Listen to The Mould Show Podcast on ITunes

How To Use Saunas For Detoxification From Mould - Part 2

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2020

Hello, my name is Dr. Cameron Jones and welcome to this week's live stream, or if you're listening to the podcast, welcome. In any case, this is part two of a series that I'm doing on practical interventions for mould detoxification. We're going further in depth into the research literature, as well, I'm going to be talking about how an infrared sauna actually feels. But if you've just joined us, I want to recap on what we were talking about last week and why on earth the concept of using hot saunas, infrared or their Finnish-based counterparts might be important to consider in your health journey, especially if you're concerned about exposure to water damaged building environments or dealing practically with any type of chronic illness that you think might be mediated by an environmental exposure that isn't just to mould.

In any case, in part one, we were reviewing one of the key papers by a scientist by the name of Janette Hope and she was talking about a whole range of different detoxification protocols, one of which was sauna. She reviewed some earlier research and some contemporary research which was looking at a particular clinician that had actually done studies on over 10,000 different people. This William Ray paper that I put up in these show notes last week was looking at these complex group of patients who were suffering from mould and water damage mediated illnesses. He subdivided them into essentially three groups, those that got better quite easily, those that took longer, the third group, those that had a lot of problems with detoxification. His research showed that taking advantage of sauna bathing greatly improve their symptoms.

In fact, they got nearly a complete remission of adverse health symptoms. That is the premise on which this three part series on mould detoxification using saunas is based. I now want to get into what we're going to be covering today and obviously we're going to be extending this research a little bit further. Today, what we're going to be covering is something called Gulf War illness. This as well has been successfully treated using sauna in addition to using particular groups of nutritional supplementation, as well as exercise intervention. The reason I want to focus on Gulf War illness is that there is some excellent literature in PubMed on this topic of how to treat people who suffered from Gulf War illness because this is similar in many respects to the constellation of symptoms that mould patients have.

The question is, does sauna bathing work and have its therapeutic benefit by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress? Because it's one thing to take advantage of the sauna bathing, but how does it actually do its work? Is this hypothesis of detoxification true? If it is true, how is it operating? Is it an oxidative reaction or is it reduction of inflammation? I'm going to be going over the peer reviewed literature for this. As well, I want to talk about the mental health aspects of this whole issue of chronic inflammation, chronic healthcare, because anyone who is suffering from any of these conditions, this has a huge impact on their social well-being and their mental health well-being. There's a rich literature showing that those individuals that have mould illness have issues with mental health and depression and anxiety.

I want to talk about where sauna fits into this archetype of four ways of considering what to take advantage of in your own healthcare journey. As well, next week, I want to sort of whet your appetite about what we're going to be talking about next week. I'm going to be talking about what the literature says about the neuroprotective effect of saunas for those individuals that have Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. We'll also be talking about how this impacts on current thinking regarding MS and myelination, and we're also going to be talking about something related to saunas as well called Waon Therapy and whether or not this modality of using infrared saunas or the other types of heat therapy is useful for chronic fatigue.

But we'll put that aside for the moment and move forward into Gulf War illness. Again, I'm drawing a lot of my sources today from this particular publication entitled A Detoxification Intervention for Gulf War Illness. Again, the reference material to this is all in the show notes, but I want to give you some context to this. Approximately 30% of the over 700,000 US soldiers who were deployed in 1990-1991 have some form of Gulf War illness, and this is an environmental exposure. Essentially these soldiers were exposed to a high levels of smoke, high levels of chemicals, and high levels of nerve agents that were unfortunately being used during the war. Essentially these fall under the category of exposure to chemical warfare agents and pesticides.

Then all the breakdown products that occur into the air to create a context of adverse air quality that these individuals were exposed to. Then on returning from the battlefields, over time many of these individuals or approximately 30% started to experience unwanted health symptoms which include a lot of the same symptoms that mould and water damage exposure patients are dealing with. They include muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, cognitive problems, balance disorders, inner ear of vestibular problems, odor sensitivity, and that sort of thing. There is no known effective treatment for Gulf War illness and that's what makes this publication so important, which is very recent and current and therefore contemporary. The outcome of Gulf War illness is a severe and reduced quality of life.

