What Is Far-Infrared Therapy (FIR) And What Does It Do? May 10 , 2023

Far-Infrared Therapy involves the use of Far-Infrared Rays (FIR), which are invisible waves of energy that penetrate the surface of the skin to gently elevate the body’s surface temperature and promote body systems’ functions.

Thermal therapy has in fact been in existence for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Finns, the Romans, the ancient Chinese, the American Indians and the Egyptians 5,000 years ago.

Since ancient times, people have known that exposure to sunshine can maintain and enhance health. Sun therapy is a form of natural FIR thermal therapy and Far-Infrared Rays are the invisible rays of natural sunlight that have the longest wavelength. However, sunlight contains harmful ultraviolet rays which can burn the skin. As such, people started using pure Far-Infrared heat emitted from healing units, which has similar benefits as sun rays, minus the harmful UV rays.

Benefits of Far-Infrared Technology

For many decades, scientific evidence has found that heat can maintain and enhance the wellness of the human body. Scientists have researched different ways on how to develop more effective forms of thermal heat therapy that target specific areas and enable deep heat penetration.

Traditional forms of heat therapy can be hazardous, uncomfortable, unhygienic, inefficient and ineffective. Traditional saunas create exposure to extremely high temperatures causing heat stress which can have detrimental effects on health, especially for people with heart challenges or needing to sustain blood pressure. Thermal compression and wraps are uncomfortable, heat is easily lost, temperature does not remain constant and maintaining a thermal compression or wrap can be problematic and inconvenient.

Research and development in the sixties – notably most extensively in Japan and also Germany – introduced the Far-Infrared Ray (FIR) thermal technology. This revolutionized thermal technology to an effective, safe, natural, hygienic and efficient approach to thermal treatment. Today, heat therapy is used internationally by medical professionals for relief of sports injuries, detox, and even in hospital nurseries to warm newborns.

While more large-scale research needs to be done to prove the benefits of Far-Infrared Therapy, here are some potential benefits from existing research and patient testimonials.

1) Improve blood circulation

· Far-Infrared expands capillaries which stimulate increased blood flow, regeneration, circulation and oxygen delivery. [1]

· Good blood circulation is essential for healthy organ and tissue function.

2) Strengthens cardiovascular system

· Far-Infrared can strengthen the cardiovascular system by causing heart rate and cardiac output increase, and diastolic blood pressure decrease – research by NASA in the early 1980s led to the conclusion that far-infrared stimulation of cardiovascular function would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flight.[2]

· FIR’s warming properties have also been shown to help improve the ‘health’ of the cells that line our blood vessels[3], which if left untreated may increase the risk of heart disorders.

3) Improve detoxification

· Far-Infrared is excellent for detoxification and helps lymphatic drainage.[4]

· Scientists in Japan report that in the FIR treatment of clogged capillary vessels, heat expands the capillaries and then initiates the start of a process to dissolve hidden toxins.[4]

· Far-Infrared thereby promotes the elimination of fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood: poisons, heavy metals – carcinogenic substances from food processing – lactic acid, free fatty acids and subcutaneous fat associated with aging and fatigue – excess sodium associated with blood pressure – and uric acid.[5]

4) Wound healing

· Some recent good quality experimental and clinical scientific studies (2003) from Japan have shown FIR to result in more rapid wound healing which was independent of changes in blood flow and skin temperature.[6]

· FIR helped this healing by stimulating a group of cells called fibroblasts to make more collagen which is a very important part of good wound healing and tissue repair.[6]

· Furthermore, it supports cell growth, DNA synthesis and protein synthesis, all of which are crucial for tissue repair and regeneration. This makes FIR therapy excellent for healing burns, scar tissue and skin problems such as acne and skin breakouts. Its anti-oxidative properties also promote anti-aging and lessening/softening of wrinkles due to enhanced collagen production.[6]

5) Relaxation and pain/aches management

· FIR relaxes auto-neuro muscles which help the body make the most of its intended healing abilities.

· FIR reduces soreness on nerve endings and muscle spasms by warming muscle fibers. As a result, rapid reduction of swelling, inflammation, and pain occurs. This allows for relaxation of muscles and relief of back, shoulder, and neck muscle aches.[7]

· FIR soothes tension and stress in both body and mind.[7]

6) Immunity boosting

· Far-Infrared strengthens and supports the Immune system by supporting increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus.[8]

7) Cancer support

· Far-Infrared Thermal Therapy, also known as Hyperthermia, supports the destruction of malignant cells which supposedly cannot survive if the temperature of the cell becomes 107.6F/42C and above.[9]

· FIR is used extensively in Asia and Europe – especially Japan and Germany – but is only fairly recently researched and utilized within the USA, acknowledged and attested to by the American Cancer Association and the National Cancer Institute on their respective websites.



This article is written by Physician Foo Shan Ju.

Physician Foo Shan Ju (Oriental Remedies Group, Singapore), a registered TCM physician certified by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board (TCMPB).


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