the benefits of this tool

the benefits of this tool

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Still relatively confidential in France, infratherapy is a radiation technique that would have multiple benefits for fitness and health. Pascal Decroocq, president of Bi’Nergy, one of the rare structures practicing infratherapy in France, tells us about this method straight from Japan.

Infratherapy: definition, infrared rays at work

Also known as “therapeutic sauna” or “Japanese sauna”, infratherapy was discovered in Japan in 1965 by Dr. Tadashi Ishikawa, a member of the Research and Development Department of Fuji Medical. Long reserved for the hospital environment, to promote healing of injured tissue or the muscle recovery, it has gradually been taken over by the well-being sector. This is a new therapy which is beginning to arrive in France and which is proving to be very interesting.

The Japanese sauna is only a sauna in name, because failing to heat the ambient air, it works by emitting long infrared rays invisible to the naked eye, which only heat the body it encounters. “The infrared radiation only heats the tissues, thanks to heat transfer by electromagnetic radiation. This is appreciable for people who do not like the stuffy side of the classic sauna” says Pascal Decroocq. Also, the perspiration is only very light. When the sun radiates heat, it produces both short, mid and far infrared.

“Long infrared therapy is capable of penetrating the body to a depth of 4 cm, in order to reach the skin and muscle tissues” describes the expert. They can thus enter into resonance with the water molecules to release all toxins which are trapped there and which are not eliminated with a classic sweating. “When a sauna or a hamam allows a release of 0.5% of toxins from the body, an infratherapy session can dislodge 20%, even with little sweating.“says the expert.

These long rays – which are those that allow photosynthesis in green plants – also activate the cell regeneration of different human tissues, hence their effectiveness on muscular or traumatic pain after sports activity.

“It is also important to specify that infrared rays are completely harmless, although the general public sometimes tends to equate them – wrongly – with the UV rays of the sun, which are harmful to the skin” reassures the expert.

Health, skin, slimming, stress: a technique with multiple benefits

Through infrared radiation, infratherapy has many benefits, both for health and well-being:

  • Detoxify the body : by increasing blood and lymphatic circulation, infratherapy can eliminate up to 20% of toxins and heavy metals accumulated in the body, and thus ensure complete detoxification;
  • Weight loss and water retention: “a 40-minute session allows you to evacuate 1 liter of sweat, the equivalent of 2 hours of running and 600 calories” assures Pascal Decroocq. Nevertheless, in the context of weight loss, infratherapy must imperatively be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle and a healthy and balanced diet to be effective and allow you to lose weight. Infrared radiation also helps fight cellulite;
  • Sports recovery : infratherapy makes it possible to limit, after a particularly intense sports session, the appearance of contractures or muscle tears. “It helps to heal micro lesions after major events, such as marathons, triathlons or intensive matches”. Tony Parker is one of the followers of infratherapy, who practices it regularly after his basketball games. Infratherapy is also effective in eliminating lactic acid, responsible for body aches after sport,
  • Rest and Relaxation: by decreasing nervous tension, lowering blood pressure, and promoting vasodilation, the Japanese sauna is particularly effective in the treatment of stress and relax ;
  • Relieve back pain : by relaxing the muscle fibers, infratherapy acts as a muscle relaxant and is effective in reducing low back pain, in the treatment of contractures, sciatica, or torticollis, and pain in general;
  • Reduce joint pain : infratherapy makes it possible to reduce the use of analgesics linked to the pain of osteoarthritis. It is also effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. “By accelerating the micro-circulation of the blood, it limits the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle and reduces pain.“explains the expert;
  • skin beauty : the sweating linked to this therapy allows, in addition to the elimination of water and toxins, to eliminate excess sebum, and to facilitate the regeneration of tissues.

The course of an infratherapy session

A session of infrared infratherapy lasts 45 minutes on average and takes place in a private room, in which is located the device that delivers the infrared, called a dome.

The patient is first received by the practitioner, who conducts an interview, in order to identify his expectations and needs before starting the therapy.

The infrared dome is like a bed, with a horizontal tube in which the patient slides up to the neck, the head remaining outside“explains Pascal Decroocq. The tube is separated into three independent parts, which can be adjusted to different temperatures: one part that envelops the legs, another the middle of the body and the last the upper body of the patients.

The device offers a forty different programs, depending on the person, their profile, their build and their goals. It will be possible to perform several sessions to maximize the effects.

“The patient is free to move in the infrared dome, and can lie on their back or on their stomach as they wish” says the practitioner.

Once the session is over, the infrared continues to work for another two hours in the tissues of the body, during which the patient should ideally not shower.

What is the optimal temperature?

The temperature used in the dome can vary from 40 to 80 degreesdepending on the patient’s profile and expectations. “Please note, this is of course not the temperature that the ambient air will reach in the Dome, nor the temperature that the body will reach, it is a temperature emitted by the device” reassures Pascal Decroocq.

Lower temperatures are for fragile patients, children, or wellness care. Intermediate temperatures are used for detoxification programs. Finally, the highest are reserved for athletes, for physical recovery.

Indications: Who is infratherapy for?

The spectrum of people potentially interested in the benefits of infratherapy is very broad. It goes from athletes, women wishing to refine their figure, including the elderly suffering from joint pain or osteoarthritis, hyperactive children, stressed or tired peoples or simply to take care of yourself.

Are there any contraindications to infratherapy?

If the indications for infrared infratherapy are numerous, the contraindications to these sessions are rather rare. “People with heart problems can practice infratherapy but at light programs, below 60 degrees” explains the expert.

Infratherapy is not recommended in case of a history of venous thrombosis or phlebitise as well as to people suffering from adrenal gland disorders. Patients with varicose veins should not put heat on the lower part of the body.

What is the difference between the Japanese sauna and the traditional sauna?

Unlike the traditional sauna, called Finnish sauna, which heats the ambient air with dry electric heat or from a wood stove, between 70 and 100 degrees, the Japanese sauna does not produce heat, but heats the tissues it encounters thanks to its long infrared rays. The penetration of these infrared rays is much deeper than the dry heat of the traditional sauna, allowing a better action on the tissues, and a considerably more effective detoxifying effect.

How much does an infratherapy session cost?

The infratherapy session varies from 30 to 45 euros per session of around 45 minutes. This new therapy is currently neither covered by health insurance nor by complementary health insurance.

You can find the centers practicing infratherapy on the Smart Body website and on the website (centre located in Lyon).


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