Let’s talk about sweat. No one wants to have sweaty armpits or clothes at a business meeting or a dinner party. You likely wear antiperspirant deodorant, which blocks the sweat ducts in your skin so sweat cannot reach the surface, or wear breathable clothing to improve airflow around your skin. Some people go to even more extraordinary lengths to not sweat by having medical treatments to stop sweating altogether!
The truth is that this naturally occurring body function serves many benefits for your body, including a natural way to remove toxins from your skin and regulate body temperature. I’m not saying stop wearing your antiperspirant or taking steps to avoid embarrassing moments when necessary. There’s a time and place for everything.
The most effective way to get your daily sweat is through exercise. However, I know that sometimes you may not feel like working out, or it may not be physically possible due to an injury or disability. The good news is that there are many ways to get the benefits of sweating without physical exertion.
Whenever I want to get in a good sweat or feel a bit stressed from my busy day and run out of time for exercising, I use my Sunlighten infrared sauna. I’ll tell you more about the benefits of infrared sauna therapy later. Before I get into those benefits, let’s talk about sweat, why we do it, and the benefits of sweating.
What is Sweat?
Have you ever accidentally gotten sweat in your mouth? Did it taste salty? Part of what makes this watery substance we know of as sweat is sodium chloride, which you know as table salt. However, it’s only a tiny percentage of what makes up your sweat.
Sweat is about 99% water, and the other 1% is a mixture of salt and lipids (fat). The primary purpose of sweat is to regulate your body’s temperature. Up to a quart of sweat normally evaporates from your body every day. When your body becomes overheated, you sweat even more, and the evaporation of sweat is what cools it down.1
When your body temperature rises above 98.6º Fahrenheit, your brain signals to your sweat glands that it’s time to start producing sweat. The sweat is excreted through your pores and then evaporates, cooling the surface of your skin. Sweat comes from two main glands in your body.
- Eccrine glands produce most of your sweat, especially the watery kind. These glands exist in higher concentration in your palms, soles of your feet, forehead, and armpit but cover your entire body.
- Apocrine glands are larger and located on the armpits, groin, and breast area. They’re most often associated with body odor. However, sweat itself is odorless. Body odor comes from bacteria in or around your sweat glands or hair follicles.
Both of these glands play a role in why we sweat. Let’s discuss the three common reasons you sweat.
Why Do You Sweat?
The most common reason you sweat is a change in your body temperature. As I mentioned, your body cools itself down through the evaporation of sweat. The other two common reasons for sweating are stress and eating spicy foods.
I’m sure you have experienced the sweaty palms and underarms that come with being stressed, scared, or nervous. You likely do not realize that stress sweat is not the same as a cooling sweat and comes from the apocrine sweat glands.
When you face something stressful, your body enters its fight-or-flight response, regardless of your body’s temperature. Your body’s fight-or-flight response is a hard-wired response that our ancestors relied on to deal with the various threats such as being chased by a bear. As part of the fight or flight response, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and other stress hormones, which increases your heart rate, and blood flow and tenses up your muscles to get your body ready to react to the threat. It also activates your apocrine glands, releasing a thicker sweat rich in lipids and proteins.
If you’ve eaten spicy food and started sweating, it wasn’t because of the spicy food itself. You started sweating because of an ingredient known as capsaicin. Capsaicin, which makes spicy foods spicy, interacts with temperature-sensitive nerves responsible for detecting warmth in your mouth. This interaction tricks your body into thinking your mouth is hot, even though it’s not. Since your body thinks it’s getting overheated, it reacts the best way it knows how — sweating!
It’s also important to mention here that the metabolism of food increases your body temperature. So, even if you’re not eating something spicy, you may find that eating a big meal might induce a light sweat.
The Benefits of Sweating
While sweating in excess can be embarrassing, there are many health benefits to this potent liquid released from your body. From detoxification to skincare, the benefits of sweating go beyond body temperature regulation and let’s talk about them.
One of the most effective ways to detox your body naturally without turning to an ineffective juice cleanse is through sweating. When sweating, your body is flushing out toxins such as alcohol, cholesterol, and heavy metals such as mercury, nitrates, and perchlorate. Constant exposure to these heavy metals can lead to thyroid disease.
Your pores open up when you sweat, releasing the buildup inside them. Sweat purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes. Intense sweat isn’t necessary to get the benefits of sweating for your skin. Mild or moderate sweating can provide the same benefits of sweating.2
Sweating also removes excess sebum from your pores, gives you a healthy glow, and enhances your skin’s microbiome by secreting a natural antibiotic called Dermcidin to protect it against germs and bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Body Temperature Regulation
I’ve mentioned this already, yet it’s worth repeating. Your body maintains a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When it begins to overheat, your hypothalamus sends a message to your sweat glands, letting them know that it’s time to start producing sweat so you can cool off.
When the heat activates your sweat glands, they produce sweat and secrete it through your pores so that it coats the surface of your skin. Shortly after it reaches the surface, the sweat will evaporate, cooling your body down.
One of the easiest, most affordable ways to work up a good sweat is to exercise regularly. As you sweat, your heart rate increases to supply more blood to your active muscles. Over time sweating through exercise strengthens your heart and improves your circulation, which means your heart will require less effort to pump blood throughout your body.
Boosts Your Immune System
Have you ever wondered why you sweat when you’re sick? When you have a fever, your body raises its temperature to fight off the bacteria and pathogens that make you sick. Raising your body temperature and sweating helps to strengthen your immune system to prepare for the battle against viruses and bacteria.
