When pain strikes, we often seek out relief immediately. We may head right to the medicine cabinet or attempt to rest it away, but the feeling of discomfort in the body is an indication that something is wrong. A sore neck, knee or back can really put a damper on our regularly scheduled lives, making it challenging to get through a day of work or regular tasks. Whether it’s occasional body aches or chronic pain we’ve all experienced soreness in our bodies at some point. While medications may help, many of us have become increasingly interested in natural pain relief options.Natural remedies for pain relief include willow bark, turmeric, cloves, acupuncture and ice, but one of the most common and efficient natural pain relief remedies is the use of heat applied directly to the area. More specifically, infrared heat, is one of the most effective, non-pharmaceutical options to provide relief fast.
Those who partake in regular infrared treatments feel relief from injuries, fibromyalgia, arthritis, delayed-onset muscle soreness, peripheral arterial disease, ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis distressing the spine/large joints) and more. Infrared heat can also assist with eliminating stiffness once inflammation has gone down, this is especially useful for strains and sprains.
Researchers from Kagoshima University Hospital in Japan have conducted multiple studies on specific ailments to find out if infrared heat is an effective option for relief, their findings are incredible and prove that infrared heat is a great way to naturally relieve pain. One study separated chronic pain participants into groups, providing the first group with cognitive behavioral therapy, rehabilitation and exercise therapy. The second group received the same treatment as well as one far-infrared session each day for 4 weeks. While each group experienced some type of relief, those who were exposed to infrared experienced relief faster and were able to return to work quicker with less anger (due to chronic pain) and pain than before.
Kagoshima University Hospital researchers also studied the effects of infrared heat with 13 female fibromyalgia patients. During this study the patients participated in one infrared session a day for 2 or 5 days a week. After the infrared sessions, the participants laid down in a warm room with a blanket for 30 minutes and immediately following their first session, all patients reported a significant decrease in pain. After around 10 treatments they reported their pain was decreased by 20% -78%. Talk about results!
Dr. Aaron Flickstein, FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director has seen similar results when using infrared body wrap treatments on his patients, “Pain relief with infrared happens due to increased blood flow and infrared acting directly on irritated nerve endings,” he says, “Many patients notice the effects after about 20-30 minutes of exposure and some feel relief for around 48 hours after the sessions.” You may be wondering; how does infrared provide these results? “Infrared heat promotes the rebuilding of injured tissue by positively affecting the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells necessary for repair) and it increases the growth of cells, DNA and protein synthesis necessary during tissue repair and regeneration,” says Flickstein. “Infrared is also useful for reducing soreness in nerve endings and muscle spasms by heating the muscle fibers resulting in natural pain relief.”
Another study, done in 2009 revealed a trend towards long-term beneficial effects of infrared sessions. In this study, researchers utilized infrared with arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis of the spine and large joints) patients. During the 4-week treatment period, no adverse effects were reported, pain, stiffness and fatigue, decreased clinically and the improvements were marked as statistically significant.
Now, there are plenty more studies proving the amazing effects infrared has on relieving pain naturally, but we’ll close with a 2006 Canadian study on chronic low back pain. It is said that back pain is the most common cause of disability in North America, accounting for 64% of new consultations of the Rothbart Pain Management Clinic (RPMC) in North York, Ontario(where the study was done). The study split 40 participants into two groups, an infrared group and a placebo group. It was discovered that the group exposed to infrared reported a 50% decline in their pain levels! That's right 50%!!
Because infrared can penetrate (about 1.5 inches) into the body and provide relief throughout it’s a more holistic pain relief option. Results can be noticed after one session and participating in weekly or regularly planned sessions can be a tremendously effective pain management alternative. Those who incorporate infrared into their lifestyle have even been able to cut down on pain medications, and that’s saying a lot! If you’re looking for a way to relieve pain naturally an infrared session just may be the answer.
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- "The Effects Of Repeated Thermal Therapy For Patients With Chronic Pain". Karger.com. N.p., 2005. Web.
- Matsushita, Kakushi, Akinori Masuda, and Chuwa Tei. Efficacy Of Waon Therapy For Fibromyalgia. 1st ed. The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine, 2008. Web.
- Li, Ye and George D Gale. "Infrared Therapy For Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial". PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2006. Web.