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Clinical effects of far-infrared therapy in patients with allergic rhinitis. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2007;2007:1479-82.

  • Allergic rhinitis (AR) is the sixth most common chronic illness worldwide, which has a significant impact on patients’ quality of life. The actual cost of AR is staggering, approximately $5.6 billion being spent annually in direct medical costs and other indirect costs. Therefore, it should be taken seriously upon its evaluation and treatment. AR is an IgE-mediated inflammation, which symptoms are likely due to increased vascular permeability. Current therapeutic options such as avoidance of allergen, medication and immunotherapy are unsatisfactory. Far-infrared (FIR) is an invisible electromagnetic wave with a wavelength longer than that of visible light. It has been used to treat vascular diseases as a result of an increase in blood flow. The objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical effects of FIR therapy in patients with AR. Thirty-one patients with AR were enrolled in this study. A WS TY101 FIR emitter was placed to face the patient’s nasal region at a distance of 30 cm. The treatment was performed for 40 min every morning for 7 days. Every day, patients recorded their symptoms in a diary before and during treatment. Each symptom of rhinitis was rated on a 4-point scale (0-3) according to severity. During the period of FIR therapy, the symptoms of eye itching, nasal itching, nasal stuffiness, rhinorrhea and sneezing were all significantly improved. Smell impairment was not improved until after the last treatment. No obvious adverse effect was observed in the patients during treatment and follow-up. We concluded that FIR therapy could improve the symptoms of AR and might serve as a novel treatment modality for AR.

Phantom limb pain treated by far infrared ray. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;2009:1589-91.

  • We have treated a patient with severe phantom limb pain by a novel far infrared ray (FIR) therapy. The patient has suffered persistent and progressively worsening phantom limb pain after amputation ten years ago. He also experienced severe muscle spasm and twitch of stump during the attacks. His phantom limb pain was excruciating and was rated up to 9 by the Visual Analog Pain Scale. Various pain treatment modalities have been used but in vain, including medications and rehabilitation. He also underwent two episodes of sympathectomy, only achieving short-term effects for three months. Then he underwent our new treatment method. We applied FIR to the amputated limb site instead of the stump of the patient for 40 minutes for each treatment session twice a week. One month after the FIR treatment, he felt much improved and rated his phantom pain at 4, and down to 2-3 after two months of treatment. The duration of each phantom limb pain attack has significantly reduced from over 24 hours to only a few minutes or seconds after five months of FIR treatment. During a six-month post-treatment follow-up, his phantom limb pain occurred seldom for only a few seconds at a low 1-2 rating on the pain scale. The analgesic effect of FIR treatment has prevented him from the scheduled third sympathectomy and the risk of heart attack followed by severe twitch of stump. The results of this study demonstrate an easy, non-invasive and effective treatment modality for phantom limb pain.

Far-infrared therapy induces the nuclear translocation of PLZF which inhibits VEGF-inducedproliferation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30674.

  • Many studies suggest that far-infrared (FIR) therapy can reduce the frequency of some vascular-related diseases. The non-thermal effect of FIR was recently found to play a role in the long-term protective effect on vascular function, but its molecular mechanism is still unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the biological effect of FIR on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced proliferation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We found that FIR ranging 3∼10 µm significantly inhibited VEGF-induced proliferation in HUVECs. According to intensity and time course analyses, the inhibitory effect of FIR peaked at an effective intensity of 0.13 mW/cm(2) at 30 min. On the other hand, a thermal effect did not inhibitVEGF-induced proliferation in HUVECs. FIR exposure also inhibited the VEGF-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases in HUVECs. FIR exposure further induced the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS) and NO generation in VEGF-treated HUVECs. Both VEGF-induced NO and reactive oxygen species generation was involved in the inhibitory effect of FIR. Nitrotyrosine formation significantly increased in HUVECs treated with VEGF and FIR together. Inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) by wortmannin abolished the FIR-induced phosphorylation of eNOS and Akt in HUVECs. FIR exposure upregulated the expression of PI3K p85 at the transcriptional level. We further found that FIR exposure induced the nuclear translocation of promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger protein (PLZF) in HUVECs. This induction was independent of a thermal effect. The small interfering RNA transfection of PLZF blocked FIR-increased PI3K levels and the inhibitory effect of FIR. These data suggest that FIR induces the nuclear translocation of PLZF which inhibitsVEGF-induced proliferation in HUVECs.

