Can Far Infrared Radiation (FIR) Treat Cancer?
Table of Contents
Heat is one of the most important factors in the creation and the sustainability of life.
It is, as we have been taught in school, one of the conditions that need to be fulfilled in order for life to appear and thrive.
Not many living things can survive for a long time without heat; definitely not humans.
Humans naturally get their dose of healthy infrared radiation from the sun, but in many parts of the world, there is not enough of it, especially in winter.
Many of our bodily functions, including the production of vitamin D (vital to both our physical and mental health), depend on this heat.
When the amount of far infrared radiation (FIR) begins to drop, we inevitably start to feel the consequences.
For that reason, it is essential for many people (some more than others) to supplement the natural FIR that they lack with artificial sources that have been proven to be just as good.
FIR devices, such as mats or FIR saunas, offer a good solution.
One of the first people to do extensive studies on the effects of FIR on people, and one of the first scientists to link them to curing or alleviating symptoms of some well-known illnesses, was Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshimizu.
The Journey of Dr. Yoshimizu
An early pioneer of using far infrared as a means to treat cancer was a doctor from Japan called Nobuhiro Yoshimizu.
He coined the term “medical refugees” in reference to people whose cancer has been deemed untreatable.
These people are usually sent home to pass away after radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery have failed.
Dr. Yoshimizu felt that there must be some alternative treatment and that these people were not worth giving up on just because there were limited knowledge and resources to help them.
His research ultimately led him to thermotherapy.
He believed that the method of applying highly concentrated heat to the body could kill cancer cells, and have other positive effects on the body, as well.
During the 1970s, the National Cancer Institute conducted a symposium on the subjects of radiation and thermotherapy.
A major topic of discussion during this symposium was whether or not thermotherapy might prove successful in situations where radiation was not.
After identifying and obtaining a far infrared heating mat, Dr. Yoshimizu found that his treatment results improved dramatically.
In fact, his results, which included cases of prostate cancer and breast cancer, were resolved within two or three months’ time of exposure.
Additionally, he discovered that these mats have positive effects on a wide range of conditions, like high blood pressure.
Understanding Far Infrared Rays and Their Benefits
Far infrared rays are made up of a combination of electromagnetic waves, energy waves, and long frequency waves found on the infrared spectrum.
Most commonly, far infrared rays are received from the sun.
They are invisible to the human eye, yet their benefits are innumerable to the body.
Other things that naturally emit FIR are your hands and gemstones.
When heated, the gemstones (usually amethyst, tourmaline, jade, and obsidian) dramatically boost the amount of infrared exposure produced.
What makes infrared heating pads better than regular heating pads is that this improved experience is able to penetrate up to six inches below the surface of your skin.
This allows for a much greater influence on your health and can help your body make changes from the inside, rather than just the outside.
Far infrared benefits are mostly associated with pain relief, detoxification, a decrease of swelling, and a decrease of stiffness, to name a few.
However, it would be more accurate to say that these are just the common, better-known benefits.
The full measure of effects far infrared rays can have on your health is not completely understood.
Over the years these rays have been used to improve cases of arthritis, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, depression, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, and other diseases.
Dr. Yoshimizu saw infrared heat therapy as a solution that was a possibility worth exploring.
He thought it could possibly kill cancer cells while simultaneously strengthening the immune system.
If this were true, it could change the way we approached the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Yoshimizu’s Results and Conclusions
According to Dr. Yoshimizu, far infrared heating mats have proven very useful in treating cancer because the rays both attack the cancerous cells and reinforce the immune system.
One symptom of a compromised immune system is hypothermia or low body temperature.
This is caused by poor constriction of the blood vessels, which results in poor circulation.
This can frequently be attributed to excessive stress.
When hypothermia is present, enzymatic activity is reduced. This allows cancer cells to proliferate.
He explains that when the temperature of the body is increased by as little as one degree, immunity is increased by as much as forty percent.
Raising the temperature to 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit kills cancer cells.
A temperature between 104 and 109.4 degrees can reduce or eliminate viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells.
A decrease in body temperature of as little as one degree has the opposite effect of an increase in temperature.
Enzyme activity will decline by half, metabolism will decline by twelve percent, and immune system effectiveness decreases by nearly forty percent.
Dr. Yoshimizu’s main criticism about the standard Western cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and prescription medications is that they simultaneously depend upon and attack the immune system of the patient.
Chemotherapy does weaken and damage cancer cells, but it also does the same to healthy cells.
This is why the use of thermotherapy is an intriguing alternative.
It helps eliminate cancer cells quickly, without compromising healthy cells.
Healthy body cells are not damaged or killed by temperatures of 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit; however, cancer cells are.
In fact, they are compromised at temperatures as low as 107.6 degrees.
Cancer cells are susceptible to thermotherapy because they are in a severely acidic state, due to having very low blood flow.
Approximately eighty percent of cancer patients are given morphine to deal with pain.
Thermotherapy helps the body create natural endorphins to reduce and alleviate pain.
It does this by creating heat shock protein (HSP).
This protects the cells of the body from thermal stress, and the natural response of the body is to produce pain-relieving endorphins.
