first step you can take when biohacking your infrared sauna is to insulate the ceiling. My friend Brett, a fellow biohacker who first put this idea in my head, charted his infrared sauna temperature and his sweat volume during a typical sauna session and found that after insulating it with the technique you’re about to learn, he got ten extra fahrenheit degrees of heat and nearly 30% more sweat volume!

Instructions for insulating your sauna ceiling:

Step 1: Remove plywood from the top of your sauna. Measure distance from the top of sauna to bottom of where the plywood was. This will determine the maximum amount of insulation board you can use to replace the plywood. Some people insulate it even thicker and leave the plywood completely off, but this can detract from the aesthetic pleasantness of a nice plywood ceiling, so it’s completely our call how thick you want to go with the insulation.

Step 2: Once you determine your desired insulation depth, go to your local hardware or building supply store and get a sheet of the highest R value foam board that you can find for that thickness. If you do one layer, a 4 by 8 sheet will easily have enough volume to insulate any sauna. You might find that two layers of thin board fits better or gives you better R value. Also get a good roll of quality duct type tape. You will need a sharp long and stiff kitchen knife and a straight edge with which to cut and mark the foam board. Some small metal staples can also be handy for holding wires in place, but are not necessary. A roll of tape and screws or nails might prove helpful as well.

Step 3: Measure the largest exposed sections of the sauna roof and cut the foam boards to fit the largest spaces. To cut foam board, simply mark it with a straight edge and a pen and then cut the marked area with your kitchen knife. Of course, it’s better to make your foam board a little bit too big than too small, since you can always cut off a little more later if you need to. Be sure to note where the vents are on the sauna roof and make sure that you plan to keep these clear when you put your foam board up, or drill or cut holes in the foam board to match the location of the vents. Also move any and all wires to the edges of the sauna top, and then staple or tape the wires in place if necessary.

Step 4: Make holes in your foam board for thermostat, vents, speakers and lights (if your infrared sauna has these). Here’s an easy way to do this: make a loop of tape, adhesive side out, and place the tape on the spots of the ceiling you need have uncovered, such as over a vent. Then place the foam board in position on the ceiling, and the tape will stick on the board. Then remove the board, and you now know the location on the board to cut out! If you have a sounds system in your sauna, the tape won’t stick too well to the speakers, so for the speakers you can place screws on the perimeter of the magnet facing up. Then press the board down over those areas and the screws will stick in foam board. You then simply cut a circle in the foam board and chisel out the approximate amount of depth. I wouldn’t cut all the way through as this could allow air flow and heat loss. You just want it thin enough to where the speaker sound can come through. For the lights, you will want to check to see if they are LED or incandescent. If they are LED, then you can cut out a small cavity and it will work fine. If the lights are incandescent or fluorescent you will want to allow an adequate hole for cooling of the lights. Make sure not to insulate on top of the control mechanism, which is usually a stainless steel box on the top of the sauna.

Step 5: After placing the large pieces of foam board, follow the same process and fill in the smaller areas on the ceiling with small pieces of foam board. Duct tape all of the seams, replace the plywood top, verify that all vent holes are vacant, then duct tape the perimeter and seams of the plywood top.

Boom. Now you have a super efficient sauna that heats up quickly and allows you to create lots more heat and sweat. Here are a few photos of my heat biohacked sauna:

The roof…using some basic 10lb weight plates to hold insulation down…

IMG_5782

Another view of the roof…

IMG_5779

 

A close up of the roof and how the insulation is slightly cut to fit siding…

IMG_5781

The cork placed in the inside hole next to the speaker to hold heat in…

IMG_5780

How the sauna sits in my home gym…

FullSizeRender

———————————–

Sauna Biohack #2. Add Extra Heaters

OK, so now you’ve got your sauna ceiling insulated. This is going to significantly jack up the heat levels. I must emphasize that the Clearlight saunas have excellent low-EMF heaters and get pretty hot, but I also realize that some of my readers are really masochistic heat-hacking ninjas, and may want to get a really, really intense sweat on.

But I found that I wanted my sauna to get even warmer. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to heat because to all my racing in the extreme heat of places like Hawaii and Thailand, or perhaps my body just has a lot of heat shock proteins and good cardiovascular cooling mechanisms, but I like my sauna really, really hot.

Again, I could just use an extremely hot dry sauna, but I’d still be missing out on all the benefits of infrared, and I want the best of both worlds.

