Efficacy and safety of far infrared radiation in lymphedema treatment: clinical evaluation and laboratory analysis.
Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Apr ;32(3):485-494. Epub 2017 Jan 26. PMID: 28127644
Swelling is the most common symptom of extremities lymphedema. Clinical evaluation and laboratory analysis were conducted after far infrared radiation (FIR) treatment on the main four components of lymphedema: fluid, fat, protein, and hyaluronan. Far infrared radiation is a kind of hyperthermia therapy with several and additional benefits as well as promoting microcirculation flow and improving collateral lymph circumfluence. Although FIR therapy has been applied for several years on thousands of lymphedema patients, there are still few studies that have reported the biological effects of FIR on lymphatic tissue. In this research, we investigate the effects of far infrared rays on the major components of lymphatic tissue. Then, we explore the effectiveness and safety of FIR as a promising treatment modality of lymphedema. A total of 32 patients affected by lymphedema in stage II and III were treated between January 2015 and January 2016 at our department. After therapy, a significant decrease of limb circumference measurements was noted and improving of quality of life was registered. Laboratory examination showed the treatment can also decrease the deposition of fluid, fat, hyaluronan, and protein, improving the swelling condition. We believe FIR treatment could be considered as both an alternative monotherapy and a useful adjunctive to the conservative or surgical lymphedema procedures. Furthermore, the real and significant biological effects of FIR represent possible future applications in wide range of the medical field.