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Abstract

Infrared radiation has wavelengths between 780nm and 1000μm. It is well absorbed by living organisms and is perceived as heat. The mechanisms of action of infrared rays on humans are still little known, however their effects on living tissues are well known, particularly useful in the treatment of various diseases and disorders, in the reduction of wound healing times, in weight loss, in non-surgical body remodelling, in photo-rejuvenation, in muscle recovery, in improving sleep quality, in relaxation and in many other applications in medicine, non-invasive aesthetic medicine, beauty, fitness and wellness. This brief communication aims to provide an overview of the use of infrared and related devices in these fields of application, grouping them according to (1) medical applications, (2) non-invasive aesthetic medicine applications and beauty treatments and (3) for home wellness use.
Manuscript no: 2582-0370-2-77 Volume: 2 Issue: 2 77
Asp Biomed Clin Case Rep
Mini Review
Asploro Journal of Biomedical and Clinical Case Reports
(ISSN: 2582-0370)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.36502/2019/ASJBCCR.6164
Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and
aesthetic medicine
Cristiano L1*
1Aesthetic and medical biotechnologies research unit, Prestige Company, Loro Ciuffenna (AR), Italy
Corresponding Author: Luigi Cristiano
Address: Aesthetic and medical biotechnologies research unit, Prestige Company, Loro Ciuffenna (AR), Italy; E-mail:
luigicristiano@libero.it; prestige.infomed@gmail.com
Received date: 12 October 2019; Accepted date: 22 October 2019; Published date: 29 October 2019
Citation: Cristiano L. Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic
medicine. Asp Biomed Clin Case Rep. 2019 Oct 29;2(2):77-81.
Copyright © 2019 Cristiano L. This is an open-access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
Keywords
Infrared; Near-infrared Rays; Mid-infrared Rays; Far-infrared Rays; FIR Sauna; FIR Blanket; IR Lamps; IR
Caps; IR Lipo Laser Paddles; IR Devices
Abbreviation
IR: Infrared; NIR: Near-infrared Rays; MIR: Mid-infrared Rays; FIR: Far-infrared Rays
Abstract
Infrared radiation has wavelengths between 780nm and 1000μm. It is well absorbed by living organisms and is
perceived as heat. The mechanisms of action of infrared rays on humans are still little known, however their
effects on living tissues are well known, particularly useful in the treatment of various diseases and disorders, in
the reduction of wound healing times, in weight loss, in non-surgical body remodelling, in photo-rejuvenation, in
muscle recovery, in improving sleep quality, in relaxation and in many other applications in medicine, non-
invasive aesthetic medicine, beauty, fitness and wellness. This brief communication aims to provide an overview
of the use of infrared and related devices in these fields of application, grouping them according to (1) medical
applications, (2) non-invasive aesthetic medicine applications and beauty treatments and (3) for home wellness
use.
Introduction
The infrared (IR) is an invisible form of
electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between
780 nm and 1000 μm and it is divided into three
different bands (according to standard
ISO20473:2007): near-infrared, mid-infrared and far-
infrared rays. Near-infrared rays (NIR) have the
wavelengths between 0.78 μm and 3.0 μm, the mid-
infrared rays (MIR) have the wavelength between 3.0
μm and 50.0 μm and the far-infrared rays (FIR) have
the wavelengths between 50.0 μm and 1000.0 μm
[1,2].
IR rays are absorbed by living organisms [3]
through photoacceptor molecules (endogenous
chromophores) and are perceived as heat [4]. They
show numerous photophysical, photochemical and
photobiological responses on the biological tissues
with which they come into contact, due to their heat-
related effects and their non-heat-related effects [5-7],
although their exact mechanisms of action still need
to be clarified.
Manuscript no: 2582-0370-2-77 Volume: 2 Issue: 2 78
Asp Biomed Clin Case Rep
Mini Review
Citation: Cristiano L. Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic medicine. Asp
Biomed Clin Case Rep. 2019 Oct 29;2(2)77-81.
