How Does Fenwick's Liquid Titanium Far Infrared (FIR) Therapy Work?
W. Lawrence Schoolmeester, MD, MMM answers questions about the technology:
What are Far Infrared (FIR) Therapeutic Benefits?
Some of the most intriguing healthcare technologies are those that utilize far infrared light. The research department at Life Extension Magazine acknowledges the diverse healing effects of Far Infrared Light:
"A growing body of clinical evidence supports the use of far infrared as a non-invasive health-promoting therapy."
Maladies that have been shown to improve with the application of far infrared therapies include: chronic pain, arthritis, joint stiffness and inflammation, and insomnia. Far Infrared enhances blood circulation in the skin, improves blood flow in internal organs, and supports cardiovascular health. The application of far infrared light has also been correlated with an overall improvement in health.
What Is Far Infrared (FIR) Light?
You may remember this from high school physics class: Electromagnetic energy falls along a spectrum of various wavelengths. Some of these wavelengths are visible to the human eye: namely, the colors we see in a rainbow. What we refer to as "visible light" is this range of frequencies that a human can see but, there are frequencies along this same spectrum that are not visible, and infrared light or infrared energy is one of these.
The name "infrared" is derived from the Latin word “infra”, which means "below." Red is the color associated with the longest wavelengths—which means the lowest frequency—of visible light. Because infrared light has an even longer wavelength—and lower frequency—than red light, it is designated as "below-red."
Within the range of infrared frequencies, there are three sub-categories: near infrared, mid infrared and far infrared. It's the far infrared rays that have been applied in healthcare technologies.
The Benefits of Sunshine Without The Risks
About 80% of the sun's rays fall within the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This invisible band of light warms objects—including the human body—without warming the surrounding air.
The healing warmth of far infrared energy can penetrate deeply into the body (up to a depth of 3.5 inches), which means its positive effects reach not only the skin but also muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. that lie beneath the surface. Unlike high-frequency ultraviolet rays—which can cause sunburn or contribute to cancerous growth on the skin—the low-frequency far infrared rays do not damage the skin. So, devices that emit far infrared light can provide many of the benefits of sunshine, without the risks that accompany exposure to UV radiation.
The History of Far Infrared (FIR) Technology
Sir William Herschel discovered infrared light in the early 19th century. His discovery was the by-product of a scientific experiment designed to measure the temperatures of the various colors of the visible light spectrum. Herschel discovered that temperatures increased from the violet to the red part of the spectrum. On a hunch, he measured the temperature just beyond the red portion of the spectrum and discovered that this area had the highest temperature of all. This led Herschel to hypothesize the existence of an invisible frequency of light beyond red light—which led eventually to the discovery of infrared light.
The application of infrared light to heat and heal the human body—through technologies designed specifically for this purpose—began in the early 20th century in Germany. Since the mid 20th century, these technologies have been developed also in China and Japan. In 1965, a Japanese physician (Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa) was granted a patent for a zirconia ceramic infrared heater, which was used for infrared thermal healing. For the first 14 years after their development, these devices were available only to medical practitioners—until their release for public use in 1979.
Since the early 1980's, the United States along with many European countries have continued to explore and refine infrared therapies. One common application of infrared technology in U.S. hospitals is the infrared heating elements in neonatal beds, which are used to keep newborn babies warm.
Infrared Energy Emitted by The Human Body
The human body also emits infrared energy—particularly from our palms. You can actually feel the heat of the infrared energy by holding your palms very close to one another, without them actually touching. And for thousands of years—in China, Japan, and other Asian countries—the healing properties of the infrared energy produced by the body and emitted from the hands has been acknowledged via the practice of palm healing.
Are There Risks Or Side Effects to Far Infrared (FIR) Rays?
So far, there have been no significant side effects observed with the use of far infrared energy in healthcare technologies. It's generally safe and effective. That said, if you're pregnant or suffering from a severe injury or illness, it's always best to consult with a knowledgeable trainer or healthcare provider before incorporating a far infrared therapy.