How Sauna Fix Can Help Increase Lifespan, Detox Safely, and More

Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I'm Katie from This podcast goes into one of my favorite topics, sauna use and some really important specifics related to this. I am so excited to share this episode because I have recently found this company and this researcher, Eileen Durfee, who has created an incredible sauna that is easy and much more budget friendly than a lot of other types of saunas. And she has a lot of expertise in this area. Sauna use has been a really important part of my own recovery journey. And it's something I do at least three or four days a week, even now. It’s something that I get a lot of specific questions from you guys about. So, we go into a lot of those today.

Eileen is a former nuclear power engineer, and she got sick and suffered from thyroid disease, allergies and chemical sensitivities. And in her own journey to recovery, like a lot of us did a lot of research on various therapies. And when she couldn't find a sauna that met her standards, she created one. And she has a lot more besides just saunas, but I love her sauna system because it is easy to assemble, it is much less expensive than any other types of saunas, and it's easy to fit in a lot of different areas within the home.

So, I couldn't wait to share her with you guys today. And we go deep on a lot of topics, everything from how using a sauna five times a week can extend lifespan by seven years, how exercise and near infrared sauna together can boost weight loss by as much as 444%. And a lot of special considerations to understand about minerals in sauna use, also heavy metal detox and so much more. This episode is packed with information. I know you're going to learn a ton. So, let's jump right in. Eileen, welcome. Thank you for being here.

Eileen Durfee: Well, thank you for having me. I've been following you for quite some time. So, it's an honor.

Katie: Well, it's an honor to connect with you as well. And I'm so excited to introduce you today because I think that you and your company are going to be an incredible resource for the community. I have talked about the benefits of saunas for years, and this is very much a daily part of my life. But I think there's so many topics related to this where there's misinformation that I want to go into today. And I also know that saunas can be a big investment, and that there's a lot of considerations that go into that for a lot of families. And I love that I found your product and that you make it so much easier and doable for so many families.

So, to start broad, I've covered this a little bit in the past, but you are certainly much more of an expert in this area. Can you talk about some of the broad benefits of sauna use and why this is becoming increasingly popular?

Eileen Durfee: Well, for years now, they've done studies that if you do five saunas a week, it's going to extend your life seven years, and you're going to have a better quality of life. So, heat stress therapy using a sauna is undisputed. Over the years, we've progressed from having hot ambient air to using therapeutic light waves that increase enclosure temperatures. And then more recently, they've gotten into phototherapy, the spectrum, especially near infrared, that causes the cell mitochondria to produce more ATP. So, not only do you have the ambient air temperature, but you've got internal body temperature increasing, you know, with more energy. And I’d used saunas for years. And I wanted to have the greatest benefits in the least amount of time.

So, I came up with a way to combine, you know, hot ambient air temperature with the far infrared, but yet the red light and near infrared so you can get the benefits of all. And so, saunas, especially now during COVID. You know, it's well known that, you know, when your body has an invader, it will simulate having a temperature because it will kill the pathogens. So, part of a healthy wellness routine would be to be taking saunas to simulate that sweat. So, even if you're exposed to pathogens, they're less likely to take hold in the body. So, sauna therapy now, you know is not just about sweating. It's about getting the phototherapy with it so your body is gonna have more nitric oxide. It's going to be able to stretch, lengthen, relax.

It’s going to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. You know, we're all into 21st century life, and we're just go, go, go. We're, we're pushing ourselves and that's a form of stress that doesn't allow us to detox. And so, there's just so many benefits to be using this kind of sauna.

Katie: Absolutely. And you mentioned three specific points that I think are so important to highlight. The first being the idea of mitochondria and ATP production. My listeners are typically extremely savvy. But I know this is a little bit of a complex topic. So, for anybody who is not already familiar with the idea of what ATP are, and why this mitochondrial function is so important, can you just give us kind of a broad -

Eileen Durfee: Sure. Well, you eat food to digest it, to convert it into cellular energy. So, with all of our digestion systems being compromised, the quality of our food not as good as it should be. And with people, it seems like their number one complaint is that they're fatigued all the time, they're tired. So, their body just doesn't have what it takes to perform the functions. And so, the body will actually go into a survival mechanism, where it'll just take a hierarchy or the most important thing. So, your body's not going to have the function that it needs. And so, getting the phototherapy with the light. I mean, natural sunlight has some near infrared in it. And that's why a lot of people feel really good when they get out and get the morning sunshine and the grounding, and all of that, but it's just a wonderful hack to bypass the digestion system and get the energy to your cells that your body needs.