So here’s the next step I took to get my sauna even hotter: I added two 2000 watt heaters to my sauna.

Now, before you rush out to Google the best price on space heaters, you should now that just like most infrared saunas, most space heaters are notoriously annoying sources of EMF. My friend Brett, the guy I mentioned earlier who first put the idea in my head of insulating my sauna, actually purchased several different space heaters and tested them all for EMF. He found the Delonghi HVY1030 space heater to be both affordable and have very low EMF. But the problem is that a space heater shuts off at around 120 degrees, so it is only useful for pre-heating your sauna (helping it to heat up faster if you want to accelerate the pre-heating process).

There is no space heater that Brett or I have found that doesn't have this annoying high temperature shut off feature. It's probably some stupid fire code regulation or something.

But you can think outside the box…

…and this is where a portable stove burner comes in. Yes, a stove burner is normally used for cooking food, but portable stove burners also don't have high temp shut offs, and they put out plenty of heat. Before choosing a portable stove burner, I’d recommend you first check your breaker to see how strong a stove burner you can get. If you have a 15 amp breaker, then your stove burner can be 1500 watts, and if you have a 20 amp breaker, then you can go step up 2000 watts. To check your breaker amps (if your breaker isn't labeled), you can simply call your local neighborhood electrician, or you can overload the circuit with a couple of space heaters or hair dryers and see which breaker trips. Or you can use this slightly more precise technique to measure the amps of your circuit breakers.

So, what did I find to be the best portable stove burner heaters?

For a nice, cast-iron 1500 watt, I recommend the Broil King PCR-1B. The fact that this burner is cast-iron means that it is very heavy, which gives you a bit of built in safety, since it won't easily tip over. And if you want to step up to 2000 watts, then you will need two of the MaxiMatic ESB-301F Elite Cuisine Single Cast Burner 1000-Watt Hot Plate.

For added safety and to avoid the heaters moving or tipping, you should create a sturdy base for your stove burner. To do this, you can mount the burner(s) to a thick, heavy piece of wood such as a short 2×12 or a piece of plywood. I’d recommend you also create a protective barrier over the top of your stove burners. You can do this by surrounding the burner with some thick wire like chicken-wire over the top of the burner and a couple inches around the sides. You can then attach the wire screen to the wood base. And for Pete's sake: if you have young children running around, know where those stove burners and kids are at all times unless you want some free hot branding tattoos for your young ones.

Will these stove burners put out a little EMF?

Ultimately, yes. But the important thing to know about EMF’s is that they follow the inverse square law, which, simply put, means the amount of EMF reduces very quickly as distance from the EMF increases. This is why overhead high voltage power lines will give you far less EMF exposure than a very low voltage electric blanket, since the blanket is very close, but the power lines are far away.

For example, when I tested my portable stove burner, I had to be 12 inches away to get below 2 milligauss, a completely safe acceptable level of EMF. So if you put portable stove burners or space heaters in your sauna, just make sure you hang out about a foot or more away from them, which is easy enough to do.

———————————–

Sauna Biohack #3. Detox With Niacin

Detoxification is a topic I’ve covered many times before in other articles, and probably the best resources for you in this regard for you are the Get-Fit Guy episodes “Is Detoxing A Myth?” and “How To Detox Your Liver & Kidneys”. My friend Brett (the same guy I've mentioned twice already who figured out how to hack his sauna and introducted me to the strategies above) has also spent the past 20 years experimenting with detox strategies from herbal tea, to colonics, to enemas, and runs a sauna detox with niacin group on Facebook.

I’d never heard of this particular niacin+sauna strategy, but a few weeks ago, Brett sent me this very interesting anecdote:

“About 8 years ago I discovered a book called Clear Body, Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard. The book was written many decades ago and the purpose of the book was to teach the reader how to clear toxins from drug use by using a sauna for long periods of time, combined with niacin and other special supplements. What was different about this book is that it had the actual research and data to prove its claims, along with numerous accounts of high levels of toxins in the blood being dramatically reduced by this protocol, and continuing to reduce for weeks after the protocol was completed.

Then I learned that most detox experts, from Dr. Yu to David Root, say that Hubbard's protocol is the most effective detoxification protocol there is. Period. It is so effective that the government recently funded a study for vets doing this protocol.

