Far Infrared Therapy: Health Benefits

Far Infrared therapy (FIR) involves the use of Far Infrared rays to gently heal, soothe, stimulate and detox the physical body, as well as the mind.

Far Infrared Rays are invisible waves of energy that have the ability to penetrate all layers of the human physical body, penetrating into the inner-most regions of the tissues, muscles and bone.
An ancient technique, Far Infrared Therapy uses these waves, or rays, of energy to slightly elevate the surface temperature of the body. When we slightly induce a very small temperature increase, we can enhance our body’s functioning on multiple levels. Our hands, bodies and the sun emit FIR energy at all times. In Ancient China, palm healing was used to pass these infrared rays from one person to another.

In modern times, it is commonly referred to as Reiki. The Yogis of Ancient India also used FIR in palm healing, and particularly found it useful to place palms over the eyes in the case of eye dryness or strain. Many types of thermal healing have been used in ancient civilizations including Japan, China, India, the Americas, Northern Europe and ancient Rome.
Far Infrared Health Benefits

I am a huge proponent of using Far Infrared as an aid in detoxification. In my practice, I have found that this type of therapy may help in fat loss, chronic fatigue [1], water retention, skin disorders, as well as in the elimination heavy metals, poisons, and carcinogenic material from our bodies.

Whenever we process food, and particularly when we have processed unhealthy food or meats, our bodies create lactic acids and free fatty acids, as well as excess sodium and uric acid. In my patients who have skin problems, I have often found that this type of therapy can help clean the liver and kidneys, instead of overworking the skin in processing our toxins out through the dermis.

Far Infrared therapy very gently increases blood flow [2] by expanding the capillaries that carry blood. It also increases oxygenation and regeneration of the blood, deeply detoxifying it for the improved functioning of all of the major organs in the body, which depend on blood for energy. This detoxification is on the deepest level, allowing hidden toxins in the blood and tissue to be dissolved or immobilized.

Through the subtle heating, Far Infrared boosts our immune system, increasing the amount of white blood cells and killer T-cells. It is an excellent therapy for promoting healing, reducing muscle soreness, muscle spasms and relief for rheumatoid arthritis [3]. Research by NASA has shown that far infrared on the cardiovascular system was a great way of keeping astronauts hearts’ in optimal condition.

Far Infrared can also increase the processing enzyme activity in our digestive tract, as well as boost metabolism. An hour of this therapy can burn up to 900 calories, showing excellent results in breaking down trapped fat, waste, cellulite and other forms of toxic substances. The rejuvenating effects of Far Infrared has been shown to help heal scar tissue such as burn scars, acne scars and other forms of dermatological scarring.
The sweating quality that comes from Far Infrared Therapy truly helps us detox from the enormous levels of pollution in modern times. It also is crucial for discomfort relief and the reduction of redness and swelling. Clinical studies done in both the United States, and in Japan, found, “Much of the stiffness, aches and soreness that comes with aging is reduced or eliminated” and, “Whole body far infrared heat relieved pain from burns and decreased healing time with less scarring.”

Heart studies done by The Mayo Clinic and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology [4] found that infrared sauna therapy significantly improved blood vessel functioning in high-cholesterol, diabetes and smoking patients. The therapy also was found to increase circulation, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and help in weight loss.

Far infrared saunas are available as units for your home and in spa settings for you to take advantage of these health benefits. Investing in a personal sauna is an investment to your long-term health and well-being. I also recommend using products at home that utilize the same far infrared technology to assist the body in detoxification. I formulated Dr. Groups Organic Detox Foot Pads to contain amethyst and tourmaline gemstones for the benefit of releasing far infrared rays to promote the natural detoxification of chemicals, toxins, and toxic metals from your body while you sleep.

