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

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Transcripts

Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/08/how-to-make-a-sauna-hotter/

[00:00] Introduction

[03:15] Why You Should Use A Far Infrared Sauna

[06:21] How A Far Infrared Sauna Works

[09:14] The Problem With Infrared Sauna

[18:13] Making Your Sauna Hotter

[24:34] Adding Extra Heaters

[29:51] Detoxing With Niacin

[43:06] End of Podcast

Brock:  Hey, everybody.  Brock Armstrong here, and we're trying something a little bit different today.  I'm going to read to you Ben's usual Monday morning blog post and see if it helps people out, if you are a little more comfortable listening to it rather than reading thousands, and thousands, and thousands of words, or maybe you prefer to read stuff and this is a wasted effort.  But anyway, we're going to give it a shot, let us know what you think over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  And that's also where you can find all the links, all the images, all the coupon codes, all the cool stuff that Ben mentions during his blog post.  So make sure to head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  So here we go, I'm going to read the blog post.  So keep in mind when I say “I”, I mean Ben.

This is “Three Ways To Biohack A Sauna For More Heat, A Better Detox, And Enhanced Fitness”.  Narrated by Brock Armstrong and written by Ben Greenfield.

I'll be the first to admit that I spend 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 webinars 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. Roger Patrick, until the recent show called “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams, & More“, I've 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 a 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.

So let's start with 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, well, I've covered that in great detail before.  And you can find the link to that over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  But before learning how to biohack your sauna experience, it is important for you to have a basic idea of what 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 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 on indirect means of heat.  First convection, air currents, and then conduction, direct contact of hot air with your 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, two to six inches, into your body for a healing effect that allows more activation of your sweat glands compared to a 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 low 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, which is 105 degrees to 130 degrees Fahrenheit taken for a longer duration is most beneficial.  These low temperatures stimulate a fat sweat, which eliminates toxins that are stored in fat.  As opposed to high temperature sauna, which encourages a water sweat.”  Interestingly, the far infrared rays you get from an infrared sauna consist of similar wavelengths that are emitted naturally by the human body.  Yes, your body emits its 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 the feeling of drained and dehydrated after a dry sauna experience.  Tests have shown that the energy output in an infrared sauna is tuned so closely to the body's own infrared radiation that you absorb as much as 93% of the far infrared waves that reach your skin.  There's a handy dandy little chart over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio that you can check out.

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 that is produced by the sun but without any of the side 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 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% 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 an average is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, 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 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, 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.  But no adverse effects have ever been reported with infrared saunas.  And until I recently began using an infrared sauna, I had 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 that you're about to discover.

But first, 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 hot houses 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 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 such things 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 EMFs 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.  And you can find that link over bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.

Anyways, deleterious health effects associated with EMF include memory loss, depression, loss of energy, irritability, inability to concentrate, weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, and headaches.  In case you want to investigate this more for yourself, there are some links again over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio for more information about the effects of EMF.  There's one from the US Center for Disease Control, one from the WHO, wave-guide.org, a good article from Dr. Mercola, some general EMF info, and the EMF Journal Action Alert regarding EMF levels and cell phone use.  Also, here's an excerpt from Peter Asmus' 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!  Well, 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 Alzheimer's, 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 and up to one-third of the population may suffer from electrical hypersensitivity from EMF exposure.”

And finally, for the ultimate guide to EMF, I 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 tough to generate infrared light without also generating EMF.  And as I've mentioned before on the 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 the Clearlight saunas 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 described at bengreenfieldfitness.com/305, your exposure to EMF should not exceed 3 milligauss. This level is based on recommendations from both the EPA, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and also the Swedish standards for EMF.  Now I'm not really comfortable even getting very close to 3 mGs, so I was pretty pleased to find out that the EMF levels measured inside of my Clearlight infrared sauna all around my seated position are nearly zero mGs.  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 2.5 mGs.  That's compared to over a hundred for other carbon-based heaters in standard infrared saunas.

If you go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio, you can see a chart put together by the EMF testing lab VitaTech Electromagnetics.  It's pretty shocking how high the levels of EMF are in some saunas.  You can also download the full test report PDF from VitaTech by going to bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  The EMF readings in that chart 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.  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 the only combination personal hot yoga room and infrared sauna available on the market.  You can leave in the two 35 inch 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 built with heated yoga mat floor.  With a 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.  Anyway before we move on, here's how to get a fat discount at the same place I bought my Clearlight sauna.  Number one, go to healthhacksreviewed.com.  This is the same site that my guest, Alex Terrace, and I discussed in a recent podcast called “Shattering The Myths Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams, And More”.  And there's a bunch of good deals on health equipment over there.

Now number two, once you're there, or in contact with them, mention my name, or when you order, use the code BenGreen15.  Number three, that code, which you can use any time as much as you want, will actually give you 15% off anything on the healthhacksreviewed.com website, like portable saunas, laydown saunas, home detox equipment, and more.  But in terms of EMF, yoga capabilities, and heat, et cetera, I can't personally vouch for any sauna except the Clearlight.  If that seems like too much trouble to go through or you just want to get your sauna direct from the manufacturer, you can also go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/clearlight.  That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/clearlight.

Okay, let's summarize what we know so far.  Number one, 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.  Number two, most infrared saunas are concentrated sources of EMF.  So I use the low EMF Clearlight brand.  And number three, 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.  And this is where things get really interesting.  Sauna biohack number one: hack your sauna hotter.  Even though far infrared saunas do a dang good job of heating you from the inside out and producing the subsequent to detoxification effect, there is one problem.  Even if you sweat more quickly in an infrared sauna than you will in a dry sauna, and you will keep sweating for a long 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 any 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 called “Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Heat Exposure To Enhance Performance, Burn Fat, Gain Muscle, and Think Better.”  And you can find that link over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.