The basic idea behind the protocol is this: high dose niacin causes lipolysis, or rupturing, of the fat cells (the same thing happens with extreme, rapid weight loss). This rupturing is what releases the toxins from fat cells (you can read exactly about how that whole process works in my article “Does Fat Loss Cause A Toxin Release?”). The running/exercise part of the protocol (which you’ll learn about in a second) increases circulation, especially in the lymphatic system where fat cells are carried. Then the sweating in the sauna releases these toxins through your body’s primary and largest detoxification organ: your skin. Later, even more of the toxins are eliminated through the stool. Supplements that you take during the protocol are primarily designed to replace lost minerals, electrolytes and fats, and to help to absorb the mobilized toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.

I will give a summarized version of the protocol in the subsequent paragraphs, but first, a big warning: do not do this protocol without a full and comprehensive understanding of it. If you mobilize high amounts of toxins and do not completely include all the other aspects of the protocol you will suffer from hypertoxemia. So to get a full understanding of the protocol, you need to read the book Clear Body, Clear Mind by L. Ron Hubbard. You must get the 2002 or 1990 copyright date of the book, and Bookfinder.com will help you get a used copy very affordably (the new editions of the book have been oversimplified and lack crucial valuable information).

The protocol lasts about 30 days, but can be customized to fit your schedule. The sauna duration is directly correlated to your toxicity. If you’ve been living healthy for a long time (e.g. a decade or more), then reduced sauna time is needed. If you have been exposed to chemicals and eaten a standard American diet and taken drugs of any kind legal or illegal then you will need to increase the sauna duration.”

Brett then went on to explain this basic protocol:

“First, heat up your sauna long before you go for your run. You want it roasting hot. I have the best far infared sauna made (Clearlight) and I still have insulated the ceiling and I put a space heater in it to keep it even hotter. In addition, I blocked the hole where the thermostats is with a cork so that the heaters stay on the entire time. Because of this, I purchased a separate thermometer to monitor temperatures. These steps increased my sweat volume dramatically.

Next, take high dose niacin right before your run. A dosing chart is in the book. Follow it. Then, go for a run for 20-30 minutes. If you can’t run, ride a bike, use an elliptical trainer, jump on a mini-trampoline, etc. The primary goal is to raise body heat and to increase lymph and blood flow. I also turn the sauna timer back on to make sure it is still warming up when I run. For the exercise, I recommend dressing as warm as you can tolerate to raise your core temperature. When I did this, I sweated much more while I was in the sauna.

Next, get in the sauna and stay in the sauna for as long as you can tolerate. Around an hour works for most people depending on toxicity – the more toxic, the more time, the less toxic, the less time.

Finally, cool yourself with a lukewarm or cold shower, then take appropriate doses of mineral, electrolytes and fats and oils as described in the book.

Repeat daily for 30 days.

When you finish, you will have eliminated years of toxins and you will benefit tremendously in numerous ways from this protocol. This protocol is usually administered by professionals. If you decide to do this without supervision, then you need to have complete knowledge of the protocol and access to others for support and questions and answers. I have a support group for this at Facebook called “sauna detox with niacin”.”

It turns out that Dr. Joseph Mercola recently learned about this protocol. This guy has heard about every detox method there is, and he was shocked and amazed. Check out his reaction in the video below. It is only 3 minutes long but it will give you an idea of the validity of the program from one of the most trusted natural health experts on the internet.

The idea behind combining the niacin, the exercise and the heat is that the niacin and the heat causes a “Rebound Lipolysis“, meaning that the niacin first tries to prevent lipolysis and then after one to two hours, it rebounds and leads to massive fat cell release of triglycerides and at the same time release of toxic chemicals such as BPA, PCB's, pharmaceutical byproducts, etc. Clearlight has a very helpful .pdf that you can download here which outlines more of the science behind detoxification and their own Clearlight Sauna Session Protocol.

Now here’s the deal: I don’t live a very toxic lifestyle. And I haven’t for over a decade. So I didn’t do the exact protocol above per se, but instead simplified into the following steps:

1. I modified my sauna using both the insulation and stove burner hacks you learned earlier in the article. I must emphasize that the stove burners aren't completely necessary because the sauna does get pretty hot by itself, and you may want to forego the stove burners altogether if you have kids around.