Infrared rays are used in all fields of science, from
astrophysics to laboratory and analysis instruments,
for temperature measurements (thermometers,
thermal imaging cameras, night vision goggles, aerial
surveys) and are also used for medical or beauty
purposes. The present brief communication aims to
give an overview of the use of infrared on human
beings: 1) in the medical field, 2) in non-invasive
aesthetic medicine and in beauty treatments and 3) in
home-care uses. All types of medical and aesthetic
lasers that emit frequencies in the infrared spectrum,
both surgical and non-surgical, are excluded from this
report.
Medical applications
IR rays have been studied and tested for their
therapeutic use in the treatment of various diseases
and disorders and in reducing wound healing times
[8,9].
There are a large number of studies in the scientific
literature, mostly referring to the use of FIR, that
demonstrate their beneficial use or protective and/or
improvement effects in the complementary treatment
of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) [10], autoimmune
disorders [10], skin problems, such as vesicular
eruptive disease of Herpes Simplex Labialis (HSL) [11]
and bacterial infections [12], neurodegenerative
disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
diseases [9,13],chronic health illness [10], such as
diabetes mellitus [10], chronic kidney disease [10],
chronic pain [10,14,15], chronic fatigue syndrome
[10,16] and fibromyalgia [10,17,18]. In addition, it has
been reported that IR rays can alleviate depression
and insomnia [10,19] and they have an antitumor
action [9,20].
IR finds application also in rehabilitation medicine
with the aim of counteracting muscle contractures
and pains and preparing muscles for massages and
subsequent physiotherapy treatments.
The devices often used in medical treatments
include FIR dry sauna cabins, FIR sauna blankets, IR
bands, FIR heat lamps [21]. These devices are used
both for general treatments and for localized
treatments in specific areas of the body or face in
hospitals, private clinics, and specialized medical
centers.
Non-invasive aesthetic medicine and beauty
care
IR rays find wide application in non-invasive
aesthetic medicine, in beauty and wellness
treatments. Appropriate devices are used for various
types of treatments on the face, on the body and on
the scalp and aimed essentially at stimulating the
biological processes of the human tissues, particularly
in body toning, for slimming, for non-surgical body
remodelling, for non-surgical lymphedema treatment,
for hair regrowth, photorejuvenation, in muscle
recovery of athletes after training and sports
performance and in relaxation treatments [1,22,23].
The devices, thanks to the technology with which they
are built, their purpose and the possibility of adjusting
the emission power, allow safe, painless and non-
invasive treatments and are perfectly tolerated by the
subject treated.
The devices that are included into these
applications are the IR thermal blankets (called also
sauna blankets or FIR blankets), the IR lipo laser
paddles (called also soft laser), the IR heat lamps, the
IR saunas and the IR caps (IR helmets) for
hairdressers [1,2,21]. These devices allow to perform
treatments on the whole body or localized treatments
in specific areas, such as the thighs (for example in
anti-cellulite treatments), the arms (for example to
reduce fatty deposits or the bat wings blemish), the
abdomen (to reduce fatty deposits) or scalp (for the
treatment of alopecia, receding hairline, balding and
thinning hair). In addition, via IR lamps, infrared rays
are used to improve the absorption of cosmetic
products applied to the skin and for heating hair and
scalp i.e. for permanent wave setting and for hair
colouring [1].
The IR saunas (and similarly to them the Waon
therapy and the Enseki sandbath), but also the IR
sauna blankets, have been shown to have a general
detoxifying effect and to reduce fatigue in athletes and
improve muscle recovery after training sessions
[24,25]. In addition, they have a general relaxation
effect.
Manuscript no: 2582-0370-2-77 Volume: 2 Issue: 2 79
Asp Biomed Clin Case Rep
Mini Review
Citation: Cristiano L. Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic medicine. Asp
Biomed Clin Case Rep. 2019 Oct 29;2(2)77-81.
