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My Understanding Of, and Experience With, Far Infrared Saunas
A few years ago I became interested in Far Infrared Technology and purchased a Far Infrared Sauna. I was intrigued by the seemingly unbelievable and numerous health benefiting claims attributed to it.
I had been introduced to this technology about 10 years before by a friend of mine who pursued the practice of Acupuncture while I pursued my interest and passion for Myo-fascial Release work. He had learned about and purchased a portable Far Infrared Light, which he learned about in China while he was there during an apprenticeship/internship for Acupuncture. At the time, I could tell he was excited about the use and benefits of this technology, but alas, I was skeptical and considered it just one more of the hyped myriad health-related tools making their appearance on the healing scene. *I am a skeptic when it comes to all the Health and Fitness Tools and Gizmos which fill the infomercials and magazine ads. My bottom-line rule is to “Judge only by Results”.
When I began reading my way through the thousands of pages available on the research and results attributed to Far Infrared Technology I realized that this was something I wanted to have a direct experience of myself. And by the way, this is the method I apply to any form of Self-Maintenance Tools I attempt to share and make available to other conscious Health Seekers.
So I made a fairly expensive purchase and bought a Far Infrared Sauna, assembled it in my master bedroom, and began using it on a daily basis.
I’ve had loads of personal experience with regular saunas, in health clubs and in homes of wealthy friends, over the years. And though I loved them, the obvious downside to them was that as my body heated up and began the sweating detoxification process, the air inside them became so hard to breathe because it had become super-heated, and therefore almost impossible to inhale. If you’ve had any experience with regular saunas, which rely solely on convection (air currents), and conduction (direct contact of hot air on the skin), then you’ll understand what I’m talking about. If you’ve not had any experience with saunas then you can get the idea by turning your oven up to high, opening the door to it, sitting in front of it, and trying to breathe. This is the kind of heat utilized by a “regular” sauna.
What is this Far Infrared Heat?
The heat produced by a Far Infrared Sauna is a completely different kind of heat: Radiant Heat. Radiant Heat is a form of energy that heats objects directly through a process called conversion, which heats an object without having to heat the air in between it and the heat source. Radiant Heat is also called Infrared Energy. The sun is the principal source of Radiant Energy that we experience daily.
Infrared saunas use infrared radiant energy to directly penetrate the body’s tissues to a depth of over one and a half inches. Its energy output is tuned to correspond so closely to the body’s own radiant energy that our bodies absorb more than 90% of the infrared waves that reach our skin.
The benefit of this technology is that the air you get to breathe in the sauna is 50 to 100 degrees cooler than in a conventional sauna that relies on indirect means of heat. In other words, instead of having to endure heat in the 180+degree range, in the infrared sauna your body will heat up and begin to profusely sweat between 95 degrees and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
*Here is a partial list of the dis-ease conditions of the physical body positively affected by Far Infrared Heat Therapy; the healing qualities of Far Infrared Heat are numerous and far-reaching: detoxification cellulite removal sunburn antidote improved skin removal of clogged pores and blackheads acne eczema and psoriases dandruff muscle spasms arthritis joint stiffness low back pain muscle tension cold hands and feet high blood pressure cancer asthma weight loss lowered cholesterol fibromyalgia reduced stress and fatigue chronic fatigue syndrome multiple chemical sensitivity
My specific interest in Far Infrared Heat
As you’ll note, there are an amazing number of “disease ailments” which have been documented to be positively affected by Far Infrared Sauna use. Although I believe all of this research and documentation to be true, I’ve discovered something very interesting about Far Infrared Heat that interests me more than all the others, because it specifically applies to my chosen field of expertise, the Myofascial Web.
Since 1984 I have, as my job of choice, practiced a form of hands-on bodywork exclusively dedicated to the reorganization and rejuvenation of the Myofascial Web. The Myofascial Web consists of the physiological structure of “Fascia” throughout the body. In my extensive experience, this Fascia is essentially responsible for all pain in the soft tissue, and the Structural Misalignment of the body, meaning altered and diminished Posture, Flexibility, and Functional Movement.
