Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hydrotherapeutic Spa, Part V: Far-Infrared Radiation

By Dave Armstrong (11-24-11)

From the Internet paper: What is Far Infrared (FIR)?:
FIR infrared ray energy is a part of the natural light spectrum of sunlight, minus the skin damaging UV, which is why NASA spacecraft have utilized this heat. In Asia and Europe it has already revolutionized health and beauty products.

Far Infrared ray is a form of light energy form the sun. It falls within the same family of Infrared Rays in the light spectrum, but due to its longer wavelengths human eyes, just like Ultraviolet Rays, cannot see FIR. The energy is ESSENTIAL & BENEFICIAL for all human beings.

FIR has the ability to penetrate, refract, radiate & reflect. The human body can absorb FIR because of its deep penetrating ability. When FIR penetrates through the skin to the subcutaneous tissues, it transforms from light energy into heat energy. The thermal effect within the deep layers of tissues cause blood vessels in capillaries to dilate, promoting better blood circulation, and the heat produced helps to get rid of body toxins and metabolic wastes through sweating.

. . . If there was a way to increase bodily energy, lose weight, decrease stress, detoxify the body and purify the skin while elevating the immune system to fight off everything from the common cold, circulation, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions to serious life quality threatening illnesses, what would it be worth?

. . . Activated by heat, the FIR material emits FIR energy that is absorbed by human cells, causing a physical phenomenon called "RESONANCE". Thus, the cellular activities are instantly invigorated, resulting in better blood circulation and an overall improved metabolism.

FIR heat therapy can aid in weight loss by speeding metabolic processes of vital organs and endocrine glands resulting in a substantial caloric loss in a heat session.

It also increases heart rate and blood circulation, both crucial to maintaining one's health. The heart rate increases as more blood flow is diverted from the inner organs towards the extremities of the skin without heightening blood pressure.

. . . In a case of injury, heat stimulates vasodilatation of peripheral blood vessels, bringing oxygen to joints and extremities, relaxation of stiff muscles, speeding the healing of sprains and strains. The increased blood flow helps aching and injured muscles recover faster because of the stronger blood flow and the quicker metabolic and toxic waste productions purged from the body through the skin during perspiration.

. . . Far Infrared lamps are actively used for medical treatments by Doctors, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists for: arthritis, joint pain, stiff muscles, injuries to tendons and ligaments to promote a faster self-body healing effect.

Infrared heat is "RADIANT" heat. Radiant heat is simply a form of energy that heats objects directly through a process called conversions without heaving to heat the air in between.
Wooden saunas are now being sold that utilize this scientific understanding. For example, here is an excerpt from an explanatory article, "Health Benefits of A Far Infrared Sauna," from one such product:

The Ultimate Tool For Advanced Health Benefits

* Strengthens the cardiovascular system with deep Far Infrared penetration (up to 1.5").

* Far Infrared sauna detoxifies heavy metals, hydrocarbon residues, alcohol, nicotine, sodium and cholesterol.

* Helps purify fat cells, burns calories and controls weight. Improves and clears cellulite. Most effective way in burning calories. Burns up to 500 calories in one full session.

* Effective for treating sprains, muscle spasms and joint stiffness; relieves aches and pains.

* Improves your immune system by sweating at a lower more comfortable temperature than a conventional hot sauna.

* Increases overall health and resistance to disease.

* Sharpens senses and relieves stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

* Improves skin within a few minutes. Helps scars and burns. Acne, psoriasis and eczema conditions will also improve.

* This sauna stimulates endorphins of the brain and kills organisms like bacteria and parasites.

* The Far Infrared sauna's energy penetrates deeply into the body producing a warming, relaxing and detoxifying effect.
The Wikipedia article, "Infrared Sauna" is very helpful for an introduction to this exciting, increasingly-understood concept. It states:

Infrared radiation heats the skin directly without warming the air. In infrared saunas, a heater produces this radiant energy, which is similar to the heat from the sun. Most of these heaters draw on technology developed in 1965 by Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical.

