The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children in the U.S. have autism.[i] As many believe that there are environmental components to many neurological and behavioral health conditions, the detoxification benefits of infrared sauna use are often sought after by both parents and health care providers of children on the spectrum[ii].
Heavy Metal Detoxification
Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, copper, and cadmium have been identified in many children on the autism spectrum. These heavy metals are known to negatively affect the metabolic detoxification pathways in the body and impair its ability to excrete these toxins.[iii] These metals are described as heavy because they hang around in the body, especially hiding out in adipose tissue (fat cells). They are difficult to get rid of, making them like fat-soluble toxins. Body fat tries to protect the organs by trapping certain substances inside, including some metals, which cause them to linger.[iv] The body naturally tries to rid itself of toxins, at the cellular level, through the liver and kidneys as waste. When the body is unable to naturally detox these heavy metals, there can be a disconnect in normal day to day functions.
Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine physician states, “The main benefits of infrared saunas and why I recommend them to my patients are to detox, reduce inflammation, and relieve stress to help balance hormones. Since sweating is your body’s natural way to eliminate toxins it is essential when trying to detox from heavy metals. Infrared saunas help you eliminate more toxins than a traditional.”[v]
Infrared saunas emit far infrared (FIR) energy. Far infrared has the longest wavelength and reaches deeper into the body where toxins are stored. When the FIR reaches the deep tissue, it agitates the cells, causing them to release toxins, resulting in a deep detoxifying sweat[vi].
Acoustic Resonance Therapy (A.R.T.) and Infrared Heat Aid Self-Soothing
There are many benefits to music therapy. From a child’s perspective, music is fun, soothing, and non-threatening. It recruits both hemispheres of the brain to help stabilize thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.[vii]
We’ve learned from families who have children within the autism spectrum that Acoustic Resonance Therapy (A.R.T.) makes a relaxing impact on the entire family. A.R.T. combines sound and vibration to balance the brain waves and bring the body to an even deeper state of relaxation. A.R.T. has been shown to significantly reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance creativity, communication and problem-solving capabilities with children on the spectrum[viii].
ºdegree Wellness offers an A.R.T. option from SO Sound® Solutions which combines the healing effects of sound and vibration to harmonize all systems of the body, bringing children into a deeper state of relaxation. Attached at specific locations in the sauna, the system uses amplified sound waves to create therapeutic vibrations throughout the sauna.[ix]
While children sit in the healing infrared sauna, they can choose from a variety of pre-loaded relaxing music or listen to their favorite song via the auxiliary port. Not only will they benefit from relaxing, children are learning how to self-sooth as they feel the music vibrate throughout their body.
Reduce Insomnia and other Sleep Related Issues
Roughly half of all children with autism suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia. Trouble sleeping can worsen behaviors and lead to other developmental and health issues[x].
Many children suffer from aching muscles due to the build up of lactic acid within their muscle joints. Lactic acid commonly builds up in muscles after a workout, or intense playing. But for some children, lactic acid is not reabsorbed into the body causing the feeling of “creepy crawlies” or the need for their muscles to be massaged[xi]. This discomfort makes it hard for some children to relax and prepare for their nighttime routines. Far infrared increases blood circulation throughout a their bodies, reducing the build up of lactic acid in their joints. Furthermore, FIR provides a soothing, gentle heat and a calming environment to reduce stimuli and induce relaxation for better sleep.
What is the Recommended Time for Children in Infrared Saunas?
The core body temperature of children rises much faster than adults because their metabolism is higher. Start out low and slow. Even at a low temperature, your child is still receiving far infrared. A general rule of thumb is 1-2 minutes of sauna time for every year of your child. For example, 6 years old = 6-12 minutes of sauna time. And your child should always be accompanied by an adult[xii].
It is important to hydrate before and after each sauna session[xiii] and replenish the moisture lost through detoxification. While it is common for people to sweat during sessions, not everyone sweats. Since children start out with lower minutes, when their bodies start to glisten and glow, they are actively detoxing.
Aiming to Provide Hope and Holistic Therapies for Those within the Autism Spectrum
While there’s no cure for autism, those on the autism spectrum can still live happy and fulfilling lives by finding methods that help to cope with anxiety, sensory issues, sleeping disorders and other related challenges. Infrared saunas offer therapeutic value for the child and the whole family.
- [i] Wright, J. (2017, March 2). https://www.scientificamerican.com. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-real-reasons-autism-rates-are-up-in-the-u-s/
- [ii] Sunlighten. (2018, April 18). Infrared Sauna Therapy for Autistic Children. Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/infrared-sauna-therapy-for-autistic-children/
- [iii] Harrison, J. (2013, February 13). https://www.thenhf.com. Retrieved from https://www.thenhf.com/it/?view=article&id=3836:39can-far-infrared-sauna-therapy-benefit-individuals-on-the-autism-spectrum
- [iv] https://draxe.com. (2018, March 20). Retrieved from Dangers of Heavy Metals & How to Do a Heavy Metal Detox: https://draxe.com/heavy-metal-detox/
- [v] Q&A with Dr. Will Cole: Infrared Sauna Therapy & Autism (2017, March 1). Retrieved from http://www.generationrescue.org/latest-news/qa-with-dr-will-cole-infrared-sauna-therapy-autism/
- [vi] Far Infrared. (2018, March 26). Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/why-sunlighten/full-spectrum-heating-technology/
- [vii] Music Therapy. (March, 21 2018). Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/alternative-therapies-for-children-with-autism/
- [vii] Zack, C. (2018, March 26). Sunlighten Provides Relief for the Whole Family. Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/sunlighten-aims-to-provide-hope-and-holistic-therapies-for-those-with-autism/
- [ix] Acoustic Resonance Therapy from So Sound. (2018, March 20). Retrieved from https://www.sunlightendealers.com/acoustic-resonance-therapy/
- [x] Sunlighten. (2018, March 26). Alternative Therapies for Children with Autism. Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/alternative-therapies-for-children-with-autism/
- [xi] Sunlighten. (2018, March 26). Infrared Sauna Therapy for Autistic Children. Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/infrared-sauna-therapy-for-autistic-children/
- [xii]Sunlighten. (2018, March 26). Are children allowed to use the sauna? What should I consider with this? Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/faq/children-allowed-use-sauna-consider/
- [xiii] Sunligthen. (2018, March 26). Infrared Sauna Therapy for Autistic Children. Retrieved from https://www.sunlighten.com/blogs/infrared-sauna-therapy-for-autistic-children/