Sometimes the New Year comes with an extra dose of stress, and that’s okay. The first quarter is often a time when new deadlines are set for the year and the pressure to meet business goals as well as personal resolutions arise.
According to FIT Bodywrap® Clinical Director Dr. Aaron M. Flickstein, DC Emeritus, stress has been linked to various health conditions and ailments, including: weight gain, autonomic imbalances, reduced immunity, body pain and exposure to environmental stressors. We spoke further with Dr. Flickstein about how infrared, such as that in FIT Bodywrap, can help clients reduce their stress levels.
Q: How does infrared heat help reduce stress by strengthening the cardiovascular system?
A: In the 1980s, NASA concluded that infrared heat causes the heart rate and the cardiac output to increase, while the diastolic blood pressure starts to decrease. “Many of us who run do so to place a demand on our cardiovascular systems, not to build big leg muscles. Regular use of … [an immersive infrared device] may impart a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective, as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories, as regular exercise.” (JAMA, 1981; Dr. Richard Beever, 2009, 2010)
Q: How does the infrared in FIT Bodywrap® affect the body’s cortisol levels?
A: According to New York Times best-selling author and fitness expert Jorge Cruise – as well as many other health professionals – the more stressed you are, the more cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is a “fight or flight” hormone that raises the heart rate and blood pressure, and leads to the deposit of excess calories in the midsection, i.e. a fat tummy.
Scientific evidence also shows that immersive infrared thermotherapy, such as that from FIT Bodywrap®, helps maintain healthy levels of cortisol. While cortisol levels would likely stay the same or rise slightly during a FIT Bodywrap session, the far IR rays will drop these levels afterward.
Q: Can the infrared in FIT Bodywrap® strengthen the immune system?
A: Stress can suppress immune functions. By deep heating the body with radiant heat, the infrared is able to raise the core body temperature by 2 – 3 degrees Fahrenheit. This elevation of your core body temperature acts as an induced fever, with each degree of elevation causing a doubling of your immune response (Soszyński, D 2003). FIR energy strengthens the immune system as the fever increases the body’s resistance to disease and fights infection.
Q: Why does stress induce physical ailments such as body pain?
A: Stress has been shown to induce or prolong chronic pain through excess muscle contractions. Infrared waves, such as that in FIT Bodywrap®, penetrate the body deeply enough to result in immediate therapeutic benefits.
The study by Matsushita et al. (2008) found that chronic pain patients experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared therapy. Pain experience also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. (Matsushita L., Masuda A., Tei C. 2008, Aug 15)
Q: How does infrared therapy, such as FIT Bodywrap®, help eliminate environmental stressors?
Toxins that we can’t eliminate from our cells are affecting us to a greater or lesser degree. This is a chronic form of unavoidable stress that leads to or can contribute to our burden of stress-related illness.
The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the root causes of more than 80% of all illnesses are found in personal environments or lifestyles [stressors]. People who live in urban areas are constantly exposed to toxic substances, such as automobile exhaust gases, dust, toxic particles in the air and other sources. Much of the captured toxic substances are trapped in human skin that can only be cleaned through the use of immersive IR sweating sessions, such as that one can experience in the FIT Bodywrap® or marathon levels of training. IR-induced body sweating helps remove toxic substances and heavy metals regular exercise or other heating approaches can’t remove.