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Epigenetics And Infrared Sauna Therapy

Long gone are the days that individuals are relegated  to mere victims of heredity, in fact the emerging field of epigenetics suggests that each person can actively participate in how DNA is demonstrated physically.

Consider this:  DNA is the recipe or the blueprint, the design behind physical expression, proteins are the ingredients, and you, the individual is the chef! A recipe can be on point in every facet, but if the ingredients are spoiled, it is irrelevant how good the recipe is. 

This article will help you understand how to maintain healthy proteins, or ‘ingredients’ so that DNA can be healthfully carried out in physical expression, as well as ensuring accurate  and positive cellular replication. 

Epigenetics suggests that a few lifestyle changes, nothing invasive or complicated, can powerfully impact genetic expression! Find out how red, infrared light and heat can promote healthy proteins, positive cellular replication, and ultimately the highest version of your DNA expression.

What Is Integrative Medicine? 

Increasing numbers of medical practitioners are beginning to invite complementary treatments into healthcare protocol to treat both acute and chronic conditions.This trend toward integrative medicine that encompasses both allopathic and alternative care into medicinal regimen is largely due to the surfacing of epigenetics. 

Profound understanding that environmental factors and lifestyle choices as powerful influencers on genetic expression has changed the game of healthcare. No longer is it sufficient to rely solely on one system of care to treat illness. For many years it was believed that heredity predetermined many ailments, and in a sense individuals were left feeling as if they were victims of their genes. Not anymore, in fact evidence suggests that individuals are an active participant in genetic expression.

Integrative wellness or medicine is not only a luxury for the hippie dippie upper middle class, but rather a necessary approach to maintain balance and vitality for all people. Here is what the National Institute Of Health states regarding this merger of western medicine with alternative care:

“Western medicine, while excelling at acute care and surgery, puts great emphasis on the chronic use of drugs to suppress the symptoms of illness. What is forgotten is that our bodies have a natural wisdom and intelligence; they have an intrinsic knowledge of how to grow, heal, maintain balance, restore homeostasis, and regenerate. Our bodies have evolved over aeons with capabilities, but when they are suppressed, for example, when nutrition, exercise, and diet are not given adequate attention, or people ingest toxins, then ‘lifestyle-related’ diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are much more likely to arise.” (1)

Mainstream medicine is now incorporating a variety of forms of what was once considered ‘alternative’ medicine into health care regiments, understanding both positive aspects of the allopathic systems as well as its limitations. 

Integrative medicine draws on many fields of healing modalities including, but not limited to:

  • Mindfulness – Meditation, Yoga, Breath, Tai Chi, Ji Gong, and other physical practices that stem largely from eastern traditions.
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Acupuncture, Chiropractics, Massage, Healing touch, Color Therapy
  • Thermal Therapy –  Infrared Saunas, Traditional Saunas, Cryotherapy, Steam Rooms
  • Light And Color Therapy – Chromotherapy, Photobiomodulation (Red & Near infrared light) 

The holistic or integrative approach recognizes that the mind, body, and emotional apparatus each influence the overall health of the individual. In addition to traditional allopathic methodologies, leaders in the field of health care now recognize the necessity to draw on complementary approaches to activate the natural healing intelligence of the body.

The widespread push toward integrative medicine has its roots in epigenetics. Epigenetics affirms that the environment, both internal and external, plays a major role in what genes are expressed, or turned on. This places each individual in the power position to make lifestyle choices that both promote and expand their health.

What Is Epigenetics

Genetic expression after infrared therapy

“Emerging epigenetic data indicate that IM (integrative medicine) techniques are fully viable and credible approaches for treating illness, on par with Western medical counterparts in terms of goals and risks. In fact, these approaches have proven superior to some conventional treatments because they tend not to elicit such serious side effects. Since it is understood that epigenetic factors are potent modulators of gene expression and that such modulations can be reversible, it is logical to presume that factors and practices within the IM purview are capable of evoking an epigenetic response.” (1)

So, what exactly is epigenetics? 

Epigenetics is derived from the root word, ‘epi’ which means above in greek (think of epidermis: the top layer of skin).  It is the assertion that changes or modifications in the environment, be it internal or external, may influence gene expression rather than the altering of the genetic code itself. (2)

Expert Tip: Epigentics does not involve altering genetic coding of the DNA itself, which are similar to the blueprints of a design project, genetic expression refers to what portions of the blueprint are manifested in physical form. Epigentics describes how environmental factors influence what portion of genetic coding gets ‘turned-on’ and which portion of the ‘blueprints’ remain unactualized. DNA is a potential expression, not the actual expression itself. 

The goal of integrative medicine is to actualize positive genetic expression based on lifestyle habits. For many years it was believed that each individual was destined to live with hereditary conditions that they had no control over, this is simply no longer the truth.

Exploring lifestyle choices that promote the positive expression of genes involves breaking certain harmful habits, ensuring the balance of the autonomic nervous system, and adding components into the environment that activate innate healing potential of the body.

The specific relationship between human cellular composition and the red and infrared light spectrum augments the healing response at the cellular level to activate superior health.

