I’ve been heading to the sauna for about two weeks now, averaging 4 trips per week. This seems like enough to keep my kidneys happy while I do a moderate amount of Bartonella coiling.
While I was in the sauna the other day, I met a woman who was surprised to see that I brought in a watch. She asked me why. She also asked why I don’t drink while I’m in the sauna. That got me to thinking about what I do and why.
Before I head to the sauna, I drink a lot of water. I want to be hydrated when I start out, providing my body with enough fluid to sweat as much as I can.
I use a dry sauna. I don’t shower first (though I might have earlier in the day, I don’t go into the sauna with my body wet). I sit on a towel and time 20 minutes. When I leave, I’m soaked.
Some days, I can’t manage to stay in a full 20 minutes, but that’s my goal, respecting that sometimes, if I’m not sufficiently hydrated when I start, my body can’t handle a full 20 minutes. The goal is to sweat out toxins. I’ve read that the maximum amount of time one’s pores can be open before they start to reabsorb liquids on the skin is 20 minutes. So I avoid any longer exposure that would cause me to reabsorb what I’m trying to get rid of.
I stay in as long as I can because I’m trying to do two things: 1. release toxins, and 2. increase my core temperature to improve blood flow throughout my body. I don’t want to increase it so much that I cause a herx (and cause the Lyme bacteria to go into cyst form to protect themselves from the heat). So I stay in for a while but not too long.
When I leave the sauna, I dry off right away. Then I take a 2 minute shower to rinse off my sweat and whatever toxins have left my body. Then I dry off again. I don’t use any soap or shampoo because my pores are open from all the heat and I want to minimize what I introduce into my body through my skin.
Immediately after my shower, I drink about 2 glasses of water. I want to rehydrate right away to give my kidneys fluid to work with and prevent my blood pressure from dropping. When I return home, I drink an electrolyte drink that contains sodium to replace any minerals that left with all the sweat as well as more water over the next hour or so.
I drink before and after the sauna for hydration. But I don’t drink while I’m in there because it would cool me off, and I’m intentionally increasing my core temperature.
I let myself cool off slowly. Generally, I keep sweating for another 20-30 minutes after I get out of the sauna. Once I’ve cooled completely, I take a real shower, with soap and such.
The thing I’m still trying to figure out is what to do with my head. My hair gets much hotter than my skin and it seems too hot for my scalp. If I touch my hair with my hands, I feel like I’m burning my fingers. I’m thinking about wrapping my head in a dry towel or a cotton hat next time to see if that prevents my head from overheating. (Results)
I’m coiling less than before, and less than I think I need to if I want to make significant progress this summer. I’m coiling for Lyme once a week over the course of two days. I get a mild herx after I coil my head, and the symptoms in my legs flare slightly and disappear temporarily after I coil the lower half of my body. I’m coiling for Bartonella 1-2 times per week.
What I realized a few days ago as I was about to drop after a busy-for-me day is that I can’t make a major leap in my health program when I’m planning a wedding. Joe and I only gave ourselves about 3 months to plan everything. We’re down to one month now. For me it means I get wrapped up in wedding things and regular day-to-day living and I can’t afford a big herx or to be out on my back for a week. So I’m taking it easy on the coiling and detoxing just enough to keep going without setting myself up for a crash. I make sure to get lots of sleep at night and to rest as much as I need to.
I imagine that I’ll ramp up the treatments in autumn when there is less going on in my life. In the meantime, I celebrate the fact that there are good things going on and that I can afford to be a little less obsessed with my health without fear of crashing.
Still, I’ve had my moments. When my last menstrual cycle started, I spent a day and a half in bed. I was in the shower on the second day when suddenly I got light headed, felt abdominal pain and leg weakness. I dove out of the shower onto the floor. I was nauseated and my legs were trembling. It took about a half hour for me to get up and put myself in bed for the rest of the day.
That was a reminder that though I’m much happier here, I have to respect my body’s many limitations.