Now, let's move on to what the experiment actually showed in this publication. If you can imagine getting a group of individuals that suffer from Gulf War illness, what the scientists did is they split them up into two different groups. The visual picture schematic that I have showing up on screen I will describe this for the podcast listeners. Essentially two groups of individuals were split in two. The first group received sauna treatment for between four and six weeks inclusive of nutritional supplementation and exercise therapy. Then at the end of the four to six weeks sauna treatment, they were let back into the community, and three months later they returned to be reassessed.

At the beginning of the experiment, they assessed them on a whole range of health related issues and that was the baseline readings. Then after the treatment and then three months later, they reassessed them to see whether or not there was a longer term benefit to the sauna, exercise and nutritional supplementation program. Then the next group of people were essentially called the white list participants. They too had their levels of self-reported levels and quantitative levels in their blood assessed at the beginning, at baseline, and then they had no interventions for the first four to six weeks. Then they were reassessed again to just see what happened from period to period, and then bang, they were introduced to sauna, exercise and nutritional supplementation.

Then they were immediately reassessed. Then they were let out into the community and three months later they came back. This then has been reported in this beautiful publication. The method of detoxification is something called The Hubbard Method. Next week, I will discuss some of the background to The Hubbard Method, but just be aware that this is its term and how it has been used to introduce this modality into this particular publication for treating Gulf War illness. Essentially it's been known since the late '70s, early '80s as a methodology to reduce the body burden or improve symptoms and it's thought to work by this nebulous concept called detoxification. In this paper, it is implemented with exercise followed by sauna, followed by something called crystalline nicotinic acid or niacin.

I've got some niacin here and we're going to be talking about niacin in great depth probably next week because I don't have enough time to talk about it. But just be aware that this is a nutraceutical which is in the literature it's been known about for quite some time and there is some beautiful imaging research regarding the important impact of niacin. We will be reviewing some of that literature a little bit further on and certainly in part three of this podcast and live stream. Moving back to Gulf War illness, I want to certainly set the stage to this experiment because these interventions of sauna and supplementation with niacin was done seven days a week. This was an intensive intervention for these individuals.

Each person was interviewed every single day regarding their sleeping and eating habits and how they felt before the sauna each day. Each person was instructed to drink a glass of water with the dose of niacin, followed by 20 to 30 minutes of really quite strenuous exercise on a treadmill, an elliptical machine, or on the exercise bike. Then they then spent between two to four hours inside a sauna, set it between 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. Now, the individuals were allowed to come out and have regular cool off breaks. They were able to eat and drink liquids. After the sauna they were supplemented with other supplements such as cold-pressed oils and lecithin after the sauna sessions. The dosage of these supplements increased over the four to six week period of which they were exposed to the sauna.

Now, you probably want to know what was the outcome. Did this show anything that was statistically significant? Because as I mentioned last week, there's the beautiful publication that's just come out in 2020. In fact, it's released not even into the literature, so you have to purchase this. It is regarding the intervention of saunas for firefighters. What their research has shown similar to those individuals like the Gulf War illness that firefighters are also exposed to lots of unwanted chemicals in the smoke.

What they did in this most recent publication that I briefly touched on last week, they also were finding out that those individuals that are given sauna treatments in addition to regularly showering after exposure to fire, washing down their equipment after the fire, that the concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in their system is significantly reduced just by doing those wash down procedures and using respiratory protection and there was a increase in the reduction of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons after doing the sauna treatments. The conclusion to the paper was further research needs to be done, but it looks like there is a improvement in addition to just the practical wash down procedures.