References:
Masuda A, Kihara T, Fukudome T, Shinsato T, Minagoe S, Tei C. The effects of repeated thermal therapy for two patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 2005 Apr;58(4):383-7.
Lin CC, Chang CF, Lai MY, Chen TW, Lee PC, Yang WC. Far-infrared therapy: a novel treatment to improve access blood flow and unassisted patency of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Mar;18(3):985-92. Epub 2007 Jan 31.
Fredrikus G. J. Oosterveld, Johannes J. Rasker, Mark Floors, Robert Landkroon, Bob van Rennes, Jan Zwijnenberg, Mart A. F. J. van de Laar, Gerard J. Koel. Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Clinical Rheumatology. 2009 January 01. vol. 28 issue 1, pages 29-34 doi10.1007/s10067-008-0977-y.
Kihara T, Biro S, Imamura M, et al. Repeated sauna treatment improves vascular endothelial and cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 March. 39(5):754-759. doi:10.1016/S0735-1097(01)01824-1.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

Alkaline Water: Benefits

When it comes to health, water is kind of a big deal. In fact, no other substance is as important for our bodies. So if you’re consistently drinking water, you’re already doing something great for your health.

But you may have heard that alkaline water — water that’s less acidic than tap water — is even better. Let’s investigate whether this is actually true, if alkalized water is really better for health and fitness.

About alkaline water

Alkaline water is rich in alkalizing compounds, including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate.

Some people claim that a more alkaline diet — including the use of alkaline water — can help your body buffer acidity, which can lead to better health and fitness. A few research reviews even support the claims. However, the jury’s still out on drinking alkaline water specifically. And some remain very skeptical.

Is it worth buying specialty water to get the alleged benefits? Or is alkaline water just another questionable diet trend up there with juice detoxes and coffee hacking?

Read on to learn whether alkaline water is worth a sip.

Do you even need to “alkalize”?

“Alkaline” has almost become a buzzword in health circles. But the idea that everyone needs to “alkalize” is at best an oversimplification.

The concept with alkaline water is this: Tap water contains different dissolved elements that influence its pH level. Pure water has a pH level close to 7. Alkaline water has a pH above 7. So the idea is that to create a more alkaline balance in your body, you should drink water with a higher pH.

But there are a few problems with this concept.

First of all, each organ system has a unique pH range, and our bodies naturally do a fantastic job of maintaining blood pH within each respective range.

Secondly if your pH is out of balance, it’s important to get to the underlying cause. Without knowing the cause, you can’t determine whether alkaline water will really help you.

What’s more, focusing on the pH level of our water is sort of besides the point. Because if alkaline water is helpful, that might be due to the minerals it contains rather than its pH level, per se.

Also, keep in mind that overall body alkalinity isn’t always a good thing. For example, if you have a kidney condition, or you’re taking a medication that alters kidney function, some of the minerals in alkaline water could start to accumulate in your body. In this case, high alkalinity might lead to negative side effects.

As always, when troubleshooting a health concern, it’s important to get to the bottom of the core issue, and make sure that you’re targeting the real cause, not the symptom.

Possible benefits of alkaline water

That said, let’s explore the possible benefits of alkaline water before we dismiss the idea, as many skeptics do.

Gut health

Some proponents of alkalized water say that it could improve your gut health. Ionized water possesses a negative oxidation-reduction potential, which means it might offer extra disinfectant properties, helping to protect you from dangerous microorganisms.

Glycation, Alzheimers & Diabetes

Ionized water seems to result in lowered glycation levels and reduced liver damage in rats with poor blood sugar control. Why this that important? Here’s the mini science lesson.

Glycation is a reaction that takes place when simple sugar molecules, such as fructose or glucose, become attached to proteins or lipid fats without the moderation of an enzyme. This results in the formation of rogue molecules known as advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). AGEs are associated with health risks such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Now, rats are not humans, and it is tricky to extrapolate directly from animal studies to human health. We need more data to know whether this concept has legs.

Alkalized water and athletes

If there’s one group that may benefit from drinking alkaline water it’s those who are physically active. Why? Because intense exercise spurs muscles to produce more hydrogen ions than one can efficiently remove. Thus, acidity increases and fatigue sets in.

Drinking alkaline water might enhance the body’s buffering capacity and temper the acidity, thus improving our performance.

