We receive regular calls and inquiries from parents asking about the use of infrared sauna for children, especially those on the autism spectrum. 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.
Dr. Rachel West, a long-time partner of Sunlighten and supporter of our mission to empower wellness, is nationally regarded for her work with children who have attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders including Asperger’s syndrome. Dr. West treats patients with childhood autism nationwide and is recognized as a certified Defeat Autism Now! Practitioner. She combines many therapies and modalities together with diet and nutrition—and she frequently uses infrared sauna as part of her healthy child programs.
Dr. West considers viruses, heavy metals, preservatives and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from plastics as top environmental influences. In a recent magazine article, she notes:
“And special-needs kids invariably benefit when their body’s elimination pathways are working optimally. Indeed, some of the most recent research suggests that the environment plays a powerful role in causing or exacerbating these health challenges that involve behavioral, neurological and physical symptoms.”
She feels strongly that Sunlighten™ infrared sauna therapy is a non-toxic, no side-effect way of ridding the body of harmful pollutants, especially heavy metals.
“The nice thing is that far infrared actually penetrates at cellular levels so it will help clean out organ tissues and disconnect cells from toxins that may be blocking pathways and at very low heat, which is safe for children.”
Other research supports the position that these environmental influences have some correlation with social and neurological development. For example, in a 2010 paper in the journal Neuro-Toxicology, Dr. Amir Miodovnik, a pediatrician at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his colleagues showed that children who had been exposed to high levels of phthalates prenatally were more likely to show social impairments at seven to nine years of age.
Dr. West also finds the infrared sauna helpful for kids to relax.
More from Dr. West:
“The lactic acid [that builds up in kids’ muscles] makes kids feel like they want a massage, and the saunas feel great on their joints and muscles,” she says. “And keep in mind it isn’t the heat that counts, but the penetration and the benefits of infrared sauna that can occur at low heat. We see oxygenation of cells and better sleep,” she says. “Since sauna restores and calms the nervous system and heat is nurturing, many parents have their kids take a sauna in preparation for bedtime or before their evening bath or shower.”
Remember, the infrared sauna is used with an entire health program. Dr. West says taking a sauna three times a week, for 20 minutes to start, is a good regimen for kids.
Dr. West uses Sunlighten saunas with children young as 3 but Sunlighten recommends that you consult your child’s physician before beginning infrared sauna therapy.
The core body temperature of children rises much faster than adults. This occurs due to a higher metabolic rate per body mass, limited circulatory adaptation to increased cardiac demands and the inability to regulate body temperature by sweating. When using your sauna with a child, operate at a lower temperature and for no more than 15 minutes at a time. A general rule of thumb is 1 minute inside your sauna per year of age for the child, but always accompanied by an adult. And remember to keep you and your children hydrated, even if you don’t see them sweating.
Feel free to call a Sunlighten representative at 877-292-0020, if you have any questions about infrared heat and detoxification.