Far Infrared Therapy

What Is Far Infrared Therapy?

By Rita Lambros-Segur

Far Infrared Therapy (FIR) is a type of low energy therapy using light in the far infrared spectrum for the treatment of a health problem. FIR or infrared therapy uses the part of the sunlight spectrum whose wavelengths fall below the visible red light. The most beneficial lights are those whose wavelength is near this red light. FIR’s radiant heat can penetrate up to 3.5 inches beneath the skin.

Far infrared therapy improves blood circulation by soothing blood vessels, enhances the immune response by strengthening white blood cell functions, increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the cell to soft tissue areas, and improves lymph circulation by removing stored toxins. When FIR waves are applied, the water molecules that encapsulate the toxins get heat up and start to vibrate, which breaks down water molecules and releases gases and other toxins.

Vascular access malfunction, usually accompanied by an inadequate access flow, is the leading cause of morbidity and hospitalization in hemodialysis patients. FIR therapy, which is noninvasive and convenient, can improve access flow in hemodyialysis patients through both its thermal and its nonthermal effects. Despite the heat induced, FIR therapy does not cause any significant rise in core body temperature or in blood pressure, making it safer for seniors with cardiovascular problems.

Infrared therapy also stimulates the hypothalamus, which regulates the production of neuro-chemicals involved in sleep, mood, pain sensations, and blood pressure. Far infrared therapy has been shown to have positive effects in treating arthritis; muscle pain; shoulder and joint stiffness; venous disease; and immune insufficiency as it treats the whole body and not a specific symptom.

There are several types of far infrared therapy devices on the market, including FIR saunas, heating pads, clothing, and bedding supplies. Far infrared saunas use carbon or ceramic heaters to generate indirect heat in the form of low energy far infrared waves. Heating pads use individual natural jade stones. Far infrared clothing and bedding products like undergarments, therapy gloves, joint braces, socks, sheets, and pillows incorporate specially designed infrared emitting fabrics to generate the infrared heat. Many of these products are enhanced with far infrared-emitting elements composed of oxides of zirconium, aluminum, zinc, titanium, and antimony. They have been undergoing thorough investigation for their ability to retain body heat and give off safe far infrared rays that penetrate into joints and tissues.

Studies by Gordon Ko and David Berbrayer at the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Science Centers at the University of Toronto showed that there are significant improvements in both subjective measures of pain and discomfort associated with Raynaud’s Syndrome. Another study carried out by Hideyoshi Toyokawa and others in Japan using rats demonstrated that FIR can improve wound healing significantly.

Learn more about the healing effects of far infrared radiation at: saunas for the home.

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