2. I read the book Clear Body, Clear Mind and for 30 days, I followed the niacin dosing chart prior to my pre-sauna exercise. I used this form of niacin and for me it came out to 500mg week 1, 1000mg week 2, 2000mg week 3, 3000mg week 4. I chose the Thorne Niasafe because it's in a safer form of niacin called “Inositol Hexaniacinate”. This is important because the side effects of high amounts of niacin range from flushing and itching to liver toxicity and impaired glucose tolerance. I didn't take any of other supplements in the book, because I already get plenty of healthy fats and oils and take a chelated mineral/multivitamin complex.

3. During the entire protocol, I used the following simple sauna + exercise strategy: after my hardest workout of each day, I sat, read, stretched, did yoga, and foam rolled in the sauna for 30-45 minutes, depending on my available amount of time. This may seem like a big chunk of time, but to maximize productivity I simply saved all my reading and stretching and foam rolling and yoga for my sauna time. 

Although I did not measure sweat volume, the amount of sweat pouring from my skin dwarfed any “normal” dry sauna session I've ever done. I already eat plenty of fats and oils, but I included plenty of electrolyte powder in the water I consumed after each session, along with hefty amounts of water and generous portions of sea salt with dinner.

Although my eyeballs literally feel as though they’re going to pop out of my head during these sessions, once I get my post-session cold shower in, I feel absolutely amazing. Again, I’m not sure how many toxins I dumped during my initial 30 day niacin phase, since I’m not very “toxic” in the first place, but for the rest of the day after my sauna session, I noticed marked improvements in skin tone, clarity of thought, calm and focus.

And even though now that I'm done with the 30 day protocol and I'm no longer doing the daily niacin sauna protocol, I'm still using my sauna nearly every day. You could probably say that I am now officially addicted to heat therapy. And yes, I am aware of L. Ron Hubbard's affiliations and I am not a member of the Church of Scientology. I just like to get high on niacin and do kettlebell swings in my sauna.

IMG_5822

———————————–

Summary

So that’s it! What do you think?

Do you plan on using any of these sauna biohacks? Leave your comments, thoughts and feedback below.

If you want a Clearlight sauna – the same I am using and same Alex Tarris and I discussed in the episode “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams & More”. You can click here to get a sauna directly from Clearlight (use code “BEN”, which gets you $450 off regular pricing, free shipping ($550) and a free ergonomic backrest (reg.$70.) Or call 800.317.5070 and tell them you want the “Ben Greenfield Special” – they'll hook you up).

If you are in the UK, you can also use the code BEN here, and get free shipping. Or use the same code in Germany when you go here. You can also visit either of those websites, call UK Clearlight or UK Germany, mention the name Ben Greenfield, and get the same perks: free shipping and a complementary backrest.

Oh, and below are some fancy exterior and interior photos, along with exact specs and features, for the Clearlight Sanctuary Y model that I personally use. You'll notice that the specs show that the ceiling includes something called “color therapy”, also known as “chromotherapy”. I didn't even tap into that concept in this article but am working on an article about that chromotherapy feature for you too. It's a very slick and helpful feature for fixing and aligning your sleep cycles, biohacking circadian rhythms, etc..

Enjoy, and leave any questions or thoughts in the comments section.

Clearlight Sanctuary 2 FS Spec Sheet

Clearlight Sanctuary C FS Spec Sheet Clearlight Sanctuary One Sheet Spec Sheet Clearlight Sanctuary Y FS Spec Sheet

 

fsyfrontlg fsysidelg
fschargelg

fs1lg

yogabenchlg yogopen1lg

yogopen2lg yogopen3lg

Pinterest

106 thoughts on “Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox & Enhanced Fitness.

  1. I’m still a bit skeptical about the non-flushing niacin since the regular is what’s used in Dr. Yu’s protocols and used in every presentation I’ve seen on this. It seems like an analysis of sweat content would be the only way to prove this. Perhaps you could contact Dr. Yu and pose this to him? Either he has looked at this alternative and found regular Niacin to be better or he is unaware of it and I’m sure he’d be interested in improving his protocol with a safer alternative. Maybe a possible podcast guest could come out of it!

  2. If a sauna isn’t an option at home, but I do have a Biomat, would the Niacin protocol work with a workout followed by an hour at high temp on the bio mat? I’m sure it’s going to be less effective than a full sauna, but would it be worth the time and somewhat effective to use the biomat in that way?

  3. Hi Ben, I am so excited to try this protocol. I am confused tho about the Thorne Niasafe. The FB sauna niacin group that you reference in the article is against using the Thorne Niasafe. They basically state that humans do not have the enzymes needed to release the niacin from the inositol that it is bound too. Therefore it is biologically useless. They reiterate that only the niacin with the flushing effect will produce lypolysis. Bret says this info comes from his two head doctors.

