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Heal with Heat
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Since our exposure to general chemical toxins in the environment is only going to get worse with time, any reasonable and cost effective method that reduces concentrations of toxic metals and other poisonous chemicals in the human body will find great use in the 21st century (the Age of Toxicity). Until recently a select few doctors have been using intravenous chelation therapy to eliminate toxic poison loads for both acute and chronic exposures. Recently the movement has been toward oral applications of chelation drugs and even more recently to transdermal applications which seems convient, less expensive, and even more effective. No matter which method of application (IV is expensive and the most dangerous method of chelation) synthetic drugs are used that depend on specific biochemical dynamics that include the sequestering of toxic materials out of their hiding places. Once chelated the complex compounds need to be eliminated. Unfortunately this is neither easy nor automatic. Faulty avenues of elimination can create a nightmare for both patient and physician thus great care needs to be taken with any chelation or detoxification program.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the founding fathers of chelation therapy, is very clear that there is a difference between mobilization and detoxification. Mobilization, according to Dr. Klinghardt, means stirring mercury up from its hiding places. "Mobilization may lead to excretion. It also may lead to redistribution. Detoxifying or detoxing means mobilizing and moving it out of the body. There are no true detoxifying agents. All we have are mobilizing agents. The body has to do the excreting with the help of the proper agents. The body is not always able to do this! Often perpetuating factors are present that disable the body?s mechanisms to detox." The term "chelation" generally implies a chemical binding and excretion of mercury and other heavy metals, by DMPS, DMSA, and EDTA and these drugs mobilize mercury and other heavy metals but do not necessarily carry them out of the body.
Representation of Chelaton Molecule Binding with a Mercury Atom.
There are other agents, some which help with the mobilization and others that assist the body with the process of elimination. The nutrient ALA (alpha lipoic acid) is a dithiol (with 2 sulfur atoms) compound that is normally used by the body in small amounts as part of the enzymes for producing cellular energy. Because of its two sulfurs, ALA can bind and transport mercury for excretion from the body. The healthy body also uses glutathione stores to detoxify and remove mercury and other poisons from the body. NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is a widely available glutathione precursor that has the ability to directly bind and excrete mercury via its single thiol (sulfur atom) as well as support and increase the body's store of glutathione as a precursor. Thus both glutathione and NAC, though not true chelators, do part of the work that chelators do. True chelators penetrate into the bodies tissues and actually pull the mercury and other heavy metals out of their hidding places. These other "non chelators," which some refer to as chelators, are more effective when the mercury is first entering into the body and or when it is being pulled out of the cells and again being dumped back into the blood. Clinically it is usually thought that glutathione and glutathione pre-cursers are best utilized in combination with a traditional synthetic chelator like DMPS. This chapter is about another way of forcing the mercury and other hostile chemicals out of their hiding places.
If accumulation of heavy metals and hundreds if not thousands of other foreign chemicals are infiltrating our systems it is only logical that removing their insulting influences is a medical necessity. If a treatment itself causes more damage, or leads to a long term worsening of problems -- one has to beware, be fully informed, and take steps to mitigate risk before fully embarking on any such a treatment. This is certainly the case with amalgam removal, medicine in general, as well as the specific medical area of chelation. In general chelation drugs have proven to be relatively non toxic but that is not everyones experience especially with the IV forms of administration, which is highly shocking to the body, to say the least. Oral and transdermal applications are softer, work gradually through time and thus are safer even though the drug used is the same.
There are several factors that influence the safety of a chelating substance beyond the method of application. Is a person able to metabolize and excrete the drug with and without mercury attached? What adverse effects does the chelating agent have on other minerals and nutrients in the body? Will the chelating agent cause the redistribution of mercury in an unhealthy way? It is possible to pull mercury from tissues only to have it quickly increase blood serum levels that create acute problems that cannot be controlled. If mercury is not excreted it is reabsorbed and this is a critical in the success or failure of chelation therapy.
In 1904 a Russian Naturopathic Physician by the name of Eli Metchnikof discovered that the body would recycle any toxin that it was not capable of purging. In the recycling process the body would utilize all 7 channels of elimination to try and get the toxic substance removed from the body: lungs, liver, kidneys, the skin, colon, lymphatic system and the blood. If one or more of the body's channels of elimination are not working effectively, or if a physican ingnores one of these essential systems in his deliberations for treatment protocols, the patient will suffer from a lack of dramatic results. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt says, ?The body is constantly trying to eliminate neurotoxins via the available exit routes. However because of the lipophilic/neurotropic nature of the neurotoxins, most are reabsorbed by the abundant nerve endings of the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the intestinal wall.?
Treating heavy metal toxicity is a demanding challenge that tests our responsibility to be incredibly informed about a wide spectrum of issues, many of them complex. One of the most overlooked aspects of elminination is actually the skin which offers a vast exit route to poisons trapped in the body. The skin is actually an amazingly complex organ and, by weight, the largest in the body. It covers, on average, some 22 square feet and weighs around nine pounds (roughly 7% of body weight). The skin provides the front line of defense for the body, as well as being expressive of both physiological conditions and emotional states. The skin is the extension of our nervous system to the outside and defines our existence as a physical form. The skin is involved in dynamic exchange between the internal and external environments through respiration, absorption and elimination. The skin is highly permeable though it has the ability to maintain its important bacteria-inhibiting barrier with the environment. The keratin layer, a tough, compact sheet of interwoven proteins waterproofs the body preventing dehydration. It also keeps water and other foreign substances out. However, under certain circumstances, the permeability changes and allows increasing amounts of fluids, dissolved gases and compounds, to either enter or exit the body through the skin barrier. Small molecules that have both lipid and water solubility can quickly penetrate the skin and enter into the circulatory system and as the scientific community witnessed to its horror - dimethyl-mercury can enter and easily kill through the skin in the smallest quantities. A general principle to apply when it comes to the skin and detoxification is:
What gets in through the skin can get out.
