Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.  -George Iles

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Waon Therapy

Medical progress in the 20th century has been striking, and the advancement of the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases has greatly contributed toward prolonging life expectancy. However, for patients who receive treatment for diseases, this being not limited to cardiovascular diseases, there is no way of determining the gravity of internal suffering and conflict. Patients accept any examination and treatment that can help them to recover from diseases, even when it may involve pain. All surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and transplant therapy are therapies that inflict considerable pain and long term suffering on patients, mentally and physically. Patients still accept such therapy, because they expect it to help them recover from their disease.

Without suffering from the diseases, it is impossible to understand the extent of pain, tension, and stress that are imposed on patients with the purpose of saving life. Even if the suffering of patients arising from various intractable diseases can be treated with inpatient hospital care at a large hospital combined with state-of-the-art medical facilities, patients have no opportunity, during the course of treatment, to experience a feeling of comfort and a pleasant state of mind arising from refreshing perspiration.

The treatment modality “thermal therapy” that I have worked on since 1989 is a warming therapy for soothing the mind and body equally, with 60°C dry far-infrared sauna bathing. Therefore, if “thermal therapy” is referred to as “Waon therapy,” it is easy to understand the true meaning as distinguished from, for example, “local high-heat therapy for cancer.” “Soothing warmth: Waon” is a word I have coined, and “Waon” can be understood in Japanese as “soothing warmth,” meaning “warmth that comfortably refreshes the mind and body.” In other words, “Waon” is the essence of the “thermal therapy” that I have been improving and refining for eighteen years. Therefore, to obtain a correct understanding of my “thermal therapy” modality, I would like to refer to it as “Waon therapy: soothing warmth therapy” and I would like to familiarize readers further with the idea.

“Waon therapy” is defined as “therapy in which the entire body is warmed in an evenly heated chamber (device) for 15 minutes at a temperature that soothes the mind and body, and after the deep-body temperature has increased by approximately 1.0~1.2°C, the soothing warmth effects are sustained by maintaining the warmth at rest for an additional 30 minutes, with fluids corresponding to perspiration being supplied at the end.”

There are various clinical applications 1-11) of “Waon therapy,” and the effects are dramatic. In particular, a drastic recovery is often seen in intractable diseases that are resistant to drug therapy such as severe heart failure 1), which is an indication of the need for a heart transplant, peripheral artery disease with intractable ulcer 6), severe fibromyalgia syndrome 9), chronic fatigue syndrome 8), and salivary secretion failure caused by Sjogren’s syndrome 10). The effects are remarkable, and “Waon therapy” is not simply therapy for organs and local sites. It also improves the systemic vascular function, corrects central and peripheral autonomic nerves and neurohumoral factors (hormonal activity), and activates autoimmunity and the bio-defense mechanism.

If “Waon therapy” is performed once a day for 3~5 days a week over the course of a 2~6-week period (10 weeks for peripheral artery disease) a clearly positive effect on the intractable diseases mentioned above can be obtained. Furthermore, with subsequent continuation for 2~3 days a week, the effects of “Waon therapy” can also be steadily maintained.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of “Waon therapy” as a comprehensive therapy, the effects on chronic heart failure are briefly described in the following example. “Waon therapy” improves the clinical conditions, cardiac function, and vascular function of patients with chronic heart failure and corrects abnormal autonomic nervous response and neurohumoral factors 3). It dilates systemic arteries and veins to reduce the preload and afterload on the heart and significantly increase cardiac output 1). Arrhythmia caused by chronic heart failure is significantly decreased 4). In addition, “Waon therapy” considerably improves a depressive state, insomnia, anorexia, and ill feelings of patients with heart failure 3). If “Waon therapy” is performed once a day for 5 days a week over the course of a 2-week period (10 times in total), cardiomegaly is significantly reduced, the cardiac function is improved, and ANP and BNP can be significantly decreased 3). If “Waon therapy” is subsequently continued even furth er, then the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure tends to significantly improve. In an investigation using a heart failure model (TO-2 hamsters), it was verified that the group for which “Waon therapy” was continually repeated once a day had a 35% improved survival rate compared to the group without this therapy 12).

“Waon therapy” significantly improves the endothelium-dependent vasodilatory potency of patients with heart failure. In an experiment using heart failure model hamsters, “Waon therapy” considerably increased the expression of mRNA of vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in vascular endothelial and intensified the expression of eNOS protein13,14). A remarkable expression of mRNA and protein of eNOS was also observed in an experiment with peripheral arterial disease models 15). Specifically, after an apolipoprotein E-knockout mouse has a femoral artery removed, if “Waon therapy” is continually repeated once a day for 35 days, the expression of mRNA and the protein level of eNOS also considerably increases, while the number of blood capillaries increases, the blood flow remarkably improves in the ischemic limbs, and angiogenesis can be achieved. In other words, “Waon therapy” is deeply involved in the production of effects on genetic, molecular, and cellular levels, and this treatment modality therefore plays an important role in the recovery of the living body.

“Waon therapy” is safe and highly cost-efficient, and is also a gentle comprehensive therapy that soothes patients and encourages refreshing perspiration, unlike conventional therapy, which often requires the patient’s endurance. I sincerely hope that “Waon therapy” will be approved for coverage by medical insurance as soon as possible, as a new therapy for the 21st century. Such approval would be very good news for our patients.

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