Welcome to part three of our “Detoxing After Chemical Exposure” blog series. In the first two parts of the series, we talked about stopping further exposure and opening up detox pathways. We mentioned air filtration, water filtration, sauna usage, and exercise. This week we dive deeper into these issues and discuss various filtration, sauna, and exercise products on the market. This deep-dive is important because these products are not all created equal!
(Once again, this series is for educational purposes only. Please consult your doctor if you feel you’ve been exposed to harmful toxins or before using new products or starting any new wellness program.)
As we noted before, one of the best exercises to do when trying to detox and increase lymphatic flow is rebounding. Rebounding is essentially jumping on a mini trampoline. Gravity from the jumping motion helps to move lymph fluid through the body and accelerate detoxification.
If you’ve searched for a rebounder (a mini trampoline) you know that they can range in price from $50 to $2500. So how do you know what to look for?
The first thing to consider is size. Some of the less expensive trampolines are very small and likely have a weight limit. So, you’ll want to make sure you get a rebounder that has room to move and fits your body size.
The second thing you’ll want to consider is – bar or no bar? Some rebounders come with a handrail mounted on the front of it. If you’re going to watch guided rebounding videos on YouTube or on an exercise app, you’ll likely want a rebounder with a bar as it enables a full-body workout. Some rebounders even come with tension bands for arm workouts.
The Various Types of Saunas
In our last blog, we mentioned how important saunas are when trying to detox. This is because saunas help the body sweat out toxins through the skin. But if you’ve done any kind of research on saunas you’ve probably seen that there are several different kinds. Let’s go through those, now.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of sauna technology – steam and infrared. Steam saunas work, as the name suggests, by using water and heat to create steam. These saunas tend to be larger in size and are much more expensive to buy and operate. This type of heat is also more intense, which can be difficult for some people to tolerate. (Those with high toxicity sometimes have heat intolerance.) So, for the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on infrared saunas as these are more practical for home use and those with toxicity.
What is Infrared Technology
Infrared saunas use light wavelengths to heat your body directly without heating the air around you. There are near-infrared, mid-infrared, and far-infrared technology.
Near Infrared is a short wavelength that penetrates just beneath the surface of the skin. Mid-infrared is a somewhat longer wavelength that can penetrate a little deeper into one’s tissue. Far-infrared is the longest wavelength that penetrates deeper into fat cells. Because the body stores many toxins in fatty tissue, far infrared saunas are sometimes the preferred method for detoxification.
Not only that some people also prefer far-infrared technology because it is a form of energy that is naturally contained in both the sun and all living creatures. So it is often described as a more natural wavelength for the body. Because of its micron size, near-infrared wavelengths are not absorbed by water as well. And it’s been said that human skin reflects up to 35% of near-infrared as a protection mechanism.
Sauna Materials and Construction
If you start searching for a far infrared sauna, you’ll probably notice that most of them look the same – a wooden box with a transparent door. Don’t let that fool you. They’re not all the same. When it comes to detoxification it’s vital to consider the materials the sauna is made of.
For example, beware of saunas made of plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) as these can emit formaldehyde. Glues and finishes can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so it’s important to look for saunas that use water-based products.
Lastly, infrared saunas emit EMF (electromagnetic fields/frequencies) which can increase free radicals in the body. Free radicals damage cells and make it difficult to detox. Therefore, it’s important to look for a low-EMF sauna.
In our last blog, we talked about how important it is to stay hydrated and increase water intake. But you probably don’t want to drink more water if it’s not clean water. After all, the goal here is detox, right? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for tap water to be contaminated with sediment, bacteria, and chemicals. A nine-month 2021 investigation by the Guardian and Consumer Reports found alarming levels of forever chemicals, arsenic, and lead in samples taken across the US. In fact, 98% of samples had concerning levels of PFAS or arsenic above CR’s recommended maximum, or detectable amounts of lead. (1)
Not to mention, if you’re worried about possible chemical exposure, then the tap water in your home could be even more contaminated. So perhaps you’re thinking you’ll just drink bottled water. Unfortunately, plastic water bottles leach toxins. In fact, a single plastic product could leach up to 8700 different substances into the water, according to a recent study. (2)
Another study found PFAS contamination in 39 of more than 100 bottled water brands tested. (3) PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily.
That leads many to consider water filtration technology instead. But like most things, there are numerous types of water filters on the market. How do you know which to choose?
Oftentimes you get what you pay for. Some of the smaller, pitcher-type filters might be able to capture sediment, even chlorine, but they usually cannot filter chemicals.
That’s why many opt for a reverse osmosis system as this technology has been shown to remove PFAS and other chemicals. (4) According to the CDC, reverse osmosis systems will remove common chemical contaminants (metal ions, aqueous salts), including sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, and lead; may reduce arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, and phosphorous.
What’s more, research shows reverse osmosis can reduce dioxins such as PCDD, furans such as PCDF, and dioxin-like PCBs. (5)
Reverse osmosis water filters can be purchased as whole-home water filters, under-sink mounts, and countertop filters.
Obviously, if you’re worried about chemical exposure, air purification is a must as many chemicals can linger long after the initial exposure. And if you’ve purchased a sauna or rebounder, air purification works great in tandem with these products.
For example, when you exercise, breathing can increase from about 15 times a minute (12 liters of air while resting), up to 40–60 times a minute (100 liters of air). The problem is a lot of gym equipment (including rebounders) can contain phthalates and other chemicals. So that means if breathing increases you could be breathing in more chemicals so having proper air purification during exercise is a must.
Plus, if you can’t find a totally toxin-free sauna – free of treated lumber, glues, and harsh sealants – then having an air purifier in the room where your sauna can at least help minimize exposure.
To remove the widest range of chemicals, gases, and VOCs, the Austin Air Healthmate contains a unique carbon blend, unmatched by other brands, using up to 15 lbs. of activated carbon and zeolite. Additionally, the Austin Air Bedroom Machine contains a military-grade HEGA (high-efficiency gas adsorption) carbon cloth.
Stay tuned next week for Part 4 of our Detox From Chemical Exposure series.