    I know you said you have talked with Thorne. I can’t find any other info that Niasafe is effective. Could you please share what you know so that we can make an informed decision?

    I have the Niasafe and would love to use it but of course want to make sure I’m not just creating expensive urine.

    Thanks!

    1. There is good research on inositol hexaniacinate on circulation – Raynaud’s and peripheral artery disease. It is known to works for these things. That being said–
      there is not much support for it being successful for lowering lipids, (however, I know there are some practitioners who say it does help. )

  4. I have a Far Infrared sauna with ceramic heaters. Is there a way to diy my own ceramic/carbon combo. It is very hard to sit near the heaters because they are so hot. Can I place something in front of them to keep that direct heat from feeling like it is burning me? Thank you for this article and for your advice.

    1. It's infrared so it's not going to burn you. I wouldn't put anything in front of them because you might risk melting yet. Just work your way up to being able to handle it. You'll survive. __

  5. Hi Ben, great article and comments, thanks! Question: If a person cannot afford to buy an infrared sauna, and locates a non-emf sauna at a spa or health clinic, would this be a reasonable protocol:

    – take Niasafe late the night before

    – work out at gym first thing in the morning (fasting with caffeine?)

    – head straight to the infrared sauna at the spa (20-30 minutes drive time to get to the sauna)

    How many times per week would you recommend this routine for detox and lyposis? Perhaps 2-3 times/week?

    Thanks!

  6. Ben,

    Jealous of the Infrared Sauna owners (expensive). How do you measure EMF? I have a cheap portable cloth version that you sit in, your head sticks out and it has a pad that heats your feet. Am I microwaving myself? Already sprung for the Earthpulse system. Thanks.

  7. Ben-

    I rent an apartment, so I can’t install a infrared sauna (nor afford it anyways), but I found a yoga studio by me that has an infrared sauna. However; it’s expensive to purchase 30 min sessions. In order to maximize results but keep down on costs- should I go once a week over a period of a few weeks, or should I go daily for a week or a twice or three times a week for a couple weeks? Thank you so much.

    1. Cannot vouch for their sauna. It may not be low EMF at all. So be careful not to microwave yourself. You can still get benefits from going just once a week, but again, I will only vouch for a clear light sauna.

  8. Ben,
    Do you keep in mind the option to add 3 or 4 heat bulb 250w IR to your sauna?.
    In this way you could get more heat and the low sprectrum of IR and chromoteraphy.
    The heat bulb red IR are low EMF.
    I didnt find any comment about this bulb. What do you think?.

  9. Hi Ben,

    I wanted to confirm that using the niasafe version of niacin doesn’t diminish the detox that you get, is it really worth the extra cash to get niasafe?

  10. Hi Ben,

    I have recently purchased the Niasafe and read over a the clear body clear mind book. The protocol says to take the niacin 3-4 hours before starting the exercise and sauna. The niasafe says that it is at maximum serum levels at around 10hours. I am not going to do the full protocol but will do most days of the week for 30-40minutes. Should I take the Niasafe in the morning so that it is closer to the 10 hours in the afternoon or still take 3-4 hours before I start? Also, how do I know to increase the dosage or not. I have had no reactions so far. Thanks for your reply.

    1. Yes, ideally you would have it in your system 10 hours prior! Based on what you have found here, I may start doing it THE NIGHT PRIOR. I personally would stick to 500-1000mg…I am *not* a physician and this is *not* to be interpreted as medical advice. Please talk to a licensed medical professional about all of this!

      1. Ben, it’s not about when the Niacin is at cMAX. The niacin works by suppressing lipolysis which then creates a rebound lipolysis when it leaves the system. Thus, the most toxins are released from the fat some time after Niacin has been at peak concentration.

  11. Hi Ben! is the discount mentioned still available thru clearlight?

    Also, I’m curious as to your thoughts on far infrared vs full spectrum. Thanks!!

  12. Hi Ben, thanks as always for the amazing advice. I don’t have access to an infra-red sauna but can use a normal sauna or steam room. Would I get any of the detoxification/fat loss benefits by taking niacin and doing a regular sauna? Many thanks C x

  13. Hey Ben

    I was talking to an RF engineer about the EMF issues of some sauna’s and he was like “pump the brakes”. He was saying most of the affordable FIR panels are non ionizing radiation so comparable to many other non ionizing EMF like driving a car or using a computer.

