Welcome to Pushing The Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential, with your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Pushing The Limits this week. Fantastic to have you with me. Today, I have Alex Tyson, who is an expert on infrared saunas. We're going to dive into the benefits of infrared saunas, what to look for, very interesting research around sauna use, in difference between steam saunas, and infrared saunas, so a really deep dive into this interesting space. Something that I love saunas, it's a big part of my regime, for sure my anti-aging and longevity regime.
Before we head over to the show, just to remind you to check out all our programs, what we do, my health consulting, if you're dealing with a health issue that you're wanting help with, or if you wanting to just have high performance in your sporting endeavors, please check out what we do at lisatamati.com and hit the work with us button. You'll see all our programs there, corporate speaking, motivational speaking, corporate wellness programs, epigenetics, DNA testing, run coaching, and health optimization coaching.
Make sure you check all that out, as well as our anti-aging supplement regime and range there. We have nmnbio.nz, where NMN (Bio) is a company founded by Dr Elena Seranova, who had been on the podcast a number of times, and that is one range. Then, we also have a range over on lisatamati.com on our shop there. So make sure you check out all those products if you're wanting the best. I went out into the world got the best stuff for my family and for me, and now, I get to share them with you. Now, we're going to head over to the show with Alex Tyson. Do enjoy.
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to Pushing the Limits. This week, I have a fantastic guest for you who is going to be sharing some fabulous insights about something called infrared saunas. Welcome to the show, Alex. Alex, lovely to have you and you are from Found Space. You're an expert on everything infrared saunas. So we're gonna dig into the science and the information about infrared saunas today.
Alex Tyson: Cool. That sounds great.
Lisa: I am stoked, and you're a podcaster as well. Tell us a little bit about your podcast.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. It's called Finding Space, and it's powerful health conversations, kind of cutting through the noise. There's a lot of noise in the health and wellness space. There's a lot of nonsense out there. I get people on, health professionals from around the world and scientists and things, and we just have real down to earth conversations about things we can do to take our health to a higher level.
Lisa: Absolutely. That's what I'm all about too, is sharing the latest and greatest in science and information so that we can sort of bio-hack our way to a healthier, happier future. A part of that is infrared sauna. So can you give us a little bit of a background story about you and your family and ow you got to be the CEO of Found Space and what you're doing there?
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. My parents started with saunas, infrared saunas, in, like, the mid 2000s. I was young then, right? I'm 29 now, I was like, really young, yeah, a baby, you could say. And they got involved, but my mom was always into natural health and wellness. My dad wasn't so much. He was like the sales guy, but Miriam was like, ‘Look, these things have some really powerful, powerful benefits from a physiological perspective, from mental perspective.’
So, they got involved, they started saunas, they originally were doing it for someone else. Then, they eventually said, ‘Well, look, we can offer the service and the quality of product that we want, by doing it through another supplier.’ So, they found their own supplier and started selling saunas, that was back in 2008. The business was called iHealth saunas. I got involved around like, 2014, 2015, I started working more. Eventually, in 2017, I took over the business from my parents, running the business. I was 24.
Alex: Yeah. Probably a bit ignorant to what was involved to run a business at that time. We were selling, maybe, 650 saunas a year. We had nine employees, but the thing that drove me through that was we weren't selling saunas. Lisa, and I say this all the time, we're helping people with their health.
Alex: We were getting stories back and people saying, ‘Hey, I used to wake up in the morning, so jammed up with inflammation that I couldn't get out of bed, right? Last week after having a sauna for six months, I hiked a small mountain.’ You know what I mean?
Stories like this. That was really like resonating with me on a really deep level. It was at a time when, in my early mid 20s, I was starting to discover all of the things my mom had been talking about over the years.
Lisa: Mum's always right.
Alex: Yeah. Mums have that wisdom. I was starting to really discovered that for myself, I was doing some juice fasting cause I had gastrointestinal issues. I was taking the load off, I was feeling better because of that. I started a morning routine, I was getting up, I was moving my body, I was exercising, I was sweating. I was getting my hydration, and I just started to feel better. I was cleaning up the foods I was putting in. Then, I was becoming really passionate about that, at the same time, their stories were coming in about sauna.
When I took over the business, although I may have been ignorant to what was required to run a business at the time, for me, it was like we're doing something that is actually having a positive impact in people's lives. People are living more healthfully because of us, and I want to be involved in that, and that's what we're doing. Fast forward to today, that's what we do with Found Space, that is our MO, like, how can we create a remarkable experience for our clients? How can we help them achieve high levels of health?
Lisa: Yeah, that's absolutely brilliant. It comes from a personal journey into the health and wellness space. Okay, so let's look at infrared saunas and why— let's back up a little bit and just talk about sauna in general, because there's a lot, a lot, a lot of research around sauna and its benefits, and a lot of that can be taken for infrared. Then, we can dive into the infrared side of things as well.
