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Far Infrared Heating Pads – What Are They and How Do They Work?

Have you ever wished you could bottle sunshine for those achy muscles? Well, far-infrared heating pads are like that! They use the same gentle warmth the sun gives without harsh UV rays. This deep heat penetrates your skin, unlike those regular heating pads that warm the surface.

These pads are becoming famous for natural pain relief. They’re a drug-free way to feel better, and they do more than just ease aches. They help improve circulation, loosen tight muscles, and boost your body’s natural healing processes. It’s like sunshine therapy for your whole body! To learn more about these pads, keep reading.

Far Infrared vs. Regular Heating Pads

When it comes to easing pain and promoting recovery, two contenders dominate classic heating pads and their modern counterparts, far infrared heating pads. Both offer warmth and therapeutic benefits, but understanding their differences helps you choose the best fit for your needs.

  1. Regular heating pads have been around for years, using electricity to generate heat that spreads into nearby tissues. This surface warmth provides temporary relief by boosting blood flow and offering a comforting sensation that can ease discomfort and improve sleep. However, classic heating pads have limitations, i.e., limited depth, potential for burns, and short-lived relief. 
  2. Far Infrared heating pads use far-infrared radiation, an invisible light naturally released by the sun. Unlike regular pads, this gentle energy penetrates deeper into the body, reaching muscles, joints, and tissues. This deeper reach translates to several advantages, such as targeted pain relief, Improved circulation, and cellular benefits.

Both regular and infrared heating pads offer valuable benefits. The ideal choice depends on your specific needs. A classic heating pad might be suitable for mild pain and temporary relief. Choose an infrared heating pad for deeper muscle pain, chronic discomfort, and faster healing.

What is Far Infrared Heat?

Far infrared (FIR) refers to a specific range of electromagnetic radiation’s infrared spectrum, encompassing wavelengths from 3 μm(micrometres) to 1,000 μm. These rays penetrate the human body, potentially up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), facilitating cellular repair and providing targeted heat. 

The heating elements in these pads are typically made of carbon fibres, which, when electrically charged, emit therapeutic far infrared rays. This method of heat delivery is more effective and offers a uniform distribution of heat, avoiding the discomfort associated with uneven heating from conventional pads.

Mechanism of Action of Far Infrared Heating Pads

Far infrared heating pads utilise FIR rays to deliver heat into the body. This heating pad is like giving your body a warm, deep hug. The heat goes way down into your muscles, waking up a special activity that makes nitric oxide. This tiny molecule is a ‘’superhero’’ in your body. It helps your blood vessels relax and widen, meaning more blood, oxygen, and nutrients can reach where they need to go. This enhanced circulation promotes healing, improves flexibility, relieves pain, and reduces muscle tension.

Types of Far-Infrared Heating Pads

Here are the two main types of far-infrared heating pads, with examples:

1. Full-Body Mats

These large far-infrared heating pads are designed to cover most of the body when lying down. It allows full immersion in far-infrared heat therapy and promotes deeper heat penetration for maximised therapeutic effects. One example of a full-body far-infrared heating pad is the Recovery Systems large PEMF BioMat. It offers far-infrared therapy with 4 other recovery modalities like PEMF, negative ions, and red light therapy. So far, the Recovery Systems’ BioMats are the best far-infrared heating mats on the market.

2. Targeted Pads and Wraps

Smaller and more flexible than full-body mats, these pads and wraps are designed for targeted heat therapy on specific areas like the back, shoulders, knees, etc. It offers portability and flexibility for convenient use at home or on the go. Recovery Systems also offers BioMat wraps that can be used for concentrated heat therapy on specific areas. These wraps, like large mats, also combine the benefits of far-infrared therapy with PEMF, negative ions, and red light therapy, potentially enhancing localised pain relief, inflammation reduction, and healing. 

Note: It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using any far-infrared heating pad, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Health Benefits of Far Infrared Heating Pads

Far infrared heating pads are reported to work effectively. Unlike regular heating pads that only warm the surface, they are designed to provide deep tissue relief.  

Research studies have demonstrated the positive effects of FIR heating pads on various conditions, including:

  • Back Pain

A study evaluating FIR treatment for low back pain showed significant clinical improvements in pain and quality of life for office workers with previously refractory low back pain. Another study found that FIR heating pads significantly reduced pain and stiffness in patients with chronic back pain.

  • Neck Pain

In a study, Lai et al. found that far-infrared ray therapy significantly reduced pain and improved function in chronic neck pain patients compared to the placebo group.

  • Knee osteoarthritis

Studies have demonstrated that FIR heat therapy provides significant pain relief and improved physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

  • Fibromyalgia

In a study, FIR heating pads were found to alleviate pain and improve sleep quality in patients with fibromyalgia.

Usage Guidelines for Optimal Results

An infrared heating pad for about 20 minutes is recommended for optimal results. This can be done 3 times weekly in the beginning. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your body adapts.

Who should not use an infrared heating pad?

Infrared heating pads are generally safe, but there are certain conditions where they should be avoided:

  • Pregnancy – due to the lack of research on the effects of infrared heat on fetal development, it’s best to avoid use during pregnancy.
  • Hemophilia – individuals with this blood disorder should not use infrared heating pads as they may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Lupus, MS, or Over a Pacemaker – if you have these conditions or a pacemaker, consult your doctor before using an infrared heating pad.
  • Severe Adrenal Suppression – those with this condition should avoid using infrared heating pads.
  • Metal Implants – if you have metal implants, check with your doctor before using the pad over the implant area.
  • Impaired Sensation or Communication – people with neuropathy or cognitive impairments may not be able to feel or communicate discomfort or burns, so extra caution is needed4.
  • Acute Inflammation or Trauma – heat can exacerbate inflammation and pain in acute injuries.
  • Skin Conditions – avoid using on areas with skin rashes, open wounds, or severe varicose veins.

Conclusion

Far-infrared heating pads offer a safe, drug-free way to manage pain and promote well-being. They’re a natural solution for anyone seeking relief from aches, stiffness, or chronic conditions. So ditch the medicine cabinet and get the sunshine from within!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between infrared and far infrared heating?

The key difference is in their wavelengths. Infrared heating covers a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from around 780 nanometers (nm) to 1 millimetre (mm). Far infrared heating specifically refers to wavelengths within the infrared spectrum ranging from approximately 3 micrometres (μm) to 1,000 μm (1 mm).

Which is better, near-infrared or far-infrared heating pads?

Both options have benefits. Near Infrared (NIR) targets shallower tissues, promoting skin healing and pain relief. Far Infrared (FIR) penetrates deeper, providing a more comfortable warmth and potentially reaching muscles and joints.

Is Infrared heat better for back pain?

Infrared heat therapy is superior to conventional heat therapy due to deeper penetration into your tissues up to a depth of 4 – 5 cm. It uses low-frequency photons that generate heat in the deeper tissues, causing improved blood flow to the targeted area, reducing inflammation, and mitigating pain such as in your back.

If you are searching for the best infrared heating pads for back pain, check out BioMats, which has stood the test of time in improving the quality of life for countless people.

Recovery Systems