Katie: Yeah. Absolutely. I think I've definitely noticed that benefit in my life. And I think it's really profound like you mentioned. And the main study is showing that regular sauna use can extend lifespan by as much as seven years, which likely the ATP component is a big factor in that. But I know I've also seen studies about how regular sauna use can reduce cardiovascular risk and stroke risk. The answer is like, it really is across the board. Like I've often said, if this was a pill, everybody would take it. And in some ways, it kind of is as easy as taking a pill. I love that you also brought up the idea of the fever. And because I think this is an important topic, especially for parents listening to understand on a conceptual level, and then also as an added benefit of why sauna can be so amazing.

So, people know, of course, that when people get sick, one of the typical things the body will do is, run a fever. And I think it's pretty well understood that that's part of the body's response to whatever is attacking the body. But I know I've used this, like I've used a sauna to help kind of hack the fever response of, I feel like I'm starting to get sick, I will purposely get in a sauna and get hot and help my body get warm faster, and it typically tends to help me recover really quickly. But I think that's an important point that you brought up is that, we can kind of use the fact that the body does this naturally knowing that to our advantage to help the immune system. Is there, like do you do that as well or any recommendations specifically for that for supporting the fever response?

Eileen Durfee: Well, like if you feel like you're getting sick, actually I do five or six saunas to the point where you get hot but you really don't start sweating. You know, obviously, I recommend doing daily saunas, which I do. And I get to the point where I'm just drenching sweat. And, and it's really easy in the sauna fix system because there's no preheat required. You know, there's tents that come in two different sizes and there's a partition in the bigger hot yoga tent, but in five minutes, it’s 120 degrees. And, you know, if you have the hot yoga with the double lamp, it'll get 190 degrees. And so, you can quickly put your body that heat stress.

I mean, like Katie said, it's tremendous for your cardiovascular system, and all other aspects but having that to be able to utilize. I mean even to breathe in, especially with Coronavirus, you know, take deep breaths, practice your deep breathing in front of the heat lamp bulbs, because the heat is going to kill the virus that’s stored in your nasal passages and your sinuses. And it's just an amazing thing to also add another plasma air purifier that we have called the Breathe Safe because it actually increases background oxygen levels 70% to 118% plus when you're in there doing all that work and sweating, you know in the parasympathetic mode, sauna sweat has been analyzed, and it has many more toxins than sweating from exercise, but then the air becomes humidified, and you’re rebreathing the toxic, humidified sauna sweat. So, we always recommend the Breathe Safe, because it's a plasma air purifier, you know, cleaning up all that toxic, humidified sauna sweat. But also like in Europe, they do studies and they equate half the benefits of sauna therapy to the negative ions.

So, they would, you know, classify, okay, this heater produces positive ions, that's bad. Here's one that produces negative ions and as long as there were 20,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter, then, the participants, even though their rectal temperatures were hotter, their skin surface temperatures were hotter, and the sweat volume coming off their body was double. You'd think oh my gosh, if I’m hotter and sweatier, I'd feel horrible. They actually felt more refreshed. And amazingly enough, after they got out of the sauna, their rectal temperature continued to rise. And so, to accentuate all the benefits of a sauna, you want the near infrared and you want to be breathing the oxygen and the negative ions, because that will maximize the effectiveness of the sauna. And then one other thing, because I just thought, you know, phototherapy, that's just tremendous. We want to have a penetrating form.

Instead of just LED lights, we needed to have the maximum benefit to the skin. So, in my sauna fix system, we created radiant barriers. So, it's like light travels at the speed of light. But we don't let it leave. It gets to re-expose your skin over and over and over again. And so, that also helps bring up your core body temperature. And just all the, the good things about a sauna is wrapped into this high tech device that everyone can have in their home. You can put together without tools. You don't need that special outlet with a dedicated breaker. If your hairdryer works in the outlet, so does this.

Katie: Yeah, I love how accessible you make that for all family. And I will of course make sure that we link to all of these specific things that you're mentioning. The Breathe Safe was a new tool for me and one that I've added recently. And I love, it makes complete sense. But I had never heard it explained like you do and how you educate on your site. And you've mentioned the parasympathetic nervous system a couple of times already. And I'd love to go a little bit deeper on this because it's something that I've talked quite a bit about recently. And I know from my own research that, in general, there are many components of sauna use, including just the heat and the fact that we're hopefully breathing and being still but so many things in that are helpful for getting the body to move into a parasympathetic state. For anybody who isn't as familiar with that term. Can you explain what it means for the body to be in a parasympathetic state and how a sauna especially like yours is helpful in facilitating that?

