Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Sauna Therapy and Pine Needle Oil research:

The skin is the body’s largest organ and our interface with the physical world. Through perspiration, it acts as an important vehicle for the elimination of toxins. The skin is often referred to as the ‘third kidney’.

Saunas assist greatly in the elimination of toxins. In the process the skin is cleaned of surface bacteria and dead skin cells – something that cannot be done by just taking a shower or bath. The sauna also cleans the capillaries, resulting in vastly improved skin condition.

Saunas have been used for thousands of years by Scandinavians, Russians, North American Indians and many others.

In Russia and Finland, there is a saying that every day you take a sauna is a day that you are not ageing.

Hippocrates, the founder of Western medicine more than two thousand years ago, said: “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease”.

Although misunderstood as a symptom of disease, fever is actually a part of the body’s natural healing response. During a fever, the functioning of the immune system is stimulated, whilst growth of bacteria and viruses are inhibited. All of us would be aware of the great feeling of cleanliness and well being experienced after a fever has passed through us. Saunas elicit similar responses and are often called ‘artificial fevers’.

Extensive research over many years has shown numerous benefits of saunas, including increased circulation, detoxification and oxygenation of tissues and cells, stimulation of the immune system, reduction of stomach acidity, reduction of cold/flu symptoms, increased lung capacity, relaxation, enhanced quality of sleep and reduced soreness post exercise/injury.

Research has supported the use of saunas for treatment of pain management (including arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries etc), in detoxification programs, weight loss, lowering of blood pressure and stress relief.

Russian and Finnish research has shown the sauna to be an irreplaceable training modality for athletes, reducing recovery time and soreness post exercise/injury, and increasing muscle power and concentration. It also reduces the cold, nervous feeling that causes shivering before competition and that can make athletes prone to injury.

The psychological impacts of the sauna have been shown to be just as significant. After a sauna, feelings of stress, lethargy and tiredness are replaced with a generalized feeling of well-being which includes lightness, energy, relaxation and optimism.

Prior to the late 1980 Olympics, forest biochemists in the former Soviet union developed a pine needle oil derived from the non-water soluble fraction of the paste from Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and European Spruce (Picus abies) needles combined with the oil fraction isolated in Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) needle extraction. Their research found that it significantly enhanced the therapeutic benefits of sauna therapy including elimination of lactic acid and reduced recovery time and soreness post competition, training and injuries.

The oil is a natural complex containing many biologically active substances including vitamin E, carotenoids, phytosterols, terpenoids, polyprenols and pure conifer essential oil. It is rubbed on to the torso and any sore or injured areas during a sauna

Research in Russia found that the positive, therapeutic effects of saunas were significantly enhanced when used in conjunction with this oil based conifer needle extract.

This research compared those who used saunas alone with those who complement their sauna with the needle extract. Specifically it was found that far greater than using a sauna alone, using Pine needle oil in conjunction with a sauna:

  • Increased muscle concentration and power.
  • As a result it helps replace areas of dimply ‘cellulite’ skin with a toned, muscular look.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Improved detoxification and elimination of toxins, lactic acid and other metabolic wastes.
  • Improved detoxification and elimination of heavy metals.
  • Reduced soreness post exercise and injury, and speed up recovery time.
  • Activation the immune system and increased antimicrobial activity both in the skin and further internally.
  • Increasing adipose tissue in the skin, making the skin softer, more hydrated and younger looking.
  • Increase the skin’s resistance to irritants.
  • Leading to a generalized feeling of well being.
  • Promoting a great night’s sleep.
  • Assistance with recovery from jet lag.

Bio-Impedance Analysis

VLA (Vitality, Longevity and Anti-Ageing) and Bio-Impedance Analysis

Biological age, Vitality, Longevity & Anti-Ageing incorporates a scientifically validated test known as Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA). BIA is a science that was originally developed for the use in monitoring patients after surgery. It measures several biological markers (bio-markers) of health including muscle and fat mass, cellular health and energy production. Once you get a clearer picture of your health, we can create a program to improve those areas which are seen to be less healthy.

The bio-markers will give you an indication of your current state of health, providing information on:

  • Energy levels
  • Muscle mass/Body fat levels
  • Body fluid distribution
  • Toxicity
  • Inflammation
  • Cellular health
  • Response to treatment


The main people who benefit from VLA are those who want to:

  • Improve performance (both physical and mental)
  • Improve their energy levels
  • Increase muscle tone and fitness
  • Lose body fat
  • Age healthily
  • Effectively detoxify their body

From a VLA analysis each client receives a computerised report (and/or history), individual health goals, specific lifestyle, dietary and supplemented recommendations and ongoing monitoring and progress.

