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Eat a Peck of Dirt Before You Die…

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My grandmother was a wise and wonderful woman. And she had a handful of colorful expressions she used to say to us kids.

One of her favorites was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.”

It basically meant that you shouldn’t worry about a little soil on your food or in your house.

But fast-forward 50 years…

Today people are obsessed with cleanliness. They’re on a mission to eradicate every microbe from their body and their home.

You might think all that cleanliness will kill everything harmful and keep you and your family really healthy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, all of those cleaners can be destroying your lungs.

A new study from the University of Bergen in Norway looked at the long-term effects of using all these commercial cleaning products. They examined the lung function of 6,230 people in 22 locations around the world. The people answered questions about how often they used cleaning products.

And what they found was pretty shocking…

Women who do most of the cleaning at home, or who clean professionally, had the most lung damage.

In fact, using cleaning products over 10 to 20 years was as harmful as smoking a pack a day of cigarettes!

I’m not surprised. The U.S. Poison Control Centers reported that household cleaning products cause about 10% of all toxic exposures.1

Another study from Harvard and Washington University sampled dust from homes in 14 states. They found the dust had as many as 45 toxic chemicals. Most of these chemicals came from common products and cleaning supplies.2

In my own practice I’ve seen how common household chemicals can cause serious health conditions.

I’m talking about heart disease, stroke, liver and kidney damage and cancer. And of course asthma, pneumonia and chronic bronchitis are linked to these products, too.

As a first step, I encourage my patients to use products with reduced amounts of these toxic chemicals. But you have to be careful. Even products advertised as “green,” “natural” or “organic” emit many hazardous chemicals.3 You’re better off sticking to baking soda, vinegar and essential oils.

But unless you live in a bubble, you’re still going to be exposed to these chemicals.

And many of these toxins are fat soluble. That means your body can’t easily remove them through its natural detox pathways. You often end up storing them in your fat cells. They build up there for years.

That’s why I also recommend that you detox your body regularly. And one of the best ways to do that is with a good sauna.

A sauna works faster than other natural methods of detox. You see, your skin is a major organ of elimination. About 30% of your body’s waste passes through the skin. In fact, the skin is designed to release nearly two pounds of toxic waste daily by means of perspiration.4

Clean Out Harmful Toxins in Your Body

Taking a sauna increases the detox capacity of the skin. It opens pores and flushes impurities from the body. It eliminates waste, pollutants and toxins and stops them from building up.

Here are some basic guidelines I give my patients for a good detox sauna session:

  • Brush your skin first. Before your sauna, vigorously dry brush your skin with a natural fiber brush. This removes dead skin cells and stimulates circulation. It helps unblock pores that have been clogged with soaps, lotions and creams. After skin brushing, take a quick warm or hot shower just to rinse off.
  • Hydrate. In addition to removing toxins, a sauna can deplete good minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Be sure to drink plenty of mineral water before, during and after the sauna session to replenish both lost fluids and minerals.
  • Build up slowly. Start with no more than five minutes. Saunas will release toxins from your tissues. If you dislodge those chemicals too fast you could get a reaction that feels like the flu. Add 30 seconds to a minute every day. Work yourself up to 15 or 30 minutes per session. Start with once a week and work up to a daily session if you like.
  • Stay comfortable. The best sauna temperature range is from 102-106 degrees Fahrenheit. Only stay as long as you feel comfortable. The main risk is staying too long and fainting from overheating.
  • Post-sauna shower. After the sauna, gently scrub the toxins and sweat from your skin in a warm or hot shower. Finish with 30 seconds or more of cold water to close the pores.

I prefer saunas that use far infrared heat rather than steam. I’ve installed one in both my clinic and my house.

Far infrared rays penetrate deeper into our tissues to release toxins stored in fat, organs and tissues. And studies show infrared saunas are five to seven times more effective at detoxing.5

If you’d like to learn more about infrared saunas, you can call my staff at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine at 561-784-7852.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. Organic Consumer’s Association. “How toxic are your household cleaning supplies?” Accessed 4/29/18.
2. Mitro SD, et al. “Consumer product chemicals in indoor dust: A quantitative meta-analysis of U.S. studies.” Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50(19):10661-10672.
3. “Health effects of particulate matter. Policy implications for countries in eastern Europe, Caucasus and central Asia.” World Health Organization, 2013.
4. Jensen, Dr. Bernard. Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing, 1999, p. 118.
5. Laredo M. “Whole body detoxification (Part 3): Far-infrared sauna use.” Natural News. March 17, 2008.


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