Far-Infrared Ray (FIR) Therapy
Far-Infrared Ray (FIR) is a subset of the infrared electromagnetic spectrum that just fall outside of visible light and has the longer wavelength within the infrared range. It has a waveband of 3μm – 100μm. It is non-visible to our naked eyes although it is still part of the sunlight spectrum. This is an important spectrum nevertheless, delivering the all-important radiant heat. A certain waveband within the far-infrared, 6μm – 15μm is known to have therapeutic effects on our human body – and also known as the resonance spectrum, explained in the section below. As such, Far-infrared plays a very important role to promote life and wellbeing on planet earth.
Biological Effects of Far-Infrared Ray (FIR)
Not only Sun radiates FIR, but human bodies also radiate FIR. Among the FIR spectrum releasing from our body, the majority are in the range of 6-15μm, with a peak around 9μm. And this is why the specific 6-15μm spectrum of the FIR has demonstrated therapeutic effects on our body – it’s the resonance effect.
Like Pulsed Magnetic Field (PEMF) therapy, the stimulation arise from the interactions of electromagnetic radiation at the FIR range with our cells, membrane, body fluids – especially water, DNA/protections) and etc. Among these factors, water forms approximately 60% of an adult body and is crucial to the transportation of nutrients and toxic to and from our body. Depends on exact wavelength, power of FIR, and area of application, FIR energy can penetrate skins up to 6cm.
The key benefits of Far Infrared Ray (FIR) includes
- Improves microcirculation by increasing the vibrational levels of bonds in molecules, especially water molecules in our body
- Increases oxygen supply to tissues, especially damaged tissues for recovery
- Serve as a form of non-invasive and safe physiotherapy to help relieve pain and recovery from injury
- Increasing evidence suggested that FIR can also improve the health of patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease.
- FIR when applied at a larger surface area, increase core body temperatures and this can increase our immune response (i.e. Innate Immune Cells)
Choosing the Right Far-Infrared Devices
While there are many infrared devices out there in the market, not all devices are designed as pure Far-Infrared. Many devices are a combination of Red Light + Infrared (meaning wider spectrum). Pure Far-Infrared Device has the following two properties:
- No Light emitted. FIR emitted non-visible light (EMR)
- Radiated heat. (This will differentiate from Near-Infrared NIR devices, which also do not emit light, but neither heat).
What to look out for in FIR Devices
FIR comes in many forms. This can be a hand paddle, small pad to wrap around your body, foot warmer, a full-body mat to lie on, FIR sauna, table standing FIR lamp, and etc.. Aside from the product quality, design and forms that fit your application purpose, you also need to investigate the source of heating and the level of dirty electromagnetic field it is giving out. It is true all heats emits FIR. However, not all heated devices are FIR device. One characteristic of good FIR devices is the surface should not be too hot (unbearable) to touch, as the heat is in radiated, not through surface heating. Think – inducting stove and electric stove.
Usually, quality FIR devices will use ceramic, natural marble, carbon fibre as the FIR generating material. The surface usually is warm to touch, and when applied to your body, you can sense a warming sensation deep inside, not just skin deep. The picture below illustrates a high-quality far-infrared mattress from Europe, where heat signature is only detected on the FIR emitting carbon fibre. T
Relevant Clinical Studies on FIR and Body Temperature:
- Far infrared radiation (FIR): its biological effects and medical applications – Fatma Vatansever and Michael R. Hamblin*
- Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review
- Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial
- Body Temperature during Hibernation Is Highly Correlated with a Decrease in Circulating Innate Immune Cells