A little over a year ago, I was more than excited to discover that one of my main providers, also an acupuncturist, had a type of heated gemstone wellness mat, based on far-infrared therapy, for her patients to lay in her treatment rooms. (source link) I had always wanted to try using a gemstone mat as a part of my integrative health plan. In fact, one of my biggest interests, and reasons for starting this blog-turned-digital-wellness-magazine is researching and writing about complementary and alternative therapies — especially in combination with lifestyle medicine (i.e. movement, nutrition and mind-body strategies). I believe in sharing information, combined with reputable links to help support the information provided, for educational purposes and to help those interested restore function and live well.
The use of complementary and alternative therapies is not specific to those living with a type of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS), or those within the broader hypermobility disorders community. Most us living with chronic pain or related conditions, need additional and supportive resources to continue our physical therapy program or for self-care plan our own and at home. Infrared technology is a type of complementary and alternative therapy, and far-infrared products such as those by HealthyLine, give us even more options for our at-home wellness “toolbox.”
5 Common Complaints Associated with Hypermobility, EDS and Related Conditions that May Benefit from Far Infrared Technology (list to not convey a full list of pertinent conditions):
- Musculoskeletal Pain
- Joint Swelling
- Overall Inflammation
- Motor Function
- Chronic Fatigue
What are Far Infrared Rays (FIR)?
Sunlight – particularly, the warm rays of light emitted by the sun that many of us, including my two miniature huskies (Alaskan Klee Kai – actual breed name), love to bask in, include invisible far infrared rays (FIR). It’s the sun’s FIR that gives us that whole-body warming sensation, which also stems from a true biological human need for sunlight. Similar to plants, in their need for far infrared sunlight for photosynthesis, humans, meaning all of us – hypermobile or not, need sunlight and other critical components found in nature, as well as natural daily movement (i.e. walking, squatting, hanging & climbing) and proper nutrients (i.e. clean food), to ease critical biomechanical and biochemical processes and to foster optimal function and health.
Similarly, a separate alternative therapy and practice, called “Grounding,” promotes “walking on the earth with your bare feet, which sends negative ions into your body, balancing out your body’s inner charge. This, in turn, reduces inflammation in the body.” (source link). Far-Infrared technology is based on the comparable biological principle.
To learn more about “Moving Your DNA” and the biomechanical and health benefits of being in nature, read more here.
“The sun, our bodies, and our hands are always emitting FIR. In the past, it was this discovery that lead to healing methods involving the placement of palms over ailing areas of the body, or palm healing. This has evolved to what is now known as Reiki, a form of healing that utilizes the heat from palms to assist in body’s natural healing process. Science has been able to focus the healing component of FIR and utilize these rays to improve our natural healing abilities.” (source link)
Capturing the Health Benefits of Sun, Sand, and Relaxation: Basking in Far Infrared Rays (FIR) – safely
While some may have a hard time in warmer temperatures or with being in the sun, it is not a scientific secret that a little sun (provides warmth & Vitamin D — essential for connective tissue health & overall wellness), and (usually enjoyed in warmer climates or temperatures) and relaxation (often done while sitting safely under the sun, on sand and listening to the ocean) can be immensely beneficial to your overall health – and healing. We often feel warmed from the inside out – a feeling that resonates with an improved sense of vitality and overall wellness.
For many of us, basking in the sun is not always an option, either because of geographical area, climate or condition that prohibits the physical enjoyment and benefits of enjoying the warmth of direct sunlight. For this reason, infrared saunas and specifically, self-care therapy products, such as those offered by HealthyLine, provide affordable options.
Far-infrared saunas use infrared waves and radiant heat to warm the body – the same technology used to keep newborn babies warm. The temperature in infrared saunas is often more tolerable and enjoyable versus traditional saunas. Traditional saunas use burning wood, hot stones or electricity to heat the air “to a temperature of 185 degrees, which many people find unendurable for more than a few minutes. Infrared saunas, by contrast, do not heat the air around you. Using electromagnetic radiation, infrared lamps warm your body directly.” (source link) Finding an infrared sauna to use can be challenging, not to mention expensive. Depending on the location and provider, the average cost per use can be between $25-$80 per session. Purchasing and installing an infrared sauna for personal use at home is also costly but is available as well.
