Health Mate Infrared Saunas
adapted from Dr. Aaron M. Flickstein
Far infrared (FIR), also known as radiant heat, is simply
a form of energy that heats objects directly through a process called
conversion. The infrared segment of the electromagnetic spectrum is
divided into 3 segments by wavelength, measured in microns or micrometers
(a micron = 1/1,000,000 of a meter); 0.76 - 1.5 microns - near or close;
1.5 - 5.6 = middle or intermediate; 5.6 - 1,000 = far or long wave infrared.
The infrared segment of the electromagnetic spectrum occurs just below
or "infra" to red light as the next lowest energy band of light. We
cannot see this band of light with the naked eye, but we can feel this
type of light in the form of heat. Our sun produces most of its energy
output in the infrared segment of the spectrum. Our atmosphere has a
"window" in it that allows IR rays in the 7-14 micron range to safely
reach the earth's surface. When warmed, the earth radiates infrared
rays in the 7-14 micron band with its peak output at 10 microns.
Molecules of water and organic substances absorb Infrared
easily, since it is their resonant frequency, consequently they vibrate
vigorously at that frequency and become the radiator of the frequency,
as well as the receiver. Far infrared penetrates organic substances
and water two to three inches so that the warming effect is very uniform.
When organic substances are heated by near infrared waves (0.76 to 5
microns), the surface gets hotter than the interior, and the interior
gets heated by conduction means from the surface.
We live in a FIR temperature range. Our skin radiates
9.36 micron far infrared wave since our body temperature is 97.7 degrees
Farhenheit. This is very close to the resonant frequency of a water
molecule. This makes perfect sense, since about 70% of our body is water.
The army has far infrared binoculars to spot the enemy at night.
We have many different wave lengths radiated at us and
some frequency wave bands pass through us and others are reflected away.
For instance, the visible light spectrum with very short wave lengths
is reflected away, while a radio frequency with a long wave length just
passes through the body. Some wave bands are absorbed by the substance
and the temperature of the substance rises. For our body and many other
living organic substances, the far infrared waves are the heat generating
waves. We live in an environment of far infrared waves and our body
receives and radiates them. Among the energy spectrum coming from the
sun, the far infrared waves are the safest and the most beneficial electromagnetic
energy sources available.
The Health Mate Infrared Sauna
The heaters in the Health Mate Infrared sauna radiate
at 2 - 25 micron, making it completely compatible to the body. Our company
is 29 years old. We use clear cut red cedar for our saunas. There are
five sizes ranging from 44" wide, 40" deep, and 73" high to 84" wide,
44" deep and 73" high. The three smaller sizes run on 110 Volt, with
the two larger using 220 Volt. Our saunas are very economical, the cost
of running our sauna for 30 minutes a day, every day for one month is
between $2 to $3, compared to $20-30 a month for a conventional sauna.
The Health Mate sauna has a warm up time indoors of ten minutes compared
to 20 to 30 minute warm up for a conventional sauna. Since far infrared
penetrates the body, and does not have to heat the air around the sauna
to be effective, warm up time is by preference of the person using the
sauna. Some people turn on the sauna and get in while it is cold and
warm up with the sauna, and are receiving the far infrared benefits
even before the sauna warms up. Our sauna has a heat range of 100 to
180 degrees, but you can get a complete detoxification with the sauna
set between 110 degrees to 130 degrees, making it comfortable to fully
detoxify in our sauna, compared to 180 degrees to 220 degrees in a conventional
sauna. Far infrared saunas work even with the window and door open,
so can be used with clothing on for a pre-warm up for exercise. Our
saunas are portable and can be set up in approximately 20 minutes or
less, with six panels that are manufactured to fit exactly and held
together with steamer trunk type clip hinges. This makes our sauna portable
for use indoors or outdoors.
There are at least 200 doctors in the USA using the
Health Mate sauna in their practices for pain relief treatments. These
treatments cost from $30 - $50 for a 30 minute treatment session. Our
sauna has been approved by the FDA for treatment of pain relief and
some insurance does co-payment for in-home saunas.
World Wide Reports on Infrared Sauna Use
Over the last 25 years, Japanese and Chinese researchers
and clinicians have completed extensive research on infrared treatments
and report many provocative findings. In Japan, there is an "infrared
society" composed of medical doctors and physical therapists dedicated
to further infrared research. Their findings support the health benefits
of infrared therapy as a method of healing.