I've been a sauna fan for more decades, really, but I didn't really know— I started listening to someone called Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who has a fabulous podcast, scientist, and she goes on bangs on about saunas all the time, and I've learned a lot through her. There's a study that's been done in Finland. I don't know if you're aware of the study, but it's like 22,000 men or something, that they've followed for something like 20 years, unfortunately, no ladies, but that's typical of clinical research. They followed them for 20 something years, and the results have been absolutely astounding, in things like neurodegeneration and cognitive health, and the improvements that they've seen, as well as heart, cardiovascular, all of these aspects. Can you talk a little bit to that? Do you know that study at all?
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. There was a really interesting piece in there, I think it was like, likelihood of cardiovascular death was reduced by, I think it was like, 26%, or something like that, and likelihood of death from all cause mortality was reduced by 46, or 44. It was some big number. Yeah, from literally getting in a hot room, and sweating.
What was interesting with that study was that what they found, it was frequency-dependent. Yes, you will get benefit from using sauna and I say sauna entertain interchangeably here, because from a physiological perspective, steam sauna and infrared sauna do have some crossover, and then, there are some differences, which we can explore later. However, what they found was one session, just one session, has physiological benefits, which were measured for sometimes up to like over a week. However, it was when they were using it three or more times a week, that was when magic really started to happen. It was that consistency.
What's happening in a sauna, you might ask, well, in a steam sauna, yeah, it's a little bit different. In a steam sauna, you're in the hot room, the steam is in the air, and then the air is hitting the body. It has to be really, really hot, to transfer that heat onto the body. That’s why in a steam sauna or a hot rock sauna, where there's a bit less moisture, they can be anywhere from 60, 70, 80. I once sat in a sauna that was 100 degrees. That was a mission, talk about pushing the limits. I was pushing the limits to survive in that thing. It has to be really hot to transfer that heat on the body, and then what's happening? What's the body doing in that state? The body's saying, ‘Okay, I'm getting hot right now, so I'm going to start to activate my heat response in the body, I'm going to start to increase circulation, right?’
The blood vessels are going to dilate, vasodilation, right? We're going to start to carry more oxygen through the blood, right? If you sit in a sauna for more than 10 minutes, you will be breathing, you will notice that your breathe deepens. It can become faster when you're going a really intense session at the end, right? Because it's a cardiovascular workout on the body. Then, ultimately, the body says, ‘Okay, it's so hot, I really need to cool down so it's kind of start to pull hydration through the skin onto the surface of the skin’ and ‘Hey, we're sweating,’ and that's it. That's the crux of what's happening in a sauna.
That's why they’re such a beautiful tool because it isn't reliant on some specific mechanism that does this one thing in the body. It's a natural bodily process to sweat. For a lot of the population, they don't sweat a lot, right? It's a really important way to remove toxins from the body as we know, and just open up the biggest organ of the body, which is the skin. When we're in sauna, it's just getting the body working naturally to cool itself.
Lisa: That's really brilliant. I know like, our sweat has so many things in it, when it detoxes. It brings out things like cadmium and mercury, so heavy metal poisoning. If you've got issues with that this can be really, really, really beneficial. The cardiovascular, as you mentioned, I was talking to Bruce, your counterpart in Australia. Bruce Jones, we did an interview last week, and he was like, ‘I do my sauna in the morning after my training, and it extends my training period.’ I'm like, huh, I never thought of it that way. I'm usually doing it at the other end of the day to calm and relax, and the growth hormone and all of that sort of good stuff. I never thought about actually extending my training without having to extend my training, and so that was quite an interesting one. Tell me a little bit about that.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I published a book earlier in the year called Health Supercharged. It's about infrared sauna and the fundamentals of health and well-being. In there, I talked about this concept of work. Right now, when we're in the sauna, our body is working. It's no different. I just went for a bike ride this morning.
Alex: Very short one, actually, before I jumped in the sauna, I just did like a kilometer bike ride, just to warm up a bit and then jump in the sauna. Now, my body, from a cardiovascular standpoint, is working similarly, not exactly the same, but similarly to when I was on the bike, right? It's not uncommon for me to go for a quick 5k run in the morning, get back, jump straight in the sauna. Now, I'm getting that continual cardiovascular workout for a longer period than just the run. I'm not using my muscles, right? It's not exactly the same, but it's very analogous too. So what Bruce was talking about there is spot on. It's a way to continue that work without actually lifting weights or whatever it was that you were doing.
Lisa: Yeah. Sorry, someone's just banged on the door, and I'm like, who the heck's walking around my house? It's typical in the middle of a podcast, isn't it?
Alex: That’s the way it goes.
Lisa: This is home work life. Apologies for that. This is a brilliant way, because like, we don't want to overtrain, we don't want to, sometimes, we don't feel like training for another hour of running or whatever. This is a good way to extend that, keep that blood flow going, keep the sweating going, and all of that sort of jazz and extend and improve our fitness.
Alex: Exactly, yeah. When we're in there, in the sauna, after a workout, we’re not increasing that lactic build up. In fact, we're helping to reduce that so the recovery can be better.
Lisa: Oh, wow, that's a good point, too.