Far infrared ray irradiation attenuates apoptosis and cell death of cultured keratinocytes stressed by dehydration. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2012 Jan 5;106:61-8.

Far infrared (FIR) irradiation has been widely applied in health promotion. The aims of this study were to investigate the protective effect of FIR irradiation on stressed keratinocytes and the signaling pathways involved. HaCaT was subjected to sorbitol dehydration with or without 40min pretreatment with FIR radiation 4h earlier. Western blots of cell lysates were analyzed for caspase-3, HO-1, BCL2, Bax, ERK, and Akt. The incidence of apoptosis was also assessed by TUNEL staining. Evaluation of cell viability was determined using MTT. mRNAs were extracted and compared using Illumina Human Ref-8 v2 BeadChips. Hyperosomotic injury of HaCaT cells caused by sorbitol resulted in increased cleaved caspase-3 expression and this effect was decreased by FIR pretreatment; these findings were confirmed by TUNEL staining and MTT tests. Pre-treatment with FIR irradiation before sorbitol-induced dehydration significantly upregulated phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) levels and A6730, an Akt kinase inhibitor (5μM), attenuated the protective effect of FIR irradiation. A microarray study showed FIR irradiation had far less effect at the transcriptional level. FIR pretreatment attenuates apoptosis and cell death in dehydration-stressed cultured keratinocytes through the PI-3K/Akt pathway, this protective effect of FIR irradiation is not at the transcriptional level.

Far infra-red therapy promotes ischemia-induced angiogenesis in diabetic mice and restores high glucose-suppressed endothelial progenitor cell functions. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2012 Aug 15;11:99.


    • Far infra-red (IFR) therapy was shown to exert beneficial effects in cardio vascular system, but effects of IFR on endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) and EPC-related vasculogenesis remain unclear. We hypothesized that IFR radiation can restore blood flow recovery in ischemic hindlimb in diabetic mice by enhancement of EPCs functions and homing process.


    • Starting at 4 weeks after the onset of diabetes, unilateral hindlimb ischemia was induced in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, which were divided into control and IFR therapy groups (n = 6 per group). The latter mice were placed in an IFR dry sauna at 34°C for 30 min once per day for 5 weeks.


    • RESULTS:
    • Doppler perfusion imaging demonstrated that the ischemic limb/normal side blood perfusion ratio in the thermal therapy group was significantly increased beyond that in controls, and significantly greater capillary density was seen in the IFR therapy group. Flow cytometry analysis showed impaired EPCs (Sca-1(+)/Flk-1(+)) mobilization after ischemia surgery in diabetic mice with or without IFR therapy (n = 6 per group). However, as compared to those in the control group, bone marrow-derived EPCs differentiated into endothelial cells defined as GFP(+)/CD31(+) double-positive cells were significantly increased in ischemic tissue around the vessels in diabetic mice that received IFR radiation. In in-vitro studies, cultured EPCs treated with IFR radiation markedly augmented high glucose-impaired EPC functions, inhibited high glucose-induced EPC senescence and reduced H(2)O(2) production. Nude mice received human EPCs treated with IFR in high glucose medium showed a significant improvement in blood flow recovery in ischemic limb compared to those without IFR therapy. IFR therapy promoted blood flow recovery and new vessel formation in STZ-induced diabetic mice.


  • Administration of IFR therapy promoted collateral flow recovery and new vessel formation in STZ-induced diabetic mice, and these beneficial effects may derive from enhancement of EPC functions and homing process. 

