Is this snake oil?

Discussion in 'General Science' started by yourownfree, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. yourownfree

    yourownfree Thread Starter Active Member

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    I am not sure which area I should ask this in, and this is probably as good as any. Can someone tell me what far infrared is? the only reference I find is on sites that claim to heal you with this type of radiation. Is it a made up word, is it just infrared with sales hype added "far" etc. How can I make it if there is such a thing? I am a bit confused as all I know is the electromagnetic wave spectrum which I don't see "far" as being a part of it. Is it something that can't be proved?
    Thanks
  2. bertus

    bertus Administrator Staff Member

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  3. studiot

    studiot E-book Developer

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    No it is a recognised scientific term.

    As I'm sure you know human eyes can see electromagnetic waves corresponding to what we call visible light.

    However there are many more types of electromagnetic waves outside this range.
    Red light corresponds to the lowest wave frequency that we can see. Waves of the next lowest frequencies are called Infra (=Latin below) Red. These are divided into near and far infra red.

    At the other end of the visible we can see blue, and some can see violet. Again form the Latin= above we have near and far ultra violet.

    Now the frequency of a wave is a measure of its energy and it just so happens that infra red energy is just right for the heat energy stored by many molecules, especially complex ones such as found in our bodies. ( Spectroscopists call these vibrational modes)
    So we 'feel' ifra red as heat. ~That is, although we can't see it our bodies absorb the infra red and become warmer.

    The next lowest type of electromagnetic waves are called microwaves and these also show this heating effect to some extent.

    Many aches and pains can be temporarily or permanently relieved by increasing the blood supply locally to the ache.

    This is one reason why massage works. Local heat also opens the blood vessels and increases the blood flow which is why hot water bottles can help. Infra red can help similarly.

    But remember this will only treat the symptoms, not the cause, may not be permanent and will never be a substitute for proper medical action.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  4. yourownfree

    yourownfree Thread Starter Active Member

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    I see. There are people out there that claim you can wear a device that uses no power yet produces far infrared for healing etc. Is that going over the edge a little? I see now there is a far infrared now, but how can one attain it with out a light or something? a filter? This all started when a guy showed a few of us a wand (looked like a big silver ball point pen but sealed)that he said had germanium in it. Like that is something special. That he could move it back and forth over your back for instance and make you feel better. Or even wave it at a distance of say 15 feet and still make it work. He started shooting off at the lips about a far infrared wrist band and electronic kinda talk which he knows nothing about. I have a degree in electronics, yeah I look stupid not knowing the far infrared thing but so what. I never heard of such nonsense as this wand, that uses zero point technology,
    blah blah, bull blah. Am I still in the old ages? This is where it gets a little snakey for me, and I think my friends are gullable, and this guy will make a few bucks off of them. Who knows maybe I'm wrong. I think this is one of things that a person cant prove that it doesn't work so they scam on it. whats your thought on this.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  5. studiot

    studiot E-book Developer

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    Sports Physios use proper infra red 'lamps'.

    I'd trust them more.
  6. jpanhalt

    jpanhalt E-book Developer

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    Yes, the curative claims for far infrared are snake oil, unless of course, it is applied with the warm hands of a beautiful woman.

    John

    BTW, I took some liberty in that. Far infrared can be quite cold.
  7. someonesdad

    someonesdad Senior Member

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    Sounds like a scam to me. Ask him to show you a plot of the spectral irradiance (radiated power as a function of wavelength) and insist it be actual measured data from a spectroradiometer. You can ask for the data because you want to know that it is a safe level of radiation -- and you'll take it to a health physicist for confirmation (I'm no health physicist, but I've made UV and IR measurements before and I can give you an idea of what ball park the numbers are in). Just tell him you'll post the data to an engineering forum for all to peruse and kibitz.

    Watch him become more slippery than the snake oil he's selling... :p

    I've talked with a number of health care people (doctors, PTs, etc.) and a number of them don't like heat treatments for certain treatment modalities. One reason is that, especially for muscle/ligament problems, you're dealing with inflammation and a better tool for relief can be cooling the area down with e.g. an ice pack. In some cases the heating is beneficial; I believe the supposition is that the blood circulation increases with the slightly raised tissue temperatures. That's why physical therapists use ultrasound, as it does deep heating of tissues. Obviously, the best place for advice is your doctor/therapist.

    It does amaze me what some people will subscribe to and believe without being critical and asking careful questions (look up "cargo cult science"). I saw a friend spend a bunch of money on purchasing paraphenalia that contained magnets in it to help promote health. He was passionate about the benefits, yet couldn't explain the mechanisms. He was unable to point me to evidence-based data showing a true benefit...
  8. retched

    retched AAC Fanatic!

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    Heat vs Cold for muscular injury or pain is more a science than an art now-a-days. There is an art to the timing, but the application is pretty much set.

    When an injury happens, apply cold. This keeps the tissues from swelling too much and causing compressions / compartment-like problems.

    After the swelling stops, or levels off, that's when the heat comes in. That is usually around 48 hours for "standard" pulls and sprains.
    48 hours after injury, heat application helps loosen the tightened muscles, improve/promote healing and encourage any muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs and natural secretions to get moving.

    However, if a bone is sticking through your flesh, don't listen to me, go to a hospital.

    So, the snake-oil-sal---I mean the proprietor of fine medical goods was pretty much correct in his theory of using far infrared for pain and healing, his production of such a source of power is bump-kis.

    If you want to buy a germanium filled rod, I have plenty of led's and diodes ill stick in one and you can have it for 3,000 dollars US. Or you can make one for less if your a D-I-Y'er! ;)

    Now, it may be possible to use filters to filter out all but far-infrared from sunlight, but Why? your not increasing the levels of far-IR that you would be getting otherwise, without the filter.
  9. jpanhalt

    jpanhalt E-book Developer

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  10. retched

    retched AAC Fanatic!

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    agreed. But I still have this rod for sale. ;)

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