What exactly is infrared, or radiant heat? No need to worry - it has nothing to do with either ultraviolet radiation (which gives you a sunburn and damages your skin) or atomic radiation (the kind from a nuclear bomb).
Radiant heat is simply a form of energy that heats objects directly through a process called conversion, without having to heat the air in between. Radiant heat is also called infrared energy (IR). Our sun is the principal source of radiant energy that we enjoy daily (some more so than others).
Are There Natural Forms Of Far Infrared Heat?
How about the sun? Have you ever been outside on a partly cloudy spring day of about 50 degrees F. and felt quite comfortable until the sun was suddenly obscured by a cloud? Although the air temperature had not had time to drop, you felt chilled, as the cloud would not let the warming infrared rays through to reach you.
Infrared light is an important energy force that promotes healing - a raising of the white blood cell count. Why is that good? Because more white blood cells mean greater immunity. Greater immunity means greater health and a better quality of life.
Today we're seeing new technologies employing far-infrared energy in health care products and in clinical protocols such as hyperthermic therapies for detoxification and cancer treatment.
Energy medicine is an ancient practice and Chinese health practitioners would use healing touch therapies for improved cell growth, DNA synthesis and protein synthesis in cells. Although these ancient practitioners did not know the technical terms as to why their therapy improved health, they were sure their patients got better.
Yes, the human heat from their touch increased immune defense response in which white blood cells surround and ingested small living things (like bacteria) and cell wastes.
Far-infrared heat follows the same principle: warm the injury site to speed healing. Why is infrared heat better than say, a heating pad? Because the vibrational energy of far-infrared light is unlike that of the heat energy we use for everyday functions, like cooking. Boiling water could actually damage our skin but it doesn't heat internal organs.
Sunlight heats us in a profound way, however, because it contains penetrating far-infrared rays as well as the full range of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Is Far Infrared Radiation Dangerous?
I know what you must be thinking - how can I benefit from the sun's infrared rays? I don't live near the equator. Besides, I thought the sun's rays were damaging to my skin.
While it's true the sun's rays should be used judiciously, especially by fair-skinned people, the fact remains that infrared radiation promotes health.
Are All Infrared Saunas Basically Constructed The Same?
A few companies have captured the essence of this healing energy by creating white wood saunas and smaller wraps for localized healing in specific areas of the body. Some of these whole body saunas have been created using wood that contains no pesticides for better tolerance and detoxification.
Why do we emphasize "white wood" construction? Because the darker the wood, the more toxins. Which becomes more of an issue when the sauna is heated, as this allows for penetration of those same toxins into our bodies.
Ideally, it's best to locate a sauna supplier who can guarantee their heaters for life. And not just any heater will do. Popular saunas on the market, touted as "far infrared" often use stainless steel rods inside their heaters. These rods can be sprayed with a ceramic coating of sorts, but do not come near the efficiency of true ceramic infrared lamps. (And most, if not all, of the fabulous testimonials you've read about the efficacy of infrared sauna therapy, have been created with true ceramic heaters).
Also, ensure your sauna supplier can provide low surface temperatured heaters. Why is that vital? Well, it's a a paradox, but the lower the surface temperature, the higher far infrared micron level achieved (the microns that hit the body). The goal should be 9.4 microns which is the most therapeutic.
Any Far Infrared History?
Over the past 25 years, Japanese and Chinese researchers and clinicians have done extensive research on infrared treatments and reported many provocative findings. Whole-body infrared therapy has been used for over 80 years by German physicians in an independently developed form.
Among other benefits, whole-body infrared thermal systems make 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 exercise program.
As for infrared's outstanding effect on caloric consumption and weight control, we find that burning from 600 to 2,400 calories in a 30 minute session to be quite routine. The infrared thermal system might then simulate the consumption of energy equal to that expended in a 6 to 9 mile run during only a single session. This would be invaluable for those who don't exercise and those who can't exercise yet want an effective weight control and fitness maintenance program.
Evidently the flushing of toxins from the lymph areas and from the largest organ of elimination, the skin, are the source of many these health improvements. Toxemia has been targeted as the number one reason so many of us are ill. With the elimination of these poisons from deep within the body, the organs can then do their job unhindered.
Although any health-restoring strategy involves some type of cleansing diet and supplements, infrared therapy would definitely be called for to augment the process more efficiently.
The list of health enhancements through the use of infrared therapy is impressive and it includes:
- relief from all forms of arthritis,
- increase in the extensibility of collagen tissues,
- relieves muscle spasms and joint stiffness,
- increases blood flow,
- assists in resolution of inflammatory infiltrates,
- edema and exudates,
- weight control,
- coronary artery disease,
- blood circulation,
- nose and throat conditions,
- skin conditions (including cellulite) and
- all-around beauty treatment.
Is infrared therapy a cure-all? Well, I don't believe that. But it's value cannot be ignored. Especially in view of the fact that millions suffer from toxic overload and its vast array of symptoms. Perhaps many more will come to view it as the body care system of the future just like NASA's astronauts and newborn babies have.
About The Author
Editor of the semi-monthly ezine named, "Infrared Technology Comes of Age", Rita has studied with master herbalists and naturopaths alike. Endeavoring to follow the precepts of Dr. John Christopher and the principles of electrical science, she has aided numerous folks to enhance their health through cleansing and nourishing the electrical body. http://www.drysaunas.com.