I am sure that I am not alone in getting puzzled when I read about a wellness or holistic treatment that uses some technical phrase that is not properly explained. It is often in the nature of alternative medicine to dwell on the benefits of a treatment without carefully explaining the product.

This is my recent experience with bamboo. I’m a firm believer in the many benefits to had from using bamboo products in the home and garden but when I read that bamboo charcoal emitted far infrared rays that cured just about every ailment I could think of I got irritated. What are far infrared rays?

I did some research. Far infrared rays are electromagnetic rays that have a frequency beyond the visible spectrum. There are three types of infrared rays – short, medium and far. The first two types are used for several things including night vision glasses and thermal imaging. The third is far infrared rays that have few applications until a few years ago when the Japanese made a far infrared ray sauna. This is like a wide belt that can put over a person to treat various conditions. Far infrared rays only travel 5 mm so the sauna must be close to the skin.

It is claimed that far infrared rays lower blood pressure and increase the white blood cell count and thus helps fight diseases such as cancer. Far infrared rays also improve cardiovascular strength and speed up the regeneration of damaged skin tissue. The benefits do not stop there – the ‘heat’ from far infrared rays also treats arthritis and muscle spasms. It helps people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. It also unclogs the pores of the skin and helps get rid of acne. These are just some of the supposed benefits of far infrared rays.

I did some research. Most of this is unproven. Dr. Sasaki Kyuo has written a book that the academic world has ignored about the benefits of far infrared rays. The best evidence that I could find was that NASA used far infrared rays to keep astronauts in the 1970s healthy.

It might not be worth your while booking far infrared ray therapy. Since bamboo charcoal emits the rays why not sleep on a mattress containing bamboo charcoal or wear clothes that contain bamboo charcoal? Getting your far infrared rays from bamboo charcoal seems more environmentally friendly than encouraging the Japanese to build hi-tech far infrared ray saunas.