There have been over 700,000 infrared thermal systems
sold in the Orient for whole-body treatments. An additional 30 million
people have received localized infrared treatment in the Orient, Europe
and Australia with lamps, which emit the same 2 to 25 micon wave bands
as employed in a whole-body system. In Germany, physicians in an independently
developed form have used whole-body infrared therapy for over 80 years.
Infrared Heat for Cardiovascular Conditioning
In the August 7, 1981 issue of the Journal of American
Medical Association (JAMA) reported what is common knowledge today:
many people who run do so to place a demand on their cardiovascular
system as well as to build muscle. What isn't well known is that it
also reported the "regular use of a sauna may impart a similar stress
on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective
as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories as
It has been found that the infrared sauna makes it possible
for people in wheelchairs, those who are otherwise unable to exert themselves,
and those who won't follow an exercise/conditioning program, to achieve
a cardiovascular training effect. It also allows for more variety in
any ongoing training program. Blood flow during whole-body hyperthermia
is reported to rise from a normal five to seven quarts a minute to as
many as 13 quarts a minute.
Because infrared rays penetrate the body over 1-1/2
inches, there is a deep heating effect in the muscle tissue and internal
organs. The body responds to this heat with a hypothalamic-induced increase
in both heart volume and rate, leading to a beneficial heart stress
and sought-after cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical
research has confirmed that the use of a sauna provided cardiovascular
conditioning as the body tries to cool itself. Extensive research by
NASA in the early 1980's led to the conclusion that infrared stimulation
of cardiovascular function would be an ideal way to maintain cardiovascular
conditioning in American astronauts during long space flights.
In its Wellness Letter, October 1990, the University
of California Berkeley reported that "the 1980's was the decade of high-impact
aerobics classes and high-mileage training. Yet there was something
elitist about the way exercise was prescribed: only strenuous workouts
would do, you had to raise your heart rate to between X and Y, and the
only way to go was to "go for the burn." Such strictures insured that
most real exercisers were relatively young and in good shape to begin
with. Many Americans got caught up in the fitness boom, but probably
just as many fell by the wayside. As we've reported, recent research
shows that you don't have to run marathons to become fit - that burning
just 1,000 calories a week is enough. Anything goes, as long as it burns
Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology reports
that producing one gram of sweat requires 0.586 kcal. The JAMA
citation above goes on to state that "A moderately conditioned person
can easily sweat off 500 grams in a sauna, consuming nearly 300 kcal
- the equivalent of running two to three miles. A heat conditioned person
can easily sweat off 600 to 800 kcal with no adverse effect. While the
weight of water loss can be regained by rehydration, the calories consumed
will not be." Since the Health Mate infrared sauna helps generate two
to three times the sweat produced in a conventional hot air sauna, the
implications for increased caloric consumption are quite impressive.
Assuming one takes a sauna for 30 minutes, some interesting
comparisons can be drawn. Two of the highest calorie output exercises
are rowing and running marathons. Peak output on a rowing machine or
during a marathon burns about 600 calories for 30 minutes. An infrared
sauna may better this from "just slightly" up to 250% by burning 900
to 2400 calories in the same period of time. It might in a single session
simulate the consumption of energy equal to that expended in a six to
nine mile run.
Health Benefits of Infrared Heat
The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
reports "medical practitioners make use of infrared radiant heat to
treat sprains, strains, bursitis, peripheral vascular diseases, arthritis,
and muscle pain...
Dr. Masao Nakamura of the O & P Medical Clinic in
Japan reported success with the use of infrared heat treatment for:
Effects of Infrared Heat on Rheumatoid Arthritis
A case study reported in Sweden involved a 70 year-old
man who had rheumatoid arthritis secondary to acute rheumatic fever.
He had reached his toxic limit of gold injections and his Erythrocyte
Sedimentation Rate (ESR) was still 125. After using an infrared heat
system for less than five months, his ESR was down to 11.
The rheumatologist worked with a 14 year-old Swedish
girl who had difficulty walking downstairs due to knee pain from the
age of eight. This therapist told her mother the girl would be in a
wheelchair within two years if she did not begin gold corticosteroid
therapy. After three infrared sauna treatments, she began to become
more agile and subsequently took up folk dancing without the aid of
conventional approaches in her recovery.