IR devices used in this category of treatments, i.e.
for non-invasive aesthetic medicine treatments and
beauty treatments, are increasingly used by aesthetic
medicine doctors, physio-aesthetic operators,
beauticians and sports instructors and are
increasingly present in clinics of aesthetic medicine, in
physiotherapy and physio-aesthetic clinics, in weight
loss centers, in beauty centers, in wellness centers, in
spas, in sports centers and gyms.
Use for home-care wellness treatments
IR rays are also used in everyday life. In fact, they
can be integrated into various devices and accessories
for home-care uses for the well-being and beauty of
the body, as well as for treating pain trigger points
and, in general, in local applications to relieve pain
and inflammation.
Brushes equipped with infrared LEDs to smooth
hair or to slow their loss are hand-held devices
increasingly popular in homes as well as IR lamps and
IR pens for treating pain trigger points. The former
are also used in the home environment on limited
areas of the body for the treatment of pain (for
example neck pain and low back pain), muscle
contractures, photo rejuvenation of the skin and cold-
related disease (ear, nose and throat disorders), while
the latter are used for spot applications on the pain
trigger points of the body or directly on the
acupuncture points.
IR devices belonging to this category are low power
devices, easy to use and that can be used by anyone
without danger in a domestic environment.
Discussion and conclusion
Nowadays, the use of infrared is quite widespread
even outside medical practice, i.e. in beauty centers, in
slimming centers, in gyms up to the house of each of
us. This is due to the wide range of tools and
technologies with different purposes of use that is
therapeutic or aesthetic or aimed at wellness.
Although the precise mechanisms of action are not
yet clear, IR rays act on the body through molecules
and macromolecules, called photoacceptors. The
interaction between living tissues and IR determines
the development of heat within the tissues
themselves. This heat does not derive from the
heating of the air, but rather from the absorption of
the IR radiation by the photoacceptors and is called
"endogenous heat" because it develops in the tissues
that receive the IR rays [1].
These interactions determine the development of
what are called heat-related effects, such as the
vasodilatation of the capillaries, and explains the
direct effects of the infrared action on the human
body, which can be grouped into (1) stimulation of the
peripheral circulation, which leads to improved tissue
perfusion and oxygenation and so to metabolism
reactivation; (2) anti-age and detoxifying action, with
removal of free radicals and metabolic waste both
from the extracellular environment (interstitial fluids)
and from the intracellular environment, through the
movement of intercellular liquids; (3) draining action,
with reduction of lymphatic stasis in the tissues and
edema; (4) toning action, with an increase in skin
elasticity and a reduction in fat mass; (5) analgesic
action on nerve endings and on muscle tissue, which
leads to pain reduction and improvement of muscle
recovery and sleep quality.
The heat-related effects are accompanied by
nonheat-related effects, which bring together all the
photochemical, photophysical and photobiological
reactions and adaptations that follow the interaction
of the photo-acceptors with the infrared rays, which
are converted into biological signals, including the
activation of pathways that lead to the activation of
transcription factors that in turn lead to the activation
of specific cellular genes and the consequent
modification of the transcriptome [1,26,27].
It is thanks to their constellation of effects that the
IR radiation find such a wide application (1) in the
complementary therapy of various disorders and
pathologies in the medical field, (2) in non-invasive
aesthetic medicine, (3) for beauty and wellness
treatments, (4) for muscle recovery in sports and
professional athletes, (5) to treat minor disorders or
blemishes in home-care uses. In addition, it is
interesting to report how the action of a single
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Asp Biomed Clin Case Rep
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Citation: Cristiano L. Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic medicine. Asp
Biomed Clin Case Rep. 2019 Oct 29;2(2)77-81.
infrared session has positive effects up to the next 48
hours [28,29]. Beyond the scheduling of the sessions,
this fact is very important in the design of routes
aimed at slimming and firming the body in order to
combine infrared sessions with proper nutrition and
with appropriate physical activity to improve and
speed up the results of non-invasive aesthetic
medicine, but also of beauty and sports improvement
paths.