How Does Red Light And Infrared Light Impact Genetic Expression?

“Light and temperature shape nuclear architecture and gene expression” (3)

Modifying genome expression can occur through the use of a multitude of methods. However, evidence suggests that both light in therapeutic doses, as well as temperature-based modalities, play a pivotal role. 

Photobiomodulation And Epigenetics: An Oxygenated Body

A person breathing fresh oxygen into their body

Photobiology is a powerful means to alter genome expression, very specifically the use of red and infrared lights as seen in photobiomodulation (PBM) is among the most impactful. 

The photoreceptors of each cell within human physiology are awakened by the spectrum of red and infrared light. Ostensibly, the energy center of each cell, the mitochondria, alter their metabolic reaction in response to therapeutic doses of red and infrared light. Absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (4)

Mitochondrial response to light photons emitted from red and infrared light has a powerful effect on energy conversion to increase oxygen levels in the body. Through exposure to the broadband of red and infrared light, absorption of this wave frequency triggers a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. (4)

By increasing the oxygenation level of the entire body with PBM,  the specific means by which cellular replication occurs alters genome expression. (5) Many diseases and illnesses simply cannot abide within an environment that is rich in oxygen. 

Heat Therapy And Epigenetics: Heat Shock Proteins & And Telomere Length

Whenever the outer or inner environment experiences a positive change, by necessity genome expression is also positively altered. By intentionally raising the core temperature of the body a chain of biochemical reactions occur to impact how proteins express the blueprint of DNA.

Expert Tip: Please note that healthy proteins determine the accurate and positive rendering of DNA. (6)

Therapeutic doses of intentional heat as experienced in saunas is crucial in the creation of healthy proteins as well as healthy protein caps.

Saunas affect proteins in two primary ways:

  1. Heat Shock Protein Production
  2. Influence The Maintenance Of Telomere Length 

Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) are essentially protein chaperones. HSPs are macromolecular structures, despite their tiny size, their discovery in the early 1960s has opened up doors in the field of genetics, changing forever how the scientific and medical communities view our genetic mapping. HSPs provide an opportunity for each organism to ‘up-regulate’ gene expression. (6)

This is because HSPs are responsible for ‘folding’, or essentially protecting proteins. Proteins are responsible for the actualization of the blueprint of DNA. If DNA is the recipe, then proteins are the ingredients used to prepare the meal, and each individual is the cook. If expired ingredients are used to prepare the meal, it does not matter how good the recipe is, the meal will not be healthful or tasty!

Therefore, protein health is an intrinsic component in the upregulation of genetic expression. Protein health is ameliorated by increasing HSPs in the body, essentially the caretaker of the proteins. (7)

The National Institute of Health recently published a journal entitled: “Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging”, the following is stated in this publication: 

“Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival. The rate of telomere shortening can be either increased or decreased by specific lifestyle factors.” 

What is a telomere and why are they so important in determining genetic expression?

Telomeres are the end caps of chromosomes, similar to the plastic around the end of a shoelace that serves to stop the shoelace from fraying. The function of a telomere is to protect the ends of chromosomes during cellular replication. Before cellular division occurs it must copy DNA so that each daughter cell inherits the direct replica. Without telomeres, DNA would be lost every time cell division took place. (9)

In short telomeres are like buffers to chromosomes, and ensure the accurate transmission of DNA during cellular replication. Aging occurs because over time telomeres shorten in length eventually eroding the chromosomes themselves to create mutiny of cellular replication. 

Research performed by the National Institute of Health suggests that telomere length can be maintained, and therefore the accurate transmission of DNA by ensuring profuse intentional sweating at least three times a week for fifteen minutes. (10) Passive sweating has greater effects on maintaining telomere length than does sweating due to intense physical exertion. 

As opposed to sweating that occurs as a result of vigorous exercise, passive sweating occurs in saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs. Passive sweating is critical because it allows the autonomic nervous system to remain in states of growth and nourishment even as the cardiovascular system is stimulated and profuse sweating occurs. (10)

Epigenetics relies upon healthy proteins and accurate cellular replication. This can be achieved, in through passive sweating to ensure production of protein chaperones as well as the maintenance of telomere length.

Sweat, Light, Proteins And Epigenetics: Infrared Sauna Bathing The Path To Positive Genetic Expression

Sweat droplets highlighted by the infrared light spectrum

Positively affecting genetic expression does not need to be invasive or complicated. In fact, there is no lab necessary or visits to high-end clinics. It is possible to positively affect gene expression through something as basic as infrared sauna bathing.

Infrared sauna therapy is the ultimate:  ‘two birds; one stone’ ideology because it capitalizes on both the benefits of photobiology as well as heat therapy.

There is sufficient research to suggest, and evidence to support, the truth that each individual can become an active participant in their genetic expression by making lifestyle choices that support healthy proteins, mitochondrial metabolism and healthful cellular replication.

No need for extensive stem cell procedures to ensure that the blueprint of your DNA is accurately and positively expressed phenomenally!

Sources Cited:

  7. ‘Biology Of Belief’, Dr. Bruce Lipton, 2008

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