That research in combination with this paper on Gulf War illness is very compelling evidence for, number one, the definite benefit that is shown in the literature for saunas to improve adverse health conditions for environmental exposures, and number two, that there is good potential for introducing supplementation as well and exercise to get an improved effect. But back to the summary conclusions for Gulf War illness and the first one is that the physical and mental health summary, and this is a questionnaire from in depth analysis of the two groups of people who took part in the experiment was that their mental health and physical health definitely improved after the intervention. Bodily pain decreased. Their general health improved. Their vitality improved. Their social functioning, improved.

Their mental health improved. Levels of general fatigue were reduced. Levels of physical fatigue were reduced. Those individuals who before intervention showed reduced general activity levels with scores throughout the day showed an improvement after sauna and the general Hubbard Method of detoxification. Those individuals that showed reduced motivation before showed an improvement after the intervention, and those individuals who showed mental fatigue when conducting cognitive tasks showed an improvement. Total pain, of course, was reduced and overall you can see that the symptomatic treatment of Gulf War illness with this very intensive intervention protocol of saunas, exercise and nutritional supplementation had very clear and measurable outcomes.

I suspect that the similar research that is being done in a contemporary context with the firefighters is also going to pave the way for a lot more research to be done in new groups of patients, especially those that fall under the category of chronic illness due to mould and water damage exposure. Stay tuned for what the literature is going to show. Now, how does this work? Another excellent paper is looking at how saunas impact on this concept of inflammation and oxidative stress. We need to review what the literature said. In this paper, men aged between 42 and 61 were recruited and over 2,200 of them were assessed for their sauna bathing habits. They were monitored at the beginning, at baseline, and then 11 years later. This is an excellent study.

What they did is that the scientists were measuring something called the leukocyte count. This is the measure of white blood cells. Again, whenever the body is challenged, the levels of what blood cells increase. This is to deal with a challenge like an infection and that sort of thing. Similarly, the fibrinogen count was assessed and this is the measure of the clotting ability of the blood. Again, both of these... The cloning abilities used to assess in a sense DNA repair or how capable the body is dealing with foreign substances and maintaining a homeostatic response to the environment. Now, measures of oxidative stress are used through this very interesting enzyme called GGT, which stands for gamma-glutamyltransferase.

This is related to glutathione and again we're going to do a specific podcast and live stream on glutathione and its relationship with mitochondrial dysfunction and its relationship to all sorts of demyelination phenomena that we see in those cohorts of people that fall under the multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative conditions. I won't spend that much time on it other than focusing attention on the facts as reported in this publication. The results essentially are trying to work out is it good or bad to have higher levels of these white blood cells and fibrinogen counts. The bottom line is if your body shows elevation in any of these biomarkers, that's really not a good thing for your overall health.

They discovered that four to seven sauna sessions per week versus one sort of session per week, consider that these are the two types of populations of people that were assessed, so basically people that just go once versus people that go quite a lot, they discovered that frequent sauna sessions decrease the level of the inflammatory markers, but there appears to be no impact on oxidative stress. The inflammatory markers are your white blood cell count. The more frequently go, the more significant the impact is on the counts. That's really good to know. Now, I want to move on to the four pillars of mental health because this is related to how we understand the sort of context in which anyone would be deciding on how best to manage their symptoms.

Because if you don't feel that well, this has an effect on how you feel about yourself and how you are able to cope with your environment. There's a lovely paper that again is quite recent in the literature. The URL is up on screen and again in the show notes. This is looking at this archetype of individuals needing to take advantage of really the four archetype pillars of what is available to you. Obviously spending time in fresh air leads to important considerations such as outdoor and indoor air quality and how this impacts on your well-being. Then water. Water is very beneficial, how you actually spend time in water environments. Of course, the earth comes into play where we all know that spending time in nature has an effect on mood.