Eileen Durfee: Sure. So, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system are two branches. Now the parasympathetic is when you're relaxing, when your body is in an ideal state to digest food, to heal. But if all of a sudden, a bear started chasing us, we would switch to the sympathetic branch of the nervous system. The body would redirect blood flow to our large muscles away from digestion, and then you would run with amazing strength. And with the 21st century, a lot of us can have defensive mechanisms built up that, you know, we're stressed. We're trying to be at two places at the same time with different kids at different events.

You know, it's just such a 21st century lifestyle where you're just on the go consistently. And so, if you stay in that sympathetic dominant state, your body will excrete essential minerals through your urine and create imbalances during that stress response. You have a higher need for certain vitamins and minerals. And so, you know, unfortunately, a lot of people are in that sympathetic state and anything that we can do, you know, practicing breathing, mindfulness, letting things go, trying to be in the present moment. All these things add up to, you know, helping our body have the time that it needs to be able to heal, and the sauna. With that light that shines on the body, it just easily enables you to shift into that parasympathetic mode.

Katie: That makes sense. And that's such a great explanation. Another thing that's often talked about with sauna use, is that sauna use and heat is considered an exercise mimetic, meaning that we can get a lot of the benefits of exercise from using a sauna. Obviously, not muscle building. You're not going to put on muscle like you would from lifting weights. But there are a lot of like the same benefits you can get from exercise that you can get from using a sauna. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Eileen Durfee: Sure. The cardiovascular system, you know, it makes it more elastic, it actually exercises it. Your heart rate will go up, you know, from the heat when you're in there. And so, you're going to burn more calories. And one interesting study was done with 40 women. 20 of them, well, all 40 of them were riding bicycles for 30 minutes, three days a week for a month. Half of them had near infrared light shining on their bodies while they were doing the exercise. And of course, they measured blood electrolytes and different markers for pain and, you know, all their diameter, you know, for their waist, hip ratios, and all this kind of stuff. And at the end of the study, they noticed dramatically that the women with near infrared light exercising last up to 8 cm in the circumference of their body on average. And they basically theorized in the study that not only does a human being have a rate of metabolism, that different cells in your body have different rates of metabolism. And like a fat cell has a slower metabolism and less circulation. And when they saw the body contouring happening to these people, they were losing up to 444% more fat in weight than the people slaving away on bicycles three days a week for a month.

They just said that it, it, it sped up the metabolism of the fat cells, which then burned the fat for energy in the body. And it just pretty much transformed. Everybody had better blood sugar, less pain, and, you know, contoured their bodies. And so, you know, with near infrared, that's why we came up with the hot yoga tent, because a lot of people, you know, especially with COVID now, they don't want to be six inches from another sweating body in a room that just has ambient, you know, hot temperatures. You can actually get the phototherapy and all the healing benefits and be in the comfort of your own home with you know, tent materials that are nonporous. So, they can be cleaned easily. But yeah, the exercise component, you're not so much engaging the sympathetic nervous system. You know, depending on what kind of yoga you do, you can, but yeah, it's still the easiest way I know of to shift into the present, to be mindful and to activate the digestion and healing component by using the parasympathetic nervous system. It's a real intentional tool that can help people.

Katie: Yeah, and I found personally when I was - I've, now in remission, but when I had Hashimotos, sauna was an amazing way to get those benefits without stressing my body with really intense exercise. I found that I needed much more of that parasympathetic and time to rest and recover. But sauna let me still get, like you mentioned some of those metabolic benefits and blood benefits and exercise type related benefits without my body having to stay in a sympathetic state. I also find it really fascinating that you mentioned that sweat can be different from like intense heat sauna sweat versus just exercise related sweat. And I think there's so many cool topics related to sweat in general. But I'd love to hear a little bit more about that and also about how the body seems to, at least in my experience, adapt and become more efficient at sweating through sauna use.

So, the more I have done sauna over time, the more efficient I seem to be at sweating. So, even now when I exercise, I sweat more quickly and more easily than I used to which, since sweat is a natural detox pathway for the body, to me, it seems like a good thing. But I'd love to hear you explain how sweat differs when we're talking sauna versus just exercise.

Eileen Durfee: I read a study where they actually analyzed the sweat of people exercising, versus people taking a sauna. And there was like a lot more toxins coming out in the sweat from using a sauna than exercise. And they theorized that it's because the sympathetic nervous system was engaged during exercise. So, yes, the body metabolism speeded up and you sweat, you know, and actually lost more electrolytes than someone in a sauna. In a parasympathetic mode, they were just able to get more toxins out of the body.