Inframat Pro Gemstone Mat
As described above, far-infrared mats are similar to the alternative practice of “Grounding” in that they are believed to balance “the body’s energy, which can work to improve mood, respiration and potentially reduce inflammation and pain.” (source link) The Inframat Pro is HealthyLine’s main product. At first, it looks like a larger, body-size, heating pad with hundreds of gemstones sewn into the middle. However, it’s an incredible product, providing a natural pain relief option, and was developed by a collaborative team of doctors, inventors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, The Inframat Pro’s successful track-record is due to the fact that it combines hot stone, far infrared, negative ion, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) and photon light therapies, and is designed to:
- Boost your immune system
- Relax sore muscles
- Improve circulation
- Rejuvenate and energize
- Reduce inflammation
The Science – Far Infrared Technology in Medicine & Wellness
Far Infrared Rays (FIR) are opposite from ultraviolet rays, which can be harmful and are associated with skin cancer (source link), and are thought to slightly warm the surface of the body. This slight increase in surface temperature is believed to increase blood flow and oxygenation to the tissues and muscles, decrease inflammation and foster healing. The same physical and immunological effects are felt to also aid or benefit: detoxification, swelling, pain, stiffness, fatigue, sleep, motor function and more. (source link) Most importantly, “Infrared Therapy” refers to the methodology and application of the infrared electromagnetic field spectrum to the body.
Unfortunately, there are no direct studies using infrared therapy in the treatment of hypermobility disorders, such as EDS and hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) have been conducted. However, a 2005 study compared two groups of chronic pain patients. Both groups saw a decrease in pain, depression, and anger scores with the use of their multi-disciplinary treatment protocol; however, the second group saw a greater reduction in pain and anger scores and saw a larger percentage of patients return to work. Similarly, a 2014 study observed a significant reduction of muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulders after wearing a far-infrared neck device for a week, and 2009 study found a decrease in pain, stiffness, and fatigue in after a 4-week treatment period of just eight infrared sauna sessions.
Additionally, a 2015 study concluded that “deep penetration of infrared heat (approximately 3-4 cm into fat tissue and neuromuscular system) with mild temperature (35-50°C), and light humidity (25-35%) during FIRS bathing appears favorable for the neuromuscular system to recover from maximal endurance performance. FIRS bathing is a very light loading for the body and provides a comfortable and relaxing experience.” And most interestingly, 2011 research article published by NASA described the use of infrared light therapy on the reduction of painful side effects of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer patients. The results “concluded that there is a 96 percent chance that the improvement in pain of those in the high-risk patient group” was the result of the use of infrared light therapy. (source link)
Other Medical Applications of Infrared Technology
- Infrared light treatment as a heat modality in physical therapy
- Infrared coagulation for painful internal hemorrhoids associated with persistent bleeding
- The infrared glove for the treatment of Raynaud’s syndrome and other conditions (investigational)
- Newborn/NICU warmers
- Uses Amethyst, Jade, and Tourmaline gemstones – investing heavily in supplies and buying gemstones in high quantities to significantly reduce our prices
- Added benefits of negative ions and PEMF therapy — not just infra-red
- HealthyLine is a manufacturer and seller of the world’s largest selection of heated natural gemstone therapy mats
- HealthyLine produces several new models per year and in addition to mats, offers heated knee pads, shoulder pads, pillows, and even energy bedding
- Regularly consults with professionals in-house and externally on the most effective and safe ways to apply the science of heated gemstone therapy
- Works with doctors, acupuncturists, chiropractors, reiki master, professional spas, wellness center, holistic practitioners, and more
- HealthyLine mats are designed in New York and then assembled in China under our 24/7 supervision – they handle everything from the production of your mat to the shipment to your door
- One-year warranty and lifetime trade in
- 45 DAY TRIAL PERIOD
- Website – healthyline.com
It’s important to also note that the medical and wellness communities as a whole, is divided on the research and pertinent applications pertaining to the use of infrared therapies. All citations and research studies quoted, as well as additional articles, are provided below.
Cited Resources and Pertinent Medical Research/Articles:
- ‘The effects of repeated thermal therapy for patients with chronic pain.’ (2005) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16088266
- ‘Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis’ (2009) – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10067-008-0977-y
- ‘Effects of far-infrared irradiation on myofascial neck pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.’ (2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24152215
- ‘Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men.’ (2015) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26180741
- ‘PAIN CONTROL METHODS IN USE BY PATIENTS WITH EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME AND PAIN CONTROL EFFECTIVENESS’ – https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/asu/f/Arthur,%20Karen_2014_Thesis.pdf
- NASA Light Technology Successfully Reduces Cancer Patients Painful Side Effects from Radiation and Chemotherapy – https://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/heals.html