Infrared sauna promoters state that infrared radiant heat is safe and beneficial, claiming that the heat penetrates more than 1.5 inches into the body. They claim this heals and stimulates tissues, and that it is effective therapy for arthritis and tissue injuries. Promoters claim that using infrared saunas allows one to achieve health benefits similar to those from a conventional steam sauna or sweat.

Dr. Sherry Rogers, a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, says in her book Detoxify or Die [see amazon book page] that an infrared sauna is the only way of removing man-made toxins from your body.
"Research on Far Infrared Rays," by Dr. Aaron M. Flickstein, from the MagMed website, offers a goldmine of information:

It has been found that the infrared sauna makes it possible for people in wheelchairs, those who are otherwise unable to exert themselves, and those who won't follow an exercising/conditioning program to achieve a cardiovascular training effect. It also allows for more variety in any ongoing training program.

Blood flow during whole-body hyperthermia is reported to rise from a normal five to seven quarts a minute to as many as 13 quarts a minute.

Due to the deep penetration of infrared rays (over one and a half inches into body tissue), there is a deep heating effect in the muscle tissue and internal organs. The body responds to this heat with a hypothalamic-induced increase in both heart volume and rate. Beneficial heart stress leads to a sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical research confirms the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning as the body works to cool itself and involves substantial increases in heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolic rate. As a confirmation of the validity of this form of cardiovascular conditioning, extensive research by NASA in the early 1980's led to the conclusion that infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flights.

[he also cites an article to the same effect in the August 7, 1981 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) ].

. . . Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical, received a patent in 1965 for a zirconia ceramic infrared heater used in the first healing infrared thermal systems [Note: the SG-2000 spa utilizes a ceramic mat]. Medical practitioners in Japan were the only ones using infrared thermal systems for 14 years. In 1979, they were finally released for public use. The technique has been further refined into infrared thermal systems that have been sold in the United States since 1981. One use of infrared heat in the United States has been in the form of panels used in hospital nurseries to warm newborns. . . .

Effects of Infrared Heat on Rheumatoid Arthritis

A case study reported in Sweden worked with a 70-year-old man who had rheumatoid arthritis secondary to acute rheumatic fever. He had reached his toxic limit of gold injections and his Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) was still 125. After using an infrared heat system for less than five months, his ESR was down to 11.

The rheumatologist worked with a 14-year-old Swedish girl who had difficulty walking downstairs due to knee pain from the age of eight. This therapist told her mother the girl would be in a wheelchair within two years if she didn't begin gold corticosteroid therapy. After three infrared sauna treatments, she began to become more agile and subsequently took up folk dancing without the aid of conventional approaches in her recovery.

A clinical trial in Japan reported a successful solution for seven out of seven cases of rheumatoid arthritis treated with whole-body infrared therapy.

These case studies and clinical trials indicate that further study is warranted for the use of whole-body infrared therapy in the care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. . . .

Chinese Studies Report Positive Effects of Infrared Heat

Researchers report over 90 percent success in a summary of Chinese studies that assessed the effects of infrared heat therapy on:

* Soft tissue injury

* Lumbar strain
* Periarthritis of the shoulder
* Sciatica
* Pain during menstruation
* Neurodermatitis
* Eczema with infection
* Post-surgical infections
* Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
* Diarrhoea
* Cholecystitis
* Neurasthenia
* Pelvic infection
* Paediatric pneumonia
* Tinea
* Frostbite with inflammation

Japanese Studies on the Positive Effects of Infrared Heat

* As reported in Infrared Therapy by Dr. Yamajaki, Japanese researchers have produced the following provocative results with whole-body infrared heat:

* Burns (relieves pain and decreases healing time with less scarring) High blood pressure (safe in 40 to 50 degrees Celsius, 104 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, regular use helps lower pressure)
* Low blood pressure (sauna trains the body to raise the pressure)
* Brain damage (accelerated repair in brain contusions) Short-term memory loss (improved)
* Cancer of the tongue (improved)
* Toxic electromagnetic fields (effects neutralized)
* Cerebral haemorrhage (speeds and significantly enhances recovery)
* Arthritis, acute and chronic (greatly relieved)
* Gouty arthritis (relieved)
* Rheumatoid Arthritis (relieved)
* Menopausal symptoms (relieved chills, nervousness, depression, dizziness, head- and stomach-aches)
* Weight loss (produced through sweating, the energy expended to produce sweating, and through direct excretion of fat)
* Auto accident-related soft tissue injury (daily sessions used until best healing attained, then used to deal with permanent residuals; pain control for chronic residuals lasted three days before another treatment was necessary)

[see the article for many more conditions helped by infrared rays]

What are the benefits of a FIR?