Now, the reason why it's so important these days to maintain a consistent detoxification protocol, you know, adding sauna therapy to your lifestyle, is because every second, you're breathing. You're not always in your home to be able to maybe have a control over the air you breathe, you know, because we've got a lot of different air purifiers out there. You know, indoor air is three to five times more toxic than outdoor air. One in two homes has a moisture problem with mold. And then of course, outdoors, the air is not so good if you're in the city. It's great if you're at the beach, but a lot of people are collecting toxins through the air they breathe. Then additionally, in the food that we eat. Even if it's organic, it might not have the nutrient density that our body desires. And when we don't have the nutrients that we need in our diet, our body goes into adaptation mode.

Now, when you look at the Table of Elements chart, there's a lot of toxic metals that are similar in nature to our preferred minerals that our body needs. And so, there comes forth a, a substitution. It's like, lead will work for calcium. You know, there's a lot of problems in the body when it uses lead, but the body would rather have a cell function and it may be 10% than not at all. And so, you know, even the skin care people put on their bodies there, you know, things will get in your bloodstream in 30 seconds.

And so, we've got to look at all those pathways. And because we can't live in a bubble, we need to do something to keep those toxins flowing. And people will notice a difference if you're not a regular sauna user, like you said, Katie, that over time you begin sweating more. And 80% of people out there don't sweat very well. And that means that their endocrine system, their adrenal gland, their thyroid gland are underactive. And so, with skin being our largest elimination organ in our body, there's nothing better than doing some dry skin brushing and jumping in the sauna. That really stimulates the lim - you know, the lymph system, and enhances sweating. So, you know, people in the summer, they talk about, well, I'm sweating, I'm outside, but there is a tremendous difference. And so, even when it's 100 degrees outside, it's a good idea to take a sauna.

Katie: Yeah, it's amazing. Okay. So, you mentioned like sweating and body temperature a little bit. Are there any thyroid specific considerations that sauna can be beneficial for? My background, my listeners know, I had Hashimotos and low thyroid function for a long time and low body temperature, which have all been resolved and I do use sauna regularly still as part of my daily routine. But are there specific considerations that can be helpful for anyone struggling with a thyroid?

Eileen Durfee: Well, it definitely even though you typically shine the heat lamp bulbs on the trunk of your body, it increases systemic circulation into the limbs. And so, with regular sauna use, if you get bloodwork done in your thyroid gland, you'll notice that the speed goes up as well of your thyroid gland. And you'll have better results. You won't feel cold all the time. It's tremendous and I recommend after you get out of the sauna taking an ice-cold shower for that cold thermogenesis. That is just like fantastic. I also incorporate Wim Hof breathing. So, it brings tremendous oxygen to the body. It's, it's just one of those things for anybody with a thyroid that's underactive, it's going to be helpful.

Now, people with an overactive thyroid, they're going to be prone to diarrhea. They're going to sweat normally. Those kinds of people get in my sauna in five to 10 minutes. They're like what we would be in 30. And so, they just have to, you know, be more cautious about speeding up their thyroid gland too much. And then those kinds of people could take a bunch of fat, because fat is like the emergency brake for the thyroid gland, and the metabolism. So, that kind of person is definitely going to do much better, you know, on a keto diet than somebody with an underactive thyroid. But yeah, just even doing saunas are going to help someone with underactive thyroid.

Katie: Awesome. Okay. I think another component here that's important to touch on and then I know you have some expertise in, is the potential for saunas to help remove heavy metals from the body. And I've read a lot of data related to this, I would love to hear your take on it. Because it's no secret that in today's world, we're potentially exposed to a lot more heavy metals in our environment. And this is something that many people have to figure out how to resolve. So, walk us through how saunas can be beneficial for heavy metal removal and any considerations we need to know when it comes to heavy metal.

Eileen Durfee: Right. I know one of the questions you are planning on asking me is, what people don't understand about what I do. And this is probably where I should go into that because a lot of people are doing a lot of detox programs. And one thing that is not common knowledge is that the reason why the body accumulates toxins, it's out of a survival mechanism. And the way that our organism is created, is that it will always use the preferred element over a toxic metal. And by design, like your bones, teeth and nerve fibers have calcium, the man's prostate has more zinc.

Our thyroid gland has more selenium than any other organ in our body. And so, any detox program, we need to address, you know, are we getting the right nutrients. And if we are, why isn't the body utilizing them, because we've got cellular biology, that's based on voltage-gated thresholds and ratios of minerals, and all these kinds of things. And so, just getting in a sauna and sweating out a bunch of minerals won't necessarily balance your body and detoxify your body, or make your body more resilient to accumulating, you know, toxic metals.