In conclusion, IR rays have wide applications both
medical and non-medical, for the face and body, for
the treatment of various diseases and disorders and
for non-invasive aesthetic applications and, in
general, for individual well-being. This happens
because the infrared rays interact very well with
living tissues and are absorbed by photoaccepting
molecules and biological structures. Their effects on
the human body are very well known but their precise
mechanisms of action are still to be highlighted more
clearly.
Declaration of interests
The author is employed in the Prestige Company
and has received a salary also for the research
activities for the preparation of this brief
communication.
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Citation: Cristiano L. Use of infrared as a complementary treatment approach in medicine and aesthetic medicine. Asp
Biomed Clin Case Rep. 2019 Oct 29;2(2)77-81.
Keywords: Infrared; Near-infrared Rays; Mid-infrared Rays; Far-infrared Rays; FIR Sauna; FIR Blanket; IR Lamps; IR
Caps; IR Lipo Laser Paddles; IR Devices
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... Among them, the wavelength range of far-infrared rays (FIRs) as defined in the medical field is 5.6-1000 μm [1]. As the energy of far-infrared rays can promote blood circulation [2][3][4], cell repair [5], tissue regeneration [3,6], intestinal function [7], diminish inflammation [8], and inhibit cancer [9], it is often used in medical, health, and beauty fields [10]. However, the action mechanisms of FIR on humans are still little known [10]. ...
... As the energy of far-infrared rays can promote blood circulation [2][3][4], cell repair [5], tissue regeneration [3,6], intestinal function [7], diminish inflammation [8], and inhibit cancer [9], it is often used in medical, health, and beauty fields [10]. However, the action mechanisms of FIR on humans are still little known [10]. In addition, FIR is commonly used to promote industrial and civil applications, such as heating, cooling, and combustion. ...
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[ITA] Il mondo dell'estetica è molto cambiato nel corso del tempo e oggigiorno c'è un uso sempre maggiore di svariate tipologie di strumentazioni elettriche ed elettroniche, sempre più complesse e sofisticate, che hanno permesso non solo di rivoluzionare il lavoro dell'operatore estetico, sia in termini di operatività che di risultati finali, ma anche di contribuire allo sviluppo e perfezionamento delle tecniche operative nell'estetica e nella medicina estetica, portando alla nascita di nuove branche tecniche come la moderna fisioestetica. Nel presente volume vengono trattati i principali macchinari e le più diffuse tecnologie usate nei trattamenti estetici, partendo dalla classificazione tecnica presente nelle normative italiane di riferimento per l'estetica, nella legge del 4 gennaio 1990 n. 1 e nel DM 15 ottobre 2015, n. 206. Ogni categoria di apparecchi viene dettagliatamente discussa e approfondita nel presente volume che vuole essere un punto di riferimento e panoramica per le tecnologie del settore estetico, usate per il trattamento del viso, del corpo e per il benessere generale. [ENG] The world of aesthetics has changed a lot over time and nowadays there is an ever-increasing use of various types of electrical and electronic instruments, increasingly complex and sophisticated, which have allowed not only to revolutionize the work of the aesthetic operator, both in terms of operations and final results, but also to contribute to the development and improvement of the operative techniques in aesthetics and aesthetic medicine, leading to the birth of new technical branches such as modern physio-aesthetics. This volume deals with the main machines and the most common technologies used in aesthetic treatments, starting from the technical classification present in the Italian regulations of reference for aesthetics, in the law of 4 January 1990 n. 1 and in the Ministerial Decree of 15 October 2015, n. 206. Each category of equipment is discussed in detail in this volume, which aims to be a reference point and overview for the technologies of the aesthetic sector, used for the treatment of the face, body and general well-being.
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