An article in German Medical Science explains the general health benefits to cells, of infrared rays:
Infrared A, especially water-filtered infrared A, is able to increase tissue temperature, tissue perfusion and tissue oxygen partial pressure . . .: these three thermal effects are prerequisites of a high energy production in tissue and can therefore improve energy dependent immunologic reactions. Beside this, wavelengths within infrared A, especially near to visible light (approximately 780-1000 nm), have been shown to stimulate cells in a positive manner even with very low irradiation intensities (below intensities with thermal effects).
There is direct scientific evidence for infrared radiation having a positive effect on human cells. Here is one article along those lines: Effect of emitted bioenergy on biochemical functions of cells, Am J Chin Med. 1991;19(3-4):285-92: "The results could be attributed to the effects of emitted 'Qi' or energy containing infrared light (wave) and possibly some other types of energy."

Another article by researcher S. Tsuyoshi Ohnishi (with Tomoko Ohnishi) in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.( 2006 June; 3(2): 191-200) offers similar insight into the Ki [or Qi] / infrared radiation connection, and the larger synthesis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and western science and medicine:

"The Nishino Breathing Method and Ki-energy (Life-energy): A Challenge to Traditional Scientific Thinking":
We found that Nishino's Ki-energy can inhibit cell division of cancer cells, protect isolated mitochondria from heat deterioration and reduce lipid peroxidation in heat-treated mitochondria. Although Ki-energy may consist of several different energy forms, we found that at least one of them is near-infrared radiation between the wavelength range of 0.8 and 2.7 [micrometers].

. . . As to the nature of Ki, Chinese and Japanese scientists have already reported that it involves infrared radiation (8,10-12). It was also reported that other forms of energy may be involved in Ki which include electromagnetic waves, electrostatic energy, magnetic energy and low frequency sound waves (8,12,13). In our cultured cancer cell study (3), we proposed that infrared radiation may be a component of Ki. In our mitochondrial study, we used visible range filters (360-760 nm) and near-infrared range filters (from 0.8 to 2.7 [micrometers]) to demonstrate that at least near-infrared radiation was involved in the observed Ki-effect (7). In preparing for this Review article, we tested whether near-infrared radiation was also involved in the Taiki-practice.

. . . Unfortunately, these techniques are not well accepted as a branch of today's main-stream sciences, especially in the Western hemisphere. Many people consider them as folk medicine. Some people believe that they are 'supernatural' and 'para-psychological' phenomena. Only a limited number of investigators have been studying them as the object of scientific, medical investigation for the past 30 years.

In this article, we emphasized that Ki (which any individual could learn and develop through the Nishino Breathing Method and the Taiki-practice) is not supernatural.

Although we do not know how infrared radiation can trigger such a change in cellular systems, we could speculate on a possibility. Most bending and stretching vibrations of many chemical bonds can be identified by absorption spectroscopy in a mid-infrared range (2.5-50 [micrometers] ) (Table 1). The overtones (1st harmonics with 1/2 wavelength and 2nd harmonics with 1/3 wavelength) of these vibrations fall in the near-infrared range. Therefore, it is possible that a particular frequency of Ki may modulate the vibration of a chemical bond of an enzyme in such a way that it affects its enzymatic activity. If this happens, the microscopic change may be multiplied by the cascading nature of the signal transduction mechanism and result in an observable macroscopic change.
Many of the findings are a strange read indeed for a westerner, steeped in science, but this is unquestionably a scientific study in a reputable journal (and listed in Pub Med Central). It shows a verifiable positive effect on cells, from infrared radiation.

Further Resources

1) Far Infared Radiation (FIR) and Health.