It's just like, if you had the key to your front door, it would be pretty easy to go in there. But if not, you might go around the back door, climb up a ladder and break in a window. The end result is still the same, but you consumed a lot of energy. Every cell has an enzyme binding site and the body is designed to have a certain element in that cell for it to function. And when we have too many adaptations, then those enzyme binding sites get filled with junk, then you become a jalopy. And, and those impact energy. It's like a lot of people take enzymes. You know, if our cell had the right mineral in it, it will make enzymes. But you know, with our food and everything, I'm an advocate for taking enzymes, but you can't bat your eyelashes without enzymes or accelerators. And so, you'll become fatigued when your body's doing all these workarounds.

You know, and they utilize toxic metals in the workarounds, like cadmium for zinc. Oh my gosh, you'll feel like you got a whole bunch more energy but you know, everything can go wrong with cadmium like brittle, you know, cardiovascular components and, and all kinds of things that's, you know, not good for the body. And so, I really recommend that people get a hair mineral analysis so they can see where their body is at with their endocrine function. And what minerals might help balance their body. The main issue that I have with the wellness revolution is, as we typically went from taking any kind of medications to, to prevent a symptom to started taking all the natural substances, because it's good for this and that.

It's like we will chase symptoms with natural things and we will detoxify. But what people should correlate is that on Earth, there are mineral relationships. The farmer is very well versed in that because they'll do a soil test to figure out what kind of fertilizer to put on their plant. And they put nitrogen on the ground not to raise nitrogen in the plant tissues but to make calcium bioavailable.

Humans and animals are the same way. And so, that's a key component, because if you can bring balance, and restore the mineral status in the different organs, when lead comes along, the body will go, I don't want that and it'll put it in the hair, it'll go out your skin and out your urine and feces, instead of laying it up in the body and using it. And so, I'm more of an advocate for not using chelators. I mean, there's a place for it. But if you don't fix the reason why your body accumulated all the lead or the cadmium, chelators are nondiscriminatory, and they'll take the good minerals out with the bad.

So, all that being said, I found a product that I'm super impressed with. I ran into a Korean acupuncturist and he had Healthy salt. It was like a powder. It was really expensive, but - and I thought, ah, I'm not gonna have anything to do with that. And then he had all these glasses full of water that was acid. And then he took all my favorite salts, Himalayan Grey, Celtic Sea salt, Red salt, you know, all these salts, and they still stayed acid and he put a pinch of the Healthy salt and then it went alkaline. So, I go, Okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna get this. And so, I immediately cut a hair sample an inch long, and then did 30 days of the salt. And then I went off of it for 30 days and took another. So, every month, I'm taking a hair sample and I'm going 30 days on, 30 days off to figure out well, what is this going on? And heavy metals came pouring out of my body. And I'm like going, huh!

So, I sent the salt off to get analyzed. I spent about $3,000 to make sure that what I was getting rid of, I wasn't putting in my body with the salt. And so, it came back just tremendous. It's like the body's favorite blend of minerals. And so, we also checked into, like the Quinton Marine plasma. That's pretty famous from Spain and France. There’s a mild vortex of water that was especially processed and used, you know, around the time of World War I. Well, they still have and it is fantastic for balance to your extracellular, intercellular you know, electrolytes. And it's very interesting that the certificate mineral analysis of the Healthy salt was similar in ratio to that except it doesn't have you know the plankton, but for people to take Healthy salt in water before they get in there. It helps to balance the body and to detoxify the body. And I, I'm going to explain an awesome discovery at the University of Washington from Dr. Gerald Pollack. He found out that there's a Fourth Phase of Water. So, it's no longer just liquid, vapor and ice.

There's a gelled state that stores energy. It's called Exclusion Zone water. And the reason why I'm bringing this up for detoxification is that, when your extracellular water has a higher pH and has 3000 nanometers of light shining on it like the sauna bulbs, it will expand. That is EZ water and it actually hydrates the body but one of the miraculous things that it does, it causes protons to flood inside the cells. It's for a lack of a long-drawn-out biochemical description. A secret portal opens up in the cells and the protons go in there. And before this fourth phase of water, they didn't know what energy propelled the osmotic flow in the body. And it's this alkaline negative-charged Exclusion Zone water on the outside of the cell that allows the flood of the protons to our heroes. We got the superheroes inside our cells that are called lysosomes. And they can't work unless they have protons.

