Antioxidants – Good or Bad?
Medical science, both allopathic and alternative, often completely switches perspectives concerning the use of antioxidants for human health. One may find major double-blind studies that both support and refute the use of antioxidants as health-promoting agents.
The truth is, scientists are still very confused about the role of oxygen and oxidative cycles in the body. Part of the confusion spawns from the use of unnatural, inorganic supplements used in an attempt to promote good health, many of which do the exact opposite. Medical scientists are often too slow to realize that every aspect of a supplement must be documented and scrutinized very carefully, including the molecular formulation of the compounds used, their source (organic or inorganic), the ratio of key minerals to each other, and even the delivery system.
Also, antioxidant action in the body cannot be observed independently. Careful observation and regulation of the oxidation cycles in the body is also required, including immune system, gene-regulated oxidation cycles that are only now being explored by genetic scientists.
For our purposes, consider that the oxygen cycles of the body are the “yin”, and the antioxidation action in the body is the “yang” (the pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant systems). Obviously, if either critical metabolic function is not functioning optimally, disharmony will be the result.
Oxidative stress, unchecked, is extremely dangerous to the body.
There is obvious concern by those not familiar with ozone who may erroneously view ozone as a free radical. O3, H202, and O-, while very reactive, are not free radicals. However, while oxidation reactions are performed at the cellular level throughout the body, the resulting compounds, especially those initiated by the immune system, must be effectively neutralized.
Dr. Stanley Bayerle: “Most microbes are anaerobic; they thrive without oxygen, and cannot live in the presence of added oxygen in the bloodstream. The ozone and the fatty acid cell membrane then do a reaction that occurs at that membrane which creates peroxide. A lot of destructive processes that go on are due to an accumulation of peroxide. That’s why antioxidants are so important, in not only ozone treatment but in day-to-day living, because of all the environmental pollution that occurs. When that happens, it creates an increase in peroxides that go unchecked. What happens is that when these peroxides accumulate within the cell, there’s an increased production of a specific biochemical called 23DPG diphosphoglycerate, which enables oxygen to be released from the hemoglobin molecule.”
Therefore, the more effective we are at re-introducing activated oxygen into the body, the more effective we need to be at cleaning up the effects. In a properly functioning metabolism, this job is successfully auto-regulated. However, many people who seek ozone therapy treatment do so because of chronic and degenerative conditions.
At our Arizona cancer center, we consider antioxidants a necessary counterbalancing agent for all ozone therapy. Luckily, the art of natural medicine can be used to safely and effectively complement “heavy-hitting” alternative medicine protocols.
Ozone Steam Sauna Therapy – Safe & Effective?
We see a few different perspectives being shared concerning ozone steam sauna therapy, and ozone used externally for health purposes.
Alternative Medical Ozone Doctors, Research Scientists
The first perspective comes from alternative medical doctors, medical ozone experts, and research scientists. The consensus is that there is much doubt as to the effectiveness of ozone sauna therapy. Most of the doctors who are used to using ozone intravenously and via specialized forms of blood purification and oxygenation greatly doubt the effect of ozone used externally.
However, upon scrutiny, these experts have not correctly studied ozone sauna therapy. The effects of ozone sauna therapy are cumulative, and the benefits associated with use reveal themselves over long term use. Because of the complexity of the potential effects, there is no single definitive guide; ozone sauna therapy is a completely individualized experience. It is not enough to place an individual in a steam sauna cabinet or tent for a few weeks or a few days a week and then try to conclusively document the effects.
Therefore, we don’t place very much credence in this perspective which appears to us to be fueled by arrogance rather than clear scientific observation and careful analysis. We point out that qualified balneotherapists are best equipped to study the effects of external ozone, as their understanding of the lymphatic system, body elimination systems, and potential gas-through-skin to metabolism reactions is far superior than other therapeutic disciplines.
We have consulted with some very qualified scientific researchers (with degrees in disciplines such as genetic science, MD’s, etc.) who have documented extremely significant and beneficial effects of ozone sauna therapy. Even so, these individuals acknowledge that ozone sauna therapy can be so powerful that much more research needs to be conducted in order to better understand external ozone’s effect on the immune system and the metabolism.
Ozone Steam Sauna Proponents
Those with extensive experience with ozone sauna therapy are always strong supporters. Their perspective, formed by direct experience with ozone sauna therapy and by observations derived from working with individuals in clinics, is that ozone sauna therapy is a powerful tool for wellness, with no risk of harming the body through correct use. They consider ozone steam sauna therapy as non-invasive, and nearly universally share an opinion that individuals should simply bulldoze through what they term the “detox” effects of therapy.