Alex: Yeah, I really like stacking a sauna just after a run. For me, I like to run so I don't bike or swim, I run. It's common for me to run, jump in the sauna, and then I find, I'm not as stiff. In fact, rarely kind of stiff or tight, sometimes, I still need to stretch out my calves, which you can do in the sauna if you have enough space. That, to me, just allows me to kind of be more consistent with whatever workouts I'm doing.
I also do a lot of bouldering, and surfing as well, quite active. The sauna is just a part of that during a week, and you don't have to use it, for as long, and this is the beauty of infrared sauna is that you can just use it for 20 minutes, right? Get the heat and keep the circulation moving, right, help with that recovery after a workout, and then jump out. It's not like a steam sauna, where that can take a long time to heat up, and it's a whole kind of pallava with the steam and everything like that. Now, this is just it's much easier, that's one of the benefits of the with infrared.
Lisa: With infrared, it is a lower temperature, but it goes into the body. Let's dive into a little bit, into the infrared side of things. What is infrared? What does it do differently from the standard sort of sauna?
Alex: Yeah, cool. I love this conversation. I'm gonna get a little bit sciencey.
Lisa: Go for it. We love science.
Alex: Because I did physics and things in uni, whatever, and I really liked it. Think of the sun, right? The sun emits every form of light, also known as energy, right? Every form and so these light waves or energy waves come in different forms. They come in gamma waves, they come in radio waves, they come in infrared waves, they come in visible light, that's the light that we can see with our eyes, right? It also comes in ultraviolet. This is the full spectrum of light which comes from the sun, right?
What an infrared sauna does is it has heated panels on the walls and those heated panels, in a good infrared sauna — caveat there — there’s heated panels in a good infrared sauna emit a very specific wavelength of infrared, right? Now, those who may have already heard of infrared, typically over the last 10 years, 15 years, it's been far infrared. Right now, far infrared sits between 7,000 to 10,000 nanometer wavelength of light, right? It's quite specific. If people can't see, but I've got my hands very wide here, if that's the full spectrum of light, infrared is just a tiny, tiny section, in the middle, right? It's very specific. It's real cool technology. That's far infrared, and then, there's near infrared as well, which goes down to just before red light, which is the first part of the visible spectrum that we see.
In an infrared sauna, we're just getting a very specific wavelength of light, a safe wavelength of light, which we otherwise get as part of what's coming from the sun. Right? Again, it's a natural way to warm the body. Right? It's not, it's not unnatural, it's not non ionizing, sorry, it's not ionizing radiation, like radio waves or something like that. That would be very bad. Yeah. It's very specific wavelength of light from the sun. It’s very safe.
Now, the reason that we use that wavelength is because that specific energy, that wavelength of light, interacts with our body in a way that that heat can penetrate down up to 40 mil. Right? I mean, some people say 45, some people say 35, it's around that point. The point is that it's deep, but it's not such an energetic wavelength that it is so small and energetic that it goes through the body, right, which is what an x ray does, that goes through the body, but it doesn't go through bone. That's how we get pictures of bones, right?
Lisa: Makes sense.
Alex: It's very specific. Now, because it goes that deep into the body, that's why the sauna can be used at a much lower temperature, much more comfortable temperature, right? We spoke about steam sauna before and we said, can be 80 degrees in there. I sat in 100 degrees sauna once I lasted like 10 minutes. It wasn't comfortable. Right? The common story is, people say, ;Alex, steam saunas are pretty uncomfortable, can't breathe in there. I can't last very long.’
Lisa: It's the lungs and stuff, too.
Alex: Yeah, you really have to push the limits, sometimes, for a long period of time. Now, there is benefit to doing that. Absolutely. With an infrared sauna, because that heat penetrates quite deep into the body, it feels like, although it's not what's happening, it feels like we’re being warmed from the inside. People say, ‘Man, I feel like I've been warm from the inside and an infrared sauna.’ Because it hits us so deeply, it feels like we've been warm from the inside, it can be a much lower temperature to activate that heat response system that I was talking about earlier. Right?
In a typical infrared sauna, we recommend between 45 and 55 degrees. It's a soft, gentle heat. This is where infrared saunas start to differ from steam sauna, because although you can go really hot in infrared, right, you can, saunas, you can go up to 70 degrees, which is great if you want to activate some human growth hormone and do some of that kind of more high stress work. Between 45 and 55 degrees, it's not putting us into a state of sympathetic nervous system like fight and flight, which can often happen when it's really hot for people.
Lisa: Oh, wow.
Alex: They go into survival. Right? Yeah. And I'm telling you.
Lisa: That’s why you don’t do it late at night?
Alex: Yeah, exactly. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Because it's very activating for the body. With the infrared sauna, you go in there, store at 50 degrees, half an hour, which is exactly what I just did before we got on this podcast. It is calming, right? You come out, you feel vigilant, you feel awake because when there's heat stress in the body, it releases norepinephrine into the brain, right? That similar chemical that happens when we go in ice bath, we feel awake, we feel vibrant, but we're calm. Right? There's a study, I can't [recall] who did the study, but there's a study showing that infrared sauna activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
Lisa: Wow. Which is a massive thing.