OK, so what is Fascia?
Anatomy: Fascia; A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body; a fibrous tissue network located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone. Fascia is composed of two layers, a superficial layer and a deep layer. Superficial fascia is attached to the skin and is composed of connective tissue containing varying quantities of fat. It is especially dense in the scalp , the back of the neck, and the palms of the hands, where it serves to anchor the skin firmly to underlying tissues. In other areas of the body it is loose and the skin may be moved freely back and forth. Deep fascia underlies the superficial layers, to which it is loosely joined by fibrous strands. It is thin but strong and densely packed, and serves to cover the muscles and to partition them into groups.
If you’ve ever noticed on a piece of raw chicken the thin, clear, saran wrap-like film that you could peel off, then you have handled fascia. This would be the superficial fascia that surrounds the entire muscle group.
*Fascia in fact surrounds not only every muscle group, but every muscle, every muscle fiber, and every muscle cell. Imagine a string hammock of fascia inside of every muscle, like a 3-dimensional fishnet stocking, running from one end of the muscle to the other; again, surrounding every muscle fiber and every muscle cell, making it truly the most important and insidious structure in the physical body, having purpose and ramifications unimagined by allopathic western medicine. Like the hammock, the fascial exits the muscle by merging all the net together into a woven, thick, dense cord (that you would hook to a tree or a wall), and that structure is called a tendon (which is pure fascia). A tendon attaches a muscle to a bone.
Another example of fascia is a ligament, which also is pure fascia, and it attaches bone to bone.
The Myofascial Web and Physical Therapy
Now the reason that massage and chiropractic have such short-lasting results is because neither modality addresses the Myofascial Web in any way which would lead to lasting results. Massage manually flushes out the muscle, which is of course still a positive thing to have happen, but it does not affect the Myofascial Web, which is what is traumatizing the muscle and causing the pain its in. Hence, its short term results.
Chiropractic pushes and shoves the bones around, and it’s definitely the case that the bones are in the wrong place, but it does not address the Myofascial Web, and the Myofascial Web is what is holding and pulling the bones out of place. Hence again, the short term results of this modality, and the reason that long term chiropractic care has devolved into making the exact same adjustments for the exact same structural problems, over and over again, ad infinitum.
The results of these kinds of treatment are temporary, requiring an indefinite number of treatments, for the same problem, the reason being that they address the symptoms of the problem, and not the cause: which is in virtually all cases, a compromised and traumatized Myofascial Web.
The therapy called Rolfing®, which you may have heard of, or even experienced, basically consists of stretching, ripping, and tearing the Myofascial Web. This is why the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when Rolfing® comes up is usually that it’s an intrusive “healing” modality characterized by Pain. This is because the concept of the Myofascial Web is the basis of the work, but it is addressed in such a way as to ultimately cause more trauma to an already traumatized body. In my concept of BodyWork and Healing, this is contra-productive.
Ida Rolf, bless her heart and mind, who was a pioneer in the Health field, put the Myofascial Web on the map, by her intuitive and experiential discoveries. She also intuited the understanding that a proper understanding and treatment of the Myofascial Web would result in hastening a positive Evolution of the Human Being. My premise is that she did not live long enough to continue her research to the obvious conclusion that the Myofascial Web could be melted, instead of stretched, ripped, or torn.
I fortunately, after having learned and become proficient in the Rolfing® technique (and taught it for 3 years in the school I graduated from), had the good fortune to meet, and apprentice with, an extraordinarily gifted and intuitive healer from India named Usha. She untaught me, and then taught me, over a period of 8 years or so, how to kindly and lovingly address the Myofascial Web, by melting it with the heat and pressure of my hands, and directing the Release and Realignment with my intuition and will.
