By Dr. Aaron M. Flickstein
HEALTH BENEFITS ATTRIBUTED TO INFRARED RAYS
IN REPORTED FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Infrared Sauna therapy Systems bring you the same infrared rays experienced in the traditional American Indian sweat lodge in a much more convenient and practical form, and in the privacy of your own home. The cleansing and purifying benefits attributed to the traditional sweat lodges are now available for daily purification without the time consuming and extremely labor-intensive set-up processes that a sweat lodge requires.
Over the last 25 years, Japanese and Chinese researchers and clinicians have done extensive research on infrared treatments and reported many provocative findings. In Japan there is an “Infrared Society,” composed of medical doctors and physical therapists, to further research and support the health benefits of infrared as a healing method. There have been over 700,000 infrared thermal systems sold in the Orient for whole-body treatments, and an additional 30 million people have received localized infrared treatment in the Orient, Europe and Australia with lamps tuned to the same 2 – 25 micron waveband as employed in these whole-body thermal systems. Whole-body infrared therapy has been used for over 80 years by German physicians in an independently developed form.
Passive Cardiovascular Conditioning Effect
The Infrared Thermal System makes it possible for people in wheelchairs, or those who are otherwise unable to exert themselves, or who won’t follow through on an exercising and conditioning program to achieve a cardiovascular training effect. This also allows for more variety in any ongoing training program.
“Many of us who run do so to place a demand on our cardiovascular system, not to build big leg muscles. Regular use of a sauna may impact a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise.” – Journal of the American Medical Association 8/7/81.
Due to the deep penetration, over 1.5″ into the skin, of the infrared rays generated by the Infrared Thermal System, there is a heating effect deep in the muscular tissues and the internal organs. The body responds to this deep-heating effect via an hypothalamic-induced increase in both heart volume and rate. This beneficial heart stress leads to a sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical researches confirm 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. Blood flow during whole-body hypothermia is reported to rise from a normal 5 – 7 quarts per minute to as much as 13 quarts per minute.
“The 1980’s was the decade of high-impact aerobics classes and high-mileage training. Yet there was something elitist about the way exercise was prescribed. Only strenuous workouts would do, you had to raise your heart rate to between X and Y, and the only way to go was to go for the burn. Such strictures insured that most `real’ exercisers were relatively young and in good shape to begin with. Many Americans got caught up in the fitness boom, but probably just as many fell by the wayside. As we’ve reported, recent research shows that you don’t have to run marathons to become fit – that burning just 1,000 calories a week is enough. Anything goes, as long as it burns these calories.” Wellness Letter, 10/90, University of California, Berkeley.
Outstanding Caloric Consumption and Weight Control:
In Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, we find that producing one gram of sweat requires 0.568 kcal. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) states; “A moderately conditioned person can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna, consuming nearly 300 kcal, which is equivalent to running 2 – 3 miles. A heat-conditioned person can easily sweat off 600 – 800 kcal with no adverse effects. While the weight of the water loss can be regained by drinking water, the calories consumed will not be.” Since an Infrared Thermal System helps generate two or three times the sweat produced in a hot-air sauna, the implications for increased caloric consumption are quite impressive. Assuming “a sauna”, as mentioned in JAMA, to last for 30 minutes, some interesting comparisons might be drawn. Two of the highest calorie consuming forms of exercises are rowing and marathon running. Peak output on a rowing machine or during a marathon run burns about 600 calories in 30 minutes. An Infrared Thermal System may enhance this effect from “just slightly” up to as much as 250%, by burning about 900 – 2,400 calories in a 30 minute session. The Infrared Thermal System might then simulate the consumption of energy equal to that expanded in a 6 — 9 mile run during only a single session. An Infrared Thermal System can, thus, play a pivotal role in both weight control and cardiovascular conditioning. This would be very valuable for those who don’t exercise and those who can’t exercise yet want an effective weight control and fitness maintenance program and the benefits of a regular exercise.
