Ion Cleanse for Autism: Is it Helping After 30 Days?

It has been 30 days since starting our latest autism treatment venture. We’ve been using the Ion Cleanse for autism for about a month now, and my son seems to really enjoy it. He sees Mom or I getting the footbath ready. He walks over and puts his feet in the water before we even get it all set up. We know he likes it, but that’s not the question. The question to answer is: Is it working: Can the Ion Cleanse Help Autism for our son?

Everyone Wants to Know

Before I get into our experience in the first 30 days, I have to answer a common question I’ve been getting. Quite possible, this is the question that raises the most controversial aspect of using the Ion Cleanse for autism. I remember the first time I saw AMD demonstrating their footbaths at the Autism Education Summit. I walked passed several people with their feet in a tub of disgusting looking water. At this time, I was still a skeptic on using the Ion Cleanse for autism. I thought to myself, what the heck are they putting in the water to make it look like that. Of course, my wife, the happy optimist, made an appointment to try one out for herself. When she was done, I asked her the same question everyone keeps asking me, “So, what do they add to the water?”

Ion Cleanse for Autism Why does the Water color change
What’s the Deal with the Water?

The simple answer is nothing. When preparing the footbath for my son, all I do is add a teaspoon or so of salt. It’s crazy that basic tap water & salt magically transforms into this gross looking sludge.

What’s with the Color?

If it’s just salted tap water, then why does that water change color, smell, and texture so drastically? According to A Major Difference (AMD), makers of the Ion Cleanse, the subject’s body determines the outcome of the water. AMD states, “results will be determined by where the body wants to release toxins from.” Meaning if the body needs to detox the liver it will cause the water to turn one color (brown) whereas if the kidneys release toxins it will change the water a different color (yellow-green). The Ion Cleanse comes with a color chart that tells the user what their water color means.
According to AMD, “With the ionization of water, neutralized particles will be pulled from the body through osmosis. The toxins will be harmlessly pulled from the cells and will come out in the water through the feet.” (Read more about this in my previous Ion Cleanse post here)

I’m Skeptical Too

Is Your Woo Woo Radar Going Off? Mine too. I must be honest here. This is the aspect of using the Ion Cleanse for autism that I struggle with. Toxins coming from the body pulled through the feet in just a half an hour. It just sounds too good to be true, right? It can’t be that easy, can it? AMD is the first to tell you that the water will change color even if there are no feet in the water. The company is quite transparent about this. Anytime you mix water with electricity you will get oxidation ergo, rust.

Why do Different People See Different Colored Water?

The metal array will produce some rust during an ion cleanse session. However, that doesn’t explain why some people experience different colors, bubbles, smells, textures, and/or particles in their water. I don’t have an answer for this that satisfies my own skepticism. Perhaps, it’s the water source. Different sources of water contain varying levels of already present toxins. It’s widely documented that our drinking water has trace levels of toxins like OTC & pharmaceutical drugs, arsenic, aluminum, chemicals from plastics, and heavy metals. Is that what causes the difference? Perhaps, or maybe it is the difference in the type of salt used. Either way, I can’t really make sense of it.

Time to for a Science Project

In an effort to convince myself that toxins do indeed come out in the water, I devised a tiny unscientific science experiment. My hypothesis: after 30 minutes, the color will be different with my feet in the water than the result with no feet at all. I completed a typical 30 minute session with my feet in the footbath. Then, I set up a “control” group. Using the exact same water source and the same salt, I let the Ion Cleanse run for 30 minutes with no one’s feet. Unfortunately, the results seemed to confirm my skepticism. As you can see from the photos below, the water looks near identical. Furthermore, the color of the water was very similar to my son’s footbaths the week prior as well which could indicate that the color was simply the result of oxidation (or rust) from the metal array.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

I have to admit I was feeling bummed out that the water didn’t turn out differently. But then…. It got interesting. A few hours later, it was time for my son’s footbath. My wife set him up with a beanbag chair, pillow, blanket, movie, iPad, and iPod. Needless to say, he was relaxed and looking forward to his gentle detoxing footbath. To my surprise, his water looked completely different than the 2 sessions I completed earlier. So, what’s the deal here, I thought. Same water, same salt, same array same everything. Why is his water slightly different than the control and mine? Did he actually release different toxins?


Ion Cleanse for Autism: Why does the water change color? Do toxins come out in the Water

My head is spinning. I don’t have a satisfactory answer to this question, nor one that will sufficiently help convince me that toxins come out through the feet. Having said that, in a private Facebook group with other parents using the Ion Cleanse for autism, I have seen some crazy looking pictures.

You Saw What in the Water!?!? 