What this all means regarding Far Infrared Saunas
The Myofascial Web is 100% positively affected by Far Infrared Heat. Studies have been done and documented about how stretching performed in Far Infrared Heat is more effective in relation to muscle length attained, as well as how long the stretching done lasts. I haven’t read anything regarding just why this phenomenon is so, but through my own experimentation and understanding of the Myofascial Web I’ve come to a few conclusions I feel are easily proven.
I’ve come to these conclusions while using a Far Infrared Sauna, and through the process of using a Far Infrared portable heat lamp for my hands-on Structural Release BodyWork sessions, on myself and others.
While before I had to rely on the heat and pressure of my hands to melt the Myofascial Web, working in a Far Infrared Sauna, or using a directed Far Infrared Heat Lamp, has sped the process up exponentially. The hard, dense Fascia throughout the muscle tissue, especially around the joints of the body, melts like butter in the sauna or in front of an infrared space heater. When subjected to the enveloping rays in the Far Infrared Sauna, or the directed rays of my Far Infrared Heat Lamp, the hardened muscle tissue (fascia), the tendons, and the cartilage (also pure fascia) in and around the joints changes from a solid to almost a liquid, much the same as ice turns from a solid to a liquid when subjected to a heat source.
As this phenomenon takes place, muscles and tendons lengthen and the cartilage softens and expands, decompressing joints, resulting in a positive and permanent rearrangement of the Structural Body.
What this Information means to you as a potential Far Infrared Sauna Owner
What this exciting information I’ve provided you with means to you if you own one of these amazing Self-Maintenance Tools, is that any stretching or self-work you do on yourself while in your Far Infrared Sauna will be so exponentially different from anything you’ve ever done in the past it will beggar description.
If you’ve heard of Bikram Yoga then you know that there are entire modalities out there which have already recognized the importance and effectiveness of heat while stretching or performing Yoga. Again, as you can find in thousands of web pages on the internet, Indirect Heat, the kind used to heat rooms like the kind used for Bikram Yoga, is an outdated, uncomfortable, and inefficient heat source for Healing and for positively affecting the Myofascial Web, which specifically pertains to the Hatha Yogic endeavor.
I’ve gotten results, through my hands-on bodywork, using Far Infrared Heat, that have blown my mind and made me want to begin saving money to purchase a custom-designed Far Infrared Sauna in which I can do all of my Structural Realignment Sessions, as well as something that I can do my own Structural Maintenance in…
Using Self-Maintenance Tools with Far Infrared Heat
Of course you can just sit in your Far Infrared Sauna and experience all of the myriad positive physiological health benefits listed above, and more found elsewhere if you do further research about Far Infrared Heat.
You can also take your experience with Far Infrared Heat to the next level by working on yourself while being saturated with Far Infrared Heat. The main way this can be done is by using any of the movements from the flexibility system I’ve developed.
I can guarantee you that any righteous flexibility work done while under the rays of Far Infrared Heat will be exponentially more productive and effective than anything you’ve ever experienced. Remember, a whole new modality of Flexibility work (Bikram Yoga) has sprung up and spread like wildfire using “hot air”, in super-heated workout rooms, to enhance the Hatha Yoga experience. As explained elsewhere in this treatise, the much more positive physiological effects gained from the use of Far Infrared technology as a heat source renders the use of “hot air” obsolete, especially in the context of Flexibility and Physical Fitness.
Research has also shown that any Flexibility work done just after a Far Infrared Sauna session produces much better (document-able) results than Flexibility work done without the use of Far Infrared Heat. This is because of the way that Far Infrared Heat affects the Myofascial Web, which has everything to do with how a muscle responds to physical manipulation; including stretching/Release, and hands-on Release work.
So at the end of this treatise, I implore you to find out everything you can about Infrared Sauna Therapy and how it can positively impact and affect your Health and Well-Being.
I hope I’ve shown you, or at least piqued your interest about this incredible technology, which I’ve found to be one of the most amazing and effective passive technologies available to the Sincere Health-Seeker.
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