    I am sure it’s better to have total EMF lower but since the time spent in a sauna is rather short is it really a benefit to have a low EMF sauna or just marketing hype?

    Thanks for all the great research you do and making it digestible in your podcasts!!!

    1. Just because it's non-ionizing radiation doesn't mean it's harmless. According to OSHA, "Non-ionizing radiation is found in a wide range of occupational settings and can pose a considerable health risk to potentially exposed workers if not properly controlled." We're blasted by EMF everywhere and the list of health issues related to excessive EMF exposure is a long one. If you have the choice of not being exposed to EMF while you're doing something beneficial for your health (such as an infrared sauna) why wouldn't you go the no EMF route? This isn't marketing hype – Clearlight is the only infrared sauna company that's removed both the EMF and ELF exposure and for good reason – they actually care about your health. Your typical infrared sauna is radiating 30 to 100 milligauss EMF and substantial levels of ELF from all the heaters, and sauna companies get away with this because people can't see or feel these harmful electric fields. I would not knowingly want to be exposed to this.

  14. Have you measured the EMFs on the 2 front full spectrum heaters? They’re much higher than the wall far infrared heaters.

  15. Ben what do you think of the new Far Infrared Weight Loss beds at some spas? I currently use one at Sunday’s Tanning and they also recommend the use of a Booster Spray to increase the fat cell release. I can’t find another product to use since theirs is expensive. It sounds like Niasafe does the same thing. Can you please give me advice?

  16. Hi Ben,

    You recommend non-flushing for of Niacin, however
    as far as I understand Flushing Is what causes the lypolysis?
    Could you please elaborate on that.

    Many Thanks,
    Ek

  17. Hi Ben,

    Which portable stove burner did you test for EMF output? 2 milligauss at a foot away would be fine and I want to get the right one. I’ve got a cheap GE portable stove burner that I tested with my TriField Meter and found that thing was cranking out some serious EMF (over 25 MG) from two feet away! My sauna is a two seater Clearlight I got used so it’s a little tight in there. ~Thanks

  18. Hi Ben–I actually did the Purification Rundown decades ago and have been doing it off and on since just as part of my life. I would like to officially repeat it now, I have a Health Mate infrared sauna but that’s not accepted by the official program–they require hot rocks and temps a minimum 165–my question to you–can I add a hot rocks heater to my 3 seater infrared room. Thanx Marty

  19. Does the use of a vibe plate or pulser machine increase the effectiveness of the sauna at all? Would it be worth investing in both? Especially if you know you have issues with being unable to detox and/or not having a gallbladder and having decreased bile? Thanks!

  20. Q: I have a traditional dry sauna. It’s outside and I use it year round. What I’m looking for is a Wifi controlled thermostat. Di you have any leads to share with me? It’s a Harvia Electric Sauna Heater KIP, 220v.

    Any help would be appreciated

  21. The overused term “biohacking” is now being extended to inanimate objects. Soon you will be able to biohack toasters, cup holders, and sedimentary rocks.

  22. Thank you Ben,

    I think I owned a clearlight in my last home and it was wonderful. I’ve been in touch with the company directly – and am wondering if I can get a better price from THEM or from YOU? Of course cost matters. Thanks very much and continue enjoying a HOT life to the MAX!!~ Adrian

  23. Sauna hotter seems like the latest addition in the home appliances world. I can see more and more people getting it these days.

  24. Hi Ben,
    I have the same sauna – Clearlight Yoga Sauna – and I love it. I do yoga, weights, push-ups, core work, etc… and use the sauna at least 5-6 times a week. I also run and do cross-training work…

    I love the heat; I've been doing hot yoga for over 16 years so my body is quite acclimated to the heat. I'd love to get my sauna hotter… although I do stay in it for an hour when I do my workouts, so not quite sure if staying in at 145-150 degrees for more than an hour is beneficial? Also, given your sauna "fixes", do you worry about damaging the sauna in any way so that it would no longer be under warranty?

