The Effect of Far Infrared Therapy on Fibromyalgia

In 2008, 3 Japanese professors, Kakushi Matsushita, Akinori Masuda and Chuwa Tei  from the department of internal medicine of Kagoshima University Hospital performed a study of the effects of soothing warmth pain therapy (Waon therapy) on patients with fibromyalgia.

The warmth was applied in the form of a 15 minute session in a dry far infrared sauna at a temperature of 60 degrees. This was done 5 times a week for two weeks. After the infrared session, the patients were wrapped in a blanket and rested in a warm room (27 degrees) for 30 minutes.

The test group contained 13 women in the age range of 25 to 75.

Reductions in subjective pain and symptoms were determined using the pain visual analog scale (VAS) and fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ).

They reported following results:

Patients experienced a significant reduction in pain by about half after the first session of far infrared therapy (11-70%), and the effect of far infrared therapy became stable (20-78%) after 10 treatments. Pain VAS and FIQ symptom scores were significantly (p<0.01) decreased after far infrared therapy and remained low throughout the observation period.

The study was published in (Inter Med 47: 1473-1476, 2008)

The full text of the article can be found on https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/internalmedicine/47/16/47_16_1473/_article (click on the full PDF link) and is definitely worth reading and is written in a fairly understandable way.

CONCLUSION: what does all this mean: The study has a couple of weaknesses which should be considered when evaluating the results. First of all, the sample group was quite limited and only 13 patients participated.  In addition, there is no mention of any control group. Keeping this in mind, the results do indicate fairly strongly that there is a relationship between the regular use of far infrared therapy and the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome. Moreover, the effects seem to be lasting since the part of the test group that continued the treatment twice a week ( 8 people) seemed to have a stable positive effect from the treatment. In addition to the two pain measurement methods applied, most patients reported a reduction in the number of tender points

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2 Comments

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