Musculoskeletal Cases – success reported with infrared treatments by Japanese researchers:
– TMJ Arthritis
– Muscle Spasms – reduced or eliminated
– Traumatic Arthritis
– Low Back Pain – relieved
– Acel-decel Injury Sequelae
– Adhesions – lengthened or more easily broken; they are common in competitive athletes, trauma and repetitive stress syndromes
– Disc-protrusion Related Neuralgia
– Brain Contusion – accelerated healing
– Tight Shoulders – relaxed
– Compression Fracture – Example: pain stopped for 3 days with only a single treatment
– Spinal Cord Shock – post traumatic shock reversed
– Muscle Tension – relaxed
– Post-exercise Muscle Pain – vital to competitive athletes
– Arthritis: Gouty, Rheumatoid, DJD – each substantially relieved or improved
– Shoulder Pain – relieved or eliminated
– Bursitis – eliminated
“Medical practitioners make use of Infrared Radiant Heat to treat sprains, strains, bursitis, peripheral vascular diseases, arthritis and muscle pain…” – McGraw/Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
Dr. Masao Nakamura of the O & P Medical Clinic in Japan has reported great success with the use of infrared treatment for:
– Whiplash ú Rheumatism
– Sciatica ú Acne
– Menopause ú Gastroenteric Problem
– Arthritis ú Ear Diseases
– Shoulder Stiffness ú Insomnia
A case study was reported in Sweden of a 70 year old man with Rheumatoid Arthritis secondary to acute rheumatic fever. He had reached his toxic limit on Gold injections and his Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate was still at 125. Within 5 months of undergoing an infrared treatment, his ESR was down to only 11. In the case of rheumatic arthritis of a 14-year old Swedish girl who couldn’t walk comfortably downstairs due to knee pain since she had been eight years old, her rheumatologist told her mother that her child would be in a wheelchair within 2 years if she refused gold corticosteroid therapy. However, after 3 infrared sauna treatments, she began to become more agile and subsequently took up folk dancing, without the aid of the conventional approach in her recovery.
A clinical trial in Japan reported the successful solution in 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 on the usage of whole-body infrared therapy in the care of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The following is a summary from Therapeutic Heat and Cold, 4`h edition, ED. Justus F. Lehmann M.D., Williams and Wilkins, Chapter 9 or concluded from the data therein.
Generally it is accepted that heat produces the following desirable therapeutic effects:
1. It increases the extensibility of collagen tissues.
– Tissues heated to 45øC and then stretched exhibit a non-elastic residual elongation of about 0.5 -0.9% that persists after the stretch is removed. It does not occur in these same tissues when stretched at normal tissue temperatures. Thus 20 stretching sessions can produce around 10 – 18% increase in length in tissues heated and stretched.
– This effect would be especially valuable in working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, fasciae, and synovium that have become scarred, thickened or contracted.
– Such stretching at 45øC caused much less weakening in stretched tissues for a given elongation than a similar elongation produced at normal tissue temperatures.
– The cited experiments clearly show that low-impact stretching can produce a significant residual elongation when heat is applied together with stretching or range-of-motion exercises, which is also safer than stretching tissues at normal tissue temperatures.
– This safer stretching effect is crucial in properly training competitive athletes so as to minimize their “down” time from injuries.
2. It decreases joint stiffness directly.
– There was a 20% decrease in stiffness at 45øC as compared with 33øC in rheumatoid finger joints, which correlated perfectly to both subjective and objective observation of stiffness.
– Any stiffened joint and thickened connective tissues should respond in a similar fashion.
3. It relieves muscle spasms.
– Muscle spasms have long been observed to be reduced through the use of heat, be they secondary to underlying skeletal, joint, or neuro-pathological conditions.
– This result is possibly produced by the combined effect of heat on both primary and secondary afferent from spindle cells and from its effects on Golgi tendon organs. The effects produced by each of these mechanisms demonstrated their peak effect within the therapeutic temperature range obtainable with radiant heat.
4. It produces pain relief.
Pain may be relieved via the reduction of attendant or secondary muscle spasms. Pain is also at times related to ischemia due to tension or spasm, which can be improved by the hyperemia that heat-induced vasodilatation produces. This then breaks the feedback loop, in which the ischemia leads to further spasm and then more pain. Heat has been shown to reduce pain sensation by direct action on both free-nerve endings in tissues and on peripheral nerves. In one dental study, repeated heat applications eventually led to abolishment of the whole nerve response responsible for pain arising from dental pulp. Heat may lead to both increased endorphin production and a shutting down of the so-called “spinal gate” of Melzack and Wall, each of which can reduce pain.
5. It increases blood flow.
– Heating of one area of the body produces reflex-modulated vasodilatation in distant-body areas, even in the absence of a change in core body temperature; i.e. heat one extremity and the contralateral extremity also dilates; heat a forearm and both lower extremities dilate; heat the front of the trunk and the hand dilates.
– Heating of muscles produces an increased blood flow level similar to that seen during an exercise.
– Temperature elevation produces an increase in blood flow and dilation directly in capillaries, arterioles, and venuies, probably through direct action on their smooth muscles. The release of bradykinin, released as a consequence of sweat-gland activity, also produces increased blood flow and vasodilatation.
– Whole-body hyperthermia, with a consequent core temperature elevation, further induces vasodilatation via an hypothalamic-induced decrease in sympathetic tone on the arteriovenous anastomoses. Vasodilatation is also produced by axonal reflexes and by reflexes that change vasomotor balance.
