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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
Welcome to Ask Dr. Kennedy. We encourage you to post your comments and questions here. We look forward to challenging questions as they are an education for us as well as for you. Please consider the following guidelines when posting:

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saunas
Posted by: John R
Date: December 14, 2000 8:54 PM

I have read in a couple of articles on this site on how saunas can aid in detoxifying. I have found conventional heat saunas as well as far infrared saunas advertised on the net. Do you have any experience with the infrared variety, as it seems to be the better choice?

RE: saunas
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: December 15, 2000 2:19 AM

The major benefit of a sauna is sweating. Each sweat gland acts as a tiny detox unit. The advantage of infrared is that it penetrates to a depth of about six inches, increasing metabolism a bit faster than conventional heat. Therefore with infrared, detox should progress a bit faster. This is similar to choosing a Corvette over a Caprice. You can get there either way, but in a race one is better than the other.

RE: saunas
Posted by: John R
Date: December 16, 2000 5:51 PM

As far as far infrared is concerned, how much exposure would be too much?

RE: saunas
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: December 16, 2000 8:51 PM

The usual exposure is 30 minutes although at first it may need to be less to allow tolerance to build.

RE: saunas vs. steam??
Posted by: Diane
Date: December 30, 2000 9:09 PM

Any thoughts on whether steam or sauna is better?

RE: saunas vs. steam??
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: December 31, 2000 1:33 AM

Heat is more rapidly transferred by steam, so if you are in a hurry steam is preferable.

saunas
Posted by: Bob Morgan
Date: January 21, 2001 2:02 AM

Both traditional saunas and infrared saunas function by transferring energy to the bather by both radiation and convection (heated air). The hot stones of a sauna or sweat lodge are a massive source of infrared energy. In an infrared sauna though, a heater is positioned at each bathers spine. In my opinion, this is more significant than the penetration characteristics of infrared. At the temperature levels of the heaters, the radiation is actually in the longer, less penetrative wavelengths than would be found, for instance, in the more intense short wave infrared heaters used for hypertermia. Heat sensations from throughout the body are routed through the spinal column to the thermal regulation center in the hypothalamus. Sweating is a neural mechanism governed by the central nervous system. The ability to produce profuse perspiration is accelerated by stimulating the spine with thermal energy. A traditional sauna will eventually do the same, but for a beginner, the infrared input accelerates and overides the natural, gradual acclimitization process. As Dr. Kennedy suggests, it is a matter of speed. Detoxing faster, though, is not necessarily safer. I have worked with infrared heating and have built saunas for the past 14 years. We build saunas of all natural materials and without adhesives, something strangely not considered in the hype about most infrared saunas - what is the air quality of the room one is "detoxing" in? We provide free product brochures, but aside from that, are happy to answer questions and provide studies on saunas and detoxification, something that should always be undertaken with medical supervision. Bob. 800-697-2862; heavenly.heat @att.net.



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