Additionally, sweating lowers your stress hormones, improves white blood cell circulation, and filters out harmful toxins, all of which work collectively to enhance immune function and keep you healthy.3
Benefits of Sweating During Exercise
Sweating is normal during exercise. Additionally, exercising increases your production of endorphins that boost energy, improve your mood, and even promote more restful sleep. Endorphins provide the euphoric feeling after exercise that gives you a sense of being happy.
Sweating during exercise for 30-60 minutes a day also positively affects your cardiovascular system and stress hormones and promotes weight loss. Some of my favorite ways to exercise are going for hikes with my family and swimming with my daughter, Elle.
The benefits of sweating are vital to optimal health. One of my favorite ways to sweat is getting in my Sunlighten infrared sauna. Infrared therapy has many benefits in addition to the benefits of sweating, and let me tell you about them.
Infrared Therapy for Sweating
The type of energy from Infrared light can be felt, not seen. Every object with a temperature gives off some form of infrared heat, even objects that we think are very cold, such as an ice cube. Rocks, trees, chairs, and even the walls around you constantly emit infrared energy.
Infrared energy is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, a continuum of frequencies organized by how they interact with objects. The scope includes gamma-rays, x-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared light, microwaves, and radio waves.
Because infrared light interacts with objects in the form of heat and light, it lives in the middle of the spectrum. Depending on the wavelength, its energy may or may not produce heat. However, it does spread through the body, providing a safe means for natural healing. This energy breaks into three different levels.
The Difference between Infrared and Traditional Saunas
Infrared saunas work by increasing your core temperature by gently penetrating through several layers of tissue. This stimulation causes your cells to vibrate, and enhances your natural metabolic processes, improves circulation, increases oxygenation, and makes you sweat! You might be saying to yourself, don’t traditional saunas do the same thing? Not quite.
Traditional saunas increase your core temperature by increasing the temperature of the ambient air around you. Essentially, you are sitting in a small, hot, enclosed space that triggers your body to produce sweat.
Most traditional saunas run between 150 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit and use a heat stove to create extremely high temperatures and steam, making them very hot and humid environments to increase your body temperature.
Since traditional saunas produce extreme surface heat, your session should be limited to approximately 15 minutes to prevent dehydration or overheating.
Rather than using moist heat to warm the ambient air, infrared saunas work by penetrating your skin using infrared wavelengths to increase your temperature from the inside out gradually.
They operate at a lower, more tolerable temperature, usually between 110-140 degrees Fahrenheit, to increase your body’s temperature, producing sweat.
Infrared light has three different levels: near (NIR), mid (MIR), and far (FIR). Each level has its distinct characteristics, frequency ranges, and benefits. These different levels represent the different wavelength sizes and refer to the intensity of the treatment.
The NIR level promotes skin renewal, cell health, and tissue growth and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. By expanding blood vessels, MIR infrared light stimulates the cardiovascular system and supports weight loss. Whereas the FIR level heats your body from the inside out to expel toxins such as heavy metals and stimulates the sweat glands.
Localized heat sent to the source means tolerable temperatures and offers many benefits of sweating, such as detoxification, reducing stress, pain relief, weight loss, and skin purification.
Infrared saunas are a great way to get the benefits of sweating. There are even more ways to get the benefits of sweating naturally, especially detoxification.
How to Detox Naturally
Your body makes its own detoxifier called glutathione. Stress and your body’s toxic load rapidly depletes its natural supply of glutathione. So a supplement is crucial in helping your body combat these challenges. Unfortunately, most oral glutathione supplements on the market don’t work!
Years of research and clinical experience led me to discover the optimal form, molecular structure, and delivery method for supplemental oral glutathione needs to arrive in the gut and properly absorb viably.
I formulated Acetyl-Glutathione, which uses an acetylation process and microcluster molecular structure – the most advanced available. The acetylation process ensures that glutathione won’t break down before your body can absorb it and that it is in the correct form to be absorbed.
When you combine the added support of Acetyl-Glutathione with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and exercise, you’re ensuring that your body has enough supply of glutathione.
Another tool I have used with thousands of patients is Activated Charcoal. That’s because Activated Charcoal is an incredibly effective binder and chelator.
Activated Charcoal has a vast surface area that traps toxins, gas, and chemicals within its millions of tiny pores and helps mop up the toxic aftermath. Then it binds with them to safely and quickly transport toxins out of your body.4
Activated Charcoal is incredible and is used in emergency rooms around the world to support detoxification after ingesting chemical or environmental poisons.
The Recovery Kit
Take it from me, someone who generally avoids environmental and dietary toxins like the plague. Whether I’m buying a new piece of furniture and avoiding flame retardants, booking a hotel room and trying to avoid mold, or simply ordering a meal at a restaurant, avoiding toxins is a full time job. That’s why I put together my Recovery Kit. The top of the line Acetyl-Glutathione and adsorptive Activated Charcoal helps mobilize, bind, and chelate unwanted environmental and foodborne toxins.
I know that unwanted sweating can be embarrassing. There’s a time and place for everything. Sweating is essential in achieving optimal health, especially when removing toxins, and sebum from your skin, while supporting your immune system and regulating your body temperature. Using the tools I gave you today will help you appreciate and reap the benefits of sweating.
- Seating. MeadlinePlus. 2021.
- Dermcidin: a novel human antibiotic peptide secreted by sweat glands. B Schittek, et al. Natural Immunology. 2001.
- Effect of a Single Finnish Sauna Session on White Blood Cell Profile and Cortisol Levels in Athletes and Non-Athletes. Wanda Pilch, et al. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2013.
- Activated Charcoal - Uses, Side Effects, and More. WebMD. 2021.