Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Detox: Sweat therapy, Epsom baths and Bentonite clay

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.


Aimee said...

every sauna has a warning sign in it: not to exceed thirty minutes. This is for good reason - extended time at those temperatures is known to increase the risk of immediate heart attack for people with cardiac disease. You say you want the treatments in your book to be accessible to your readers - I'm sure that also means you don't want to recommend anything potentially lethal.

Bucky said...

I am with Aimee on this one. Four hours in a sauna? That is potentially lethal at worst and dangerous at best.

4 hours can kill people.

Perhaps the "protocol" calls for four hours in a lower temperature sauna? Not sure, but go to any gym sauna and you are looking at very high heat.

Please don't encourage people to spend four hours in a sauna.

This one doesn't pass the smell test. I call bullshit on this. Something ain't right.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Alright, before y'all get your panties in a twist, there's a lot more to it than just sitting yourself down in a sauna for 4 hours straight. First off, no one should even think about doing something like the Hubbard Protocol without the supervision of a doctor. Biweekly check-ins are necessary for a number of different reasons and blood work and any other nutritional needs are assessed.

Without going into grand detail, breaks are necessary. The fluid and dietary supplementation is intense to support your body with all the sweating. It is indeed safe (if you are healthy enough going in) and no one is recommending it for someone with health issues. There are also far infrared saunas that achieve the same thing at a lower temperature.

In any case, I'm not explaining all the details of this protocol because it is detailed and outside of the point of this post.

Laura said...

I could be totally wrong here but I think the goal with the nutjob Hubbard method is to spent a _total_ of 4 hous a day in the sauna. Go in for 30 minutes, come out for 10, rinse, repeat kind of thing.
Again, I am no expert but I have a vague recollection. :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Laura - Yes, you are correct. Total time includes time in the sauna, water breaks, meal breaks, chillin' breaks, naps and what have you. In either case, it's still 4 hours.

Bucky said...

Now I don't wear panties, but my boxers, although not twisted, are a little bit restrictive. But I think that has more to do with eating too much rich food over the holidays.

And you just wrote about four hours in a sauna. You didn't mention breaks or anything.

Bucky said...

okay, now I could totally get into four hours of in and out sauna experience that included meals and naps and what have you.

Does what have you include hot hunky men giving you a rub down? Just asking. Because that would totally seal the deal for me on this four hour sauna thing.

But maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I can't argue about the efficacy of this, since I know nothing about that... but how are you fitting 4 hours (with break times) of sauna into your day?

That is the really amazing part, if you ask me!


Gina Black said...

I did the Purification Rundown (which is what the Hubbard protocol was--is?--called) a gazillion years ago and it also involved running to get the body sweating (before the sauna time) and lots of vitamins (Niacin for one) and some oil (almond? flaxseed? I don't remember) and salts that were carefully supervised and changed individually as the rundown progressed. Breaks were taken whenever one wanted and GALLONS AND GALLONS of water (it seemed) were drunk. I recall it was five hours at a stretch. It really wasn't that bad. I got a lot of reading done during that time. I do recall that LRH thought it was a way to rid the body of radiation and that's what he was mainly going after.

Q said...

I could do that. I love the sauna and I actually used to spend about 3 hours inthe sauna every day or so at the last place I worked. That's including breaks.

The only reason I did it so much, is how awesome I'd feel. Man, I felt like I could conquer the world.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Gina - That is exactly it. The exercise, the niacin, the supplements, the sweating. Why did you do it?

Dmarie said...

while a sauna or hot tub would be murder for me as they seem to raise my temp too high for comfort, I'd love all the baths. wonder if Epsom salts/bathwater could be reused to water the garden? ;)

Gina Black said...

Why did you do it?

I was on staff there at the time and it was the first step of going "up the bridge." It was just when the program started. All staff were being herded through it.

I was on staff for another year or so then left for various reasons.

EngineerChic said...

When you said the wrong kind of clay isn't good for your pipes, I thought that was a euphemism for digestive or urinary tract.

Then I realized you meant actual pipes in your actual house. Whoops :)

Tricia said...

I just had a LONG hot soak in an epsom salt bath. I don't care if it dosen't work - it was absolutely lovely :-)

I'll definately be doing this regularly.

I need to find a cheaper source of epsom salts. I bought it at the chemist and the container was rediculosly expensive and only contained enough for one bath.

Anna @ Blue Dirt said...

Have you had any issues with Bentonite clay turning your skin red like a sunburn for 2 hours afterwords? I do a facial mask with it and I love what it does after the irritation settles down, but wonder if it's a purity/supply issue or if that's normal.

Crunchy Chicken said...

The clay I use is sterilized and is supposed to be 100% pure clay.

In any case, I don't have any skin reactions to it. Maybe you have an allergy to something else in it?

junebug said...

I love Bentonite baths but I use Vit-Ra-Tox and it comes in a glass bottle and is all liquid. I just soak in the tub with it. I find it very relaxing. Afterwards I feel drained which tells me something was working. I've never tried it in the clay form because it just seemed so messy.

Unknown said...

Epsom salt baths may be good for the body but it's not going to be because of reverse osmosis. The second layer of the skin contains a water proof protein (called eleidin) that prevents inward and outward passage of water except through the sweat glands. Now, you can absorb things through the skin and lose things through the skin (mainly electrolytes, various hormones, pheromones, urea, ammonia, and uric acid) but osmosis is specifically the movement of water and not anything else. An osmotic membrane is one which only water can pass through.