And when they have protons, their pH drops like a rock and it's, it cleans up our molecular debris in our cell and spits it out. And the differential between the acidic inside of the cell and the alkalinity on the outside of the cell produces hydroelectricity, and it actually causes detoxification, just at a tremendous rate. And so, with sauna therapy, if, if someone doesn't get, you know, a hair analysis to help guide them, I have lots of people doing the Healthy salt, and it's like, you, it's like a finest powder. It's 10.72 pH, it’s 20% minerals. And it basically enables your body to lay up the preferred minerals and get rid of the junk and hydrate you at the same time. And so, that's what I feel is important is to make sure when you're detoxifying, that you're not creating another imbalance, and you're actually fixing the body's reason of why it accumulates toxins through a survival mechanism. And that, and that's not well known at all.

Katie: That's fascinating. And that is the best explanation and most clear explanation I've heard of that. So, thank you for laying that out so clearly. I think you're right. I think this is an area where just, it's not talked about enough and that we're just starting to understand, but that is so, so important. I want to go a little bit more into the specific of your sauna fix system, specifically because I was really excited to get introduced to you through our mutual friend, Todd, at first, just because this is a much more budget friendly system for so many families. And I know that budget is a big consideration for many people. And so, I was excited to connect with you just on that level. And then when I started researching your system, I realized there are so many benefits above and beyond that. So, walk us through how your system is not just the most budget-friendly option out there, but all the other additional benefits that you've really built in and tested.

Eileen Durfee: Well, I wanted something that didn't bombard me with harmful EMF. So, that started with the lamp fixture. You know, naturally the heat lamp bulbs produce less, you know, EMF, but to have the wiring be grounded with an aluminum sheath so it's all shielded. Those are important concerns for me. And I, I didn't want to have outgassing or other toxins. So, I sent - you know, I specified that all the materials used had to be RoHS compliant. I mean, they have ranges of toxins you're allowed and are considered extremely safe you know it, for the European Union. I mean, in the United States, do you realize, the zipper in your pants can have twice as much lead as in Europe.

We have exposures to heavy metals all over in our homes in the things that we use. And so, first and foremost, I wanted to make sure that my lamp fixture was safe, you know, for people with severe EMF sensitivities and for you know, not breathing outgassed toxins. And so, the sauna fix, through several years of research and development, we were able to take a polymer with some iron to make the metal and we sent it off for testing. And not only did we pass, but in every single area, there were not detected levels of all the contaminants in the RoHS test report.

So, it is super safe that way, and then I went on to the enclosure itself. I used to actually go build wooden saunas and loan them out to people who had cancer. I mean Hope for Cancer now recommends that you only use a near infrared sauna because cancer cells have the lowest ATP rate. And you can boost cellular ATP with using a near infrared incandescent bulb sauna. And so, it got kind of cumbersome, you know, and wood again is porous. So, it's gonna collect you know toxic humidified sauna sweat. And so, I started developing a radiant tent because the panels are like five layers. It's a nontoxic polymer, space blanket, bubble wrap, space blanket, nontoxic polymer. And so, you get the radiant aspects protection from EMF and to retain the light so that you get the maximized phototherapy.

Then, I went on to get organic cotton to completely encase you know, each panel. I got the RoHS certified zippers, you know, the heavy duty, Y10 zippers. So that we wouldn't be getting toxins from that. I created a steel frame, a lightweight steel frame with a zero voc, nontoxic powder coating with little push buttons so that you can assemble the tent without tools. And then the bamboo mat, you know, a lot of bamboo is fumigated. So, I found an alternative of boiling the bamboo and then baking it under pressure kind of like a carbonization. And so that we could have safe, nontoxic mats. And then, I also used the organic webbing on those and put the backing, the radiant backing so that the light really can't escape from the tent at all. It just constantly bombards you know the body. And the lamp fixture additionally because you know you have people on all different kinds of circumstances. I had an employee with foot surgeries. We balanced the lamp on the floor, and she’s left her shoe off so she gets some phototherapy on that.

We had a lady that was really elderly. But she couldn't do a whole sauna, but they hung the lamp from the ceiling. And when she was in her Lazy Boy chair with her legs up, they would shine the light on it, and then they would you know, swing it back out of the way. And so, I wanted to have the light that, I mean, you could hang it on a nail on the wall by your treadmill or your stepper or whatever and get that phototherapy benefit for body contouring. So, the design of the sauna fix is very unique. And another thing that we did is, I'd used some competitors near infrared saunas, and the guards around the lamp would brand you like a branding iron. It would burn. I mean, you'd have to put, you know your aloe or whatever, your burn medication on your skin. And anyone who takes a daily sauna, they're going to move around. You're gonna be reading a book or whatever, and you are just going to touch the sauna and you're going to get burned.

