Far Infrared (FIR) Therapy for
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - COPD

1.     Effect of repeated Waon (Far Infrared-FIR) therapy on exercise tolerance and pulmonary function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot controlled clinical trial.

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2014;9:9-15. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S50860. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Kikuchi H, Shiozawa N, Takata S, Ashida K, Mitsunobu F.

Abstract

PURPOSE: Controlled clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of repeated Waon  (Far Infrared-FIR)therapy for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have yet to be conducted. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether repeated Waon (Far Infrared-FIR)therapy exhibits an adjuvant effect on conventional therapy for COPD patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This prospective trial comprised 20 consecutive COPD patients who satisfied the criteria of the Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines, stages 1-4. They were assigned to either a Waon (Far Infrared-FIR)or control group. The patients in the Waon (Far Infrared)group received both repeated Waon (Far Infrared)therapy and conventional therapy, including medications, such as long-acting inhaled β2 agonists, long-acting anticholinergics and xanthine derivatives, and pulmonary rehabilitation. The Waon (Far Infrared)therapy consisted of sitting in a 60°C sauna room for 15 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of being warmed with blankets once a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 20 times. The patients in the control group received only conventional therapy. Pulmonary function and the 6-minute walk test were assessed before and at 4 weeks after the program.

RESULTS: The change in vital capacity (0.30 ± 0.4 L) and in peak expiratory flow (0.48 ± 0.79 L/s) in the Waon group was larger than the change in the vital capacity (0.02 ± 0.21 L) (P=0.077) and peak expiratory flow (-0.11 ± 0.72 L/s) (P=0.095) in the control group. The change in forced expiratory flow after 50% of expired forced vital capacity in the Waon group, 0.08 (0.01-0.212 L/s), was larger than that in the control group, -0.01 (-0.075-0.04 L/s) (P=0.019). Significant differences were not observed in the change in any parameters in the 6-minute walk test. Data are presented as means ± standard deviation or median (25th-75th percentile).

CONCLUSION: The addition of repeated Waon (Far Infrared)therapy to conventional therapy for COPD patients can possibly improve airway obstruction.

 

2.  Repeated Waon (Far Infrared) therapy improves pulmonary hypertension during exercise in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

J Cardiol. 2008 Apr;51(2):106-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2008.01.004.

Umehara M1, Yamaguchi A, Itakura S, Suenaga M, Sakaki Y, Nakashiki K, Miyata M, Tei C.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: RepeatedWaon (Far Infrared)therapy, which uses a far infrared-ray dry sauna system, improved the vascular endothelial function and the cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with a poor prognosis. We investigated whether repeated Waon (Far Infrared)therapyimproves PH, cardiac function, exercise tolerance, and the quality of life (QOL) in patients with COPD.

METHODS: Consecutive 13 patients with COPD, who met the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria and had breathlessness despite receiving conventional treatments, were recruited for this study. They underwent Waon (Far Infrared)therapyat 60 degrees C in sauna for 15 min following 30 min warmth with blankets outside of the sauna room. This therapy was performed once a day, for 4 weeks. Cardiac function, exercise tolerance, and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were assessed before and 4 weeks after Waon therapy.

RESULTS: Right ventricular positive dP/dt at rest elevated significantly from 397 +/- 266 to 512 +/- 320 mmHg/s (p = 0.024) after the therapy. While the PH at rest did not significantly decrease, the PH during exercise decreased significantly from 64 +/- 18 to 51 +/- 13 mmHg (p = 0.028) after Waon therapy. Furthermore, the therapy prolonged the mean exercise time of the constant load of cycle ergometer exercise test from 360 +/- 107 to 392 +/- 97 s (p = 0.032). The total scores of SGRQ improved from 59.7 +/- 16.9 to 55.3 +/- 17.2 (p = 0.002). In addition, no adverse effects were observed related to Waon therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: RepeatedWaon (Far Infrared) therapy improved right ventricular positive dP/dt, PH during exercise, exercise tolerance and the QOL in patients with severe COPD.

This therapy may therefore be a novel, safe, and promising therapy for patients with severe COPD.