Far Infrared Ray Therapy (F.I.R. Therapy)
Far Infrared Ray Therapy (F.I.R. Therapy)
Far infrared ray is part of the sunlight spectrum that is invisible to the human eye. The invisible rays are Ultra Violet, X-rays, Gamma, Cosmic, Microwave, Long Wave, Electrical Wave, and Infrared. Infrared waves are between visible light and the microwaves, the wavelength of infrared waves range from 0.76 micron to 1,000 microns. This range is further subdivided into the ranges of Near, Medium, and Far-Infrared Rays with following wavelength: 0.76 to 1.5microns; 1.5 to 4 microns; and 4 to 1,000 microns respectively.
Far infrared waves are thermal, we experience this type of infrared radiation every day in the form of heat. FIR is harmless to the body unlike UV rays.
The human body constantly emits thermo energy, when the bioceramic impregnated fibres in the thermopanel are stimulated by the thermo energy of the human body, it converts it into Far Infrared Rays which reflect back into the body. In our NGL supports the main minerals used are...
Visible light is mostly bounced off the skin surface whereas Far-infrared light penetrates beyond the skin level and is absorbed efficiently by cells below, Near-infrared is mostly absorbed at the skin level and raises skin temperature. Far-infrared can penetrate up to 4cms, exciting the vibrational energy of molecules and resonating with cellular frequencies. At the molecular level, FIR exerts strong rotational and vibrational effects that are biologically beneficial. The molecular effects of FIR are actually measurable through IR spectroscopy, a method of analyzing the emission and absorption of infrared light that shows changes in atoms and molecules caused by IR energy. These effects are therapeutically used to promote healing.
The deep heating effects of FIR can't be perceived as our body's ability to sense heat is mainly at the skin level. Despite this, the effects of FIR rays promote bio-processes such as increased metabolism and blood circulation, and can raise core body temperature. NASA certainly understood some of these effects when it developed FIR materials for radiant heat during space travel. Hospitals have also taken advantage of some of these properties to keep newborn babies warm using FIR materials around incubators.
Is this warming effect different from that of a hot water bottle or heating pad? Yes, the vibrational energy of far-infrared light is unlike that of the heat energy we use. Steam from boiling water can burn the skin but it doesn't heat internal organs. Sunlight heats in a unique way because it contains penetrating far-infrared rays as well as the full range of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. FIR garments are convenient as they do not require an external power source, they can be used anywhere and at anytime and do not need to be recharged.
Infrared Heat Lamps have been used by health professionals for many years to treat musculoskeletal problems.
Effects of Heat are well documented in the literature and include...
- Increased metabolic rate
- Decreased viscosity
Increased collagen extensibility
Stimulation of sensory nerves
Consequent vascular changes Therapeutically Infrared Induces...
- Pain Relief
- Reduction of muscle spasm
- Increased tissue flexibility and reduced joint stiffness
- Acceleration of healing and repair
Heat leads to Pain Relief...due to various factors including reduction of secondary muscle spasms. Pain may also be due to ischaemia that can be improved by hyperemia that heat induced vasodilation produces. Heat redcues pain sensation through it's direct action on on free nerve endings and peripheral nerves. Heat may lead to increased endophin production and closure of the pain gate at spinal level which was described by Melzack and Wall.
Heat reduces muscle spasms...possibly due to the combined effect of heat on primary or secondary afferent nerves from spindle cells and from its effects on golgi tendon organs.
Heat Increases the Extensibility of Collagen Tissues...tissues heated to 45 degrees celsius and then stretched exhibit a nonelastic residual elongation of about 0.5-0.9 percent that persists after the stretch is removed. This is particularly valuable in working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, fasciae and synovium that may have become scarred, thickened or contracted. Low force stretching can produce significant residual elongation when heat is applied together with strehcing or range of motion exercises. Heat decreases viscosity of tissues allowing the joint or other synovial tissue interfaces to move more easily.
Heat accelerated healing and repair...and has effects on different phases of the tissue healing. It causes vasodilation which increases blood flow providing the transport for evacuating oedema and inflammation. Metabolic activity also increases with a temperature rise.
(Chapter 9 of Therapeutic Heat and Cold, Fourth Edition, Editors Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
F.I.R. Therapy may therefore be used in treatment of various musculoskeletal problems including...
- Soft tissue injury
- Chronic pain conditions
Infrared has also been used to treat some skin conditions e.g. psoriasis on the grounds that moderate hyperthermia can affect cell replication.
(J Low and A Reed Chapter 13, Electrotherapy Explained 3rd ed 2000, Butterworth Heinemann)
- Cardiovascular instability
- Clotting disorders e.g. haemophillia
- Acute flare of inflammatory arthritis or inflammatory condition
- Septic arthritis/local infection
- Pregnancy - not over the foetus/uterus
- Silicone implants - much of literature advises precaution as silicone does absorb infrared rays, but needs temperatures over 200 degrees celsius to melt therefore should not be affected by NGL supports.
Complimentary and Alternative Therapies
Reduced rates of health disorders in Asian cultures has been extensively studied and linked to use of alternative therapies. A study in 2006 by the Mayo Clinic in America shows that patients are increasingly interested in complimentary therapies alongside mainstream medical care.
Much research into the effects of F.I.R. has been conducted in China and Japan over the past 25 years.
Energy medicine is very old, ancient practitioners of healing touch therapies had the ability to emit energy through their hands, and so do many modern day healers, such as Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., who began teaching healing touch techniques in the U.S. in the 1970s. Contemporary researchers have shown that these forms of energy medicine use wavelengths in the infrared range. In a study at the National Yang-Ming Medical College in Taipei, Taiwan, published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine in 1991, researchers measured the energy Qigong masters emit from their palms. The researchers used electronic detection equipment and were able to detect infrared energy by a rise in air temperature near the masters' palms. The study showed that emitted infrared Qi, or Chi (pronounced "chee" and essentially meaning energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine), has positive effects on human fibroblasts, the cells that rebuild connective tissue. The study also showed that infrared Chi stimulated a significant increase in cell growth, DNA synthesis and protein synthesis in cells.
Dr. Gordon Ko and Dr. David Berbrayer at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Science Centers at the University of Toronto, published a study in the August 2002 issue of Alternative Medicine Review “Journal of Clinical Therapeutics”, showed that there are significant improvements in both subjective measures of pain and discomfort associated with Raynaud’s Syndrome.
Hideyoshi Toyokawa and others in Japan published a study on rats in the Experimental Biology and Medicine, showing that the FIR can improve wound healing significantly.
Dr. Toshiko Yamazaki, MD - author of "The Science of "Far-Infrared Therapies" - has extensively researched the uses of Far Infrared Therapy for natural body healing.
“Biological Activities Caused by Far-Infrared Radiation.” International Journal of Biometeorology.
Questionnaires sent to more than 500 patients using far infrared light treatment found a general improvement in well-being, including the ability to sleep.
Dr. Fouad I. Ghaly, M.D., conducted a review of the medical literature and medical history to investigate the benefits of far infrared light to treat stress, depression, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, cancer, thyroid, and a host of other ailments