Life Extension Magazine June 2009

By Stephen Laifer

Millions of Americans endure the daily aches and discomforts of health conditions like arthritis, muscle tension, and sprains and strains, especially in the back, shoulder, and neck.

Over-the-counter pain remedies offer some relief, but carry a high risk of gastrointestinal upset and other side effects.

Now, a novel heating device captures the healing far infrared rays of the sun to provide safe, soothing relief of pain, stiffness, and tension—in the convenience of your home.

The Healing Power of Light

Aside from what we can see (visible light), a large portion of the sun’s energy is in the invisible, infrared part of the spectrum. In 1800, English astronomer Sir William Herschel experimented with putting a thermometer at various points in a prismatic spectrum.5 He found that ordinary light transmits some heat, but the effect is even more marked beyond the red end of the spectrum, in the far infrared band.6 Unlike high-frequency ultraviolet rays, which can provoke sunburn or cancerous changes in the skin, far infrared rays do not damage the skin. Far infrared can, therefore, help us derive some of the benefits of sunshine—even when we don’t have regular access to it.

Far infrared and its therapeutic properties


Research Confirms Diverse Healing Effects of Far Infrared Light

More recent studies in China explored far infrared therapy as a method to improve inadequate blood circulation in patients with vascular access malfunction, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in hemodialysis patients. Study subjects treated with far infrared showed measurable blood flow improvement after a single session. Test results were consistent after one year of therapy.8

A similar study on laboratory rats found that treatment with far infrared could help reduce the prevalence of ischemia (shortage of the blood supply to an organ) and ischemic diseases.14 In cases of trauma, reconstructive surgery, and diabetes, insufficient microcirculation in skin can lead to acute tissue ischemia. The study found that far infrared therapy produced a significant increase in skin microcirculation in the treated animals.

The benefits of far infrared extend to the cardiovascular system as well. Repeated far infrared therapy has also been shown to improve impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with atherosclerosis and other coronary risk factors.15,16

A Japanese study tested the effects of far infrared rays on chronic pain. The investigators studied far infrared efficacy in patients suffering from fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by sleep disturbances and widespread pain with tenderness in specific areas.17 Thirteen female patients received far infrared therapy once per day for two or five days per week. All of the patients experienced a significant reduction in pain (by about half) after the first session. The effects of treatment became stable after 10 sessions, with participants experiencing up to a 78% reduction in their pain.

Another study backed up these findings, suggesting that an approach of multidisciplinary treatment that included far infrared therapy could be a promising method for treating chronic pain.9

Bringing Home the Benefits of Far Infrared Light