For a while now I’ve been hearing about people sitting in saunas or doing hot yoga to “sweat out the toxins” in their bodies. Hot yoga seems to be yet another notch healthy lifestyle bloggers have carved into their holy health sticks, so I did a little research to find out what exactly it is.
Basically you do yoga in a room that’s really hot (between 30 and 50 C or 85 to 122 F according to Wikipedia).
It makes sense that yoga would be easier when your muscles are warm, but the de-tox part seemed fishy. According to this piece in the LA Times, it is crap. The article says you hardly release any toxins through sweat, and in fact it can be more damaging to your health because it will put unnecessary strain on your kidneys and liver if you don’t drink enough water to make up for what’s lost through excess sweat in the session. My favorite part is when they essentially said you release far more toxins by pooping and peeing – because that’s what they’re for – then you ever would through sweating.
Don’t get me wrong – I love healthy lifestyle blogs and read them almost exclusively. I just feel that many of them become a bit holier-than-thou and lose grasp of reality. Honestly, how many pictures of a bowl of oatmeal can you take? That’s my other problem with healthy lifestyle blogs. They can’t get enough of their oatmeal. Each new healthy topping is “OMG A NEW BOWL OF OATMEAL EXCEPT THIS TIME I PUT CHIA SEEDS IN IT IN ADDITION TO FLAX, BERRIES AND ALMOND BUTTER!! IF ONLY GOD COULD SEE ME NOW! I’M SO HEALTHY!!”
Who knows, maybe the experts are wrong and you de-tox to the max by sweating with your foot behind your head in a hot room. Until it’s proven, though, I’d say a better bet would be to take a dump. It’s free, and you’ll save yourself an hour.