While at the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 2010 Conference, I happened upon a booth by a company called The Biomat Company, which produces mats that can are heated by infrared technology. Infrared rays are part of the light spectrum, not visible to the naked eye, which penetrate deep into the body tissues. They are felt as heat. I spoke a little bit about using Infrared heat in detoxification in my previous post, but purchasing a far-infrared sauna for home use can be quite expensive. These days, it may be too far out of budget, but we also have to balance the cost:benefit ratio of staying healthy versus living sick. As a recent caller into The Doctor Show on Sirius Satellite that I was a guest on said, “[she walks every morning], because I don’t have the time to be sick.” In our reactionary culture, this is a hard concept to digest, as in general many of us wait until something is wrong to go take care of it. However, in the increasingly demanding, toxic world that we live in, waiting until a problem arises is making the work of getting well all that more difficult. Having a portable unit, like the Biomat, at about half the cost of a far-infrared sauna, may make all the difference in how we feel in our bodies.
Why am I so interested in the Biomat that I bought one for my practice? First, there is no dispute that we live in a toxic world with pesticide exposures, endocrine disruptors in plastics, fire retardants in our furniture, and inadvertent heavy metal exposures, etc… that dissolve in our fat and have few ways of exiting our body. Secondly, the known benefits of far-infrared heat to help the body detoxify makes perfect sense to me from a systems biology perspective. Reduce the body’s burden of toxins, and the body will work like the amazing machine it is meant to be. The potential benefits of a healing session on the Biomat to help my patients feel better is worth it to me. Sure, some of it sounds a bit too new agey, like the amethyst crystals in the mat and the production of negative ions. But, let’s keep an open mind a take a look further. Here is one of the representatives from The Biomat Company describing their product:
We know that waterfalls, forests and waves crashing on the seashore all emit negative ions. This is part of the reason that our bodies react positively to these surroundings. They have a healing effect on the body.
Well, everyone on the mat looked so peaceful, that I wanted to jump in and try this myself. So here I am lying on the Biomat in a state of suspended animation with sound-canceling headsets playing a guided meditation, much like a voice from the movie The Fifth Element. Wish I could play it for you, her voice is very soothing:
Here are some of the benefits of far-infrared heat:
- Pain relief
- Stress relief
- Relaxation of stressed muscles
- Improved sleep
- Blood pressure reduction
- Improved lymphatic flow
So, in summary:
I will let you know how my patients respond to sessions on the Biomat once I’ve been using it for a few weeks. As much as I believe in randomized, double-blinded, placebo-control trials, I also believe it is important to tune into the experiences of individuals. Statistics are helpful, but one person is not a statistic. That said, a number of studies using Far-Infrared Sauna have shown that it can help lower blood pressure and has even helped refractory cases of congestive heart failure, when no other therapy (including medications) were no longer working.
Remember, far-infrared rays (as in a far-infrared sauna or a Biomat) help you detoxify, especially from chemicals that are fat soluble and have a harder time finding their way back out of your body. If you are very toxic, you should start at a lower heat setting (close to body temperature or below) and slowly work your way up (to around 130 degrees F, but some people may tolerate higher temperatures with the far-infrared heat). If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should never enter into a sauna or undergo extreme heat without a doctor’s supervision. And obviously, although these products are available for purchase by the general public, if you have any underlying conditions or multiple chemical sensitivity, you should seek the advice of a physician or naturopath that is skilled in detoxification. There are dangers to extended heat exposure, even with far-infrared rays, so a device like this should be considered more than just leisure. It is therapeutic, and should be supervised by a skilled health professional. Always drink plenty of water, and ask your health professional if you should also supplement any mineral losses that may occur.
Good luck, and happy detoxing!