Sweating Your Way To Health
An all out body sweat is probably one of the most undesirable experiences that someone would want to have in their daily life, and sweating in social settings is something we all try to avoid, yet sweating is so intimately tied into who we are, that dismissing it altogether would rob us of greater health and harmony in our lives on many levels.
We work so hard to not sweat that we forget that sweating is hardwired into us for a reason, so much so that we’re always sweating. Not dripping wet sweating, of course, but a steady state of constant evaporation.
We don’t sweat because we want to; we sweat because we have to.
At first, it may seem that the only purpose for sweating is to cool off the body when the amount of body heat exceeds what the body’s accepts as normal healthy temperatures. Indeed, regulation of the body temperature is one of the primary functions of sweating.
There are two types of sweat and two types of sweat glands. The majority of sweat is normally composed of water, minerals, urea, lactic acid, and ammonia. This type of sweat comes from the Eccrine sweat glands. The eccrine sweat glands are chiefly involved with cooling the body.
Another type of sweat comes along after puberty and contains proteins, lipids, and steroids in an oily base. It functions to help attract or repel others depending on their orientation to certain odors that it produces and the action of bacteria on the substances within this type of sweat. This sweat comes from the Apocrine sweat glands that are found in the axilla, genitalia, and other private areas. Phermones and body odors are associated with these sweat glands.
When we use our sweat glands regularly, we improve their efficiency and function, whereas, if we avoid working up a sweat on a routine basis, our sweat glands can become more dysfunctional. It’s a ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy that we can use to our advantage.
Sweating has been shown to decrease blood pressure, anxiety, depression, pain, and insomnia, while improving cardiovascular function, heart health, elimination of toxins, weight loss, delivery of nutrients to tissues, fertility, and an overall state of relaxation. A 15-minute sweat releases the same amount of toxins as it takes the kidneys to release in 24 hours. Sweat is magic.
From infants to the elderly, almost everyone benefits from sweating, including healthy pregnant women during an uncomplicated pregnancy.
While all of this may be news to some people, it’s nothing new to millions of people around the world, and in some cases, it’s centuries-old news.
If you live in a major city anywhere around the world, you’re likely to encounter Russian bathhouses, Korean bathhouses, Japanese bathhouses, and Turkish bathhouses. These cultures and others have discovered that sweating and detoxification help to ensure a longer and healthier life, so wherever these cultures pop up, so do their bathhouses.
In countries such as Finland, there are over 2.4 million saunas, almost one in every home. Sweating is hard-wired into many cultures because its benefits have been known for thousands of years.
Ancient ruins tell us that our earliest Neanderthal ancestors gathered around hot springs for warmth. In the Americas, the Indians have used sweat lodges for centuries. The early Mayan “sweat houses” date back over 1200 years.
Sweating has a long history as a communal activity. The “Great Bath” in Pakistan was built around 2500 BC. The Diocletian Bath of ancient Rome could hold up to 6000 people. The Dogo-onsen Hot Spring in Japan claims a 3,000-year history. Even in the United States, there are various hot springs that Americans and foreigners have flocked to for generations.
Americans are only beginning to become aware of the many benefits of sweating. While every health club and spa is likely to have a sauna, they are very under-utilized, as the American culture is all about staying dry and looking cool.
All of that may be changing however, as modern urban sweat lodges like Shape House in LA is attracting an A-list celebrity following and the followers who follow them.
With just 3 Shape Houses in the LA area, Shape House is now scheduled to explode across the nation with hundreds of more locations and the matching status that goes with them. Sweating is soon to become the new cool!
Sweating is not new to those who have done the Candida Plan, as it requires 6 days a week of sweating over the 16-week course of the Plan. Sweating has always been an important part of the Plan and we’ve never recommended doing the Plan without it, as sweating eliminates the “die-off” reactions that others following other approaches struggle with.
During the past 25+ years, we’ve seen amazing benefits like those mentioned above, along with some very interesting ones not mentioned here, and a new way I’ve created to turn sweating into a process that changes your life forever.
I’ll talk more about this in my next blog post on sweating.
Until then, keep sweating your way to health and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is founder of the McCombs Center for Health, the Candida Plan, the Candida Library, and author of Lifeforce, The Everything Candida Diet Book, and The Everything Guide to Autoimmune Diets. Check out our podcast, “The Candida Chronicles” on iTunes and SoundCloud.