Joy Hussain

Sauna Bathing & Frequent Sweating in Health & Wellness

Joy Hussain

Dr Hussain is a medical doctor, acupuncturist, remote medicine specialist and mum based in Brisbane who is conducting her PhD on the impact of sauna bathing and frequent sweating on health and wellness. Sweat is one of the least studied human secretions and is incredibly complex. There are different types of sweat glands around the body that secrete pheromones, lipids and toxic chemicals through different processes, yet we don’t fully understand these processes or how sweat varies with different sweat induction methods such as exercise, infra-red and dry saunas, and/or using pilocarpine and iontophoresis.

Joy has already had published an extensive review of sweat collection methodologies for metabolomics research that aimed to answer the question: What is the most appropriate way to collect sweat for metabolomics analysis? Joy is now building on this with laboratory-based research investigating the properties of sweat produced by different sweat collection methods. This research aims to answer the question: How does sweat content differ across anatomical sites and with different induction methods? To answer these questions, Joy will conduct cutting-edge sweat analysis in conjunction with Professor Jochen Mueller and his team at the National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox), at the University of Queensland. This research will involve analysing sweat using a variety of sophisticated laboratory methods. Joy will also work with Dr Nitin Mantri at the RMIT University metagenomics lab to investigate how sweat and skin surface microbial activity varies over different regions of the body. This research will further our knowledge of the ‘body biome’ and aims to answer the question: What is the relationship between sweat glands and sweat metabolites and skin bacterial activity?

Joy not only aims to advance knowledge of sweat, as a medical practitioner Joy is also exploring the health impacts of sauna bathing. This aspect of her research has commenced with a Global Sauna Survey, which aims to answer the question: What are the characteristics, motivations and experiences of sauna bathers? This survey, which is currently liveis open for anyone over 18 who uses a sauna to share their data. Joy will also conduct clinical research that aims to answer the question: What are the short-term cardiovascular, cognitive and metabolic effects of sauna bathing? To answer this, Joy will be using advanced transcriptomic and metabolomics analysis of blood, sweat and urine before-and-after sauna bathing in various populations.

Joy’s projects are still looking for additional collaborators and funding to cover the costs of the sweat analysis, transcriptomics and metabolomics work.