Alex: It's huge, right? All of a sudden, now, we're not just talking about the benefits of heat stress, we're talking about the benefits of 30 minutes of peace and quiet, where you come out in parasympathetic nervous system state, and you’re calm.
Lisa: That alone are worth, well, getting in there.
Alex: Right. That's the magic of infrared sauna right there, right. So it can calm us down, but also can leave us feeling awake and vigilant.
Lisa: You can do that quite late at night without disrupting your sleep because like with sauna, if you have it too late at night, and it's too hot, then you actually can, sometimes, you'll feel relaxed if you haven't gone too hard. But if you've gone too hard, it will be actually activating. It's like you don't do an interval training session at nine o'clock at night and then try to go to sleep because you've got all this adrenaline and norepinephrine and all that sort of jazz running around your body and it's just gonna disrupt your sleep. At these lower levels, it's actually getting you into a parasympathetic nervous system state.
Alex: Spot on. Exactly. One thing that we do at Found Space, which I'm really big on, I'm really big on education in general, right? Because we don't know what we don't know, and chances are, we have some ritual or routine in our life that doesn't serve us. I'm really big on that.
When it comes to sauna, what I'm really big on is educating people on how to use infrared sauna to what they want to get out of it, because there's different ways to use it, depending on what you want to achieve. Right? What you said just there is really insightful because commonly what happens is people start to use sauna, they get excited, they've heard about human growth hormone.
Alex: They've heard about all the benefits, right? ‘Oh, yeah. I'm gonna live longer.’ ‘I'm not gonna get outside. It’s great.’ They go in the sauna, and they crank it up. Yeah, they put it on hot. Yeah, I am, too. Honestly, I’ve done…
Lisa: Go hard or go home.
Alex: Yeah. They go really, really hot, and for as long as they can, and they come out and their body’s whacked, and they're very stimulated. What happens is that people come to us and they say, ‘we heard these were good for sleep, but I'm ain’t sleeping well.’ We say, ‘okay, awesome. We can work on that, so tell me about how you’re using the sauna.’ They go, ‘oh, well, I'm using it as hard as I can for 45 minutes in the evening, because I want to have a good sleep.’
Alex: There's a time and place for that, and in the evening isn't the best time and place. It's analogous to, we talked about going for a run or going for a bike ride, right? Would you go for a 10k run in the evening, and then get home and then just have a quick shower and go straight to bed?
Lisa: No, no.
Alex: You wouldn't, right? That would be bad. It's the same thing with the sauna. If you want to use a sauna for sleep, which they are amazing for, there's two ways you can do it. You can do that really hot session in the morning, right? You'll still feel a beautiful sleep that evening, or you can use the sauna in the evening, right? You can use it at a lower temperature, right? I talk about finding the baseline sauna session. What is the sauna session that is just easy? You can do for 30 to 45 minutes. You don't feel like you really have to work. You're not looking at the time counting down, how long is left, find that baseline session. It's a little different for everyone, right?
Lisa, you're fit. So your baseline session, you might be in there at, say, 53 degrees, you can do that all day long, right? That's your baseline. Now, for asleep sauna session in the evening, turn it down a bit, right? Let's go five degrees less, and let's go a little bit longer, so it's more calming. It's that slow, like, let's take the time to get the heat in there. We don't have to be breaking a sweat instantly, right? Let's just go a little bit longer in there, so we're really getting that warmth, deep into the body as deep as we can, 45 minutes. I'd also recommend a red color light — helps balance our circadian rhythm, tells the brain, ‘it’s the end of the day. Time to relax.’ Just calm everything down. And when we get out of the sauna, let's just have a lukewarm shower. Let's not do cold showers in the evening.
Lisa: I’m laughing because that's what I do.
Alex: That's all right. There's nothing wrong with that, but when we're talking about, when we're trying to optimize for sleep, it's like we can use the sauna differently. Right, calm everything down, and then, when we get out of the sauna, lukewarm shower, don't have 1000 lights on in the house. Take it easy, maybe have a sip of chamomile tea before bed and just slowly slip in and melt away into the evening. That's how we would use the sauna for sleep, very differently to if we're using it in the morning.
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Alex: Very difficult for using in the morning. And we wanted to…
Lisa: There’s really nuance to this conversation as what I'm getting out of it and using it for different goals, because you did mention the human growth hormone. There is studies that have come out, and I think these were with normal saunas again, but sort of the steam sauna. Using the sauna three days in a row, increased the production of human growth hormone, something like 1600%, and it's like, ‘whoa, that is massive’. I'm 53 going on 54. I want to maintain my human growth hormone and a natural state not bloody taking it synthetically or anything like that, so anything that's going to increase my human growth hormone, which is really anti-aging and beneficial, when it comes naturally like that, is something that's on my radar. Does the infrared sauna do that as well? Is it more at the higher temperatures that you get the human growth hormone?