Similarly, this concept in the psychiatric and psychological literature shows that sauna and heat therapy and exposure to the sun is extremely beneficial. I just want to highlight that there's some great research underpinning the value of saunas. Now, you're probably wondering, well, that's all good. He's talked a lot about the theoretical foundations, but what does it actually feel like to do a sauna? Many of you possibly do this all the time, but I know that many of my viewers and listeners possibly have not considered this as a modality to introduce into their daily or weekly or monthly life. Essentially I wanted to actually go and have a sauna myself and report on what's happened. Basically what I'm discovering is that what I've covered today essentially is how you actually go about doing this.

We see what does it feel like to actually carry out the process of having a sauna. I want to show you what I was actually thinking before I actually did the first sauna. I'm going to play this to you now. Okay. It is Sunday in Melbourne and it is pretty good weather. I'm in an industrial suburb in Richmond, and I'm about to have my first infrared sauna. I don't know what to expect. I've been reading a lot about this for detoxification. As you know, I'm doing live streams on this topic for the next couple of weeks because I think there's a lot of research literature out there showing that there are some very significant beneficial health properties for doing this practice. In any case, I know for a fact that the literature says that sauna use is supposed to improve your mood.

I would suggest that my mood is probably about a seven out of 10. I'm going to do this video before to see what it's going to be after the sauna use. In any case, I'll see what I can video inside, but I might not be able to until after the sauna. I'll let you know how that goes and then we'll put this up next week as part of the live stream. I'll give you my first person opinion about what it's like to have a 45 minute infrared sauna. Okay. That's how I felt before I actually did it. That's somewhat interesting. I had some trepidation. You never know what to expect when you start doing something new. We now move on to the next point, what does it actually feel like when you're actually doing it? Now, I spoke to the staff on whether or not I could take my mobile phone into the sauna.

They said no essentially. It's too hot now. That's common sense, and so I left it outside and then I brought it in for a few minutes here and there. The reporting on this is a little bit haphazard, but is still of value to you. You'll see in part two here. Well, I'm inside and you can see the infrared sauna behind me. I've got 45 minutes to enjoy this, and they've provided filtered water. I've been told the safety features. I'm going to enjoy this now. Well, I've been in here for about 10 minutes and I'm really, really sweating, but it's highly relaxing. All I can say is I'm really looking forward to the next 30 minutes or so. It's almost meditative. It's certainly what I can deduce by reflecting on how this feels to my body.

I guess I started sweating probably within the first three or four minutes. These lights are automatically changing and they are also supposed to be therapeutic. In any case, I'm going to to put my phone outside now and enjoy the rest of this. Bye for now. Of course, that moves us on to what happened afterwards. Well, afterwards is probably more important than before. I'm going to play this short little video here. I apologize about the sound. It was very windy at the moment. Hence, why I've put subtitles up. Again, these are visible on the live stream, which you can watch later. Well, I'm inside and you can see... I've just finished my first infrared sauna, and it went for 45 minutes. I think I probably stepped outside and used my phone to document some of the things that I felt were happening maybe for five minutes.

I guess it was about a 40 minute session for me. In any case, I have to say I feel so much more relaxed after it. I'm not sure if it was just the heat or the fact that I didn't have my phone. I wasn't distracted. It was almost meditative being in the 60 degree Celsius temperature. I have to say I loved it. It was really interesting that it sort of centered me. I felt pretty at one with my body. I think that that was a real benefit after certainly in terms of mood. I feel really good now. I think that it is a definite increased. If I was a seven before, I'm definitely an eight now. I think also feeling the sweat moving down and around my body was really an interesting experience, and it made me really appreciate my body and feeling it really as a mass.

That was really beneficial. In any case, what was also interesting is that I continued to sweat for quite a while after I came out of here. I've been actually talking to the people at the front counter. In fact, I spoke to a man that was also there and he told me that he has chronic fatigue issues and that he comes to this particular sauna three times a week. He said it's definitely, definitely helped. I'm going to be catching up to him actually and I'm hoping to actually interview him or at least pose him some more questions on email. In any case, I think that my first sauna experience has been very, very positive, and I'm definitely going to do it again. I want to sort of see whether or not there is any type of auto-suggestion occurring as well because it certainly felt very pleasant and it was a positive experience.