Deficiency of the MicroRNA-31–MicroRNA-720 Pathway in the Plasma and Endothelial Progenitor Cells From Patients With Coronary Artery Disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Apr;34(4):857-69.

    • Defects in angiogenesis/vasculogenesis or vessel repair are major complications of coronary artery disease (CAD). Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a fundamental role in postnatal vascular repair and CAD. The role of microRNAs in CAD pathogenesis and their potential as biomarkers remain to be elucidated.


    • MicroRNA-31 (miR-31) level in both the plasma and EPCs of patients with CAD is found lower. miR-31 regulates EPC activities by targeting FAT atypical cadherin 4 and thromboxane A2 receptor, which show increased expression in CAD EPCs. Overexpressing miR-31 in CAD EPCs rescued their angiogenic and vasculogenic abilities both in vitro and in vivo. When exploring approaches to restore endogenous miR-31, we found that far-infrared treatment enhanced the expression of not only miR-31, but also miR-720 in CAD EPCs. miR-720, which was also decreased in EPCs and the plasma of patients with CAD, stimulated EPC activity by targeting vasohibin 1. The miR720-vasohibin 1 pair was shown to be downstream of FAT atypical cadherin 4, but not of thromboxane A2 receptor. FAT atypical cadherin 4 inhibited miR-720 expression via repression of the planar cell polarity signaling gene four-jointed box 1 (FJX1), which was required for miR-720 expression through a hypoxia-inducible factor 1, α subunit-dependent mechanism. Restoring miR-720 level strengthened activity of CAD EPCs. The miR-31-miR-720 pathway is shown critical to EPC activation and that downregulation of this pathway contributes to CAD pathogenesis. Circulating levels of miR-31, miR-720, and vasohibin 1 have the potential to allow early diagnosis of CAD and to act as prognosis biomarkers for CAD and other EPC-related diseases.


  • Manipulating the expression of the miR-31-miR-720 pathway in malfunction EPCs should help develop novel therapeutic modalities.

Far-infrared therapy as a novel treatment for encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Dec;109(12):1957-9.


Effects of far-infrared radiation on heart rate variability and central manifestations in healthy subjects: a resting-fMRI study. Lasers Med Sci. 2015 Jan;30(1):295-301.

  • The aim of this study was to investigate the autonomic responses and central manifestations by peripheral FIR stimulation. Ten subjects (mean ± SD age 26.2 ± 3.52 years) received FIR stimulation at left median nerve territory for 40 min. Electrocardiograph was continuously recorded and heart rate variability (HRV) were analyzed. By using a 3 T-MRI scanner, three sessions of resting-state functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) were acquired, namely, before (baseline-FIR), immediately after (IA-FIR) and 15 min after FIR was turned off (Post-FIR). The fractional amplitude of low-frequency (0.01-0.08 Hz) fluctuation (fALFF) of each session to evaluate the intensity of resting-brain activity in each session was analyzed. Our results showed that FIR stimulation induced significant HRV responses such as an increasing trend of nLF and LF/HF ratio, while FIR increased fALFF in right superior front gyrus, middle frontal gyrus and decreased the resting brain activity at fusiform gyrus, extrastriae cortex, inferior temporal gyrus and middle temporal gyrus, especially 15 min after FIR was turned off. We conclude that the central manifestation and the autonomic responses are prominent during and after FIR stimulation, which provide important mechanistic explanation on human disorder treated by such energy medicine.

Gender-Related Effect in Oxygenation Dynamics by Using Far-Infrared Intervention with Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Measurement: A Gender Differences Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2015 Nov 10;10(11):e0135166.

  • Many studies have indicated the microcirculation can directly respond to disease-related symptoms. However, the capacity of microcirculation would vary due to the gender differences. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a noninvasive technique to monitor tissue oxygenation dynamics. In this study, the far-infrared (FIR) source was used for physiological intervention of microcirculation. The experimental results show that the nature difference of oxygenation status exists between male and female during FIR irradiation. Therefore, we suggest the NIRS-based assessment should be calibrated with the gender-relatedeffect for clinical diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease.