    1. Nah, no damage to sauna. I've spoken with Clearlight about it and it's not a big deal. I don't see any evidence, however, that staying in longer than 45 minutes is increasingly beneficial

  25. Hi Ben, Thank you for the insightful information you provide to us. I feel empowered and just plain motivated by the education. An infrared sauna is on my "to buy" list, but not quite there yet. I have just place my niacin order, however I do not have access to an infrared sauna, would a regular dry heat sauna and/or steam room (at my local gym) work? I also just place the book order–Clear body, Clear mind, 1990 Edition, so I am SO ready to clear out many toxins from my body. Please let me know. Thank you, Pati

  26. I'm confused about the the terms used to describe the infrared saunas used here. Is this a "FAR" or a "IR"? Or are they one and the same? (Far-Infrared vs Infrared)

  27. I'm definitely a fan of the audio version…way too much stuff to read online these days. Then again, I have a ton of podcasts to listen to, but at least I can make dinner while I'm listening?

    Any advice on saunas in Europe? If Sweden has EMF standards does that imply that most saunas coming out of there are lower EMF? IR saunas are pretty popular here in Germany, but I can't seem to track down EMF info on them.

    1. Hi Matthew,

      Response from Alex: Sweden in general does have more strict standards on EMF and EMR levels in general for a variety of electronic equipment consumers use. That country has really helped encourage businesses to step it up a bit and try to reach those higher standards which simply means having a lower EMR rating on their products. There are other organizations in US and Canada that have adopted similar testing procedures and standards to match Sweden's. So the reality is that the best thing you can do is seek out a brand of sauna where your seating arrangement is such that where you are positioned is at least 6-8 inches or as far as possible away from the emitters or wiring.

      The best seating arrangement option out in Europe would be the company Aqualine Saunas. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] to make sure that this would be the best sauna brand for your unique needs. Also watch this video I recently made to understand more about EMFs in Infrared Saunas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wlsa0RMQMcM

      Thanks.
      Alex <a href="http://www.healthhacksreviewed.com” target=”_blank”>www.healthhacksreviewed.com

    2. Hi Matt, I’m sure you’re no longer looking for a sauna, but in case any other Uk people are, I recommend Zoki Saunas. They are the only sauna made in the UK. I had an Aqualine that Alex recommended below, which was… meh. Zoki saunas have real (not cheap rods) ceramic heaters that emit a mix of near and far. I got mine second hand but they rarely come up.

  28. Niacin also makes you pee neon green. FUN :D

    At least I think it has to do with niacin, I once had a pre-workout with really high niacin in addition to other B vitamins. And I haven’t noticed it with common B complexes where niacin is not that high.

      1. Thanks for the reply Ben, but if a traditional dry sauna heater switches off because it is too hot then it probably is! :-) …Plus some come with rocks which would allow you to add some oils/inhalant of choice etc., to your (filtered) water to get some steam effects too… All assuming the EMF were within a tolerable margin of course.

  29. Hi Ben

    Would taking ginger also make you sweat more? And would it give other detox benefits?

    I’m asking because it makes me feel really warm, a great supplement for winter.

    1. There's some speculation that ginger can increase your body temperature and therefore make you sweat more, however I haven't read any studies on it, or tried it myself so I'm not 100% sure. I suggest trying and seeing for yourself!

  30. Very interesting and informative article! Bookmarked.
    I did catch a substantial error in units; "EMF are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second," should read, "300 gigahertz or billion cycles per second."

  31. Very interesting and informative article! Bookmarked.

    I did catch a substantial error in units; “EMF are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second,” should read, “300 gigahertz or billion cycles per second.”

  32. Ben, Really enjoyed the new narration format for the articles…Question: I've read that the Niacin Detox protocol can be problematic for undermethlyators {especially b/c of histamine issues, etc.}.

    Just was hoping to get your input. Thanks!

    1. Yes. Niacin reduces methyl groups because the body uses up methyl groups in order to detoxify and excrete niacin through the liver. A dose below about 50 mg per day should not be a problem but if you've tested and found yourself to be an undermethylator I would not use high dose niacin. You could still do the sauna however. Interestingly, caffeine can enhance sweating so that is one option.

  33. Thanks Ben for the in depth article and all the well researched references. I appreciate your out of the box thinking suggesting adding the ‘hot plate’ to the sauna. I have worked with Infrared saunas for 15 years. Many of our customers would like to put their saunas in their unheated garages where the saunas are challenged to perform well through the winter months with only the 15 amp power supply. Most Infrared saunas are built to be lightweight, easy to set up and disassemble and move if need be. Thus, they do not have a heavy insulated wall to keep cold air out. I’ll be trying your hot plate sauna hack. You may have an interest in learning about our new Sun Stream ‘Evolve’ Infrared saunas which feature a large carbon panel heater mounted in the door to totally surround the user with radiant heat and, as you have recommended, we use only low EMF heaters.

