Natural, Non-toxic Alternatives to Treating Hypertension – What Works for Everyone? by D. Carestia

I have mentioned several times that hypertension is multifactorial. There are many things that cause hypertension, and the exact cause or causes of my hypertension may or may not be a cause of yours. This is one of the complicating factors in trying to determine what natural therapies will best work for your particular situation. Many people, however, are interested in finding something quickly that will surely work for them and soon! Among the highest probability natural therapies that will work for a large number of people are the natural diuretics. The diuretics work for just about everyone, and will have a lowering effect on blood pressure. Either pomegranate or cocoa, or both, work for most people as natural ace inhibitors, and the many relaxation techniques also work for most people. But these alternatives usually require a bit of trial and error and some time before people can identify what works best for them.

Last week on the Community Blogs, Gladys posted on her way of managing her hypertension through diet, exercise, and the use of L-Arginine. L-Arginine is one of the supplements that I took early on to address my hypertension, and it is one of the supplements that I continue to take today (I strongly prefer the time release capsule by Thorne Research, Perfusia S-R, 1000 mg. per day, 500 taken morning and evening). Yet, in the comments on her post you will find people who did not experience a beneficial lowering of their blood pressure on L-Arginine and indeed some of them who who report that they exacerbated their gout, shingles, and herpes by taking L-Arginine, an otherwise very healthy and natural amino acid. So, again, in the search for “what works for everybody”, L-Arginine is not a universal solution considering those suffering from gout, shingles, and herpes who have reported difficulty.

As I have also mentioned, diet and exercise are critical to managing hypertension. The alternative therapies, diuretic foods, and supplements, are more of a help in the transition to a healthier lifestyle than they are a perfect long-term solution. Even when natural alternatives have to serve as a long term treatment, they are superior to toxic drugs. Toxic drugs tend to help kill you over time, where healthy food alternatives tend to maintain and improve health. Additionally, everyone can improve their diet, but not everyone can significantly improve their exercise regimen. There are many who because of age and health condition cannot do the kind of rigorous exercise that is required to really make a significant difference in their blood pressure. What are those people to do? We will talk about the universal therapy that can even help those people in a moment.

There have also been suggestions on the blog, well-intentioned and helpful, that through diet a person can become “heart attack proof”. Respectfully, I beg to differ. In response to those posts I have mentioned the toxic world in which we live, and the impact that environmental toxins have on our health, including hypertension and heart disease, including sudden death arrhythmia that indeed may have nothing at all to do with cholesterol, for example. This leading cause of heart death is more a function of the electrical signals that control our heart’s function. I would submit that those heart signals can be detrimentally impacted by toxins and I believe that sudden heart death is more likely due to toxic condition in the body than whether your cholesterol is “too high”.

Regarding high blood pressure, medical doctors are quick to label everyone’s hypertension as “essential hypertension”. If they are honest, they will admit that this use of the word “essential” means that “essentially”, they really don’t know what causes it at all.

So, the emphasis for this article is on the toxins that we take on board in our every day lives, their impact on our health including the health of our circulatory system, and what can be done about them to improve not only our circulatory health, but also our general health. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the even likelier cause of hypertension for many people which cannot be controlled by even two or three different hypertension drugs is “secondary” to a toxic condition in the body effecting the kidneys, nerves and other systems which affect blood pressure.

“A variety of exogenous substances can induce transient or sustained hypertension, exacerbate pre-existing hypertension, create resistance to previously effective antihypertensive regimens, and/or precipitate hypertensive emergencies. Drugs, herbal preparations and environmental toxins are important and modifiable causes of hypertension.”

One of my favorite books on this subject is by Dr. Sherry Rogers entitled “Detox or Die”. Her book is not only helpful in identifying the many toxic substances that poison us daily and their ill effects on our health, but also most importantly in telling us how to get those toxins out of our bodies. For me, this has been an important long-term key to lowering my blood pressure. I believe it is a big key to improved health, including a healthier heart and circulatory system, for many of us. It may well be the most important key to those on several toxic medications who still have high blood pressure.

So, what are the various toxins that can contribute to not only hypertension, but all manner of diseases including fibromyalgia, heart disease, motor diseases, infertility, depression, memory loss, cancers, and more. As a student of the effects of toxins of all varieties, I am convinced that most of the diseases known to man are essentially caused by toxic conditions of one kind or another in the human body. Remember, much of what we eat as “pretend food” is actually toxic to our bodies (refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, chemically made “salt” in the form of sodium chloride, refined and processed wheat flour, unhealthy vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils, and other man-made additives and chemicals.

To give you an even better understanding, toxic conditions in our bodies are brought about by our ingestion of phthalates or plasticizers from plastics that surround and contain our foods and dioxins (both of which act as hormone mimics and endocrine disruptors), toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, antimony, arsenic, aluminum and others. In addition, many of the other medications we take are toxic and are known to increase blood pressure. You may be surprised to learn that corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, cyclosporine, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) like naprozine (naproxen) and Aleve for arthritis, alcohol, and antidepressants are known to elevate blood pressure and contribute to hypertension resistant to treatment.

In addition to all these toxins we are bombarded daily by toxic chemicals in the air we breath and the water we drink. We take on carcinogenic hydrocarbons, PCB’s, benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene, styrene, pesticides, formaldehydes, chlorines, fluorides – the list of harmful chemicals can and do fill a book. All of these toxins have a negative effect on our health generally, and many are known to cause and exacerbate hypertension and other deadly illnesses. Knowing the harm that they can impose upon us is essential, but knowing how to get them out of our bodies and prevent that harm is priceless knowledge. So, what can we do about getting rid of these toxins?