Far-Infrared Therapy Promotes Nerve Repair following End-to-End Neurorrhaphy in Rat Models of Sciatic Nerve Injury. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:207245.

  • This study employed a rat model of sciatic nerve injury to investigate the effects of postoperative low-power far-infrared (FIR) radiation therapy on nerve repair following end-to-end neurorrhaphy. The rat models were divided into the following 3 groups: (1) nerve injury without FIR biostimulation (NI/sham group); (2) nerve injury with FIR biostimulation (NI/FIR group); and (3) noninjured controls (normal group). Walking-track analysis results showed that the NI/FIR group exhibited significantly higher sciatic functional indices at 8 weeks after surgery (P < 0.05) compared with the NI/sham group. The decreased expression of CD4 and CD8 in the NI/FIR group indicated that FIR irradiation modulated the inflammatory process during recovery. Compared with the NI/sham group, the NI/FIR group exhibited a significant reduction in muscle atrophy (P < 0.05). Furthermore, histomorphometric assessment indicated that the nerves regenerated more rapidly in the NI/FIR group than in the NI/sham group; furthermore, the NI/FIR group regenerated neural tissue over a larger area, as well as nerve fibers of greater diameter and with thicker myelin sheaths. Functional recovery, inflammatory response, muscular reinnervation, and histomorphometric assessment all indicated that FIR radiation therapy can accelerate nerve repair following end-to-end neurorrhaphy of the sciatic nerve.

Treating severe phantom limb pain by applying far infrared ray to 'phantom limb'. J Formos Med Assoc. 2016 Mar;115(3):215-6.

  • A 64-year-old male suffered from severe phantom limb pain after an above-knee amputation due to chondrosarcoma in the left tibia. Severe throbbing pain began from the phantom toes, ankle, and up to the stump, followed by intense spasm. The pain even persisted for > 24 hours with a Visual Analog Pain Scale (VAS) of 9. Nine years of conservative medication has failed, including nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, morphine, and Tramadol HCl. Physical therapies have also been tried but in vain, such as planned walking in prosthesis and applying massage and warm hydropathy to the stump.

Far-infrared radiation protects viability in a cell model of Spinocerebellar Ataxia by preventing polyQ protein accumulation and improving mitochondrial function. Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 29;6:30436.

  • Far infrared radiation (FIR) is currently investigated as a potential therapeutic strategy in various diseases though the mechanism is unknown. Presently, we tested if FIR mediates beneficial effects in a cell model of the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3). SCA3 is caused by a mutation leading to an abnormal polyglutamine expansion (PolyQ) in ataxin-3 protein. The consequent aggregation of mutant ataxin-3 results in disruption of vital cell functions. In this study, neuroblastoma cells (SK-N-SH) was transduced to express either non-pathogenic ataxin-3-26Q or pathogenic ataxin-3-78Q proteins. The cells expressing ataxin-3-78Q demonstrated decreased viability, and increased sensitivity to metabolic stress in the presence rotenone, an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration. FIR exposure was found to protect against these effects. Moreover, FIR improved mitochondrial respiratory function, which was significantly compromised in ataxin-3-78Q and ataxin-3-26Q expressing cells. This was accompanied by decreased levels of mitochondrial fragmentation in FIR treated cells, as observed by fluorescence microscopy and protein expression analysis. Finally, the expression profile LC3-II, Beclin-1 and p62 suggested that FIR prevent the autophagy inhibiting effects observed in ataxin-3-78Q expressing cells. In summary, our results suggest that FIR have rescuing effects in cells expressing mutated pathogenic ataxin-3, through recovery of mitochondrial function and autophagy.

Oxygenation dynamics of sepsis patients undergoing far-infrared intervention based on near-infrared spectroscopy. J Biophotonics. 2017 Mar;10(3):360-366.