Additionally, I recently heard a podcast that confused me even further. The podcast guest was holistic health practitioner Tyler Dahm. Tyler is a mother of a child with autism, and she’s a member of the Thinking Moms Revolution. Most importantly, she is a practitioner that uses the Ion Cleanse in her practice regularly. In the podcast, she talked about how she’s seen crazy things come out in the water. Tyler reported seeing yeasts and even pinworms. Yes, pinworms were in a patient’s footbath. Even she admitted that it was crazy, but she looked at under a microscope to confirm they were indeed pinworms. Insane!

We did not experience anything crazy in the water. However, it’s interesting that Tyler say pinworms in the water because we did see pinworms in my son’s stool the day after we first started the Ion Cleanse for autism. His brother had a battle with pinworms for about a year on & off, but we never saw them in Ethan. Mom & I always suspected that Ethan was infected with pinworms even though none ever came out. After seeing that first worm, we gave OTC drugs to Ethan to kill them and we haven’t seen them since. I certainly think that the Ion Cleanse did something that helped him get rid of some of those parasites. The timing is just too coincidental to not draw a connection.

I Still Believe in the Ion Cleanse for Autism

Even with these statements & evidence from Tyler Dahm, I still can’t get my brain wrapped around the concept that toxins pour out of your pores in the feet. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I don’t believe in the efficacy of using an Ion Cleanse for autism. I certainly do believe that the ion cleanse can help a body detox. I just have my own theory as to how.

My Personal Theory

In my opinion, the Ion Cleanse helps kids with autism detox by mobilizing stored or stuck toxins. Keep in mind, I’m Simply a Dad with an unproven, untested theory. This idea is my own, but it is one that others agree with including my son’s doctor. Even Tyler Dahm herself tells parents not to get caught up in what the water looks like. In her appearance on the BetterHealthGuy podcast, Tyler explains it like this: “we’re stimulating systemic detox from head to toe. We’re opening up the pathways in the liver, kidneys, colon, and the lymph system. Detox is happening through increased sweat, urine, and stool. The water from the footbath is just a minimal portion of the detox that is happening.”

Toxins are Coming Out

Tyler confirmed this theory through lab test with her patients. These tests show an elevated level of metal excretion in the urine following a footbath. Furthermore, after months of treatments using the Ion Cleanse, Tyler has seen an overall decline in total metal toxicity as well. (again confirmed with lab testing) Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt has been investigating the Ion Cleanse as well. His research confirms what Tyler Dahm has seen in practice. According to Dr. Klinghardt detoxing of heavy metals increases dramatically after just one footbath. Maybe this Dad’s theory does have some scientific validity to it after all.Ion Cleanse for Autism. Our reults after 30 days, plus find out why the water changes color.

Using the Ion Cleanse for Autism: 30 Day Results

The ATEC Score

In my previous post, I discussed the study completed by the Thinking Moms Revolution. This study used ATEC scores to determine if the Ion Cleanse helped the participant’s autism. Following suit, we completed an ATEC for our son 30 days into treatment. My original ATEC score for him was 94, and my wife’s was 87. This time, I got a score of 89, which did indicate a very slight improvement even though I honestly didn’t notice any improvements. On the other hand, my wife, the happy optimist, got a score of 69! Now, I think that is crazy talk, but it is the score she got. She said she focused specifically on the last 2 weeks, and says he seems more aware and not as food obsessed.

This goes to speak of the limitations of the ATEC survey that I discussed in my first Ion Cleanse post. Two parents, reporting on the same child, got vastly different scores. According to the ATEC, our son improved, but depending on who you ask, you get a difference in how much he improved.


We did take handwriting samples at the start of our treatments and at the 30 day mark. To me, there is no real improvement in handwriting. Perhaps, there is a very tiny improvement, but nothing to get excited about.


Ion Cleanse for Autism handwriting samplesMy wife and I agree that language has not improved since we started using the Ion Cleanse for autism. On certain days, he appears to be talking more clearly or using more words, but it’s not consistent. This is typical of his language before we started doing footbaths, so no real improvement here. Receptive language may be improving somewhat as he does seem to be following directions more often.


We have seen a difference in behavior. He appears to be more content and somewhat less energetic at times. Not to say that he doesn’t have his moments of jumping and “singing” to his favorite Bounce Patrol song on YouTube, but overall, he’s calmer.


Overall anxiety & OCD appears to be down. However, we experience ebbs & flows in terms of anxiety, so I’m not ready to attribute this decreased anxiety to the Ion Cleanse yet.

Self-Injurious Behaviors (SIBs)

Unfortunately, we have seen a spike in SIB’s since starting the Ion Cleanse. When he gets upset, he begins to slap himself in the face–hard. He hits himself repeatedly, so hard that it looks like I slapped him. He leaves terrible handprints on his face. They only stay for about 10 minutes or so, but he really beats himself up when he gets upset.