Dr. Yoshimizu’s ultimate conclusion was that far infrared heating mats are very effective in heating the body, strengthening the immune system, and weakening cancer cells.
He says that the most effective way to use a far infrared negative ion heating mat is to heat the tumor mass to 158 degrees Fahrenheit for forty minutes to an hour at least once daily.
Treatments can be performed as many as three times daily.
A Study on the Suppression of Proliferation of Cancer Cell Growth
Dr. Yoshimizu may have been one of the earlier researchers into the benefits of heat therapy for cancer, but since then there have been more studies and findings to support his claims.
In 2007, a study was published in the journal Springer’s Medical Oncology section (1).
The study was to determine the effects of far infrared radiation on five different lines of cancer.
The cancer cells they were testing originated from A431 (vulva) cells, HSC3 (tongue) cells, Sa3 (gingival) cells, A549 (lung) cells, and MCF7 (breast) cells.
After four days of testing, it was determined that there were varying response levels for each of the different types of cancer cells.
Tongue, gingival, and lung all experienced a proliferation suppression of 45.75%, 74.63%, and 65.79%, respectively.
Unfortunately, there were noticeable differences in the levels for the other two variations of cancer.
This prompted two immediate ideas.
First, far infrared is beneficial for managing some forms of cancer.
Second, what about the other forms made the treatment less effective?
After testing, they determined that the cancer variations with higher levels of the HSPC70 protein correlated to being less responsive to FIR treatment.
They supposed that this could be used as an indicator of the effectiveness far infrared therapy would have on specific patients.
In conclusion, they were very excited about the potential that far infrared heat therapy could have in the treatment of some forms of cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society
According to the American Cancer Society, heat therapy can be an effective approach to treating and managing cancer (2).
Intense heat affects the individual cells, and in some cases makes them more responsive to other forms of therapy such as chemotherapy.
This means that heat therapy is something that can be approached as therapy by itself, or in collaboration with other medical practices.
In some cases, extreme heat can outright kill cancerous cells, but at the same time, it can be harmful to normal cells.
It is important to consult a medical professional before proceeding in cases like this.
There are three different kinds of heat therapy for treating cancer: local, regional, and whole-body treatment.
With local therapy, focused heat is applied to small injured areas, such as a tumor.
The longer and hotter the exposure to the heat is, the better results it will yield.
This therapy, in a sense, melts the cancer cells it targets.
Regional therapy is used by targeting larger areas, such as limbs or organs.
The heat is less intense and is typically used to support and improve other forms of therapy.
Whole-body therapy is a way of heating the entire body at once to treat instances of cancer that have already spread or metastasized.
Almost always this will be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to create an improved response.
Additional Health Benefits of Far Infrared Rays
Apart from the most common health benefits of this treatment, which we have already talked about, there are additional, science-backed health benefits of FIR.
Detoxify Your Body
If we compare this method to visiting saunas or just experiencing regular heat, far infrared radiation is seven times more successful at ridding the body of heavy metals, such as mercury and aluminum.
It can also help greatly with other more common toxins such as cholesterol, nicotine, alcohol, ammonia, and others (3).
Even if you think that you are perfectly healthy, your body is still a sort of reservoir of different biotoxins.
Your body is unable to remove them right away, so it stores them in your cells.
When enough of these toxins are stored in your body, you begin to show symptoms of illness.
Additionally, the large water molecules in your body are able to trap different toxic gases.
When gases such as CO2 and sulfur dioxide reach them, they are encapsulated and stored in your body.
This can also happen with some heavy metal toxins such as lead, mercury, and chlorine.
When enough of these toxins are stored in your body, they can impair blood flow and inhibit your cells’ energy.
However, if we apply 7 to 14 microns of FIR to these water molecules, we observe that they start to vibrate.
The ion bonds between the atoms are then reduced, and the toxins that have been encapsulated can be released and expelled from the body.
Improve Blood Flow
Far infrared therapy can slightly improve your blood circulation.
It does this by dilating the capillaries in your body that carry blood.
On top of that, it increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, thus enriching it, which helps most major organs that depend on blood for regeneration and energy (4).
Apart from this, this oxygen-enriched blood can help treat damaged tissue.
It reduces chronic pain in joints and muscles, helps the body to relax and feel more comfortable, reduces stress, and promotes sleep.
Normalize Blood Pressure Levels
After conducting a study, medical researchers from Germany came to a conclusion that a one-hour session of FIR significantly reduces blood pressure levels (5).
This is achieved by a constant dilation of peripheral blood vessels, which lowers the pressure that the blood exerts on the blood vessel walls.
Apart from this, they also observed improvements in blood viscosity.
Again, after a one-hour infrared session, there was a substantial decrease in blood pressure, peripheral resistance, and the resistance of cardiac ejection.
Other noted results were an increase in heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and other measurements.
According to the Archives of Dermatological Research, FIR can suppress the formation of sunburn cells produced by ultraviolet B radiation (6).
Sunburn cell formation, a reliable measure of cell injury in the ear skin of mice, was significantly decreased by exposure to infrared radiation.