So you're about to learn how to 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 10 extra Fahrenheit degrees of heat and nearly 30% more sweat volume.  So here we go, 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 that you can use to replace the plywood.  Some people insulate it even thicker and leave the plywood off, but this can detract from the aesthetic pleasantness of a nice plywood ceiling, so it’s completely your 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 4×8 sheet will easily have enough volume to insulate any sauna.  You might find that two layers of thin board fits better or gives you a better R value.  Also get a good roll of quality duct tape.  You will need a sharp, long, and stiff kitchen knife and a straightedge with which to cut and mark the foam board.  Some small metal staples can also be handy for holding wires in place, but aren't 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 straightedge 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 in the sauna roof and make sure that you plan to keep these clear when you put the 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 sound 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 through 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'll want to check to see if they are LED or incandescent.  If they're LED, then you can cut out a small cavity and it'll work fine.  If the lights are incandescent or fluorescent, you will want to allow an adequate hole for cooling of the lights.  Also make sure not to insulate on top of the control mechanism, which is usually a stainless steel box on the top of the sauna.

And step 5: After placing the large pieces of foam board, follow the same process and fill in the smaller areas of 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.  You have a super efficient sauna that heats up quickly and allows you to create lots more heat and sweat.  If you go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio, you'll find some photos of my biohacked sauna.  You'll see a picture of the roof using some basic 10 pound weight plates to hold the insulation down, and a close up of the roof and how the insulation is slightly cut to fit the siding.  You'll also see a cork that's placed in the inside hole next to the speaker to hold the heat in and how the sauna sits in my home gym.

Alright, sauna biohacking number two: add extra heaters.  Okay, 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 of 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 know 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.  If you have a 20 amp breaker, then you can go a 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 go to wikihow.com and use a 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's 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.  And don't worry, I have this all listed over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.

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 burners 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 the stove burners and kids are at all times.  Unless you want some free hot branding tattoos on your young ones.

You're probably asking now, “Will these stove burners put out a little EMF?”  Well ultimately, yes.  But the important thing to know about EMFs is that they follow an 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 your 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.

And now, sauna biohack number three: detox with niacin.  Detoxification is a topic that 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”.  And I'll link to both of those over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  My friend Brett, the same guy I've mentioned twice already who figured out how to hack his sauna and introduced me to the strategies already mentioned, has also spent the past 20 years experimenting with detox strategies from herbal tea, to colonics, to enemas. Now I've never heard of this particular niacin plus 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 claim 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, said that the 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 same 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, and you can read exactly about how that whole process works in my article Does Fat Loss Cause A Toxin Release?  The running and 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 also must get the 1987 or prior copyright date of the book.  And bookfinder.com will help you get a used copy that's very affordable.  The new editions of the book have been oversimplified and lack crucial valuable information.

Now 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 period of time, for a decade or more, then reduced sauna time is needed.  If you've 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, the Clearlight, and I still have insulated the ceiling and I put a space heater in it to get it even hotter.  In addition, I blocked the hole where the thermostat 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 the high dose niacin right before your run.  A dosing chart is in the book.  Follow it.  Then, go for a run for 20 to 30 minutes.  If you can’t run, ride a bike, or use an elliptical trainer, jump on a mini-trampoline, et cetera.  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 while 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, 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.  So 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 over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  It's only about 3 minutes long, but it will give you a good idea of the validity of this 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 a release of toxic chemicals such as BPA, PCBs, pharmaceutical byproducts, et cetera.  Clearlight has a very helpful PDF that you can download which outlines more of the science behind detoxification and their own Clearlight Sauna Session Protocol.  And you can find that at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.

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:

Number one, I modified my sauna using the insulation and stove burner hacks you learned earlier in this 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.

Number two, 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 a form of niacin that you can find a link for at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio, and for me it came out to 500mg for week one, 1000mg for week two, 2000mg for week three, and 3000mg for week four.  I chose the Thorne Niasafe because it's 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.

Number three, during the entire protocol, I used the following simple sauna plus 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 my sweat volume, the amount of sweat pouring from my skin dwarfed any normal dry sauna session I've ever had.  I already eat plenty of fats and oils, but I included plenty of electrolyte powder in the water that 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.

So that's it.  What do you think?  Do you plan on using any of these sauna biohacks?  Leave your comments, and thoughts, and feedback over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.  If you want a Clearlight sauna, the same that I'm using and same Alex Terrace and I discuss in the episode “Shattering The Myth Of Detox Therapy, Infrared Saunas, Health Scams, And More”, you can simply go to healthhacksreviewed.com.  And when you call or write them, mention Ben Greenfield, or use the code BenGreen15 and you'll get 15% off anything on the site.  You can use that code any time and as much as you want.  Or you can just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/clearlight and order directly from Clearlight.

Oh, if you happen to visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio, you'll find some fancy photos and specs for the Clearlight Sanctuary Y model that I personally use.  You'll notice that the specs show the ceilings include something called color therapy, also known as chromatherapy.  I didn't even tap into that concept in this article, but I'm working on another article about that for you too.  It's a very slick and helpful feature for fixing and aligning your sleep cycles.  Enjoy.  And leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacksaunaaudio.

 

 

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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…

Another view of the roof…

 

 

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

 

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

 

How the sauna sits in my home gym…

 

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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.

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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 niacinand 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.

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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.

Read more at: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/biohacking-podcasts/how-to-make-a-sauna-hotter/

 

 

 

 

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