7 Jan 2006
Is Infrared Sauna effective?
Is Infrared Sauna effective?
Recent books such as Cross Currents, by Robert O. Becker, M.D., have detailed the hazards of exposure to certain kinds of electromagnetic fields such as those encountered under high tension power lines or while working at computer display terminals. Japanese researchers have reported that infrared radiant heat serves as an antidote to the negative effects of such toxic electromagnetic sources.
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 30 million people have received localized infrared treatment in the Orient, Europe and Australia with lamps tuned to the same 2 ~ 25 micron waveband
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." 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.
Infrared Sauna 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.
"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, Sciatica, Menopause, Arthritis, Shoulder Stiffness, Rheumatism, Acne, Gastroenteric Problem, Ear Diseases, Insomnia
The following is a summary from Therapeutic Heat and Cold, 4th edition, ED. Just us F. Lehmann MD, William's and Wilkins, Chapter 9 or concluded from the data there in.Generally it is accepted that heat produces the following desirable therapeutic effects:
• increases the extensibility of collagen tissues
• decreases joint stiffness directly
• relieves muscle spasms
• produces pain relief
• increases blood flow
• assists in resolution of inflammatory infiltrates, edema and exudates
Researchers reported over 90% success in a summary of Chinese studies that assessed the effect of infrared therapy on:
• Soft tissue injury
• Lumbar strain
• Periarthritis of the shoulder
• Pain during Menstruation
• Eczema with infection
• Post-surgical infections
• Pelvic infection
• Pediatric Pneumonia
• Frostbite with inflammation
• 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 ~ 50°C 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:
• Nervous Tension
• Children's Over-tired Muscles • Varicose Veins
• Strained Muscles
• Fatigue Stretch Marks Menstrual Cramps
• Upset Stomachs
Is it really effective?
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 infrared-induced hyperthermia lasting over one hour had only beneficial effects on subjects with stage I-II essential hypertension. Each subject experienced a rise in core body temperature to a maximum level of 38.5°C (101.3°F). 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 infrared-induced 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 20~50% 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
• Cirrhoses 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
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, Taint's: chronic severe case cleared with 10 Infrared treatments, Nose bleeding.
• 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 odor: by improving the function of the skin, the infrared treatments may eliminate the cause of offensive body odor. It definitely reduces body adder 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.