To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Detox for Self-Care,” by Wallace V. Nelson, N.D., C.N.H.P., in the March 2013 issue. Article summary: Toxins have permeated our life to such great extent, it is no longer possible to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals. The only option left for those of us who don’t want to suffer the effects of toxins is to perform periodic detoxification to remove the junk we have collected.

Most massage therapists recognize how heat affects a massage and the results afterward. Hot stones allow therapists to perform deep-tissue manipulations more easily. A heated massage table helps the muscles to relax a bit more quickly. Imagine if every client began a massage appointment already warm.

A pre-massage session in a full-spectrum, infrared sauna can take one’s practice to a whole new level. Before the therapist even makes physical contact with the client, soothing near, mid and far infrared heat will have already penetrated deeply into joints, muscles and tissues, speeding oxygen flow and increasing circulation from the cellular level.

Full-spectrum, infrared saunas use the same healing energy that is released naturally by the sun. Infrared is part of the sun’s invisible spectrum of light and has the ability to penetrate human tissue. It heats the body directly, instead of the air, increasing the core body temperature for a much deeper sweat.

If your or your client’s goal is detoxification, the heat generated by a full-spectrum, infrared sauna raises the core body temperature by 2 to 3 degrees. A rise in core temperature is vital to achieve the deepest, most detoxifying sweat.

In fact, full spectrum saunas offer a 37-minute detoxification program that emits a combination of mid- and far-infrared to improve vascular access flow to reach toxins at the cellular level. The ability to customize the infrared wavelength based on the goal of the client is a huge benefit for commercial use. If your client is seeking pain relief, you can adjust the blend of near-, mid- and far-infrared that is best for pain relief.

“Our mPulse sauna has programs for detox, pain relief, cardio, weight loss, heart health, relaxation and anti-aging,” says massage therapist Kyle Askew, who works for Sunlight Day Spa. “Clients love choosing their own program and the infrared heat prepares their body for massage by increasing blood flow to the muscles and delivering more concentrated oxygen, which creates more energy to heal.”

According to a study published in the 2002 issue of Spine Journal, heat therapy proved to be more effective than analgesics for lower back-pain relief. Considering how many clients look to massage for lower-back help, a pre-massage sauna session would make every massage minute more effective. Of course, sauna use is effective for massage therapist self-care as well.

Post-massage sauna sessions may make more sense when muscle fatigue or injury is part of the equation. A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology and Institute of Medical Research showed the use of near-infrared heat therapy helped the production of white blood cells to alleviate inflammation and reduce swelling, two key factors in reducing pain.

Full-spectrum, infrared saunas are used by thousands of wellness providers, including massage therapists. Incorporating a sauna into massage services provides better results for clients, an additional revenue stream for therapists, and a go-to therapy for massage therapist self-care.

Connie Zack, co-owner of Sunlighten and Sunlight Day Spa (www.sunlighten.com), is committed to educating the public on the astounding health and detoxification benefits of infrared therapy. As part of her mission, she currently is a board member at the American Heart Association and contributes proceeds of her businesses to support the association’s cause.

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