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS; continuous wave type) is a noninvasive tool for detecting the relative change of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin. To make this change, intervention methods must be applied. This study determined the hemodynamics of 44 healthy participants and 35 patients with sepsis during exposure to FIR as a novel physical intervention approach. Local microcirculation of their brachioradialis was monitored during exposure and recovery through NIRS. The variations in blood flow and microvascular reaction were determined by conducting paired and unpaired t tests. The oxyhemoglobin levels of the healthy participants increased continuously, even during recovery. In contrast to expextations, the oxyhemoglobin levels of the patients plateaued after only 5 min of FIR illumination. The proposed method has potential applications for ensuring efficient treatment and facilitating doctors in diagnosing the functions of vessels in intensive care units. Mapping diagrams of HbO2 in healthy males and males with sepsis illustrated unique scenarios during the process.

Far-infrared suppresses skin photoaging in ultraviolet B-exposed fibroblasts and hairless mice. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 16;12(3):e0174042.

Ultraviolet (UV) induces skin photoaging, which is characterized by thickening, wrinkling, pigmentation, and dryness. Collagen, which is one of the main building blocks of human skin, is regulated by collagen synthesis and collagen breakdown. Autophagy was found to block the epidermal hyperproliferative response to UVB and may play a crucial role in preventing skin photoaging. In the present study, we investigated whether far-infrared (FIR) therapy can inhibit skin photoaging via UVB irradiation in NIH 3T3 mouse embryonic fibroblasts and SKH-1 hairless mice. We found that FIR treatment significantly increased procollagen type I through the induction of the TGF-β/Smad axis. Furthermore, UVB significantly enhanced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and MMP-9. FIR inhibited UVB-induced MMP-1 and MMP-9. Treatment with FIR reversed UVB-decreased type I collagen. In addition, FIR induced autophagy by inhibiting the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. In UVB-induced skin photoaging in a hairless mouse model, FIR treatment resulted in decreased skin thickness in UVB irradiated mice and inhibited the degradation of collagen fibers. Moreover, FIR can increase procollagen type I via the inhibition of MMP-9 and induction of TGF-β in skin tissues. Therefore, our study provides evidence for the beneficial effects of FIR exposure in a model of skin photoaging.

Far infrared radiation promotes rabbit renal proximal tubule cell proliferation and functional characteristics, and protects against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 17;12(7):e0180872.

Far infrared radiation, a subdivision of the electromagnetic spectrum, is beneficial for long-term tissue healing, anti-inflammatory effects, growth promotion, sleep modulation, acceleration of microcirculation, and pain relief. We investigated if far infrared radiation is beneficial for renal proximal tubule cell cultivation and renal tissue engineering. We observed the effects of far infrared radiation on renal proximal tubules cells, including its effects on cell proliferation, gene and protein expression, and viability. We also examined the protective effects of far infrared radiation against cisplatin, a nephrotoxic agent, using the human proximal tubule cell line HK-2. We found that daily exposure to far infrared radiation for 30 min significantly increased rabbit renal proximal tubule cell proliferation in vitro, as assessed by MTT assay. Far infrared radiation was not only beneficial to renal proximal tubule cell proliferation, it also increased the expression of ATPase Na+/K+ subunit alpha 1 and glucose transporter 1, as determined by western blotting. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, we found that far infrared radiation enhanced CDK5R1, GNAS, NPPB, and TEK expression. In the proximal tubule cell line HK-2, far infrared radiation protected against cisplatin-mediated nephrotoxicity by reducing apoptosis. Renal proximal tubule cell cultivation with far infrared radiation exposure resulted in better cell proliferation, significantly higher ATPase Na+/K+ subunit alpha 1 and glucose transporter 1 expression, and significantly enhanced expression of CDK5R1, GNAS, NPPB, and TEK. These results suggest that far infrared radiation improves cell proliferation and differentiation. In HK-2 cells, far infrared radiation mediated protective effects against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity by reducing apoptosis, as indicated by flow cytometry and caspase-3 assay.