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Be Well

THE HEALING Power of Infrared Heat

The Healing Power of Infrared Heat
Minna Valtari

We’re all familiar with saunas. Heat equals sweat, and sweat equals detoxification — in theory. But in actuality, healing isn’t all about sweating and purging. Of course, sweating does rid our bodies of a marginal amount of waste, but sweating buckets doesn’t necessarily purge us of all that is unholy from the inside out. It’s a great reset, but it isn’t the cornerstone of healing.

If a sauna is your preferred way to relax, make sure it’s heat from far infrared energy. Far infrared is derived from light, but the reason we can’t see it the way we see the light from an LED lamp is that its wavelength is longer. As the wavelength of light increases, it can penetrate the body more deeply, producing a thermal effect from the inside. Think about the warming effect of sunlight: We can see it illuminate everything around us, but it’s not shooting down like a laser beam — and yet, this light warms us to our core.

Far infrared energy, or light wavelengths, can help our cells regenerate and repair. It improves circulation by delivering oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to our cells and extremities, promotes healing of deep tissues, prevents injuries, relieves pain, and so much more. We wanted to know more about how to integrate this powerful technology into our daily lives, so we had a chat with Chris Pyne of Healing Arts Garden, an expert on the at-home device, the BioMat.

This device is unique in that it not only imparts far infrared energy wavelengths, but it conducts this energy using natural crystals. Most infrared devices rely on crystalline materials because they are conductive, but it’s typically either poorly sourced stones or just simple ceramic or graphite. This mat, however, is filled with amethysts — a beautiful purple stone known to promote calm and relaxation, and strengthen our intuitive abilities.

It also utilizes negative ions, which according to Pyne “are air molecules that have an extra electron, hence the negative charge. They are abundant near large sources of moving water. Breathing these free electrons neutralizes oxidizing compounds (free radicals). They are antioxidants! You may also notice benefits of mood and alertness, due to increased serotonin levels.”

Because sweating in a sauna for an hour and then desperately needing a shower immediately after doesn’t necessarily fit in with a busy working schedule (not to mention it’s not complete with sustainably-sourced amethyst crystals and negative ions), tools like the BioMat intrigue us here at Amé. We’re the first to admit that we are obsessed with holistic self-healing so that we can be the best version of ourselves inside and out, mentally and physically, for ourselves and others. While the BioMat can crank up the heat and get the sweat flowing, it has several lower settings for when you just need a quick session before jumping into the rest of your day. Pyne helped us to understand infrared technology on a much deeper level by looking at exactly what the BioMat’s infrared technology can offer.

It helps heal the skin

“As the body temperature elevates, the body compensates by using the skin as a heat sink. So capillaries near the skin dilate and circulation to the skin increases in order to vent excess heat. This blood flow to the skin increases, which thereby increases nutrient delivery, oxygen delivery, and waste disposal for the skin cells.”

It aids in digestion

“There are many enzymes that are involved in digestion, and some of these are extremely temperature-sensitive. So for people who run cold, their normal body temperature might hover around 97 degrees F. This is surprisingly common these days. And even small changes in temperature can cause a dramatic reduction in the efficiency of certain digestive enzymes. As an example, small animals that are very young, like baby squirrels, simply cannot eat if they are not warm first.”

One can expect quick results

“Most people are able to find out which settings work best for them within a few days of experimenting [with the BioMat, or with infrared heat]. For some people, that is the lower settings, and others it’s the medium or higher settings. There is a lot of individual difference as far as how much heat is required for maximum benefit.”

For example, if one wanted a good sweat comparable to a sauna, then a full-body BioMat treatment on the higher settings of about 45 minutes is plenty of time for a good detox treatment. But the medium or even low temperature settings can help with back pain and muscle soreness.

Significantly accelerate the healing of soft tissues

“[The heat from infrared energy] is extremely good for sprains and strains. (Note: A sprain should be treated with ice for the first day or two. But once the swelling is under control, heat is the best treatment). Insofar as the body is able to heal these tissues on its own over long periods of time, heat therapies should accelerate the process. This is also just due to increased circulation to the damaged areas.”

Promotes better sleep and brain health

Lower infrared heat settings have been shown to “treat ophthalmic, neurological, and psychiatric disorders, and stimulate the proliferation of mesenchymal and cardiac stem cells.” If that seems like a mouthful, it’s because it is. In English, the effects are considered neuroprotective, which helps to prevent cognitive decline, improve cognitive function, promote sleep, and heal post-traumatic stress disorders.

Boosts immunity

“Fevers are the body’s turbo switch. Everything goes into overdrive, and infections are decimated. Natural fevers can be scary if left unchecked or unmonitored, but we should grant them respect, too. The body is taking care of business.” Because infrared heat raises our body temperature by a few degrees in a more controlled way, we can create an artificial fever, in a sense.

Increasing our body temperature from the inside out in this way has the ability to speed metabolism, fight infection, relieve anxiety, and more. The BioMat, and its amethyst lining, are conduits for this power. If you have an opportunity to harness infrared wavelengths from the comfort of your home, you’re able to compound the health benefits of several different kinds of treatments, while honoring rest. And here at Amé? We’re big fans of rest, baby.