Alex: It is at the higher temperatures. So there was a study again out of Finland, and this study was done around 74 degrees.
Alex: Okay. Now, infrared saunas typically don't go that hot, our saunas go to 70 degrees. There are ways to make it a little bit hotter as a caveat if you really wanted to. However, because the heat is penetrating more deeply, 70 degrees for me is still really good. I still believe that that's activating human growth hormone. I can't pull out an article to prove that reason being is as hard enough to get the studies done in Finland on steam sauna, which are much more widely used. It just hasn't been done yet. Hopefully, one day, we are funding at Found Space and we can do that work.
Lisa: It'd be great because this is one of my bugbears with the whole clinical studies is that only things that make heaps of money get studied, so things like what you see in the background, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which I'm a huge proponent of and so my mom's life twice, just just gets completely ignored. Well, not completely, there are people that have done studies, but they have to fight like shit to get the studies done. This is where a lot of the things that could be really helping us don't get the clinical research that they would otherwise get, because there's no billion dollar price tags on the end of it because they can’t sell a drug. That's, unffortunately, just the way the system is, so understand that, but then probably, if we look at the mechanism of action of what's going on, it would be plausible, the human growth hormone would be released as well?
Alex: Yeah, exactly right, and then you can probably talk more to this than I can, but then it's just a way to stack it. What are the other things that we can do to optimize human growth hormone in the morning? For me, like, I'm a big proponent of fasting. I've done a lot of extended fasts myself, and intimate and fast every day, like it's just a normal thing. There's some science showing human growth hormone is really elevated in a fasted state too, and similar with weight resistance training, right? For me, it's like, okay, well, how can I, it's pretty simple, fast, like I'd eat in the morning, and then do a weight resistance exercise training, and then jump in the sauna, really hot, for 20 to 30 minutes. That, to me is like a really nice stack to really get human growth hormone activated.
Lisa: I love that approach. I love that whole multifaceted approach, because in everything that I do, when I'm working with people or whatever, there is the problem in the middle, and there's a 10,000 ways that we're going to attack it, and that could be a combination of food and fasting and hyperbaric and saunas and exercise and time and nature and meditation, all these things are valid pieces of the puzzle. There's never one thing that you take this one pebble, and you're gonna be fixed for life. It doesn’t work like that.
Alex: Totally, and it's no different with sauna, it's no different with fasting, whatever that might be. There has to be a multipronged approach. We need to look at the fundamentals of health and well being and see if we can tackle it through all of those. Right? We say the same thing to our customers. Yes, sauna is amazing, like, it is powerful, right, and it addresses many fundamentals within the one experience. Sure. However, if you continue to put the wrong foods in or not exercise right or live in a stress environment, like sauna will help but it's not going to make a massive difference. We need to, it's part of a bigger approach, to overall well-being.
Lisa: Yeah, and that's what I love about you and your approach and the way that you've gone, yeah, it's a company that's selling a product but it's a company that's recognizing that, it's like with me, I sell supplements and I have programs and yes, I do, whatever. At the basis of it, I want people to get well and have long, healthy lives, and I'm passionate about that, because I've experienced shit in my family that I don't want other people to go through. I'm very passionate about helping people be in that preventative space, which I think in their current medical model, we don't do well.
We're very good at the band aid approach, we're very good at broken bones and surgeries and things. When it comes to this type of conversation, there's a complete lack of understanding about anything around the whole nutrition and these complimentary things that we can be doing to support our health, and I think their whole mentality of, like you're approaching it, we're here to help our customers, our clients, our people get healthier, live longer, live healthier, better lives. Because you know that at the end of the day, that's going to benefit everybody, all the way around, and it's a nice space to be in, isn't it?
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. It certainly feels good. Like we said, at the start, or on our podcast called Finding Space. If we have someone on that, if I have a guest on, right, and I may not completely be like an advocate for they talking about, or I might really be, but we have people on that know what they're talking about, right? And are experts in their field. Now, if someone just listened to an episode that I did, and they get something from that episode, and that's the only interaction they have with Found Space, and they go away, and it changes their life, even in a small way. I'm happy, right?
I don't mind if I never sell them a sauna, or they never buy a water filter from us, or they never engage with anything else, like that's it because they got what they needed from us, and that's what it's about talking more to your point there.
If I could tell a quick story, how did I become so proactive with my health because I grew up in this business. There’s always sick people coming through the door, always. It was very irregular back, you know, 10, 15 years ago to have someone coming to look at a sauna who was wanting to get human growth hormone. It just wasn't a thing back then. We were dealing with people who had worked on a farm for 30 years and had so much toxicity in a body that they couldn't think straight, and that when they used sauna, their sweat was orange. We were dealing with people who, whatever they were doing in their lifestyle, led to chronic inflammatory conditions, arthritis, fibromyalgia. There's four and a half million Aussies in Australia, currently diagnosed with arthritis alone, debilitating illnesses.