So, that proprietary polymer that I used, you can leave that sauna on for 12 hours and touch those guards and not burn. So, I looked at the safety, both for toxins, for burning and for EMFs. I looked for it to be able to be used anywhere. Literally, I have people that go on the airplane. They check their tent like a pair of snow skis, you know, and they take it with them. There's professional athletes that use this system and they just throw it in the travel bags and take it in their car with them. It's just like, all I did was really take a good idea and make it better so that more people will actually use it because I'm what you call a gizmo woman. I buy and try to break everything you know, and there's a lot of stuff that might be good, but if you're not going to use it, what good is it going to be?

So, I really put a lot of thought into this. I took comments from customers. I used to have a tent that was like 4 ft x 4 ft x 5 ft and you would have to get in it and sit on a stool and it had its limitations but the, the tent panels only had an R4 installation. So, you know you couldn't get it very hot. So, it had to be small. It was kind of claustrophobic. And then I had customers actually flipping it on its side, pushing the bottom up against the wall and laying diagonal. And as I go on, oh my gosh, I have got to create a convertible tent that you can stand up, sit down and lay down.

So, we increased the tent panels to have an R12 insulation factor. And then with a few brackets, the person, even if they're 6’5. My son is 6’5, I'm six foot and that's what I got the utility patent for because there's no sauna out there that can convert like that to accommodate someone that kind of size. And because of the R12 installation, the bigger yoga tent is able to get, you know, 130 degrees with one lamp in it. You know, with a double lamp, you can get 190. But yeah, you can almost do a full yoga practice. If you're real tall, you can't, you know, extend your hands up. I'm working on an extension kit and whoever had that would have to have the double lamp. But it's, it’s really unique. It's taking the best of several therapies, you know, into one that makes it easy to use.

Katie: Yeah, that's why I was excited to have you on because like you said, the idea of sauna is not new. The Finnish people have been doing this for a very, very long time. But you've, I feel like combined a lot of the best of what we have and know now with technology, and made it accessible both from a budget perspective and from a time perspective. Because I know as a mom, the fact that there's not really any preheat time is a huge advantage for your system because I often, am just running all over the place. I don't have time to wait an hour for a sauna to pre-heat. So, talk about that. I know you touched on it a little bit, but just briefly explain how this is able to pre heat in literally like half the time or less of other saunas.

Eileen Durfee: The panels also have a class A fire rating and retain 95% of the heat. You know, none of the other saunas out there have an R15 rating. They don't have the radiant blocking to retain that heat. And so, that's one of the reasons why it's so efficient where the heat rise is so fast. And I also included drop panels and partitions in both of the tents literally, like in the smaller tent, the sit-down position with the drop ceiling, you can get like 190 degrees in there with one lamp. I mean, you can control how warm you know you need it.

Generally, I do not preheat. I recommend people don't preheat either one and just get in and start your movements or relax and meditate. And people sweat twice as much in half the time in this system. So, you're just getting a lot more benefits for the time that you spend. And with the 21st century, we're too busy. We have to get the most that we can out of whatever we're doing.

Katie: And on that note, are there any guidelines you give, especially if someone is new to sauna for how often or how much time? I know that you already explained with the German bicycle study that you mentioned, you know like this, when combined with exercise can boost weight loss, I think you said over 400%. But are there any general practices to aim for or work up toward on how much time or how often?

Eileen Durfee: Yes. If I have a client who's maybe diabetic or hypoglycemic, or who like upon exercise gets heart palpitations, that person, I'd say leave the door open and sit in front of the lamps for about 10 minutes. And that's where to start. I recommend people that have you know, because a sauna will drop a person's blood sugar. So, I always say to have a protein snack ready. Afterwards, be willing to lay down for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure you're hydrated before and after a sauna because your - the purpose of taking a sauna is to increase your core body temperature. And if you're drinking water inside the sauna, then you're going to lower your body temperature.

And so, I typically I am over precautious and I have people start slow. And then, after they've done something at a certain level for three days, and they have no ill effects then to work up from there. But basically, once you start sweating profusely, if you can sweat for five minutes profusely, whether you're in there for 45 minutes or 10 minutes, you know then it's time you know to get out. So, yeah, and, and that's the thing is, is there's a lot of saunas that people can't lay down in. And so, with these people that have health problems, that they can take a sauna like the, the yoga sauna, you can roll a wheelchair in there. You can set up a massage table and so, the, the people that are not so hardy and are trying to conquer some health issues can go slow and relax and heal.