This perspective has merit, and has been formed by observing individuals making strong recoveries from a very wide variety of severe chronic illness, through months to years of dedicated therapy.
All of the researchers with extensive ozone sauna experience that we’ve consulted with share a similar “hold onto your seat” attitude. They universally agree that ozone sauna therapy, for those with serious health issues, is not a “pop-a-vitamin and get well” type of therapy. In fact, it’s when the pop-a-pill and get well theory falls apart that individuals are often drawn to therapies such as ozone.
We disagree, to a certain extent, with both camps. Ozone sauna therapy is relatively new and its potential effects are not well known.
It is obvious that ozone itself, in reasonable concentrations, is not dangerous to the body; however, we ask that researchers consider that the body can be dangerous to itself in the presence of therapeutic ozone.
Our initial perspective has been formed from carefully studying the direct effects of therapy with six individuals that span an interesting spectrum of health concerns, over a seven month period of time, and correlating observations with the experience of other researchers, and with consideration to the action of ozone, “activated oxygen,” and organic peroxides with the body.
Above all, it is wise to remember that when dealing with oxygen, we’re dealing with a very powerful oxidizing substance that is used to regulate many metabolic functions in the body. We believe that ozone sauna therapy can be employed safely and effectively for chronic illness, but not as a standalone treatment modality.
Ozone sauna therapy is a serious commitment to wellness that requires a great deal of personal responsibility, and sometimes even a great deal of endurance. We strongly believe that the dedicated individual will be well pleased with the results.
We would like to offer the following information freely to help individuals confidently enjoy the ozone sauna experience.
Ozone Steam Sauna Therapy: What Happens?
At a minimum concentration of 3% and a maximum therapeutic concentration of 5%, ozone is created by an ozone generator and pumped into the sauna or tent chamber. The sauna or tent is designed to encapsulate the body while leaving the head open in ambient air. This prevents individuals from breathing ozone at a high concentration, which should be avoided.
Ozone degrades rapidly, and the tent or sauna serves both to allow the concentration in the sauna to build up quickly to a therapeutic level, while at the same time preventing the ozone from building up in the ambient breathing air. With sauna units, the flow rate of the ozone is not very important, as it is easy to saturate the small space of a sauna chamber with therapeutic levels of ozone.
As long as suitable ventilation is provided in the room, then there is no safety concern. Suitable ventilation means proper air flow circulation. Ambient air in the room should both circulate in the room, and also exit the room/building. Any central air system in a building is suitable, provided that there is also sufficient air flow in the treatment room. Sufficient air flow may be added by using a large circulation fan.
Alternately, an ozone destructor made of carbon may be used, and attached to an ozone sauna at the opposite high end of the sauna. One simply cuts (if a venting port is not provided for) the same size hole as the ozone input line, attaching an FDA/USP grade silicon hose to the hole, and then attaching an ozone destructor. Suitable ventilation, however, should always be used. We do not view the ozone destructor as necessary, but perhaps very advisable in situations where there may be multiple ozone machines in use.
Ozone generators that do not produce nitrous oxide must be used. With most generators, pure oxygen or an oxygen concentrator must be used to avoid the production of nitrous oxide, which should be avoided to protect the health of individuals, as nitrous oxide is easily converted to nitric acid in the body, which is exceedingly toxic. There are individuals who have acquired “the bends” (decompression sickness) by using ozone chamber therapy with the wrong generator without using pure oxygen.
Sauna chambers made from ozone resistant materials are recommended. While these units are often expensive, they are worth the cost. Individuals who feel they need the therapy, and who cannot afford an ozone steam cabinet, may elect to utilize an ozone steam sauna tent. While these tents are acceptable, they should be kept clean, and consideration should be given to the fact that the PVC material used for the frame, as well as the nylon used for the tent itself, will slowly degrade.
Researching therapists have experimented with ozone chamber therapy without the added heat and moisture with a measure of success. However, there are many benefits of utilizing both heat and moisture with ozone therapy.
With the ozone pumping into the sauna chamber, a steam generator is used to feed hot steam into the sauna chamber. This produces several effects:
- The body’s pores, due to both the heat and the steam, begin to open, which changes the exchange potential between the ambient gasses and the body.
- The combination between the open pores, the heat, and the ozone begins a detoxification process. Activated oxygen begins to react with substances with the highest oxidation potential, breaking these substances down.
- As the body begins to sweat, the exchange potential is further increased, resulting in increased adsorption of gasses/fluids, and increased excretion of toxic substances from the body ( via the immune system regulated lymphatic response ).