They were coming to us because they wanted to be, they wanted something to help. So I got to see this, time and time again, people coming, really looking for help because they needed it. Right? At the same time, part of my journey has been dealing with my dad who ended up being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, right? Now, Dad was someone, as I said, Mom was the natural health person, Dad was not much.
Lisa: Same in my family.
Alex: Right? It's common, it's common. I observed the lifestyle he lived, and the lifestyle he lived was stressful, right? His business was his life. He was chronically stressed. He drank regularly, one to two glasses of wine a night and some more on the weekends. He didn't eat well, right? Because he was doing those three things, he didn't sleep well. The stress and the booze was not allowing him to get into deep sleep, into REM sleep, right? Now, chronic alcohol consumption, chronic poor sleep and chronic stress, all have been very well linked and documented to be linked with Alzheimer's.
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely.
Alex: He was diagnosed, actually, in the end of 2016. Right, and now he's in a really bad way. He can't speak anymore. It's a real shame, and going to spend time with him and going to meet other people who are in a similar place is really, can I swear, really fucking motivating to do something from my health, but also share the message, right, because chronic drinking is still a thing in Australia and dealing in, living in a stressed environment is still a thing. Not putting the emphasis on the good foods that we put in the body and the importance of sleep, and our hydration and these things that we're talking about today.
These things, if we put focus there and we prioritize them, we can avoid going down an unhealthy track, whether that's Alzheimer's or it might be diabetes, or it might be cardiovascular disease, whatever it might be, there's a long list unfortunately. That's where we can head if we're not putting these things as a priority, and so, talking to someone like yourself, just hearing what you're saying, I love it because it's totally on point and these are the conversations we need to be having.
My message to everyone is don't wait until something like that will happen, right? I've been lucky to be able to witness unhealthy people for a long time, right? Most people don't get to see that. They just know a few people who've maybe passed away from cancer or something, but it's not directly affecting them in their life, or if it is, it's one off. Often it's not enough, unfortunately, the way that the human psyche works, we need a lot of repetition of these before we take action.
Lisa: Yeah, thanks for sharing their very personal story, because my listeners know my story with my mum, who was morbidly obese, and she was always focused on her kids and looking after every other bugger and not looking after herself and had an aneurysm and ended up… I've been digging our way out of the ship for the last six years, and bringing her back from a baby to being a fully functioning person, again, thanks to this multi-pronged approach. This is why I do what I do.
Then, unfortunately, going through another journey was my dad, who passed away, just near on two years ago, and my dad was, he smoked, and he ate pies and fish and chips every day. He was fit, he was outside, he was doing things all day, every day, and that was a saving grace, and he got to 81 then like just beating all the odds, until he didn't. If I can prevent people going through those experiences, and we can't, you and I aren't God, and we can't prevent everything happening. My mum since developed cancer, and then we were told she was going to die from that, and then, I went the whole metabolic approach to cancer. It took me 12 weeks of hard out, hard out, and tumors were gone. Now, we're like 10 months later, and there's no sign of the tumors there, and that's on a person who they didn't think we'd make Christmas last year, and was someone who had massive brain damage previously and been through so much already.
I'm a fighter, and I'm someone who does not just take the first doctor's word for it that comes along, because otherwise, my mum would have been long gone. I take this very multi pronged approach to everything I do, and persistent. I have a book out called Relentless, and it is called Relentless for a reason, because I am every day, my whole structure of my day is, in this world, we do it early in the morning, Alex, because I have to get my mum and she has to go to training. That's my priority, she has to do certain things at certain times of the day, and that's my priority. This drives the passion to be able to share this information, and I can see that comes through with you as well.
Your dad, like, we just don't understand all these things, and when your dad and my dad were growing up, and my dad had been a lot older than yours, but they just, we didn't know any of this stuff. We are lucky that we get to talk to you, and I especially we get to talk to top scientists, top researchers get the latest, greatest information that no other human in the history has had access to this information. We are sharing this bloody precious resource of information through our interviews and what we do, and hopefully, it's spreading, it's a ground roots movement.
I'm no Dave Asprey and we're not billionaires, and we can’t get the message out there a lot that we'd like to, but one by one, we can educate, and for you, it's infrared sauna, and being a part of that whole wellness journey with your clients. I think that's just absolutely brilliant. Thanks for sharing that personal story, because I know it's not, it's not easy. For you to take over the company at such a young age, you must be a pretty driven, amazing person. I didn't know which way was up at 29, to be honest. You were 24 when you took it over, it's just like, oh, I couldn't have run a company of the size you have. How has that been, from a mentor perspective and dealing also with your dad situation? How did you do that, just from a high performance sort of perspective? How did you do that?
Alex: Yeah. For me, I think it really came back to it, just came back to belief. I just believed in what we're doing so wholeheartedly and I cared. Like you said, I was pretty fucking relentless too. At that time, there just wasn't an option other than to do that, or not to do that, sorry, but to to make it work, and I had a vision and have a vision and we're creating that vision right from the start. That was there and it was just inside me.
