Dark side of infrared sauna market

And, actually, the dark side of infrared sauna market is the dark side of all medicine. When a doctor starts to care about money more that about patients, ugly and dangerous things can happen. In her post, Autism Diva writes about malpractice of using a sauna for treatment of autistic child. One version of autism cause (which, as far as I can tell is still a mystery) is a large amount of toxins, especially mercury, in a patient’s body, so sauna sessions were supposed to detoxify the child.

Autism Diva gives as an example a suit against a doctor who harmed autistic children with sauna among other treatments. Details of this suit are really scary:

20. The T family wrote to Dr. Edelson that they could not immediately afford to pay for the Gamma Globulin treatment, and that they would like to begin treatment with the Defendants without it, since such treatment would cost much less, approximately $21,500.00 according to the Defendant’s “financial protocol.” The Defendants wrote back on August 22, 2002, stating “I told you what you put into this program is what you’ll get out of it . . . I just want that understood so that five months from now, you don’t say to me `how come he is not getting better faster.’ Please remember not to say that to me in the future, since I have pictured for you the optimum program, and you can’t do it for practical purposes, keep in mind that the end results are not going to be probably the way you want them.” Shortly after receiving this letter, the T family reconsidered and decided to undergo the $43,700 gamma globulin treatment. In order to be able to afford this treatment, the T family sold several of its assets (some at below fair market value so as to have cash liquidity).

25. These treatments were very difficult and painful for CT. He had to endure long days and multiple injections each day at the Edelson Center. He was subjected to daily multiple intravenous treatments with frequent changes of needle sites due to technician errors. He was required to endure multiple sessions per day of sauna “sweat” therapy, followed by intense exercise. He had adverse physical and behavioral reactions to the sauna detoxification therapy. The nutritional supplement regimen prescribed by Defendants required CT to ingest approximately fifty pills and capsules per day. CT often would vomit after having to ingest large quantities of supplements. The treatment caused CT to suffer significant emotional distress and physical pain, and subjected the T family to considerable stress and anxiety as their son suffered under Defendants’ care.

30. Defendants also insisted that the T family install a home sauna to continue with “detoxification.” Defendants sold this sauna to the T family at substantial profit on the sale and Defendant Edelson was paid a “kick back” by the sauna dealer from whom Defendants purchased the sauna.

This ugly manifestation of money-making through harming an autistic child should be taken as a warning to those who seek for a “miracle cure” for their illnesses. Be aware, that in a world there exist a lot of people who change money for a human health. And this is especially true with diseases with unknown causes or for those there is no proven treatment yet, like cancer, AIDS, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity. These are the areas where is a lot of desperate people who tend to trust everyone who says he knows how to cure their diseases, while professional doctors are not so optimistic and do not promise anything unless it is proven.

One more statement I would like to add. A sauna (and infrared sauna) itself is not responsible for the misuse. Responsible are the people who presented it as a treatment for an illness it cannot cure (and it is even a question if it can relieve the symptoms) and misused a sauna to a point where it harmed the patient. Just the fact that it was used in such manipulations doesn’t make a sauna bad or good. A sauna has its uses and many people enjoy taking it. But misuse of a sauna can harm.

It is hard to harm your health with sauna if you follow recommendations to taking an infrared sauna (i.e. not staying in a sauna too long). If you hear from a doctor something that differs from recommendations or common sense, don’t afraid to question his/her words. It’s your health and your money after all. And if doctor fails to explain of refuses to do it, I recommend searching for another one (or at least checking the credibility of this one).

Links:

Dr. Stephen Edelson Facing Third Autism-Related Malpractice Suit
Edelson Center Closed after Three Suits Alleging Fraud and Malpractice, an article by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

(via Autism Diva)

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