For enquiries on natural medicines, naturopathy or to make an appointment for a naturopathic consultation contact Tim Altman via email or phone on 0425 739 918.

Nutrition for Health and Performance

A lovely testimonial, below, that shows that, with enthusiasm and persistence, anyone can achieve great health and performance outcomes via healthy eating.

“Hi Tim,
I’d like to drop a line to let you know how I am going with eating healthy food. So far, I am feeling great and noticed some progress with my health. I find that my swimming has improved from 1.8km to 3km in an hour. I have progress to second fastest lane group……..My motivation in doing things are great. My surgery has now been booked to remove cancer from my kidney…….Thanks for your outstanding consultation.
Jo alias “Smokin Jo”

If you are interested in feeling like you’re ‘smokin’, then contact me for a consultation.healthy-food

The Ideal Nutrition Plan for The Modern World

The Nutrition Plan That Combines the Strengths and Counters the Weaknesses of The Paleo Diet and Intermittent Fasting


In the 15+ years I have been working with nutrition and natural health, I have done a lot of contemplating and experimenting with what might be the ideal overall diet for the modern world, that allows one to maintain ideal weight or lose weight, and keep the gut functioning at a healthy level, yet also be a social, interactive hum being at the same time.
The standard questions I have asked thousands of clients, are; “what is your average daily diet, as in everything you eat and drink in the day, and when?”; “when are you most likely to feel hungry during the day or crave sweet or savoury foods?”; and “when, if any time of the day’ do you feel most tired or flat energetically?”.

I noticed a very clear pattern in most people where they ate little or no breakfast, or their breakfast was insufficient in protein, and their snacks were non-existent, sporadic or full of sugar or refined carbohydrates. As a consequence, they were unable to regulate their blood sugar levels throughout the day with the usual flat or craving spots being mid-late afternoon and post dinner. The consequence of this is hypoglycaemia and insulin resistance, which results in a system that produces energy poorly, puts on weight more easily and is inflammatory, meaning that it promotes chronic illness.
On top of that, they often relied on caffeine to get them going and maintain energy levels throughout the day, which further exacerbates insulin resistance, and exhausts the nervous system and drains the adrenal glands over time.

The solution to the ideal diet seemed to lie in a plan that regulated blood sugar levels. To gain more insight into this, I started investigating the research coming out from anthropological, evolutionary biology and genetic sources, which suggests that the body we have inherited is that of our hunter gatherer ancestors from some 40,000 to 100,000 years ago. Meaning that we are ideally built to eat and drink the way our hunter gatherer ancestors did (not our cave man ancestors who existed many thousands of years prior to this).
Research has suggested that they ate only animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and we drank only water. That’s all they had access to.
In fact, grain only became available to humans when the agricultural revolution began around 2,000 to 10,000 years ago, and the grains we consume now, courtesy of the industrial and technological revolutions, have become vastly different to these ancient grains. Even so, according to this research mentioned above, 2-10,000 years is not long enough for our bodies to fully assimilate such foodstuff.
We are simply not built for a high intake of grain. And certainly not sugar which entered the food chain only a few hundred years ago.
Whilst the agricultural revolution was wonderful from an economic perspective as it allowed the population to increase exponentially (as we now had storable foods that lasted longer and we could move into villages), it was a catastrophe for our bodies as it increased the carbohydrate content in the food chain dramatically. And it got worse and worse, the more we advanced as a species.
This motivated the evolution of nutrition programs that reflect our ancient diet. The Paleo diet is the most well known, but it was by no means the first of this type of program. Elimination or detox diets, and controlled ketosis diets, had been in existence for well over a decade before the Paleo craze came in.
All of these programs are extremely effective when adhered to strictly – the common denominator being a small amount of protein regularly to regulate blood sugar levels, and lots of vegetables and some fruit. In essence, grains and dairy are replaced by vegetables. This makes sense, given that of all the research done on nutrition, the one unequivocal fact is that the more vegetables you eat, the better your immune system and the greater you chance of preventing chronic illness (which accounts for 90% of deaths in the modern world).
However, the one weakness of these programs is that they don’t allow for much deviation. You have to adhere to them quite strictly to see the benefits. Which is hard if you lead a healthy social life.
The question then beckons; ‘how do we compensate for this whilst living in the modern world?’
Enter intermittent fasting. I have practiced fasting for over 20 years (as it had been an integral part of my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome – CFS), and have long known the benefits. Whilst therapeutic fasting had been extensively researched in the former Soviet Union, the research in the West has only started to wake up to its’ benefits.
It makes sense from an evolutionary biology perspective as we were often exposed to periods where food supply was scarce. Our body knows how to adapt.
It has been understood for some time that whilst calorific restriction has very positive health benefits, it is also very restrictive and not fun. However, a good deal of research has found that intermittent or occasional fasting can have great benefits to weight, the digestive system and in treating and preventing chronic illness. The BBC documentary by Dr Michael Mosley, and the evolution of the ‘Fast Diet’ or ‘The 5:2 Diet’ really made this understanding more mainstream.
This program can work spectacularly well, however it also has a weaknesses. The two (or three or one) fasting days per week are not a pure fast – it involves consuming about ¼ of the average calorific intake (500 calories for women and 600 for men) for 2 days per week, and eating ‘normally’ for the other 5 days. Herein lies the weakness. As discussed above, many or most peoples’ normal eating is far from ideal, as they fail to regulate blood sugar levels and eat far too many carbohydrates and saturated fats.
Whilst this program is effective for some as they do eat quite well during the 5 days of ‘normal’ eating, for a number of individuals this program can fail to create the desired effects.

