IR Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tracecom, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Another thread about a large LED panel for skin treatment got me thinking about this again.

    I have significant pain in my feet from peripheral neuropathy, and bought some 940nm LEDs in order to build a small array for the bottom of my left foot (the worst of the two.) Between the time I ordered the LEDs and they arrived, I sort of lost my confidence in the likelihood of success, and never built the array.

    I wonder if anyone here has any actual experience with this therapy method, and would share the details of their experience.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Neuropathy is usually a result of poor blood circulation.

    You might do better with a faradic muscle stimulator, these were originally marketed for muscle toning and fighting flab excetera, but recently appeared on the market are 'foot massagers' specifically designed to enhance circulation by electrical muscle stimulation.

    As the latest fad, they're not cheap - so well worth firing up the soldering iron and rummaging the junk box.

    If you can find any at a price you can't ignore, a TENS unit is worth a try, they work on the same principle of narrow electrical pulses, but a TENS has tailored pulse repetition rates that are believed to stimulate the production of endorphins - which should also hep with the pain.

    Some of the early faradic muscle excercisers were as simple as a mains transformer driven in reverse and a 556 dual timer to deliver bursts of narrow pulses.

    You need a steering diode in the charge/discharge circuit of the 555 that produces the narrow pulses, the big secret is "area under the curve" - there's not the total energy to do harm, but a burst of pulses stimulates the nerves and produces temporary muscle tetany.

    Dual primary mains transformers used to be very common, you could wire the 2 primaries in series for 240V or in parallel for 120V, used in reverse would give you 2 outputs. 6V secondary would probably be a good starting point for battery operation, but if you want to run it from a 12V wall wart you should go for at least 9V windings.

    The firm I worked for used a TIP120 to drive the transformer, a MOSFET like the IRF540 should work even better.

    The only difficult part to get is the reverse taper pots for the output level control - they should be 10k audio taper - but the taper needs to be backwards. Some manufacturers make modular pots that are stackable and you trim a spindle for the length you need - just buy regular audio taper and stack them upside down.
     
  3. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Radiant heat always seems to feel good, but that's about all I know on the topic. A friend of my wife has a "bio mat" or some such thing that employs IR (and amethyst crystals :rolleyes:) instead of a traditional heating pad. Everyone likes it but I remain skeptical, the placebo effect being as it is.

    My skeptical view is that IR supplies nothing but heat. Most of the IR is absorbed in the first few mm of tissue, so heat delivered to the surface of your skin will be just as effective. Heat can be supplied to the surface of your skin by many means. The only? advantage of IR is that your skin can breathe at the same time, staying dry and comfortable. I'm open to evidence of other claims.
     
  4. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    You can find such a thing for ~$40 if you watch around. My wife (and daughter) loves the one I got her. The placebo effect is strong in that one. ;)
     
  5. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    The last electric 'foot massage' I saw advertised in the UK was pitched at £199.

    But they probably outsourced production to China - so clones will be breeding like rabbits in a matter of months.
     
  6. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Thanks for the input, but I am really wanting to hear from anyone who has tried IR therapy for neuropathy.
     
  7. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    It probably only serves any useful purpose if your feet are cold enough to thicken the blood, then you need to chose the IR wavelength for maximum heating effect. There are probably IR therapy lamps in discount stores that do a perfectly OK job.

    If you're thinking of pulsing the IR beam, you could read into the various articles by researchers such as Rife & Crane etc. The lists of pulse frequencies are mainly aimed at disrupting infective organisms, but there may be something of use if you trawl through it.

    A Google search for Aubrey Scoon will turf up a mine of bibliography lists on the subject - but AS's main claim to fame was a published article for an electronic wart killer.
     
  8. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I saw my neurologist; she said there was no cure for my neuropathy, and her only suggestion was for higher doses of gabapentin. I asked about IR therapy, and she immediately replied that it seemed to be effective in about half the people who tried it. She referred to it as "anodyne therapy."