Katie: I love that. I know another question I'm gonna get from the audience on this one and that I get often on social media is, what about sauna use for people who are pregnant or nursing or for kids, which that's a lot of our audience at different phases.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Well, when you're pregnant, you don't want to be doing a sauna. You can in an open room get some photo therapy. It's almost like sunbathing, you know, outside getting the, the sauna rays. So that, you could do that on your body. But getting that sweat and heating your core body temperature is not healthy for the fetus. And so, you wouldn’t want to be doing a sauna you know, inside. Now, my grandson, there's, I have an Instagram video of him in there. You know, they're all little fast oxidizers. You put your hand on a kid's head and that feels like there's fire coming out of their head. They have to have fast metabolisms, because they're so small, they lose so much heat.

So, a sauna is going to increase their metabolism. All my grandsons will come in there with me. But if I could get him to stand there, five minutes, it's about the max that they do it. But I just let him come in, get some light, feel good and then they run off, you know. And so, you have to be cognizant of your child's metabolism and how a sauna would impact them. As they get older and larger, the metabolism goes down. And then they'll begin to like relaxing, you know, in the sauna, because a tendency our children are like, you know, it's slowed down since the COVID. But, you know, it's like these kids, they barely have time to eat, and they're just, you know, pushed and pushed and pushed so much that they're really stressed out. And so, just be very cognizant, and kind of get them used to the idea and let them come and go. That's what I do with, with my grandsons.

Katie: That's always been my approach with my kids as well. I feel like it's a great way to also encourage them to listen to their body. And you know, say like, if they want to come in and hang out with me, that's great. But when their body tells them, it's time to get out, listen to your body and get out. And I've noticed that my older ones, my teenagers now naturally stay in longer, and they want to stay in longer. And that's a fun kind of bonding time with the older kids. But I am very much exactly on the same page as you. Let the kids listen to their bodies. Don't push the sauna, but I think it's fun when they have a curiosity about it until they’ve got little bit of exposure. I also like, I feel like we're gonna have to do another round, because I know that you are pulling information on lots more topics. But our time has flown by today. And I don't want to miss asking you a couple of follow up ending questions. The first being, if there's a book or a number of books that have had a dramatic impact on your life, and if so, what they are and why?

Eileen Durfee: Well, I have to say that the book that's most impacted my life is the Bible. There's a spiritual component to our health. And I would just encourage everyone to develop their own relationship because besides us living in this busy life, if we can develop our spiritual intuition, that brings peace. It, you know, brings healing. You know, and I would just encourage everyone to realize that even though there's a lot of books out there on this diet and that diet and everything else, you are a biochemical individual, and to adapt a variety of principles into your life can be the most balancing thing that you could do.

Katie: That's such a great point. And lastly, any parting advice that you want to leave with the listeners today? It could be sauna related or not?

Eileen Durfee: I think the main thing would be, is, if you're really into health and nutrition, I would start investigating about those mineral interrelationships and about developing a natural tendency for your body to reject accumulation of junk. So, I would say, check into laboratory hair analysis, read about that mineral dense salt that we have. And that's because, you know, I had a client, a massage therapist come to me, and she could barely close her hand. She couldn't even work. But the naturopathic doctor had her taking so much vitamin C, you know. Vitamin C, you know, if it's just too much more than our body needs, we can have a problem because, for instance, vitamin C raises sodium. It’s a sodium raiser and when the sodium potassium ratio is too high. Sodium, in comparison to potassium, you have inflammation.

So, when we get our lab tests, and I said, well, stop doing this and this because that's causing that problem. Within a month, she could close her hands without pain again, and she was horrified. You mean, vitamin C, something as simple as taking more vitamin C than your body needs can cause a symptom that you don't even realize. And so, you know, I used to be one of those people that had like cabinets, and cabinets, and cabinets of vitamins, and I just kept on adding something else to take, you know, and didn't realize that I was actually causing some of my new problems that came up. And so, I would just really encourage people to start learning more about that information so that you can further modify your wellness plan of the things that you are doing for yourself.

Katie: I love that. I think that's a perfect place to end for today. And to highlight something I’d say often, which is that, we are each our own, first and foremost primary healthcare provider. And we have the obligation to research and experiment and continue learning to find out what's going to be best for each of us. And there's gonna be variation there. And it's very personalized. But there are some great general things we can all learn from that are foundational. And I think we covered a lot of those today. And I'm so grateful we got to connect, like I said through our mutual friend, Todd, and so grateful to you for being here and sharing all of your knowledge today.

Eileen Durfee: Well, thank you for having me.

Katie: And thank you as always for listening, for sharing your most valuable resource, your time with both of us today. We're so grateful that you did and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama podcast.