Do Saunas Actually Detoxify ?
Howdy everyone ! This question is probably one we get the most often amongst all inquiries we get every week.
While the sauna does not detoxify in and out of itself, it does facilitate excretion of toxins through sweat via the largest organ of the body : the skin.
Detoxification is referring to the process by which an organism excretes bioaccumulated toxicants from muscles, adipose tissues & organs out of it’s system.
The most common of those toxic elements are :
- Heavy Metals (mercury in fish, cadmium in cigarettes & automobile exhaust, lead & arsenic)
- BPA - Bisphenol A (Endocrine disruptor found in paper receipts, plastic containers, food packaging, beverage can lining)
- Phtalates (Hormonal disruptor, lowering testosterone found in soft plastic, beauty products, soaps & creams).
Is There Any Reliable Data To Back "Sauna Detox" ?
I would say there is, in fact, quite a lot of data showing how saunas & sweating can facilitate and boost detoxification. Let me give you a few examples:
1. According to this study : Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study: Monitoring and Elimination of Bioaccumulated Toxic Elements in which they compared the 3 main fluids (blood, sweat, urine) through which the body eliminates it’s toxicants, they’ve found markedly higher “aluminum (3.75-fold), cadmium (25-fold), cobalt (7-fold), and lead (17-fold) in sweat versus urine.”
2. Another study : Human Excretion of Bisphenol A: Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study shows that BPA is more effectively excreted through sweat than urine.
3. Furthermore, the following study : Sauna-Induced Body Mass Loss in Young Sedentary Women and Men, has shown that “during sauna bathing (at 194F), sweating begins quickly and reaches its maximum at approximately 15 minutes, with average total secretion of 0.5 kg”.
From these results, we can conclude that activities inducing sweat (exercise & saunas) encourages detoxification.
A Short Comparison : Exercise VS Sauna
The average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 kg liter of sweat per 1 hour of exercise. Considering the data below :
- For each 15 min sauna sessions at 194F, the average person sheds 0.5kg of sweat out.
- For each 15 min of exercise, the average person sheds 0.25kg of sweat out.
You can see that for the exact same amount of time, sauna use on average is 100% more effective than exercise at producing sweat.
Please allow me to nuance my point, I’m not suggesting that going into a sauna is better than doing exercise because it’s definitely not. What i’m suggesting is that everyone should be doing both on a regular basis if they want to enhance detoxification.
Multiple studies also points in this direction :
To Wrap Up...
As mentioned in previous responses, sitting in a sauna 5 min with your clothes on at low temperature will probably have little to no impact on detoxification.
However, sweating out 15–30 min at 194F multiple times a week is definitely a great way to enhance, facilitate & boost detoxification.
Combine that with regular exercise, dry brushing, low exposure to chemicals & proper prevention/clean diet and you’re on your way to a toxic free body.
If you really want some in depth/ non-biased information on saunas I recommend checking this page on Dr Rhonda Patrick’s website : FoundMyFitness Topic - Sauna
Hope my answer helped !