Consider Adding Far Infrared for Chronic Wounds
Studies have shown that in the United States, roughly 6.5 million people are dealing with some kind of chronic wound. Furthermore, it has been estimated that 1 to 2% of all people will experience a chronic wound during their lifetime. That’s a lot of misery going around.
It’s All About the Blood
A huge part of wound healing is getting the proper blood flow. Blood is responsible for bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to the wound site. Also entirely necessary are the white blood cells.
White blood cells are your clean-up crew. These guys are responsible for fighting infection. But they also serve another purpose. They signal the growth factors that help rebuild the broken parts.
The wound does not get the necessary oxygen and glucose when blood flow is compromised. This can result in further damage and even tissue dysfunction. As a result, the wound is slow to heal and leaves your body susceptible to infection.
Needless to say, if you’re not getting proper blood flow to the wound, that wound runs the risk of turning chronic. Essentially, a chronic wound is a wound that lasts for months or years because it is not able to heal like normal. These wounds basically get stuck in the inflammation phase, and this usually comes with perpetual pain and the risk of sepsis.
Recurrence & Reasons
Medications and ointments can help, but often they only address the symptoms. This can lead to recurrence. It’s a growing problem. It has been estimated that the recurrence of a chronic wound is roughly 40% within six months of the healing.
As I already alluded to, the issue wasn’t due to the symptoms in many cases. Instead, the issue was improper blood flow. Remember that your body WANTS to heal, and it usually can if everything is running as it should. Unfortunately, sometimes things get in the way of that healing.
There are many reasons why our blood can stop flowing as it should. These range from minor to more serious diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, Raynaud’s disease, and obesity (among others). So what can we do?
When your wound becomes chronic, the medical field can try various things. Treatments might include debridement, compression bandages, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, ultrasound or electromagnetic therapy, vacuum-assisted closure therapy, etc. Usually, these treatments come with a hefty price tag and antibiotics or antibiotic ointments. However, as mentioned before, the chance of recurrence is shockingly high.
There is an Alternative to Consider
I have written about some awesome alternatives for mainstream antibiotic use in the past, such as polyhexanide and shockwave therapy. However, other impressive therapies worthy of consideration are using UV and far infrared waves. Today, I will focus on far infrared. Far infrared has many benefits that could be discussed here, but I want to focus on wound healing for the purpose of this article.
While the molecular mechanisms of far infrared therapy remain a mystery, we do know several things that make it a promising (at least as an adjunct) therapy nonetheless. For example, far infrared waves penetrate the skin and provide internal warmth. Not only does this warmth provide a level of pain relief, but it encourages blood to start moving again.
Furthermore, it appears that far infrared waves cause the blood vessels to expand, equating to better circulation in the exposed area. Additionally, far infrared waves appear to promote angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is when the body forms new blood vessels from existing vessels. The vessels sprout and split, creating new ways to deliver blood to the area. So not only can far infrared potentially restore blood flow to existing vessels, but it might also help promote the formation of new vessels. Of course, better circulation results in the delivery of essential nutrients and white blood cells, improving your odds of healing the wound – provided you are consuming the proper nutrients in the first place.
And you get all of this without serious side effects. So far as we can tell, and when used correctly, no significant side effects are reported or observed. This means that it is considered to be generally safe and effective. Of course, if you’re pregnant or suffering from a disease or injury, it’s always best to discuss such therapies with your doctor before trying them. Also, be aware that misusing anything can result in adverse outcomes. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or by your healthcare provider.
Combination Therapy & Conclusion
What I love about far infrared therapy is that (generally speaking) it is relatively low-cost. However, while it is impressive, it may not be your “magic bullet.” But that’s just because there is much that we are still trying to confirm about it. Just note that while it can help, it may or may not be your final solution.
Regardless, when used with other therapies, it can definitely help move things along. It seems to me that using a mixture of shockwave, polyhexanide, and far infrared is a no-brainer. Attempting to heal using these therapies will not only provide results but is likely a better “first try” than surgery or antibiotics in many cases.
Of course, there are a few other things you might consider doing at the same time. For example, you might consider dropping the smoking habit. Nicotine actually tightens blood vessels. You might also consider taking a brisk walk. Exercise improves blood circulation, and the additional warmth will help too. And, of course, you want to ensure that your diet is right. Nutrients will help heal the wound, but nutrients can also help the blood flow. Nutrients for wound healing include things like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as magnesium and zinc. You can review “Nature’s Intent” for more on that. And finally, be sure to get plenty of fruit and don’t shy away from fatty fish (like salmon).
So the approach is actually rather simple. While you want to address the symptoms, the focus should definitely be on the cause and effect of the situation. In that, remember that the chronic wound is the effect. Address the cause, and the effect should rectify.
In conclusion, try to focus on the blood flow to your skin and the quality of the blood that is getting delivered. Far Infrared might be able to help.
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Did you enjoy this article? You might also like my article, “Adjunct Solutions for Chronic Wounds.“
This article was written from a Health Science perspective. Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.