- The ozone begins to breakdown rapidly: O3 —-> O2 + O-. There is little, IF ANY, ozone reaction deeper than the skin. Toxic substances are quickly broken down by ozone, and those which do not react with the ozone can react with the singlet, negatively charged oxygen ion ( O- ). There is no evidence, or reason to expect, that something as instable as ozone actually penetrates through the skin and into the active metabolism of the body.
- As the body sweats, and as ozone breaks down, organic peroxides are created in the oils of the body being excreted from and existing in the skin. A small amount of ozone becomes trapped within these natural oils and newly created peroxides, which provides a sustained/prolonged effect of activated oxygen. This reaction is very similiar to creating ozinated oils.
- Even so, there is still no evidence to suggest that the ozone trapped within the oils actually reaches the bloodstream, or beyond the skin/lymphatic system. More likely, the ozone instantly reacts as it is freed from the oils, creating more organic peroxides and potentially releasing a single negatively charged atom of oxygen. It is these forms of oxygen doing all of the work inside the body.
- Evidence suggests that the body is very capable of utilizing these organic peroxides, as researchers have demonstrated that a byproduct of ozone sauna therapy is increased “fixed” free oxygen in the blood stream. The benefits of a single ozone sauna session have been documented to last as long as three weeks. Therefore, the highly reactive O3 molecule is eventually formed into stabilized oxygen molecules by the natural processes of the body.
- The entire lymphatic system is stimulated during therapy
- The skin is deeply cleansed
- If enough heat is used for a long enough time, a hypothermic response occurs in the body, and the body’s internal temperature begins to rise. For the average individual, it takes between 12 and 15 minutes for the body’s internal temperature to begin to rise in the presence of steam.
- For high heat therapy, the internal temperature should be monitored.
Once the therapy session has ended, the pores begin to close, and the body temperature returns to normal very rapidly. The oxygen introduced by the therapy is still very much active, both on the surface of the skin, and in the body. If possible, an individual should wait for 2-3 hours before showering, or until the smell of ozone is no longer present on the skin (this is the ozone being released from the natural body oils).
However, when therapy has ended, a great deal of toxic waste remains trapped in the body. Many of these toxic substances previously existed in isolated and neutral forms, many of which the body was previously not able to eliminate. As an example, bacteria cell walls are compromised, leaving endotoxin, and petrochemicals and pesticides are broken down. All of these substances still need to be removed from the body.
Ozone sauna therapy in no way helps in the actual elimination processes of the body, once the sauna session has ended. Those with chronic illness, immune system conditions, sluggish metabolisms, and other issues associated severe toxicity must learn how to assist the body’s elimination functions in order to avoid oxidative stress, severe rashes and lesions, and other potential toxic shock responses. Ozone sauna therapy can break down substances, but it is up to the body to heal itself, as well as cleanse itself from within.
Ozone Steam Sauna Therapy: Protocols
Using Ozone Steam Sauna Therapy
It is important to understand that the effect of ozone sauna therapy is cumulative. Occasional use will provide some residual “maintenance” benefit, but will not address chronic illness. The duration of each treatment session is of equal importance.
The First Treatment
We have experiential evidence that indicates that 30 minutes in an ozone steam sauna actually resets the immune system. If you are lucky enough to be reading this article before your first session, we recommend the following:
- If steam is well tolerated, bring the sauna temperature up to between 103 and 112 degrees F, while pumping ozone in the chamber. Consider that one will need to spend 30 minutes in the chamber. If steam is not well tolerated, heat the sauna up to between 103-104 degrees F, and have someone turn off the steam generator if one experiences discomfort. The moisture levels in the chamber will remain at a high enough level for effectiveness, combined with the insulated heat.
- Once the chamber is heated, enter the sauna. If high heat is being used, use a digital thermometer to monitor the body’s internal temperature. Never exceed 103 degrees F internally unless one truly knows what one is doing.
- A hypothermic “induced fever” in the body can be beneficial, but only for short periods of time and under normal health states. Consult a medical balneologist or medical doctor to ensure any existing health condition, such as hypertension, is not contra-indicated for high heat therapy.
- Use a timer and remain in the ozone chamber for no less than 20 minutes, but preferably for 30 minutes.
- Immediately upon exiting, find a mirror and carefully examine the body. Problem areas in the body that are reaching surface expression (in natural medicine, this is termed as “exteriorization”) will be evident. One may notice large or small patches of reddened skin, with interesting formations. Common locations for this phenomenon include the chest, neck, upper forearms, and the base of the spine.