  34. Hi Ben, one question…. Do you know for certain that the thorne non flushing niacin (Inositol Hexaniacinate) still ensures lipylosis in the exact same way that the originally recommend flushing type niacin does?

    I know that the flushing niacin has a lot of controversy with it and would be more than happy to take the one you recommend as long as it does the exact same thing.

    1. From a physiological/biochemical standpoint it is similar but BETTER. In chemical terms, inositol hexanicotinate is created when 6 molecules of niacin attach to a single molecule of inositol. When IHN is introduced into the bloodstream, it releases niacin. The inositol acts to slow down the absorption of the niacin, elongating its functioning and benefits, without the niacin flush, and without overtaxing the liver.

  35. So what about those far infrared saunas you can get on Amazon? I got one hoping to help me detox and to help with MTHFR. Is it even worth using? Am I just a human baked potato in it? Does it do more harm than good or is it better than nothing? What do you suggest for those of us who don’t have the funds or the space for a full sized sauna?

  36. Where did you get the EMF specifications for Sunlighten? When I purchased a sauna I looked at Sunlighten, Clearlight and High Tech Health. I quickly discounted the HTH unit (it was local to me) and decided on a Sunlighten. This company also used Vitatech and had overall EMF results that were lower than Clearlight. They are published on the Sunlighten website. Why did you not post a link to these results? I have forwarded your website to Sunlighten so they can take it up with you.

    1. I checked out several companies when I bought mine and also settled on Clearlight. My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that all of the Clearlight saunas remove the EMF, but not all of the Sunlighten sauans remove the EMF. I'm very happy with my Clearlight.

    2. Hey guys,
      I have a Sunlighten Impulse . It goes up to 155 in 45 mins and I am sweating bullets. I am not a person that sweats easily either. I think if I stayed in for an hour it would go up to 160.

      I checked the emf chart on Sunlighten , and it is lower than Clearlight. The sauna has magne seal which is held together by magnets and use nontoxic glue.

      The first sauna they sent me was defective and took 90 mins to go up to 142 . I barely broke a sweat. After much complaining, Sunlighten did honor their lifetime warranty and replaced my sauna with a brand new one (this one was made by a different factory) and since then it has worked flawlessly. Its been about 3 years.

      When I do manage to stay in for an hour, my heart is pounding so hard that I think I ran 10 miles. I am drenched completely by sweating a shit ton. No need to hack the Sunlighten!

        1. Thanks for the clarifying that Ben! I misunderstood from your podcast and thought the CL got to 142. So how hot does the hacked sauna get?

          Thanks for the articles on this!

  37. Thinking of building a custom sauna in the backyard – what do you think about using both a traditional dry sauna heater and an infrared heater? Best of both worlds?

  38. Hi Ben, On a topic related to saunas/infrared, I sprung for the almost $2K for the bio-mat professional, (even though the SCIBABE says biomat are "bull"). Do you have any thoughts on how to get the bet results with, of course with the least amount of time, from a bio-mat, especially as it relates to handling high blood pressure? I thought just turning it on upon going to sleep at night would be the most efficient/effective, and I've found that anything more than 2 hours at the lowest heating just wakes me up. Plus the mat is quite bulky to move around. Thanks! John R.

    1. I:

      A) nap on it for 30-45 minutes (a full night of sleep it is either too warm or too hard)

      B) lay on my stomach or back on it when working on my laptop

      C) "lounge" on it when watching movies etc.

      Finally, if you find it heavy and bulky to move around….you need to work on your strength bro. ;)

  39. Is there any benefit to doing niacin periodically? For example if you can do a hard workout and get to the sauna for a decent amount of time once a week, would there be any benefit to supplementing niacin before that? Or should you just follow the strict 30 day protocol to do a proper detox?

    1. There would definitely be a benefit from doing it that way. It is important to take the other supplements as well, they are explained in the book. All of the components of the protocol work together including the supplements. However, by far the best results come from doing the full 30 day protocol. Given the amount of toxins in even the healthiest people, the full protocol is recommended.

      1. Thanks for the response, I'll check the book out. Along the same lines if you could do 5 days of workout and sauna would you continue supplementation of niacin on the off days or only pre workouts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *