Is it helpful to use an infrared sauna if you have Crohn’s or Colitis? YES. The only caveat is if you are malnourished/underweight, then you should only do 5-10 minutes at a time, as it can result in weight loss.

Most naturopathic clinics have infrared saunas that you can pay to use, but of course you can also buy your own, if you wish. I purchased my own a few of years ago and my whole family loves it – really helps us get through the winter feeling great. Either way, check to make sure the sauna you use fulfills the following specifications:

  • Ceramic heating element
  • Glass windows – not plastic
  • Solid wood only – there is some debate over whether cedar is a good idea or not due to the terpenes (volatile oils) released during heating. Some say this is harmful to the lungs, others say it is beneficial.
  • Low EMF/EMR radiation levels

If you’re sensitive to microwave radiation, then you can’t trust the manufacturer’s information – you need to actually take your radiation meter, put it inside the sauna when it’s running and see what reading you get.

If you tend to get really cold or chilled in winters, then an infrared sauna can warm you from the inside out – and the extra warmth lasts a long time. If you’ve gotten injured from sports or an accident, an infrared sauna can help you heal in literally half the time.

I think it’s most useful for people with IBD (Crohn’s, colitis, diverticulitis) as a therapy that promotes cellular-level health and detoxification. But again, make sure you proceed slowly and gently to avoid detoxing too fast and triggering a flare.

Infrared Sauna Detox for IBD

To encourage cleansing and flushing of toxins and drug residues stored in both the fat and in the blood, try to do three sessions per week in an infrared sauna. Use the first week to ramp up:

    • Session One – 5 minutes
    • Session Two – 7 minutes
    • Session Three – 10 minutes

Thereafter, do 10-20 minutes per session, whatever length feels good to you. If it feels like too much, then do less. Also feel free to start with only 1 sauna per week for the first month or two – even 1 session makes a big difference!

Follow each sauna with a shower (best if you have a chlorine filter on your showerhead) and rub your skin all over with a loofah sponge, body brush, or washcloth – this further stimulates your lymph, circulation and detoxification pathways.

You can experiment with the heat setting and see at what temperature sweating begins for your body. This should help you understand the difference between conventional saunas (outside heat) and infrared (inside heat):

Detox Supplements

If you can tolerate some herbal liver cleansing as well, then use the following supplements to help clear toxins and drug residues from your liver. Again feel free to reduce dosages and start very small, see how your body does, and gradually increase over time. It is always better to go slow and take longer, and avoid throwing your body into overwhelm (negative reaction).

In some hot water or herbal tea in the morning, add:

In the afternoon or evening (or on alternate days), add to either 8 ounces of filtered water, or to one of your juice blends:

Chlorophyll is a blood cleanser, but will also help if you’re anemic, or tend towards anemia. It tastes quite nice/mild.

Daily Raw Juice

If you can tolerate raw juice in any amount (even just a shot glass) then start drinking it daily, or every other day. You can make a batch of juice and freeze it in ice cube trays. If all you can tolerate is 1-2 cubes per day, awesome!

If you don’t have a high quality juicer that preserves the live enzymes in the juice, then you need to purchase one. Recommended juicers include Green Star and Omega. If you want to include the fiber, then Magic Bullet and Vitamix work great.

It’s great if you can get your whole family drinking these juice blends since they will only benefit. If you’re squeamish about drinking vegetable juices, then add some extra apples and/or sweet oranges to each blend as that will make it more fruity and palatable.

Shopping List: carrots, kale, spinach, apples, oranges, beets, celery, parsley and fennel (all certified organic). These recipes are surprisingly delicious, even my kids like them.

Juice Blend #1 – Go Green:
Handful of parsley
2 kale leaves
Handful of spinach
2 apples (cut into wedges)

Juice Blend #2 – Liver Tonic:
2 kale leaves
1 stalk of celery
1 beet
2 carrots
2 apples

Juice Blend #3 – Hormone Helper:
1 small fennel
2 stalks of celery
1 orange (peeled and seeded)
2 apples (cut into wedges)

Juicing Guidelines: Wash all items before juicing. Put leaves through first, roll or bunch them up, then use a carrot or apple wedge to help push them through. Always save something hard (carrot, apple, beet) for the last items to juice as they will make sure everything preceding has been juiced thoroughly. Of course, if you’re using a Vitamix, just throw everything in and blend!

Remember that with any intestinal dis-ease, the key is to avoid triggering a flare. So really listen to your body and proceed as slowly as you need to. Also feel free to only use certain pieces of the detox methods listed here. It’s all good! Your body knows exactly what it needs, and what it can handle – listen to your gut.