Part of my original detox plan included hanging out at the sauna for 4 hours a day for 4 weeks. The reasoning behind this torture was that, by sweating profusely for such time periods, you substantially reduce the amount of toxins that are stored in your body. For those who scoff at this idea, there have been a number of studies done on the efficacy of this.
Generally known as the "Hubbard Protocol", named after nut job L. Ron Hubbard, and initially developed for drug detoxification, it was soon after investigated as a therapy for reducing other toxins in the body. To make a long story short, studies have been done on Chernobyl victims as well as 9/11 clean-up crew following the protocol and the end result was a considerable drop in body toxins. In some cases by around 20% and up to 40% during a follow-up.
Well, I'm not following the Hubbard Protocol for a variety of reasons, the most pressing is that it's time consuming, uncomfortable and I wanted what I was doing for my detox to be approachable to those reading my book. Sitting in a sauna for that length of time over that many weeks isn't approachable to anyone. Plus, I frankly just didn't want to do it. There are other reasons why I'm not doing it, which I explain in the book, but suffice it to say that I'm comfortable replacing the Hubbard Protocol sweat therapy with a modified sweat.
What am I doing then? Well, instead of the long sweats I'm doing some short sweats. Five days a week for 30 minutes I'm either sweating in the bathtub, a hot tub and soon enough I'll be going to a sauna.
Several times a week I'm doing an Epsom salt bath. What this means is that I get the bathwater temperature up to about 102 degrees and put in 1.5 - 2 cups of Epsom salts. Epsom salts are thought to flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, ease muscle pain and help the body eliminate harmful substances. This supposedly works by reverse osmosis, pulling the toxins back out of the skin when soaking in the bath.
Once a week I'm doing a bentonite clay bath. This is a little more complicated and messy and not my favorite thing by far. It makes the water slippery and murky and, if you get the wrong kind of clay, you can mess up your pipes. You have to prepare the clay in the water and avoid breathing it in. Once you've got the whole thing set up, bentonite clay is supposed to help draw impurities out of your skin. Toxins like metals and other contaminants are supposedly pulled out from the negative charge of the clay.
While there are a lot of statements made about the benefits of clay baths and they have been traditionally used for thousands of years (bentonite being used by North American Native Americans), I haven't seen any studies showing whether or not they actually do much of anything. You can read the alleged health benefits of the baths here. You can also find a lot of reference articles mentioning research done and the results showing detoxification, but no citations, etc.
All in all, I think the sweating helps, and the Epsom and clay certainly don't hurt and are, at the very least, good for the skin. But, as you can probably tell, my science-based evidence radar is going off.