One of my favorite devices for detoxifying, lowering my blood pressure long term, improving my circulatory and heart health, and improving my health generally, is my Far Infrared Sauna. It is one of the only things that I have found that can do so many things, all of the things mentioned in fact, to improve my blood pressure and my overall good health. I really do love it, and I am so thankful for the technology that made it available. After every workout, five days per week, I spend from 30 to 60 minutes in my far infrared sauna not only detoxifying, but dilating my blood vessels, thinning my blood vessel walls making them more pliable over time, flushing excess water from my system, and improving my heart health. Those are of course big claims, but they are valid ones.

So, what exactly is a Far Infrared Sauna, and what are the facts backing up my conclusions about the tremendous health benefits to be gained from detox with FIR sauna? A far infrared sauna produces infrared that is near the far end of the infrared spectrum where the longest and most healing rays from the sun are found. Far infrared sauna heats the subcutaneous fat, vessels, and organs,and draws out considerably more toxins as a percentage of sweat than regular saunas and FIR saunas do it with much less heat. An FIR sauna is effective at heats from 100 to 130 degrees F, whereas traditional saunas operate at much higher temperatures, often exceeding 140 degrees to 160 degrees. For unhealthy individuals, the far infrared sauna is not only more effective for detoxing, but much healthier and less risky to use because of the lower heat.

For those who cannot engage in strenuous exercise, the far infrared sauna increases heart rate in similar fashion to exercise while it draws out a much higher percentage of toxins than normal exercise sweat and traditional sauna sweat. In traditional saunas, the percent of toxins in the sweat is only a few percentage points where as in FIR saunas the percentage of toxins in the sweat is as high as 20%.

The internal heat from the FIR sauna renders it a vasodilator. So, blood vessels are getting the benefit if increased heart rate as with exercise, as well as the expansion of the vessels because the rays heat tissues internally thereby dilating the blood vessels.

The intense sweating that occurs within an FIR sauna at much lower, safer temperatures also acts as a diuretic, reducing liquid volume in the body. This also results in lower blood pressure.

The FIR sauna has been documented to increase ejection fractions for chronic and even near end-stage heart failure patients, and is one of the few beneficial exercise-like therapies that people this ill can safely engage in. In addition, FIR sauna has been known to help reduce the incidence of arrhythmias and is beneficial with many other health issues, even muscular and arthritic pain.

Perhaps you can begin to see why I have such an appreciation for my far infrared sauna, and why it became and continues to be in my overall wellness regimen on a regular basis. I just feel so much better after spending time in my sauna, and I know it is doing great things for my heart, my blood pressure, my circulatory system, and my overall wellness.

I own two infrared saunas manufactured by Sunlighten. One is a 3-person cabinet model in our home, and the other is a personal sauna that we use when we travel (the Solo). Yes, I am that dedicated to regular detox and wellness treatments in my FIR sauna. It has made a tremendous difference in my blood pressure and my health generally. I chose Sunlighten because of their all carbon plates (no bulbs or carbon rods), and because Sunlighten was so instrumental in doing the studies necessary to prove the health benefits of their far infrared saunas. Much of the research used by the other sauna companies is based on the Sunlighten studies. Lastly, as always, I get nothing from Sunlighten or anyone else for talking about FIR saunas.

Here are some helpful links for those who want to learn more about the benefits of Far Infrared Saunas: (This is a 3-part article by Dr. Sherry Rogers which is excerpted from her book, “Detox or Die”). (This reference includes a section on Sauna vs. Toxins, and lists eleven articles on Far Infrared Sauna).

Finally, I will leave you with the conclusions of Dr. Robert Young excerpted from his work referenced in “Sick and Tired,“ :

“Because of the level of pollution we are exposed to and its many sources, as well as poor dietary and exercise habits, the therapeutic value of regular sweating has become immense. It has benefits for both body and mind and, in fact, is the primary benefit of exercise. One of the best passive exercises is the radiant heat of an infrared sauna which, causes a profound deep sweat. After about 30 minutes of exposure, the blood vessels of the skin dilate to allow more blood to flow to the surface to support the cooling process. The millions of sweat glands covering the body are infused with fluid from the blood. In turn, they empty to the skin’s surface, thereby flushing large amounts of toxins, including toxic acids and heavy metals, from the body. My research over the last two years shows that a radiant heat [infrared] sauna provides the following benefits:

1. Speeds up metabolic processes of vital organs and glands, including endocrine glands.

2. Inhibits the development of pleomorphic microforms [fungus, yeasts, bacteria and molds] and creates a ‘fever reaction’ of rising temperature that neutralizes them.

3. Increases the number of leukocytes in the blood.

4. Places demand on the heart to work harder thus, exercising it and also producing a drop in diastolic blood pressure (the low side).

5. Stimulates dilation of peripheral blood vessels thus, relieving pain (including muscle pain) and speeding the healing of sprain, strain, bursitis, arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease symptoms.

6. Promotes relaxation thereby creating a feeling of well-being and stress relief.

7. For those who are unable to exercise sufficiently, for whatever reason, the radiant heat infrared sauna is an excellent way to get the benefits of exercise without undue stress on the skeleton, muscles, and associated tissues. Such people have an even greater need for exercise and the sauna fills the bill.”
I recognize that there is a lot to digest here, and lots of things to read about the details of Far Infrared Saunas. For me, Far Infrared Sauna has become one of my most important, lasting therapies. I believe it can help literally everyone if properly utilized. I hope that many will find benefit in this information, and I will talk about more beneficial detox methods in my next article.

Until then……..all the best……..naturally!

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