Note that mineral supplements (calcium, magnesium, potassium) decrease cardio-respiratory stress and blood lactate responses, while improving power output in endurance athletes. That’s why long-distance runners sometimes supplement with sodium bicarbonate. Alkaline water may work similarly.

Finally, over time, the mineral content of alkalized water could help active people retain more fluid in the cardiovascular system. This might improve overall hydration status and fluid reserves.

Where can you find alkaline water?

If you do want to give alkaline water a try, it can be confusing to figure out which waters are actually more alkaline.

Here’s a quick overview:

· Essentia guarantees a pH of 9.5 (which is more alkaline).
· Dasani ranges between 5.0-7.0 (which is neutral or more acidic).
· Aquafina ranges between 5.5-7.0 (which is neutral or more acidic).
· Smartwater has a pH of about 7.0 (which is neutral).
· Evian has a pH of 7.2 (which is more alkaline).

In the end, bottled mineral waters tend to be alkaline. Non-mineral bottled waters are unlikely to be alkaline. And adding mineral powders to regular tap water can it more alkaline.

Instead of buying bottled water or supplementing with minerals, you can also buy a machine, called a water ionizer, which creates alkaline water via a process called ionization.

The bottom line

It’s possible that alkaline water could offer some benefits, to some people, in certain circumstances.

But until we learn more, I suggest you save your money: Stick to tap water most of the time and, if you’re concerned about your acid/base balance plant-based dietary supplements and alkaline mineral supplements seem to have more research support.

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About the author

John Berardi, Ph.D. is a founder of Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest online nutrition coaching company. He also sits on the health and performance advisory boards of Nike, Titleist and Equinox.

Dr. Berardi was recently selected as one of the 20 smartest coaches in the world by livestrong.com, the internet’s most popular fitness site.

In the last five years, Dr. Berardi and his team have personally helped over 30,000 people improve their eating, lose weight, and boost their health through their renowned Precision Nutrition Coaching program.

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Burckhardt P. The effect of the alkali load of mineral water on bone metabolism: Interventional studies. J Nutr 2008;138:435S-437S.

Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. Ask The Tufts Experts. October 2009. Supplement.

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WHO. Water sanitation health.

Alkaline products: Healthy or all wet? Consumer Reports on Health. January 2013. 6.

Human appropriation of world’s fresh water supply.

All About Drinking Water.

Bond T, et al. Occurrence and control of nitrogenous disinfection by-products in drinking water – a review. Water Research 2011;45:4341-4354.

Krishnan K & Carrier R. Approaches for evaluation the relevance of multiroute exposures in establishing guideline values for drinking water contaminants. J Environmental Science and

Health Part C 2008;26:300-316.Minich DM & Bland JS. Acid-alkaline balance: Role in chronic disease and detoxification. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2007;13:62-65.

Lee H & Kang M. Effects of the magnetized water supplementation on blood glucose, lymphocyte DNA damage, antioxidant status, and lipid profiles in STZ-induced rats. Nutr Res Pract 2013;7:34-42.

Plewa MJ, et al. Halonitromethane drinking water disinfection byproducts: Chemical characterization and mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Environ Sci Technol 2004;38:62-68.

Richardson SD, et al. Integrated disinfection by-products mixtures research: Comprehensive characterization of water concentrates prepared from chlorinated and ozonated/postchlorinated drinking water. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues. 2008;71:1165-1186.

Villanueva CM, et al. Disinfection byproducts and bladder cancer a pooled analysis. Epidemiology 2004;15:357-367.

Vorobjeva NV. Selective stimulation of the growth of anaerobic microflora in the human intestinal tract by electrolyzed reducing water. Medical Hypothesis 2005;64:543-546.

Xu X, et al. Percutaneous absorption of trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, and haloketones. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2002;184:19-26.

Fenton TR, et al. Causal assessment of dietary acid load and bone disease: a systematic review & meta-analysis applying Hill’s epidemiologic criteria for causality. Nutrition Journal 2011;10:41.

Follow John Berardi, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@insidepnWhen it comes to health, water is kind of a big deal. In fact, no other substance is as important for our bodies. So if you’re consistently drinking water, you’re already doing something great for your health.