I didn't know when I was younger, I went out and I did the whole clubbing and all that sort of stuff, the usual kind of stuff. Who the hell am I? What am I doing on this planet? It was just never for me, I don't know. There was always something inside me that knew that there were bigger things that I wanted to create and manifest in this world. It was just hard work that one thing, one of many things that my dad really taught me was work hard, and especially for those first few years, even up till now really, that's my MO. If something's gone wrong, I'll get my hands dirty, we have a team of just under 20 full time now, and then we have a bunch more contractors around Australia and New Zealand.
Even now, I'll get my hands dirty, if I have to, in fact, I like doing that. That's just been how I've gone about it, and wanting to provide a good experience for our customers and a great quality product and really help get this message out there in whatever way that we can. What was it? Yeah, it was hard at times, most certainly, and it's been big, there's been big things happen with dad and going through business, and who knows what the next 12, 24 months are going to throw at us.
Lisa: COVID in the middle.
Alex: Yeah, COVID in the middle, and whatever's coming up next. I've just had that belief, and there's been those really dark, deep moments when things aren't going right. There's just this voice in there. It's like, ‘Alex, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it.’ Sometimes, I really have to channel that, and it's no different to running a half marathon or something like that, you get to a point where you're in there, and you're like, 15K's deep, and you're like, ‘I don't know if I can do this. I don't know.’ That voice, and it's like, ‘Yeah, you can.’
Lisa: Hang around with me too long, you'll end up running 100 miles and stuff.
Alex: Yeah. I got nothing on your ultras, maybe one day.
Lisa: I don't recommend it. Stick to what you're doing, it's probably healthier. Running 100 miles, those types of things are a great achievements, when you look back and you go, well, I did that, I ticked that box. As far as longevity and health is concerned, not the way forward for me anymore. You know. You learn great things when you push yourself physically, but for me now, at my age, it's more about longevity and anti-aging and being functionally fit, and that looks different now for me than what I was doing. I'm glad I've done lots of cool, cool stuff along the way.
Alex: Yeah, I think there's really something in that, especially with physical exercise and going to the extremes. When you go through something like that, there's this belief that comes with it, which is unquestionable. For me, it was a couple half marathons. After running two half marathons, I had that thought of like, I don't know if running double that distance is the best thing for me.
Lisa: Serves my purpose a lot.
Alex: Yeah. However, like going through that, if I can do that, I can do anything. I've done a really long water fast before. I'm like, ‘Man, if I can do 30 days on water alone.’
Lisa: You’re kidding?
Alex: Yeah, no, it was pretty extreme, but if I can do that, I can do anything. Although it might be extreme, and may not be the best thing, whether it's running an ultra or doing really long fast, whatever that might be, there is a belief that comes with that.
Lisa: Yeah, and you've learned things from it. I'll take my hat off to I've never done that, and that takes massive. I'd rather run across the Sahara than go without food for 30 days.
Alex: It felt like running across the Sahara.
Lisa: You, obviously, understand some recent cells of autophagy and that regulating all those things and detoxing, and the benefits of it. You've just had the actual discipline to do it for that long and I haven't. I still love my food too much. I'm hearing repeatedly on my podcast and all these top doctors and scientists, intermittent fasting and fasting and fasting, and I'm like, ‘oh geez. It must be right.’ I do do intermittent fasting, but I certainly haven't managed to do the super long stuff. I'm working on myself. I’m a work in progress.
Alex: Aren’t we all?
Lisa: Just coming back to the infrared sauna, your saunas have certain light frequencies, we've got near infrared and infrared and then we've got the heat aspect. Now, I've been guilty of this and I didn't know anything about infrared saunas. I went online I bought the first infrared sauna that I could find a cheap infrared. Now, I’m like, oh. What is the difference between a quality product and a not quality product? What are the things that we need to be aware of whether they're buying from you or somewhere else? Doesn't matter, but what things do we need to be?
Alex: Yeah, great question. First thing first is with a not great quality product, it can't be guaranteed that the heaters are emitting infrared, right? Having a wavelength report from the company is important, but you want to know that you're getting between, if you're looking at far infrared, you want to know you're getting between 7,000 to 10,000 nanometers, also known as seven to 10 microns, that's the far infrared wavelength. Right? A cheap sauna, they won't be able to give you that.
Second thing is you want to check that the EMF levels are low, electromagnetic fields. There's some good companies out there, including ourselves, where the EMF is really low, like one, two milligauss, these kinds of things, it's really nice, that's really important. The third thing is make sure that they're certified, they're electrically certified to your region, whether that's in Australia and New Zealand, or America, wherever that is. Make sure there's a certification there because it is an electrical product, and it's going in your house. You want to make sure it's safe. Those are like the kind of fundamental like, no questions asked, the sauna that you get should have those things. Right?
It comes down to the quality of the timbers, make sure that they're kiln dried for a period of time. Typically saunas are hemlock, Canadian hemlock, or there's Canadian cedar, there's also some Aspen, that's a bit more expensive. There's basswood as well, so these are common timbers. Make sure that it's a good quality like first grade timber that's used. Going like have a look at the sauna, if you can, get an idea of the craftsmanship. At the end of the day, a sauna is or can be a beautiful piece of furniture, wherever you're going to put it. Now, there's a lot of really badly made and ugly saunas out there, right? It's something that you're going to put somewhere, so you want it to look nice, but you also want it to be good quality.