The solution to this for me that would create the ideal eating plan that allows for weight loss or maintenance, a healthy gastro-intestinal system, a robust immune system, plenty of vitality and great sleep was to combine the strengths of the hunter-gatherer (or Paleo) programs that help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce carbohydrate intake, with those of intermittent fasting programs, that can compensate for the odd deviation or freedom meal. The beauty of this is that each program counters the weakness of the other.

For example, eating in a way that regulates blood sugar levels will mean that when you are not on your fast days, your ‘normal’ eating will be more ideal, and the fast days allow you to have 2-3 freedom meals per week yet still maintain ideal health. This allows for a few drinks and a meal that does not entirely resemble that of our hunter gatherer ancestors when we are in social situations. In other words, we get to eat in a way that really explores optimal levels of health and well-being, yet be human at the same time.
Not a bad outcome. And it is really starting to work with clients. And compliance is far greater.

For details on this program, please contact me by emailing or phoning me at or 0425 739 918.
This program can be followed by booking in for an appointment and regular check-ups, or monitoring it yourself from afar.

New Study: Sauna Extends Life Expectancy

To Extend Your Life, Spend Time In A Sauna

Linked is an article on a new study performed in Finland, following 2,315 Finnish men from 42 to 60 years of age over a 21 year period.

It turned out the more saunas the men took, the better their chances were for living longer.

More specifically, the men who had more than four sauna sessions per week had the lowest risk of death — 40% lower than those who went twice a week — but those who had two to three sessions still got some of the cardiovascular benefits.

I’m glad I get into the sauna regularly. Whilst previous research from Russia, Japan and Scandinavia, going back many years has already confirmed similar benefits, this certainly suggests there is a method to our madness.

And, even better, the sauna I use is a traditional Finnish sauna. Personally, I have always preferred the feeling of well-being I get following a traditional Finnish sauna over a far-infrared sauna.

Breathing Dynamics Course for Surfers and Sports People

Breathing Dynamics Course for Surfers and Sporting Performance at One Lifestyle, RACV, Torquay. Starting Wednesday 14th October

I am excited to be offering an 8 week Breathing Dynamics course for surfers and sporting performance on a Wednesday evening at RACV Torquay resort.

Breathing has been described as the ‘last frontier’ of exploration of sporting performance.

Most people do not realise that they breathe at only 50-75% of their physiological and biological potential at best.

More and more research has started to come out suggesting that if we unlock this unused potential we can experience many benefits for sporting performance, including:

  1. Great use of full lung volume for gas exchange.
  2. Ability to operate at lower breathing and heart rates at higher levels of exercise.
  3. Greater efficiency of oxygen to cells for energy production.
  4. Ability to hold the breath for extended periods of time.
  5. Delayed lactic acid onset and greater buffering of lactic acid.
  6. More relaxation during exercise.
  7. Greater access to ‘zone’ states during sporting performance.
  8. Increased core stabilisation via diaphragm control.

The course will suit both water based (surfers, swimmers, paddlers etc.) and land based (cyclists, runners, football players, yogis etc.) as we will mix up activities.

Both members and non-members of One Lifestyle at RACV Torquay are welcome to participate.