    So, that makes me more inclined to try it, and again I am soliciting input from anyone who has any first hand experience with IR or anodyne therapy for pain control.

    Thanks.
     
  9. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Anodyne uses ir LEDs but makes no claim about neuropathy - only pain and improved circulation. Anodyne is the brand name. They are sure to say their product is "cleared by the FDA". Note that it only means the that the FDA does not believe the product will cause injury to the user - it does not mean the FDA has tested the product to be effective.

    No insurance companies pay for Anodyne products.

    http://www.anodynetherapy.com
     
  10. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    RF diathermy is another avenue, but you have to be pretty careful to avoid any chance of cooking the flesh by RF heating - especially if the protective pain response is impared.

    Any therapeutic frequencies that come to light can be used to modulate the RF.
     
  11. GM11

    New Member

    Sep 8, 2013
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    I am a Doctorate Embryologist (Biologist), I am also a EX farmer. The significance of this is it makes me about as skeptical as it gets with this sort of thing.
    However I offer the following odd observations from various experiments and papers I have read/written on different Biological topics.
    The explanations that gave been offered to you so far are on the face of it what you would expect, they follow normal biological thinking and known pathway's.
    But I have done a series of experiments to do with cell stimulation of bird Blastoma and viral production. In short the research was to do with using eggs (common practice) infected with specific Virus and stimulate the Blastoma cells in order to help trigger genetic variance, or to try and explain it in simpler terms we wanted to increase the rate of genetic mutation in Blastoma cells. The whole presumption being that the faster you have natural mutation, the quicker you develop cells with an immunity to the virus. This is one way that viral immunology is studied.
    I have no explanation but have seen certain mix's of light wave length considerably increase and stimulate mutation rates.
    The research did not offer an avenue to pursue this further, Also as a former large scale breeder of many different birds I can tell you this. Put chicks from the hatch in two different rooms, heat and light one with a good portion of IR light, and the other you leave with just white light and heat the room by warm air to same temperature.
    I have done this experiment with students many many times over the years, in each and every case the chicks with IR do better in both weight gain and general health.
    I can also tell you that no research I have ever read has offered a reasonable and complete explanation for this.
    It is well known that plant cells respond differently to different wavelengths of light, if you take a common well known drug plant then every 'Grower' will tell you to use 'White light' (normally mercury vapor) to stimulate green growth, and when you are ready to flower use yellow/orange type wave lengths (sodium based lamps).
    Of course you also vary the light period which has an influence.
    The point anyway is that the use and manupulation of light wave length to alter/stimulate biological processes is common, maybe not in the way you describe but in enough other ways to convince me it should not be dismissed out of hand.
    I can offer no reason to fully explain why it should have any effect for you, however I can tell you two things of use.
    1) The IR levels you are talking, are NOT going to cause harm.
    2) I have equal reason to believe it wont work and yet I wouldn't be at all surprised if it does!!

    The last one just means I can offer reason's to suggest it's rubbish, however I have seen enough to know there could well be something in it, so in short try it!
    Nothing to loose and by whatever pathway it may offer you relief and work for you.

    GM
     
  12. Nykolas

    Member

    Aug 27, 2013
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    Having this decease, this thread is interesting to me. I tried UV LEDs, without success. Most treatments seem to work only on some patients, the exception being Gabapentin. I was (in one of my many careers in electronics) involved with infrared saunas.Regular sessions in them helped.
    Having moved into a condo, I had to give up the sauna and I am now building a box with 3x100W ceramic IR heaters for my feet. I will keep you posted on what it does for me.
    I tried the TENS thing and found it caused more discomfort than the neuropathy, but it seems to work to relieve arthritis pain.
    For those with the decease, try LivRelief by Delivra. A fairly new product, a nerve pain relief cream (no, I am not involved with that company, just a user of the product).
    One of the side effects of neuropathy seems to be tinnitus. Do you have that? E
     
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