As one learns to manage the body’s metabolic functions, the target treatment schedule for ozone chamber therapy is once daily for between 20 and 30 minutes, seven days a week. Less than four times a week should not be considered enough for true therapeutic treatment.
As daily therapy progresses, the effect of the ozone treatment is cumulative. With those with chronic illness conditions, exteriorizations will likely begin to occur within one to three weeks. These are to be expected, and for the best, most comfortable results, they also need to be managed.
- Avoid taking antioxidants one hour prior to, and about two hours after ozone therapy, when possible.
- Do not use alcohol during ozone sauna therapy. Allow four hours after the alcohol has been metabolized before doing ozone (this means that if you have reached a state of full intoxication, you may have to wait 24 hours+, but if you’ve had a few glasses of wine in the evening, by the following mid-morning ozone would be fine).
- Do not do ozone therapy while doing recreational drugs.
- Do not do ozone therapy if you have an organ transplant.
As a maintenance program for healthy skin, stimulation of the body’s immune system function, and to maintain higher levels of fixed oxygen in the bloodstream, ozone sauna therapy should be done one to three times weekly for between 15 and 30 minutes per session.
Managing Oxidative Stress, Toxicity, and Body Cleansing
Currently, we are not ready to present our research on dealing with ozone rashes and other exteriorizations. However, if you are experiencing problems, and would like assistance, please contact us. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars monthly to restore the body’s digestive system.
- Inactivates viruses; oxidizes bacteria, yeast, fungi, parasites, protozoa, cancer cells
- Stimulates the immune system, speeds healing
- Cleans arteries and veins, improving circulation
- Purifies the blood and the lymph
- Oxidizes toxins, facilitating their excretion
- Normalizes hormone and enzyme production
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces pain, calms nerves
- Prevents shock
- Prevents stroke damage
- Reduces cardiac arrhythmia
- Improves brain function and memory
- Scavenges free radicals
- Chelates heavy metals, working well in conjunction with EDTA
- Stimulates production of protective cell enzymes
How Does Ozone Work Biochemically?
- Inactivation of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa: Ozone disrupts the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope through oxidation of the phospholipids and lipoproteins. In fungi, ozone inhibits cell growth at certain stages. With viruses, the ozone damages the viral capsid and upsets the reproductive cycle by disrupting the virus-to-cell contact with peroxidation. The weak enzyme coatings on cells which make them vulnerable to invasion by viruses make them susceptible to oxidation and elimination from the body, which then replaces them with healthy cells.
- Enhancement of circulation: In circulatory disease, a clumping of red blood cells hinders blood flow through the small capillaries and decreases oxygen absorption due to reduced surface area. Ozone reduces or eliminates clumping and red cell flexibility is restored, along with oxygen carrying ability. Oxygenation of the tissues increases as the arterial partial pressure increases and viscosity decreases. Ozone also oxidizes the plaque in arteries, allowing the removal of the breakdown products, unclogging the blood vessels.
- Stimulation of oxygen metabolism: Ozone causes an increase in the red blood cell glycolysis rate. This leads to the stimulation of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) which leads to an increase in the amount of oxygen released to the tissues. Ozone activates the Krebs cycle by enhancing oxidative carboxylation of pyruvate, stimulating production of ATP. Ozone also causes an increase in the NADH reducing process and helps to oxidize cytochrome C. There is a stimulation of the production of the enzymes which act as free radical scavengers and cell wall protectors: glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. Production of prostacyclin, a platelet aggregation inhibitor, and a vasodilator, is also induced by ozone.
- Formation of peroxides: Ozone reacts with the unsaturated fatty acids of the lipid layer in cellular membranes, forming hydro peroxides. There is a synergistic effect with cellular-formed H2O2. Lipid peroxidation products include alkoxyl and peroxyl radicals, singlet oxygen, ozonides, carbonides, carbonyls, alkanes and alkenes.
- Dissolution of malignant tumors: Ozone inhibits tumor metabolism. In addition, ozone oxidizes the outer lipid layer of malignant cells and destroys them through cell lysis (break- down). Phagocytes produce H2O2 and hydroxyl and ozone to kill bacteria and viruses. The generation of hydroxyl by killer cells is critical to their cytotoxic capability. Ozone stimulates conversion of arginine to citrulline, nitrite and nitrate by phagocytes, promoting their action on tumors.
- Activation of the immune system: Ozone administered at a concentration of between 30 and 55 ug/cc causes the greatest increase in the production of interferon and the greatest output of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin 2. The production of interleukin 2 launches an entire cascade of subsequent immunological reactions.