A clinical study in Japan reported a successful solution
for seven out of seven cases of rheumatoid arthritis treated with whole
body infrared therapy.
Other Therapeutic Effects of Infrared Therapy
The following information has been summarized from Chapter
9 of Therapeutic Heat and Cold, Fourth Edition, Editors Justus
F. Lehmann, MD, Williams, and Wilkin, or concluded from data gathered
Generally it is accepted that heat produces the following
desirable therapeutic effects:
1. Infrared heat increases the extensibility of collagen
tissues. Tissues heated to 45 degrees Celsius and then stretched exhibit
a nonelastic residual elongation of about 0.5 to 0.9 percent that persists
after the stretch is removed. This does not occur in these same tissues
when stretched at normal tissue temperature.
Stretching of tissue in the presence of heat would be
especially valuable in working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons,
fasciae, and synoviurn that have become scarred, thickened, or contracted.
Experiments cited clearly showed low-force stretching could produce
significant residual elongation when heat is applied together with stretching
or range of motion exercises.
2. Infrared heat decreases joint stiffness. There was
a 20% decrease in rheumatoid finger joint stiffness at 45 degrees Celsius
(112°F) as compared with 33 degrees Celsius (92°F) which correlated
perfectly to both subjective and objective observation of stiffness.
Speculation has it that any stiffened joint and thickened connective
tissues may respond in a similar fashion.
3. Infrared heat relieves muscle spasms. Muscle spasms
have long been observed to be reduced through the use of heat, be they
secondary to underlying skeletal, joint, or neuropathological conditions.
This result is possibly produced by the combined effect of heat on both
primary and secondary afferent nerves from spindle cells and from its
effect on Golgi tendon organs.
4. Infrared heat treatment leads to pain relief. Pain
may be relieved via the reduction of attendant or secondary spasms.
Pain is also at times related to ischemia due to tension or spasm that
can be improved by hyperthermia that heat-induced vasodialation produces,
thus breaking the feedback loop in which ischemia leads to further spasm
and then more pain. Heat has been shown to reduce pain sensation by
direct action on both free-nerve endings in tissues and on peripheral
nerves. In one dental study, repeated heat applications led finally
to abolishment of the whole nerve response responsible for pain arising
from dental pulp. Heat may lead to increased endorphin production and
a shutting down of the so-called "spinal gate" of Melzack and Wall,
each of which can reduce pain.
Localized infrared therapy using lamps tuned to the
2 to 25 micron wave band is used for the treatment and relief of pain
by over 40 reputable Chinese medical institutes.
5. Infrared heat increases blood flow. Heating one area
of the body produces reflex-modulated vasodilators in distant-body areas,
even in the absence of a change in core temperature. Heat one extremity
and the contralateral extremity also dilates; heat a forearm and both
lower extremities dilate.
Heating muscles produces an increased blood flow level
similar to that seen during exercise. Temperature elevation also produces
increased blood flow and dilation directly in capillaries, arterioles,
and venules, probably through direct action on their smooth muscles.
The release of bradykinin, released as a conseqence of sweat gland activity,
also produces increased blood flow and vasodilation.
Whole body hyperthernia, with a consequent core temperature
elevation, further induces vasodialation via a hypothalamic-induced
decrease in sympathetic tone on the arteriovenous anastomoses. Vasodialation
is also produced by axonal reflexes that change vasomotor balance.
6. Infrared heat assists in resolution of inflammatory
infiltrates, edema, and exudates. Increased peripheral circulation provides
the transport needed to help evacuate edema, which can help inflammation,
decrease pain, and help speed healing.
7. Infrared heat introduced in cancer therapy. More
recently, infrared heat has been used in cancer therapy. This is a new
experimental procedure that shows great promise in some cases when used
properly. American researchers favor careful monitoring of the tumor
temperature; whereas, the successes reported in Japan make no mention
of such precaution.
8. Infrared heat affects soft tissue injury. Infrared
healing is now becoming a leading edge care for soft tissue injuries
to promote both relief in chronic or intractable "permanent" cases,
and accelerated healing in newer injuries.