Go and feel it, like grab the walls, give it a shake. That'll give you a really good idea as to how well it's made, right? Are they using really thin timbers or are they using thick, sturdy timbers, right? These are important because we're going to be getting in there, we're going to be sweating, we're going to be moving about. You want it to be solid. There's nothing worse, and I sat in some pretty cheap saunas in my time, there's nothing worse than sitting in there and it kind of moves around, like the heaters flex or something like what's going on here? Build quality is important.
The sauna should last you 10 to 15 years. Right? A $1,500 sauna online won't. Check about, like, check their reviews and find out what their service is like. Right? Because there's no moving parts, that saunas don't need to be regularly serviced. However, it's a product, you're going to have for 10 to 15 years. Now, it's no different to something like a washing machine, right? You want to have that for a long time, but one day, you're probably going to need to get it serviced in one way, shape, or form. Make sure that there's that backup there with the company, make sure they've been around for a long time, check their reviews, see what people are saying about them because it's important.
Because what will happen is you'll fall in love with your sauna. Right? It’s really, really cool and they're really powerful, and you will love it, and then, one day it'll stop working. You'll go and try and talk to that company and they don't exist anymore, or they don't have a service person in your area. Then, you go months sometimes without having a sauna fixed, right? That's why for us, Found Space, we have service people in every major city where we are, which is Australia and New Zealand, because it's important that if the sauna stops working for whatever reason, or it needs a little tweak here or there, we can go out there and get that sauna working for them really quickly.
I'll give you a quick story on that during COVID, I had a customer that was making a bit of a fuss, it seemed like, to us right? It was just because one of the lights in the sauna wasn't working, right? We couldn't get down there because of what was going on with COVID and everything, and she started being a bit, she wasn't very happy with us for a period of time. I ended up going out personally to fix it once we could, because I was like, man, what's going on here like this, not only this doesn't normally become a problem, but it really was. I went out and I just wanted to like get to know this person and see what was happening. She said to me, ‘Alex, she said during COVID, my life fell apart, couldn't work anymore, couldn't see anyone and your sauna was so amazing. I loved it so much. It was the only thing in my life that was working for me. Nothing else was going my way. Then, that bloody light broke. My whole life was falling apart.’
Lisa: There's always a backstory.
Alex: Yeah, that's right. It was a real insight that those things are important, and the sauna does become a really valuable part of our life. I really miss my sauna if I'm away, and I can't sauna where I am. That's a common thing that we hear from people. It's important that whatever sauna company you go with, can look after you down the track, whether that's two years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. That's a really an important piece.
Then lastly, as well, as we've kind of spoken about Found Space. Now, I'm just plugging Found Space now, but it's really important for us to educate our clients on some of the things we've been talking about today, Lisa. So what we find is that people start using sauna, they start feeling great, they start feeling the benefits, and then they want to do something else in their lifestyle, to take their health to another level, right. That's why we provide education, online tutorials, that's why we do our podcasts, that's why we give clients the book on how to use sauna for pain relief, recovery, sleep, detox, these kind of things, because we want people to get really inspired and learn more about sauna and learn more about how they can move their body differently, or how they can put different nutrition in their body, or how they can hydrate better, or whatever it might be.
We want people to be inspired and continue on that journey because the sauna is a real powerful catalyst for people. Then, it's about building the rituals into our life to really take our health to a higher level, so that, for me, is really important. Other sauna companies don't seem to think that, maybe, they're missing the point. I think they are. For me, that's a really important piece because that kind of continues us on this journey, and that's what we do at Found Space really well.
Lisa: Yeah, no, absolutely brilliant. Alex, you've been absolutely wonderful. Thanks for sharing your insights, your personal story, your background as to why and what and what infrared does and why we need to be adding this way possible to our lives. You've been absolutely fantastic. I'm going to put all the links down below but just tell everybody where they can find you and Found Space?
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. You can find us at foundspace.co.nz, or you can find us on Instagram at foundspace, oh, sorry, found__space. If you're in Australia, you can find us at foundspace.com.au. It's the same Instagram handle, and you can find me on Instagram at Alex Tyson the number 37, @alextyson37. If you want to follow me, you'll see lots of photos of fruit and nature. If that's what you're into, you can follow me.
Lisa: Oh, I’m going to give you a follow
Alex: Yeah, that's about it. You'll be able to find us in all those places. I also have a book called Health Supercharged how to take your health to high level with infrared sauna and health fundamentals, so if you want to check that out, you can buy it on Amazon.
Lisa: Okay, we'll put all those links down below. Alex, thank you very much for your time today, really, really appreciate it.
Alex: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.
That’s it this week for Pushing The Limits. Be sure to rate, review and share with your friends and head over and visit Lisa and her team at lisatamati.com.