Odd Behaviors

Shortly after we started using the Ion Cleanse for autism, he began doing an odd thing with his arms. He takes his mouth or forehead and rubs the inner part of his elbow repeatedly for a minute or so. He will also often come up to us and say, “Tickle. Tickle”. This is his way of asking us to rub his arms gently with our fingertips. He rubs his arms at least once an hour. It’s so often that the inside of his elbows & forearms have a rash or red mark on it from the rubbing. Now, it’s hard to say which came first, the rash that caused the rubbing or did the rubbing cause the rash?

My guess is the inside of his arm happens to be the place where he has some toxins stored in his body and they are now mobilized which may be causing pain, itching, or some other type of sensation that we just cannot determine because he can’t tell us how it feels. However, that is simply a guess. This behavior actually started more aggressively with biting of his arm, which transitioned to scratching. Luckily, he’s discovered a less painful way to comfort himself, but it is still something we will be keeping an eye on.

Ion Cleanse for Autism: No Serious Side Effects

This is the first detoxification method that we have used that has not resulted in catastrophe. Any previous attempt, at detox whether through supplements or pharmaceuticals, has resulted in very bad experiences. In the past, he has reacted with crazed tantrums, meltdowns, sleep problems, food obsessions, and horrible self-injury. Last year, our attempt at chelation quickly caused my little man so much pain. After just a couple weeks of slow oral chelation, he reacted horribly. He was hitting himself and others, screaming, crying… Even his ABA therapists noticed he suddenly changed. Eventually, he was in so much pain; he spent much of the day crying and needing to be cuddled. It took us a few months to get him back to baseline. Thankfully, we work closely with his doctor to lessen the severity and get him back.

Ion Cleanse for Autism: Moving Forward

We plan to remain at the 30 minute session times for 3 consecutive days then one day off. I am looking into some supplemental detox supports such as niacin, caster oil, and increasing clay baths. I’m also trying to get him to eat more of my homemade fermented foods for the probiotic benefits.

Get The Poo OUT!!!

My biggest focus during these next 30 days is getting the kid to poop everyday. Like Tyler Dahm said on the BetterHealthGuy podcast, the increased detox is happening through the urine, sweat, and stool. If he is not pooping regularly, then any toxins that were mobilized, can be reabsorbed by the body. Our episode with the pinworms demonstrates this need perfectly. He needs to be using the bathroom everyday to get that nastiness out! Not a good thing! Many kids on the spectrum struggle with GI issues. Our son has struggled for years with constipation. It has gotten markedly better, but it is not good enough to facilitate a healthy detox process, so we have to pay extra attention to this mode of elimination.

#youmightbeanautismparentif: you’re completely comfortable talking about poop:)

We Remain Hopeful

Despite no major improvements during our first 30 days using the Ion Cleanse for Autism, I remain hopeful. I’m confident that the Ion Cleanse is doing something positive for my son. I believe that is it mobilizing stuck toxins in his body and hopefully it is reactivating the detox pathways that were turned off.

Luckily, using the Ion Cleanse for Autism & detox has not led to any of those horrific symptoms we’ve experienced in the past. He remains at what we call, his “baseline”. In fact, recently, we were able to have a nice family day at the Zoo. Last summer, Mom and the Grandparents took him to the Zoo. He had numerous “accidents” ending in wet pants, and he needed to eat constantly to stay calm. This time we had a very different experience. There was no anxiety, no meltdowns, and very little snacking (comparatively). Not even any wet pants accidents! We rode the train, which was really loud, but he loved every second of it.Ion Cleanse for Autism after 30 days

He Remembered

The best part of the day came when he INDEPENDENTLY requested to ride the horses. “The horses” mean he wants to ride the carousel. We were walking through the Zoo when suddenly he says horse, horse, ride horse. The cool thing is that there was no sign for the carousel and we were nowhere near it. He remembered all on his own that the last time he was at the Zoo, he got to ride the horses. Now, that’s something to fill our hearts with hope!


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Ion Cleanse for Autism

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Don’t Miss My Original Post on the Ion Cleanse. I dove into the science of how it works and the research behind using the Ion Cleanse for Autism.

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  • Our brains totally work on the same wavelength and I love it! That last paragraph made my heart smile 🙂 Keep it up!

  • Phil

    I have enjoyed your reports on the ion cleanse, thanks. We are considering it for our son. Have you tried digestive enzymes, these really helped our sons bowels.

  • Thanks for reading Phil. I’m glad you are enjoying it. We tried enzymes a while back, but we did not see much. On top of that, my wife is very allergic to mold. All enzymes are grown in aspergillus, so when we opened the capsules there was always a risk of a major allergy attack (like a call 911 reaction) I’ll use apple cider vinegar sometimes or fermented foods to aid in digestion. When he has a lot to drink with food, I’ll give him some Betaine HCl.

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