Infrared energy is mostly experienced as heat. It is the band of electromagnetic frequencies between visible red light (the lower frequency wavelengths) and microwaves and radiowaves (the higher frequency wavelengths) on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Infrared frequencies closest to visible light are called “near infrared”. The frequencies furthest from visible light are known as “far infrared”. Between the two is the mid infrared. Objects such as stars which emit near infrared are warmer than those that emit far infrared. These infrared bands are compared here .
You may be familiar with the infrared bulbs used to keep food warm as well as young animals and reptiles. In the last few years home heaters labeled as infrared have become more common for keeping humans warm too.
Typically these home heaters are described as producing heat like the sun. This heat warms objects — and you — but not the air. When the walls are warmed enough that they emit heat, the air will warm.
Infrared heaters are said to help rid a house of mold. This is NOT because infrared destroys mold. On the contrary, one study found that it promoted mold growth. But what the infrared does do is eliminate the moisture required by mold by dehumidifying walls thus preventing mold growth.
Mold can also be detected using infrared cameras. This is called thermal imaging because the camera detects temperature differences.
As you may know, infrared is also used in products such as security and wildlife cameras. Thermal imaging using infrared does not have the limitations of traditional “night vision” which magnifies existing light.
Some animals can see infrared. I found this when night trapping during a trap/neuter/release program with feral cats. They would focus right in on the camera and some backed off in spite of the food. Here you can see the first video I shot on my trail camera. Though it is daylight, you can see the cat react to the infrared.
But it is specifically the far infrared rays (FIR) that have been found to play an important role in healing. Lab experiments in an NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) study found that FIR had significant effects on increasing blood flow in the skin of rats, quickening wound healing, treating certain types of cancer cells, and reducing inflammation in rabbits.
The same study looked at the ways that FIR treatment is delivered. FIR sauna therapy was found to improve cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. FIR ray devices improved rhinitis and muscle damage from exercise.
FIR can also be delivered from garments with special ceramic and/or minerals woven or applied to the fabric. Minerals which emit FIR include tourmaline, amethyst, jade and a type of mica. The NCBI study cited above found that sleep quality, lactation, arthritis, dysmenorrhea, cellulite and Raynaud’s Syndrome could be improved with such garments.
Over the last two decades plus, Japanese and Chinese researchers have tested medical FIR treatments extensively. It is said that in Japan there is a “Far Infrared Society”. The list of therapeutic effects of this research is quite long. It even includes use of FIR and FIR devices for animals. This tends to be treatment with the “hothouse dome” which is considered an FIR ray device.
Garments containing tourmaline and magnets are being manufactured in China and elsewhere. In China they are considered medical devices. They come in the form of belts, braces, wraps and more.
So in the interests of research and pain reduction, I purchased a cervical neck brace. I have arthritis on one side of my neck and if that spot gets cold my whole shoulder locks up. I figured I could also jerry rig it to try it out on my sciatica to see if this sort of thing worked.
It worked! My neck was warmed nicely. Because the material was new it was somewhat stiff. So I folded the straps back behind the white neoprene (with tourmaline and magnets) and put it under my clothing against my hip where the arthritis is and the sciatica starts.
The device doesn’t get hot, just slightly warm, unlike the fellow’s experience in the above video. But it definitely eliminates pain. I have gone from three or four advil tablets per day to just one (when I take it off to sleep — sleep promotes inflammation). I have no doubt my digestive system is thankful as well as the rest of me!
The chiropractor taught me that pain down the back and side of the leg is sciatica. Pain down the front of my leg was due to a lumbar “subluxation”. Since I am unable to see him anymore, when I felt pain down the front of my leg, I moved the brace to the base of my spine. The lumbar pain also stopped. So now I expect to purchase the lumbar belt with tourmaline and magnets very soon.
I came across these devices by chance while researching the FIR effects of tourmaline. I believe that they can slowly heal — I can reach my sock on the affected leg now which I couldn’t do before. That is after about a week of constant use. It is an indictment of our medical system that these drugless pain relievers are not well known nor easily available.