6. It assists in resolution of inflammatory infiltrates, edema and exudates.
– The increased peripheral circulation provides the transportation needed to help evacuate the edema, which can help stop inflammation, decrease pain and help speed healing.
7. More recently, it has been used in cancer therapy.
– This is a new and experimental procedure.
– It shows a great promise in some cases when used properly.
– American researchers favor careful monitoring of the tumor temperature; whereas, the successes reported in Japan make no mention of such precaution.
Infrared healing is now becoming the leading edge in the care of soft tissue injuries to promote both relief in chronic or intractable “permanent” cases, and accelerated healing in newer injuries.
Localized infrared therapy using lamps tuned to the 2 – 25 micron waveband is used for the treatment and relief of pain by over 40 reputable Chinese Medical Institutes.Researchers reported over 90% success in a summary of Chinese studies that assessed the effect of infrared therapy on:
– Soft tissue injury – Diarrhea
– Lumbar strain – Cholecystitis
– Periarthritis of the shoulder – Neurasthenia
– Sciatica – Pelvic infection
– Pain during Menstruation – Pediatric Pneumonia
– Neurodermatitis – Tineas
– Eczema with infection – Frostbite with inflammation
– Post-surgical infections – Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy)
Japanese researchers, as reported in the book Infrared Therapy by Dr. Yamajaki, have produced the following provocative results.
– Burns: relieves pain and decreases healing time, with less scarring
– High Blood Pressure: safe in 40 – 50øC range and regular use helps to lower it
– Low Blood Pressure: sauna trains body to raise it
– Brain Damage: accelerated repair in brain contusions
– Short-term memory improved
– Cancer of the tongue reversed
– Toxic Electromagnetic Fields: effects neutralized
– Cerebral Hemorrhages: recovery is both sped up and significantly enhanced
– Auto Accident: related soft tissue injury – daily sessions were used until best healing was attained; then Infrared systems were used to deal with permanent residuals. The pain control effect on the chronic residuals from such injuries lasted three days before another treatment was necessary.
– Arthritis, acute and chronic: was greatly relieved
– Gouty Arthritis: relieved
– Rheumatoid Arthritis: relieved
– Menopause Symptoms: relieved chills, nervousness, depression, dizziness, head & stomach aches
– Weight Loss: first, through sweating and the energy use needed to produce the sweat and second, through direct excretion of fat.
All of the following ailments may be associated to some degree with poor circulation and, thus, may respond well to the increased peripheral dilation associated with Infrared application:
Hemorrhoids Strained Muscles
Nervous Tension Fatigue
Diabetes Stretch Marks
Children’s Over-tired Muscles Menstrual Cramps
Varicose Veins Upset Stomachs
– Post-Operative Edema: treatment with infrared has been so successful that hospital stays were reported to have been reduced by 25%
– Peripheral Occlusive Disease: “The goal is to maintain an optimal blood flow rate to the affected part… In general the temperature should be maintained at the highest level which does not increase the circulatory discrepancy as shown by cyanosis and pain” – Therapeutic Heat and Cold pp. 456 – 457
Coronary Artery Disease, Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension
Finnish researchers, talking about the regular use of conventional saunas state that there are abundant evidences to suggest that blood vessels of regular sauna-goers remain elastic and pliable longer due to the regular dilation and contraction of blood vessels induced by sauna use.
German medical researchers reported in “Dermatol Monatsschr” in 1989 that a single whole-body session of infraredinduced hyperthermia lasting over one hour had only beneficial effects on subjects with stage I-Il essential hypertension. Each subject experienced a rise in core body temperature to a maximum level of 38.5øC (101.3øF). All of the subjects in one experiment had significant decrease in arterial, venous and mean blood pressure that lasted for at least 24 hours and was linked, according to the researchers, to a persistent peripheral dilation effect.
An improvement in plasma viscosity was also noted. Another group of similar hypertension patients was also studied under the same conditions of infrared-induced hyperthermia, with an eye toward more carefully evaluating the circulatory system effects induced by this type of whole-body heating. During each infrared session, there was a significant decrease of blood pressure, cardiac ejection resistance, and total peripheral resistance in every subject.
There was also a significant increase during each session of the subjects’ heart rates, stroke volumes, cardiac outputs and ejection fractions. The researchers cite these last three effects as evidences that the stimulation of the heart during infraredinduced hyperthermia is well compensated, while the prior list of effects clearly show the microcirculatory changes that lead to the desired result of a lowering of blood pressure.
Problems often accompanying Aging, that have been reported to have been alleviated or reduced by Infrared Therapy in Japan:
Cold hands and feet: A physical therapist found 2050% improvement was maintained;
High Blood Pressure: Example – Case of a diabetic with a systolic decrease from 180 to 125 and a concurrent 10 lbs. weight loss after infrared use;
Rheumatoid Arthritis: 7 out of 7 cases successfully resolved in one clinical trial Radiation Sickness: relieves signs and symptoms;
Cancer Pain: relieved pain in later stages of cancer extremely well Sequelae of Strokes: Example – Hemiparesis relieved over time;
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy: reduced.