I just want to see after I do it for a while what the longer term benefits are and how I feel about the whole thing. Anyway, talk to you later. Bye for now. Okay. Next week we are going to be doing part three of this and part three is going to focus on issues like niacin, as I said, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue. We're going to be going on about some of the other research regarding these firefighters. I hope you join with me then. Now, we are also going to do our regular breaking news. Now, it would be remiss of me as a microbiologist not to comment on the coronavirus issue. Last week we talked about some of the data visualization which is available for tracking not only the level of infections and their locations, but how these statistics are changing on a day-to-day basis.

What I want to focus on is one of the visualizations that I'm showing up on screen. I captured this just this morning. This is a beautiful visualization which gives you the ability to see the emergence of this disease and how it is progressing. The URL is down below. Again, there are a lot of different visualizers out there that show different aspects of this. This just show your base statistics, but it's beautifully presented and it is a really nice visualization engine. That is on a software platform called and you'll be able to find that by going to the show notes and clicking on that yourself. Now, I guess the question is which is the best way to actually track the virus and I think that this is one of the better ways.

The second method is the original one by the scientists at Johns Hopkins University. Again, this is also a population-based tracker and this is focusing on the number of geographical locations, but also gives you the ability to drill into this data and shows the number of recovereds. I won't say a lot more about a coronavirus because obviously this is a very significant emerging public health threat. You can follow this in the news media, World Health Organization and also on Twitter using any of the relevant hashtags to track this as best you can via social media. However, it is important that we do look to the internet at least to these visualizers to work out what the infection levels are at this point in time and how this could foreseeably impact rest of the world.

In any case, I want to now move forward to another paper that came out, the literature, and this is asking this question, are certain types of mould or fungi linked to changes in lung function? This is a really important topic to anyone dealing with water damaged buildings, especially if you have indoor air quality and mould assessments performed at your property or do a do it yourself testing kits or rely on the ERMI test or any of these types of ways of quantifying what the moulds are in your building. You're probably going to be provided with a species or at least a general level definition of what is actually present indoors versus outdoors. This particular publication has appeared in the literature and what again they discovered was that there are four main fungal types that are present to elicit a decrease in lung function.

They are cladosporium, curvularia, drechslera, and rhizopus. Write these down. If you see any of these fungi present in your lab details, there is great literature out there demonstrating that exposure to these fungal spores leads to a direct reduction in lung function. That's not just inhalation, but that's exhalation. The paper again is in the show notes and it goes into great detail about the impact of these different fungal spores on reducing lung function ability. All of this information you can find also in our podcast at For those who are not watching this live video, I urge you to go there and download and listen to the podcast. In any case, my name's Dr. Cameron Jones.

I strive each week to bring you a new focus on the topic of how to deal with your potential adverse health risks associated with exposure to water damage buildings. As I said, we've been talking about the use and utility of saunas, in particular, as an example, infrared thermal sauna bathing. I've done it. I'm going to continue to do it. I'm planning on doing it this weekend. Probably will be taking some niacin. I want to do this for a period of some time to self-report my own experience with this. Again, I'm an environmental microbiologist, not a medical doctor. I'm providing this information for entertainment purposes only.

I am a scientist, however, and I think that the literature that I've cited in support of any claims I might make or suggestions should be taken as nothing much more than entertainment, but I think that the peer review literature speaks for itself. There are way many people from the original research done on Gulf War illness, exposure and detoxification through to the contemporary literature focusing on firefighters. There's way too much great information out there suggesting that saunas are in fact highly beneficial for dealing with the day-to-day health impacts of environmental illness. Anyway, my name's Dr. Cameron Jones. Have a great week. I'll be back next Thursday and see you then. Bye now.

 YouTube Link:


50% Complete

Get Your FREE Housing Mould Hazard Check

In less than 5 minutes you'll know if you need to take action about your water damage or mould concerns.