Help Treat Arteriovenous Fistula
An arteriovenous fistula is a medical condition that causes blood to bypass capillaries, and to flow directly from an artery into a vein.
This causes the capillaries in question to receive a reduced blood supply.
This condition can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly affects the legs.
The Departments of Nursing in Taiwan conducted a study in 2014 regarding the effects of FIR on this condition.
It has been proven that the FIR is beneficial when it comes to treatment of arteriovenous fistula in hemodialysis patients (7).
Apart from that, the results of the study showed improvements in blood flow through the arteriovenous fistula and a reduced risk of its malfunctioning.
Help Chronic Fatigue
A study published in 2005 in the ‘Journal of Psychosomatic Research’ shows that there are correlations between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and thermal therapy (8).
Two patients were treated with thermal therapy with the use of far-infrared ray dry sauna, and both experienced reduced symptoms of CFS.
Their therapy lasted for 35 days, and they had to undergo one session a day.
Reduce Pain and Stiffness
FIR has been proven to be a promising method of relieving and reducing muscle spasms, sore muscles, and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (9).
Infrared saunas, in particular, show short-term improvements for patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and help them with the pain and stiffness they experience.
This method can also have implications for athletes and professional sportsmen and sportswomen, and can potentially help them to recover from strenuous exercise, and relieve muscle soreness.
Decrease the Side-Effects of Diabetes
A study published in the ‘Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ in 2010 shows that far-infrared sauna use is correlated to improvements in the quality of life for people who are affected by Type II Diabetes (10).
People who suffer from diabetes often also suffer from the symptoms of CFS, pain, CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), depression, and various heart issues.
However, sauna treatment helps naturally treat all of these concerns.
During the study, at the Fraser Lake Community Health Center in Canada, patients underwent treatments 20 minutes in length three times per week over the course of three months.
The overall results show improvements in general health, as well as lower stress, a decrease in fatigue, and overall better social functioning.
Reduce Back Pain Symptoms
Dr. Gaze, with a team of experts, did some research in 2015 on the health benefits of Far Infrared therapy on chronic back pain.
The study was conducted on 50 patients who experienced lower back pain who were asked to sit on an FIR mat every day (11).
The results of the study showed that most patients reported reduced lower back pain after repeated treatment, as well as improvements in overall physical and mental health.
On top of that, no negative effects were reported.
Help Treat Certain Forms of Cancer
The change in body temperature that is caused by the use of far infrared treatment inhibits the development of certain cancer cells.
According to the Medical Oncology Center in London, it assists treatment of breast, lung, and tongue cancer (12).
Namely, the findings in the study showcased that FIR has the most effective results on those cancer cells which have a low level of HSP70, which is the level of Heat Shock Protein.
Improve Motor Function
The Department of Radiology in Taiwan conducted a study in 2015 that shows far infrared radiation therapy can have positive effects on nerve function (13).
The results suggest that FIR can enhance the regeneration of nerves, and can improve nerve function in a natural, noninvasive, and efficient way.
In addition to these findings, the study also implied that FIR can be used as a new treatment for various diseases and injuries of peripheral nerves.
Treat Allergic Rhinitis
Hay fever, which is also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs as a reaction of the immune system to the allergens found in the air; this causes an inflammation process in the nose.
It is one of the most widespread chronic diseases in the world.
Traditional methods of therapy, such as medicine, immunotherapy, and staying clear of the allergen, have been proven to be inefficient.
Therefore, scientists have turned to new methods, such as FIR, which showed much better results.
This happens because of proliferated blood flow.
A study conducted by the ‘Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society’ in 2007 shows that far infrared radiation therapy had beneficial effects on many symptoms of hay fever, such as nose itching, stuffiness, itching in the eyes, sneezing, and runny nose (14).
Therefore, FIR offers an efficient, novel treatment of this common illness.
Stimulate Weight Loss
FIR helps you burn calories.
According to a report issued by the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association,’ done by Binghamton University, one session in an infrared sauna can help you burn as many calories as you would while jogging or rowing for half an hour (15).
The theory suggests that FIR promotes the breakdown of fat and cellulite cells.
However, further studies are needed in order to back up these findings.
Boost the Immune System
FIR has been proven to prevent the flu and the common cold from developing.
It also helps alleviate the symptoms of these illnesses once they do occur.
The deep heat produced by infrared rays raises your core body temperature and promotes general blood flow, and in that way supports the immune system.
A few studies have already been conducted which support this claim, but further research is well underway.
Whether he initially knew it or not, Dr. Yoshimizu was apparently on to something.
His belief in heat therapy as an alternative treatment for cancer may have been a driving force for the cause.
Far infrared is a rapidly growing form of therapy still to this day.
Its applications continue to rise, as well as the effectiveness with which we are able to apply it.
Cancer therapy is generally expensive.
The average cost of chemotherapy for just the initial treatment is on average $10,000, whereas FIR treatment is typically much more affordable.
Even as a supplement to other more expensive forms of therapy, these FIR devices are worth it.
Far infrared heat therapy can be an essential tool for improving the quality of your health in a monumental and lasting way.
In terms of cancer treatment, the research has just recently begun to deepen in implication, but so far the results are very promising.
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