– Duodenal Ulcers: eliminated
– Pain: which prevented sleep or limited useable sleeping positions were relieved
– Compression Fracture Pain: Example – pain gone for 3 days after each treatment in steoporotic compression fractures
– Hemorrhoids: reduced
– Cystitis: gone
– Cirrhoisis of Liver: reversed
– Gastritis: relieved
– Hepatitis: gone
– Asthma & Bronchitis: cleared up (like moving to Arizona’s dry air)
– Chron’s Disease: gone
– Post Surgical Adhesions: reduced
– Leg ulcers: healed when previously static and resistant to other care
– Keloids: significantly softened and, in some cases, completely gone
Ear, Nose and Throat conditions relieved with Infrared treatments in Japan:
– Chronic middle-ear inflammation or infection: in one clinical study of chronic serousotitis media no pathogenic bacteria were isolated 70% of the subjects studied;
– Sore throats;
– Tinitus: chronic severe case cleared with 10 Infrared treatments
– Nose bleeding.
Skin conditions benefited by Infrared treatments in Japan and China:
Clogged pores are unplugged of cosmetics creating a skin texture and tone of unexcelled quality. Mikkel Aaland’s book Sweat (Capra Press, 1978) quotes a Finnish doctor to the effect that: “The best dressed foreigner can come into a doctor’s office, and when his skin is examined, it is found to be rough as bark. On the other hand, as a result of the sauna, the skin of any Finnish worker is supple and healthy”
Poor skin tone is restored to a more youthful level.
Scars and pain from burns or wounds are decreased in severity and extent. Infrared therapy is used routinely in burn units throughout Asia.
Lacerations heal quicker and with less pain and scarring.
Acne: Three or four infrared treatments may open pores that have not been functioning in years, forcing out clogging cosmetics and loosening dead outer skin. The sauna is thus a boon to teenage skin, clearing acne and blackheads.
Body order: by improving the function of the skin, the infrared treatments may eliminate the cause of offensive body order. It definitely reduces body order induced by occupational exposure to odorous chemicals.
Eczema and Psoriasis: reported to have responded extremely well to infrared treatments.
Sunburn: according to the 9TH edition of Clayton’s Electrotherapy, “infrared is the only antidote to excessive ultraviolet radiation.”
Keloids forms at a reduced rate in those prone to their formation with infrared treatments and may be softened by use of infrared systems if they have formed.
Burns up to 900 & more calories in just one 30-minute session.
Here are how many calories a 150-pound person normally burns up in 30 minutes of exercise:
Rowing (peak effort) 600
Swimming (crawl stroke) 300
Tennis (fast game) 265
Chopping Wood 265
Cycling (lOmph) 225
Golfing (without a cart) 150
Walking (3.5mph) 150
Vigorous Racquet Ball 510
Marathon Running 593
Some weight loss authorities believe that our bodies use fat to dilute toxins. As an Infrared Thermal System is an unsurpassed expeller of toxins, it is also a great way to get rid of any fat our bodies are using to dilute toxins we are storing.
Excellent for increasing blood circulation to the skin, which is essential for beautiful, youthful, glowing skin. A new “inner glow” as the skin is free of accumulated dirt and dry skin cells, due to deep cleansing of impurities. Improves the conditions of acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns and any skin lesions and cuts. Open wounds heal quicker with reduced scarring. Removes roughness, leaving skin baby smooth and soft again. Firms and improves skin tone and elasticity.
Scars on Skin:
Scars fully formed, even keloids, may be gradually softened. Burns and other wounds or incisions may heal with significantly reduced scarring.
– Cellulite is a gel-like substance made up of fat, water and wastes, which are trapped in pockets below the skin. An Infrared Thermal System can assist this condition, as profuse sweating helps clear this form of unwanted debris from the body.European beauty specialists confirm that a sauna will greatly speed any anti-cellulite program.
– Due to at least twice the depth of heat penetration into cellulite combined with up to 10 times the level of heating in these tissues, an Infra Therapist System can be significantly more effective than any conventional sauna.
– Effective for arthritis, back pain, muscle spasms, headache, etc.
– Radiant heat helps with sprains, strains, arthritis, muscle spasm and pain.
If you are an athlete, an Infrared Thermal System is all good news. It allows oxygen debt to be repaid more quickly. This is likely to lead to improved and quicker healing of sprains and muscle pain for you.
Relaxation & Enjoyment:
– Removes stress in the comfortable warm temperature.