Thus it is in a physicians favor to become familiar with the keys to the skin?s permeability. In general heat, activity, and body temperature facilitate the ease with which these ?border exchanges? can take place. Herbal poultices, therapeutic baths, steam and dry saunas and now transdermal patches, rely on the permeability of the skin for either introducing substances into systemic circulation via the skin or mucous membranes, or for drawing toxic substances out of the system via the eliminative channels of perspiration.
Thus the skin is an important organ of detoxification and elimination. One of the worst cases of environmental toxicity in U.S. medical history was treated by a Dr. Ziem at the Johns Hopkins Center for Environmental Medicine. The patient was off the charts with cadmium, aluminum, silver, and mercury but was able to receive a complete cure. The skin on his entire upper body was slate grey. Dr. Ziem had to design a complete protocol from scratch in order to treat this patient. This included a strong supplement program, including high doses of Vitamin E and Selenium. No standard chelating agents were used. The most critical part of Ziem's treatment protocol was very simple: Steam Sauna Therapy. Dr. Ziem sweated the poison out of the man to the point where the patient literally sweated metals that could be wiped off with a towel.
It is commonly thought that sweat from conventional saunas is 95 to 97% water with salt making up a part of the rest. Our skin contains sweat glands and oil glands, both of which help us move things through the skin. Sweat gets rid of water-soluble toxins, and even helps to eliminate toxic heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium as Dr. Zeim successfully demonstrated with his patient. Oil glands help remove oil-soluble toxins such as gasoline, solvents, pesticides and ingredients in toothpaste and personal care products, which the body is not able to dispose of unless heavy sweat is provoked. It is generally thought that the longer the skin is heated, the more oil-soluble toxins are eliminated. Even if one half to one percent of the sweat is carrying out heavy toxins we are greatly assisting the body?s elimination needs with saunas.
Far infrared saunas can mobilize mercury in deeper tissues.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
Dr. Klinghardt is combining the use of far-infrared saunas with the chelating agent DMPS in a heavy metal detox protocol. These special saunas are believed to be more effective in moving toxins through the skin than steam saunas because in the far-infrared thermal system only 80 to 85% of the sweat is water with the non-water portion being principly cholesterol, fat-soluable toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid. Using the skin as an essential aspect of chelation therapy is important and makes complete medical sense.
I do a sauna every day and have for a number of years. Usually I go to the YMCA and they have a regular dry sauna. Recently I got an infrared and I was intrigued that the sweat felt different, less watery, and slimier. It made me think there was some truth to the assertions being made about far infrared and its ability to draw more toxins then the standard regular sauna.
Dr. David Minkoff
We have to help the body detoxify and the skin should be used as a major instrument and avenue of exit for accumulated heavy metals. It should be obvious that an organ as large as the skin, which is highly permeable when heated (or when heat is generated deep in the body as it is through far infrared therapy) would be useful in heavy metal detoxification. It was reported by National Geographic many years ago that the workers in the Cinnabar mines in Spain used to detoxify themselves through sweat baths after work. It makes perfect sense to bypass as much as possible the kidneys and large intestines, which are already overloaded with toxicity and greatly reduced in their capacity to eliminate toxic substances. If a person is heavy metal toxic it is because their normal channels of elimination have not been able to keep up with the load. When this is the case there are no secure avenues of escape when we chelate and mobilize heavy metals that have been locked in the cells.
Peer reviewed literature shows that sweating during sauna therapy eliminates high levels of toxic metals, organic compounds, dioxin, and other toxins. Sauna therapy is ideal to mobilize toxins from their hiding places.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
"One of the best passive exercises is the radiant heat of an infrared sauna which, causes a profound deep sweat. After about 30 minutes of exposure, the blood vessels of the skin dilate to allow more blood to flow to the surface to support the cooling process. The millions of sweat glands covering the body are infused with fluid from the blood. In turn, they empty to the skin's surface, thereby flushing large amounts of toxins, including toxic acids and heavy metals, from the body," writes Dr. Robert O. Young who found in his research that radiant heat [infrared] sauna provides the following benefits:
1. Speeds up metabolic processes of vital organs and glands, including endocrine glands.
2. Inhibits the development of pleomorphic microforms [fungis, yeasts, bacteria and molds] and creates a 'fever reaction' of rising temperature that neutralizes them.
3. Increases the number of leukocytes in the blood.
4. Places demand on the heart to work harder thus, exercising it and also producing a drop in diastolic blood pressure (the low side).
5. Stimulates dilation of peripheral blood vessels thus, relieving pain (including muscle pain) and speeding the healing of sprain, strain, bursitus, arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease symptoms.
6. Promotes relaxation thereby creating a feeling of well-being.
The volume of sweat produced in the Far-InfraRed sauna is profuse and may induce two or three times the sweat volume of conventional saunas, yet they operate at a much cooler air temperature range: about 110 to 130 degrees F, compared with 180 to 235 degrees F in a conventional sauna. Using sauna for detoxification purposes is an ancient tradition practiced by different cultures around the world. The skin is our largest organ and sweating is one of the body?s most important ?detoxification? pathways. The combination of modern Far-InfraRed heating technology with the ancient sauna ritual seems to have resulted in an effective way to deeply cleanse the tissues of the body.