Chinese Studies Report Positive Effects of Infrared
Researchers report over 90% success in a summary of
Chinese studies that assessed the effects of infrared heat therapy on:
Soft tissue injury
Periarthritis of the shoulder
Pain during menstruation
Eczema with infection
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Speculation About Infrared Heat Effects on Blood
All of the following ailments may be associated to some
degree with poor circulation and, thus may respond well to increased
peripheral dilation associated with infrared treatments: Arthritis;
Rheumatism; Sciatica; Strained muscles; Backache; Fatigue; Hemorrhoids;
Stretch Marks; Nervous Tension; Menstrual Cramps; Childrens Overtired
Muscles; Varicose Veins; Neuritis; Bursitis; Leg and Decubitis ulcers
(that fail to heal using conventional approaches); Post-operative edema
(treatment has proven so effective, hospital stays were reduced by 25%);
Peripheral occlusive disease (the goal is to maintain an optimal blood
flow rate to the affected part
. In general the temperature should be
maintained at the highest level, which does not increase the circulatory
discrepancy as shown by cyanosis and pain. Therapeutic Heat and
Cold, pp. 456-457).
Infrared Heat and Coronary Artery Disease, Arteriosclerosis
Finnish researchers, reporting the regular use of conventional
saunas state "there is abundant evidence to suggest that blood vessels
of regular sauna-goers remain elastic and pliable longer due to the
regular dilation and contraction" of blood vessels induced by sauna
use, such as the Health Mate Sauna.
In 1989, German medical researchers reported in Dermatol
Monatsschr a single whole-body session of infrared-induced hyperthermia
lasting over one hour had only beneficial effects on subjects with State
I and State II essential hypertension. Each subject experienced a rise
in core body temperature to a maximum level of 35.5 degrees Celsius
(100.5°F). All the subjects in one experiment had significant decreases
in arterial, venous, and mean blood pressure that lasted for at least
24 hours and linked, according to researchers, to a persistent peripheral
dilation effect. An improvement in plasma viscosity was also noted.
Another group of similar hypertensive patients was also
studied under the same conditions of hyperthermia, with an eye toward
more carefully evaluating the circulatory system effects induced by
this type of whole-body heating. During each infrared session, there
was a significant decrease of blood pressure, cardiac ejection resistance,
and total peripheral resistance in every subject. There was also a significant
increase of the subjects' heart rates, stroke volumes, cardiac outputs
and ejection fractions. The researchers cite these last three effects
as evidence that stimulation of the heart during infrared induced hyperthermia
is well-compensated, while the prior list of effects show clear detail
of the microcirculatory changes leading to the desired result of lowering
Ear, Nose, and Throat Conditions Relieved with Infrared
In Japan, ear, nose, and throat conditions were relieved
with infrared heat treatments:
Chronic middle-ear inflammation or infection (in one
study of chronic serous otitis media no pathogenic bacteria were isolated
in 70% of the subjects studied after the use of heat)
Tinnitus (chronic severe case cleared with 10 infrared
Nose bleeding (reduced)
Infrared therapy is used routinely in burn units throughout
Skin conditions improved in Japan and China with the
use of infrared heat application.
Clogged pores (unplugged of cosmetics, unexcelled
skin texture and tone)
Poor skin tone (restored to a more youthful level)
Scars and pain from burns or wounds (decreased in
severity and extent)
Lacerations (healed quicker with less pain and scarring)
Acne (three to four treatments may open pores that
have been nonfunctioning for years, forcing out clogging cosmetics,
and loosening dry outer skin)
Teenage skin problems (clearing acne and blackheads)
Body odor (improved functioning of the skin especially
body odor, induced by occupational exposure to odorous chemicals)
Eczema and Psoriasis (respond well)
Sunburn (According to the Claytons Electrotherapy,
9th Edition, "infrared radiations are the only antidote to excessive
Ketoids (form at a reduced rate in those prone to
their formation and may be softened by infrared heat if they have formed)
Dandruff (increased blood flow through the scalp)
Mikkel Aalands book Sweat (Capra
Press, 1978) Quotes a Finnish Doctor
"The best dressed foreigner can come into a doctor's
office, and when his skin is examined, it is found to be rough as bark.
On the other hand, as a result of the sauna, the skin of any Finnish
worker is supple and healthy.
For more information on the Health Mate sauna, please
Gene Eddington or Deborah Ley
Cell Phone 916-769-9095