Detoxification from substances can be an unpleasant experience, but there are many tools, therapies, techniques, and resources available to help make it a little easier. From alcohol to nicotine, the body at times may need help with the detoxification process when ridding the body of substances. Read below to learn what to expect when going through a detox, and how an infrared sauna can help with detoxification both during and after treatment.
Function & Benefits of Detoxification
Directly or indirectly, toxic residues find their way into our air, food and water supplies. The net effect of this ecological overload is to alter the body’s balance, or homeostasis. This interference with our natural biological tendencies to restore internal balance results in disease in one form or another. These illnesses include cancers of virtually every organ system of the body, as well as leukemia, liver disease, pulmonary damage, anemia and blood changes, nervous system disease, immune system damage, psychological damage, reproductive and fertility impairment, and kidney dysfunction.
With that being said, it is obvious that detoxification is an important function to keep the body safe and healthy. When toxins are properly removed, there are many health benefits:
- Improved Immune System
- Healthier Internal Organs
- Weight Loss and Management
- More Energy
- Improved Mental Clarity
At a basic level, detox is a perfectly natural process. Drugs enter the body, and the body’s systems work to process the chemicals. Cells in the liver purify the blood. Cells in the digestive system process alcohol. Cells in the kidneys move waste out of the body altogether. It’s an efficient and perfectly natural system that the body uses in order to heal. But drugs can wreak havoc on those natural systems, as some drugs are just so powerful that the body can’t handle a typical cleaning protocol.
The body can be capable of performing its own drug detox, but it takes time and the withdrawal symptoms that occur in the meantime are uncomfortable at best. Sometimes, drugs are so powerful that people who attempt natural methods put their lives at risk. That is why experts agree that a medical detox program is the safest choice for people with an addiction history.
Why to Use Natural Therapies for Treatment
When detoxing for substance abuse, no treatment should be done without medical supervision. Depending on the substance and the level of use, the detoxification process may become more or less dangerous. When seeking treatment, you and your doctor will discuss the options best suited for you, which may include a combination of medications and other therapies to help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal.
Though natural therapies will likely not be the only form of treatment, they are a great addition to substance abuse treatment to help bring the body feeling back to normal. Many detox centers offer natural therapies, such as massage and infrared sauna use, to patients both during and post-treatment to provide comfort as the body is transitioning.
Doing a Substance Abuse Detox with a Sauna
Including infrared sauna use in a substance abuse detox can help with three main things: improved circulation, enhanced detoxification, and reduction of negative withdrawal symptoms.
Long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol can cause problems in the heart and areas of the nervous system depending on the drug of choice and the severity of the addiction. The heat in an infrared sauna helps repair circulation, sending blood flow to all the necessary areas. This also moves blood closer to the surface of the skin. A process known as lipolysis begins to break down fat tissues in the body that contain toxins that are then released into the bloodstream.
Though some of these toxins are excreted through the skin, others are sent to the kidneys and liver. Sauna therapy raises the level of toxins through increased sweating, and therefore, pushes toxins out through human waste and urine.
Additionally, individuals may find saunas soothing in the same way that some find massages soothing during the drug detox period. Some drugs cause joint and muscle pain as withdrawal symptoms, and the high heat of a sauna can relieve some of this pain. Infrared sauna therapy can help improve withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, stress, anxiety, muscle cramps, inflammation, pain, rapid heart rate, drug cravings, sleep disturbances, low energy, and reduced cognitive function by increasing blood circulation and decreasing blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
The use of infrared saunas can also become part of a self-care routine post-treatment for those who are undergoing substance abuse recovery. If anything, visiting an infrared sauna can help to relax, soothe the body and mind, and make you feel rejuvenated.
What to Expect with a Substance Detox
On average, the detox process typically lasts for between 7 and 10 days. When the amount of alcohol or drugs in a patient’s system is gradually reduced, they will typically begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The type of withdrawal symptoms that are experienced, as well as how severe these are, depend on how long a person has been addicted to alcohol or drugs, the type of substance that they are addicted to, how much they have been consuming, and their general mental and physical health.
Withdrawal can result in a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, shaking, sweating, high temperature and/or chills, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, abdominal cramps, muscle and bone pain, exhaustion, and vivid and unpleasant dreams. Psychological symptoms include, irritability, anxiety, confusion, paranoia, insomnia, depression, inability to concentrate, mood swings.
In the most severe cases, withdrawal during a substance detox may result in hallucinations, delirium, and seizures.
Thankfully, with the help of medical support, medications, and natural treatments available to those in need to properly and safely detox from substance abuse. Medications and infrared sauna therapy both help manage the negative side effects of withdrawal and create a more comfortable recovery and return to normal.
Resources for Substance Abuse
If you or a loved one is facing issues with substance abuse, there are many resources available to help you take the next step toward recovery. Speak to your doctor about potential treatment and recovery options, and use the resources below for hotlines, information, and programs to help you through your journey:
- Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
- Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)