View Full Version : Sauna Therapy & Harrington Rods

04-16-2007, 09:17 PM
Hi everyone...I'm new to the forum. I'm 48 and had my surgery in 1973...one Harrington rod, bone graft from hip, 9 months in a body cast. I've done very well although I now have a lot of lower back pain which began when I threw my back out about 4 years ago. I literally moved wrong one day and ended up in excruciating pain (I should add, it's not the first time this has happened...I threw it out years prior when I was moving and lifting boxes that I really shouldn't have been lifting given the fusion). One thing that helped tremendously was seeing a network chiropractic doctor...this is a "no-crack' technique and worked wonders. Unfortunately, my doctor switched to being a full time flower essence practitioner and now my pain has returned. I highly recommend it for anyone experiencing a lot of lower back pain, as well as neck and shoulder pain. Recently I've been experiencing a lot of pain in the area where my hip graft was taken so I'm wondering about arthritis in that region.

But the back pain isn't what I'm curious about today. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with Infrared Light Sauna therapy and whether it's okay for someone with a Harrington Rod. I've suffered from chronic fatigue for the past seven years and have been diagnosed with hign heavy metal levels in my tissues...lead, mercury and copper (interesting that they've found a link between high copper levels in girls and scoliosis!). Chromium levels are low to normal so I'm not sure that my fatigue issue is related to metal toxicity from the rod. Anyway, one of the safest way to detox metals turns out to be infrared sauna therapy, which uses infrared lights in the safe light specturm vs. steam and hot air. The advantage is that the temperature is much lower in an infrared sauna and the light penetrates into the deep tissues. In all the research I've done, the primary concern raised for people with metal implants is the implant heating up...but they add that metal rods tend to deflect the light rather than absorb it and it generally isn't a problem. Yesterday, I ran across one article that questioned whether the light might alter the cement which is used to position and attach metal implants. Is cement used in scoliosis surgery? I can't seem to find out a whole lot about this and my really curious to find out more since I'm all set to go with the therapy, but don't want to do it unless I know that it's really safe for me to do.


04-17-2007, 12:57 AM
Hi Alexis,

Just thought I would welcome you to this forum!!! I can't answer you question, but found your thread interesting. I would like to hear more about the heavy metal issue and this treatment.

I hope someone can help you here.


Karen Ocker
04-17-2007, 06:17 PM
Here is a link from Quackwatch in reference to a physician using sauna therapy considered inappropriate for heavy metal toxicity:


How were you diagnosed and what treatments have you had so far? How were you exposed to these elements?

(interesting that they've found a link between high copper levels in girls and scoliosis!). alexis58
I did a search of the National Library of medicine and did not find that result:


04-18-2007, 11:27 AM
Hi Shari & Karen,

Thanks for your replies.

Karen -- in answer to your questions. I was diagnosed for heavy metals using a standard mineral tissue analysis which is done via a 24 hour urninalysis test in which a chelating compound, such as d-penacillamine or DMSA, is given for three days. The chelator helps to extracts minerals and heavy metals that are being stored in the tissues, therefore the test is used not only to test for high levels of heavy metals but also to assess a person's mineral status. For example, in my case it was discovered I had an abnormally high level of copper and a severe zinc deficiency, which made absolute sense since the two mineral exist in an equilibrium relationship in the body. Once I went on a high zinc/low copper diet, my fatigue lessened dramatically, as did a number of accompanying health problems.

The comment on the link between high copper and scoliosis came from a book by noted nutritionisht Ann Louise Gilleman, "Why Am I Always So Tired," which detailed the link between copper overload and chronic fatigue. It was a quick reference and as the book doesn't have an index, I couldn't find it through a cursory skim of the book. I did go to the internet though and found this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7394662&dopt=Abstract. I'm not sure that this was the research she was talking about...I'll need to give the book a better look.

Interesting what you found on quackmaster...unfortunately there are a lot of people out their not using "alternative" therapies properly, which gives a bad name to people who are. There is a lot of good reliable evidence out there show the efficacy of sauna therapy in disease treatment, including for chemical detoxification. Of course, many of these studies originate in Europe who, in my opionion, happen to be way ahead of the American medical community on these matters. A study by the Mayo Clinic showed it to be effective for people with congestive heart failure.

For myself, it is not a question of whether sauna therapy is the way to go, as whether the infrared light method is an appropriate one for someone with a Harrington Rod. It's the most affordable and best method for someone like myself who can't tolerate high levels of heat.

04-18-2007, 12:23 PM
Hi Alexis,
I also had surgery in the late 70's, bone graft from hip, one harrington rod and 9 mos. in body cast. I am 40 now. The topics you brought up are all new to me, but it is only recently I have started looking into long term symptoms from having the Harrington Rods in place.
I don't know if it is the same but during the last round of PT I went to the therapist used an ultrasound or sonogram on my back. I am very uneducated and don't really know what it was but it was intended to warm up the muscles before he massaged them. I do not recall feeling any heat changes or sensations but it is probably something very different from what you are trying to find out.
When I was in my early twenties I battled with possible chronic fatigue
and tested positive for the Epstein Barr virus. But, that was many years ago and I not longer have any symptoms. It is an interesting topic.