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pain relief and wound healing
The therapeutic quality of infrared radiation is mainly attributed to stimulation of tissues below the upper part of the skin. The rise of temperature caused by infrared radiation is assumed to stimulate the metabolism and improve the circulation of blood. This supports the natural process of healing and may relieve pain in some situation.
The accomplishment of a more than superficial rise in temperature requires the use of a type of infrared radiation that is able to penetrate the upper skin. For this objective infrared radiation in the range between 700 and 1400 nanometer, the area of near infrared (see electromagnetic spectrum), has proven to be the most suitable. The highest absorption occurs at wavelengths around 1200 nanometer and is mainly determined by the characteristics of blood and other liquids just below the skin. Radiation with wavelengths outside this working area is almost completely absorbed at a depth from 1 to 1,5 millimeters and mainly causes an increase of temperature of the upper skin. Radiation with a wavelength of about 1200 nanometers may cause an increase in temperature from a few degrees Celsius unto a depth of 8 to 10 millimeters which is most effective for the relieve of pain in muscles and joints. Radiation with a wavelength of about 900 nanometers penetrates less deep but contains more energy making it better suitable for the treatment of superficial wounds (see also light therapy).
general instructions for use
Warning: In all cases follow the instructions in the manual that came with your infrared device. When the manual is missing, try to obtain a replacement from your supplier or the original manufacturer. The instructions for use that are given on this site are specifically aimed at those who are interested in working and use of infrared radiators for self medication without necessarily possessing one themselves. The author of this site is in no way responsible for any damage caused by the use of an infrared radiator.
Other than with ultraviolet radiators, the use of infrared radiators is relatively harmless. The most important thing is to preserve a distance to the infrared source that is not painful, mostly something between 30 and 50 centimeters. Caution must be taken with simultaneous use of medicines that relieve the pain since they also decrease the sensitivity for warmth. Consult your doctor or pharmacist when there is any doubt about this point. The lasting
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other medical indications
stimulates the metabolism
stimulates the circulation of blood (beneficial with heart- and
quickens recuperation of burning
reduces stiffness in ligatures
reduces muscle tension
relieves pain, especially from rheumatic origin
time and -frequency of infrared treatments is not very critical as long as you feel comfortable with it. Notice however that in general a few short sessions are more effective than a single long one. You may find it comfortable to protect your eyes with the supplied eye protectors or with sunglasses but prevent these from getting too hot.
Infrared radiation between 1100 and 1300 nanometer has been found to be successful in curing nail fungus (onychomycosis). Applying sufficient heat can kill the fungi. In order to penetrate the
skin deep enough even in the area below the nail a laser is the most effective source of radiation since it produces the least heat outside the wavelength area that penetrates the skin deepest. Usable lasers are 1064 and 1320 nanometer Nd:YAG lasers. Treatment of nail fungus can best be performed by or under the supervision of a physician.
Long term hair removal may be realised with techniques that selectively damage the hair follicles without touching the surrounding tissue. A laserbeam with an appropriate wavelength might achieve this goal. So far results are diverse and highly unpredictable. Early devices used Argon (488 nm), Cyan (515 nm), Ruby (694 nm) or Alexandrite (755 nm) lasers. In more recent implementations pulsed diode lasers (810 nm) and Nd:YAG (1064 nm) lasers are used. Sometimes an activation fluid has to be applied that is absorbed by the follicles prior to a treatment. Hair removal devices exist for professional applications under the supervision of a physician as well as for cosmetic self-care.
Infrared laserbeams are used for both hard- and soft tissue surgery. For soft tissue surgery Carbon Dioxide lasers operating at a wavelength of 10600 nanometer are commonly used. This type of middle infrared radiation is highly absorbed by water-containing tissue, which vaporises under the impact of a focussed laserbeam. Incisions can be as small as one- to a few tenths of a millimeter. A defocused beam can be used to seal the ends of vessels and nerves. Hard tissues like bone and teeth can be cut with an Er:YAG laser (2940 nm) which operation is based on just another absorption peak of water. Surface scars caused by acne and other skin diseases can successfully be reduced with lasers operating in the near infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, like 1064 and 1320 nanometer Nd:YAG lasers and 1450 nm Diode lasers.