Far Infrared Heat 
and 
Cardiovascular System 


Michael Domeny DNP-c, FNP, MS, L.Ac, CD/N,

Licensed Nutritionist, Licensed Acupuncturist

Board certified Herbalist,

Family Nurse Practitioner

 

It is well-documented medical fact that the function of endothelium is impaired by lifestyle-related diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and smoking. Endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels and it plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular disorders.

Whole body thermal therapy, such Far Infrared Sauna , induces systemic vasodilatation (opening of blood vessels). (1)  In classic Swedish saunas, temperature reaches up to 212 F, which may cause excessive strain on the heart. Infrared saunas by contrast operate at only 140 F and provide the same benefits without strain on the heart.

 

 Scientists at Kagoshima University Hospital in Japan reported that repeated far infrared sauna therapy (140 F for 15 min) improved clinical symptoms, cardiac function, and endothelial function in patients with congestive heart failure. In the same study, far infrared radiation sauna demonstrated improvement of endothelial dysfunction in subjects with other lifestyle-related factors, suggesting that it might be a preventative therapy against atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels). (1)

 

Treatment of Ischemia

 

Ischemia is defined as decrease in the blood supply to an organ, tissue, or body part due to constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels. Insufficient microcirculation of the skin leads to acute and chronic tissue ischemia. This is primarily seen in cases of trauma, reconstructive surgery, diabetes mellitus and peripheral arterial occlusive disease.(2)

 

According to an article appearing in the April 2006 issue of Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, exposure to far infrared heat has the ability to increase microcirculation of the skin. This happens through a mechanism other than its thermal (heat) effect. This study demonstrated that blood circulation in the skin increases after the removal of the far infrared radiation emitter and was sustained for another 60 minutes. These researchers concluded that far infrared radiation could be useful in the treatment of ischemic diseases. (2)