Far Infrared Health Benefits Guide
Far Infrared Radiation (FIR), has been attributed to a number of health benefits over the last few years.
Today, people are using far infrared saunas for everything from detoxification to better cardiovascular health.
Does FIR have any scientific support?
Can you actually use far infrared to treat various physiological conditions? Find out today in our Far Infrared health benefits guide.
What is Far Infrared Radiation?
Far Infrared Radiation can be found at wavelengths between 15 μm and 1 mm and is a subdivision of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The infrared spectrum stretches from wavelengths 700 nm to 1 mm on the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared radiation lies entirely outside the range of visible light, so we can’t see any part of this radiation.
Infrared is typically separated into different sections according to its wavelengths. Those sections include near infrared, short-wave infrared, mid-wave infrared, long-wave infrared, and far infrared.
Objects with a temperature between 5 K and 340 K (-260 degrees Celsius to 66.8 degrees Celsius) will emit radiation in the far infrared range.
In recent years, researchers have studied this radiation to determine if it has any health benefits.
How Do Infrared Saunas Work?
Far infrared saunas can be found at naturopathic clinics around the world. These saunas are purported to come with a number of powerful health benefits.
When you step into an infrared sauna, you’ll quickly start sweating. Infrared radiation doesn’t actually warm the air in the sauna (like a traditional sauna). Instead, it directly heats your body without warming the area around you.
The benefits of far infrared saunas are often linked to the effects you feel when you walk into the sauna: typically, you’ll start sweating very quickly and before long, your heart rate will also increase. Many claim that this increased heart rate is similar to what you would experience during moderate exercise.
Interestingly enough, infrared saunas produce these effects – sweating and higher heart rate – at a lower temperature than regular saunas. This is why FIR saunas are popular among those who feel conventional saunas are “too hot” or “uncomfortable.”
Typically, if you want to enjoy the health benefits of far infrared radiation, you’ll need to visit a clinic with a far infrared sauna.
Health Benefits of Far Infrared Radiation
Far infrared saunas have been linked to a few different health benefits, including:
— Treatment of chronic health problems, like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and rheumatoid arthritis
— Treatment of sunburn. In fact, according to Clayton’s Electrotherapy, 9th Edition, far infrared radiation is the only treatment for excessive ultraviolet radiation
— Treatment of acne. When using far infrared radiation to treat acne, a dermatologist may use specialized skin care equipment – like Smoothbeam or CoolTouch – to direct focused infrared radiation onto acne scars and acne. According to all reports, however, these treatments cause significant pain. When visiting an infrared sauna, some users have reported enjoying these acne-curing benefits with absolutely no pain. FIR saunas encourage stubborn, clogged pores to release toxins and clear up acne.
— Enhance Qi energy. According to ancient Chinese medicine, your Qi is your life energy. Stressful modern lifestyles and poor diets can cause or Qi pathways to become blocked. Restoring balance to your Qi can improve overall energy and boost physiological health. Practitioners of Chinese medicine often state that far infrared saunas can revitalize the flow of Qi between malfunctioning organs.
— Alleviate physical pain throughout the body. According to Chapter 9 of Therapeutic Heat and Cold, Fourth Edition, far infrared heat therapy can be used to cure common aches and pains throughout the body. It can be used to decrease joint stiffness, for example, relieve muscle spasms, and increase blood flow throughout the body.
— Treat dental problems. Surprisingly, some dentists are ordering far infrared equipment for their clinics. Far infrared could be used to treat gum diseases, tooth pain, muscular spasms, and various other inflammations of the mouth.
— Weight loss. Surprisingly, a single FIR session can burn up to 600 calories because the body has to work hard to cool itself. Your heart rate also increases to a point where it feels like moderate exercise.
— Better cardiovascular health. FIR may be able to neutralize blood toxicity and smooth the walls of arteries, capillaries, and veins. This can blast away years of fat, fibrin, calcium, and cellular debris buildup. Ultimately, that means better cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Many of the powerful benefits of infrared radiation are caused by the fact that FIR penetrates the skin. When FIR is absorbed by the body, it generates heat. When exposed to infrared radiation, the surface of your skin isn’t directly exposed to heat: instead, FIR heats your body from the inside.
Scientific Evidence for Far Infrared Radiation
A team of researchers recently published a comprehensive study examining all of the tests performed on far infrared radiation to date. That study was released in 2012 and provides a good summary of what science currently knows about FIR and its health benefits.
The study concluded with the following statement:
“If it can be proved that non-heating FIR has real and significant biological effects, then the possible future applications are wide ranging. Not only could bandages and dressings made out of NIR emitting fabrics be applied for many medical conditions and injuries that require healing, but there is a large potential market in lifestyle enhancing applications. Garments may be manufactured for performance enhancing apparel in both leisure activities and competitive sports areas. Cold weather apparel would perform better by incorporating FIR emitting capability and sleeping environments could be improved by mattresses and bedding emitting FIR.”
In other words, FIR could have beneficial effects beyond simply infrared saunas: it could also be used in outerwear and for medical purposes. [Source: NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov]
Are Infrared Saunas Safe?
Infrared saunas appear to be perfectly safe to use. At this point, there have been no adverse effects reported with the use of infrared saunas.
We do know that far infrared rays cannot cause sunburn. They work in a different way than ultraviolet rays.
How to Experience Far Infrared Radiation
Far infrared saunas are the most popular way to enjoy far infrared radiation. However, there are other pieces of equipment designed to be used at home.
You can buy far infrared ray heating blankets, for example, where you wrap yourself up in something that looks like a silver sleeping bag.
There are also portable far infrared systems which are placed above your body as a semi-circle. This semi-circle shines light energy onto the targeted area of your body.
Far infrared radiation is essentially light from the sun. Approximately 80% of solar energy is made up of FIR. Far infrared radiation is kind of like extracting all of the positive healing benefits of the sun while removing its negative effects – like ultraviolet radiation.
By doing that, researchers have demonstrated that FIR can create some powerful benefits. Early results are promising, but more research needs to be performed to definitely call FIR an effective treatment method for all of the conditions listed above.