2) Far Infrared Medical Facts Research from Japan

3) Up to date information about Far Infrared Rays (FIR)

4) Understanding Far Infrared Technology

5) How Infrared Works (MagMed)

6) Testimonials of improved health due to far-infrared saunas

7) Benefits of far-infrared saunas

8) Far Infrared Smarty Sauna for Detox Benefits

9) Testimonials from Smarty Far Infrared Sauna Wellness Users

10) FAQ on Far-Infrared Radiation

11) Far Infrared Facts Page

12) Far Infrared Radiation: Various Medical Uses and successes

13) Baibekov, I.M., et al., 1994, The effects of low intensity infrared laser radiation on healing of dermatological wounds, Bull Eksp Biol Med., 119(2)(Feb):218-24.

14) Danno, K. and N. Sugie, 1996, Effects of near-infrared radiation on the epidermal proliferation and cutaneous immune function in mice, Photodermal Photoimmuniol Photomed, 12(6)(Dec):233 6.

15) Dritschilo, A., et al., 1981, Therapeutic implication of heat as related to radiation therapy, Semin Oncol., 8(1)(March):83-91.

16) Ernst, E., P. Wirz, T. Saradeth, 1990, Regular sauna bathing and the incidence of common colds, Ann Med., 22(4):225-7.

17) Honda, K. and S. Inoue, 1988, Sleep-enhancing effects of far infrared radiation in rats, Int J Biometeorol., 32(2)(June):92-4.

18) Ikeda, Y. and C. Tei, 2002, Effect of repeated sauna therapy on survival of TO-2 cardiomyopathic hampsters with heart failure, Am J Cardiology, 90(Aug 1):343-345.

19) Inoue, S. and M. Kabaya, 1989, Biological activities caused by far infrared radiation, Int J Biometeorol, 33(3)(Oct):145-50.

20) Ise, N., T. Katsuura, Y. Kikuchi and E. Miwa, 1987, Effect of far-infrared radiation on forearm skin blood flow, Ann Physiol Anthropol., 6(1)(Jan):31-32.

21) Kaidbey, K.H., et al., 1982, The influence of infrared radiation on short-term ultraviolet radiation-induced injuries, Arch Dermatol., 118(5)(May):315-18.

22) Kukkonen-Jarjula, K., and K. Jkauppinen, 1998, How the sauna affects the endocrine system, Ann Clin Res., 20(4):262-6.

23) Marmor, J.B.,et al., 1980, Combined radiation and hyperthermia in superficial human tumors, Cancer, 46(9)(Nov 1):1986-91.

24) Niwa, Y., O. Lizawa, K. Ishimoto, X. Jiang, T, Kanoh, 1993, Electromagnetic wave emitting products and ?Kikoh? potentiate human leukocyte functions, Int J Biometeorol., 37(5)(Sept):133 8.

25) Oosterveld, F.G.J., J.J. Rasker, M.A.F. Van de Laar, and G.J. Koel, Clinical effects of infrared whole-body hyperthermia in patients with rheumatic diseases, Departments of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy, Metisch Spectrum Twente and Univeristy Twente Enschede, PO Box 50000, 7500 KA Eschede, The Netherlands.

26) Sealre, A.J., 1982, Effects of the sauna, JAMA, 247(1)(Jan 1):28.

27) Tei, C., Y, Horikiri, J.C. Park, J.W. Jeong, R.S. Chang, Y. Toyama, N. Tanaka, 1994, Effects of hot water bath or sauna on patients with congestive heart failure: acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation, J Cardiol., 24(3)(May-June):175-83.

28) Wyss, V., 1966, On the effects of radiant heat on different regions of the human body. Behavior of cardiocirculatory and respiratory activity, oxygen consumption, oral and skin temperature during infrared radiation of different areas in acclimatized and non-acclimatized subjects, Med Lav., 57(4)(April):262-85.

Complete Series

I. Introduction

II. Hydrotherapy, Hot Springs, Spas

III. Ultrasonic Wave Energy / Cavitation

IV. Anions / Negative Ions / Ozone

V. Far-Infrared Radiation

VI. Aromatherapy, Healing Oils, & Bath Salts

For further information on purchasing the SG-2000 home spa, and business opportunities as a distributor, contact

Matthew Tan Kim Huat:

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[ e-mail: matthewtankimhuat [at] gmail [dot] com ]