Friday, July 15, 2011

Black and White

When I was quite young I found discussions of magic thrilling. There were two types of magic in the world: Black (evil) magic and white (good) magic. One had to be careful to not invoke black magic by accident; both involved strange incantations and special effects.

Today I will be talking about the white beads harvested from the magic blender, and blackbody radiation. I may even talk a little about underwear.

After extensive searching I believe that the white beads are supposed to be a source of “far infrared energy” for the water. I looked at pictures of several PI-Mag-type devices, and saw white beads in some of them designated as far-infrared sources. A description of the magic blender gleaned from some Nikken-related site states:

“Contains pi-ceramics to help normalise pH and introduce far-infrared energy”

The far-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is usually defined as that with wavelengths between 15microns and 1 millimeter. This puts the far-infrared spectrum right up against the low part of the microwave spectrum. The far infrared spectrum is from about three hundred to almost twenty thousand gigahertz when expressed as frequency. However, some confusion exists in the FIR therapeutics community, and I have seen the spectrum for FIR given as 8-14 microns (which is mid-IR).

A quick search of health benefits from far-infrared energy yields an amazing amount of material. It may be that certain treatments using far-infrared radiation specifically generated from IR-LEDs could be of some use, but that has little to do with the little white beads in the magic blender. The white beads are ceramic beads designed to reflect FIR radiation back at the water. Here is an explanatory quote:

“Far Infrared Radiation(FIR) is only produced by properly activated ceramic materials radiating in selected spectra in the far infrared band.”
What this means is that the material is supposed to cause a spectral shift in the radiation it receives. The material absorbs several wavelengths of radiation, and then emits FIR. This is not a far-fetched concept. There are many compounds that have a defined absorption and emission spectrum.

Fluorescent compounds adsorb energy in the form of light (often UV), and then emit light of a much longer wavelength. Some fluorescent compounds are inorganic. Some naturally occurring rocks are strongly fluorescent. Why couldn’t there be a ceramic material that absorbed in the low-to-mid IR, and emitted in the FIR?

This is the basis of the claims made by an entire industry of FIR therapeutics. The lion’s share of FIR therapeutic devices are in the form of clothing. Yes, much of that clothing is underwear; one has to get the magic close to the skin.

My searches have not discovered any materials that absorb in the mid-IR wavelengths and fluoresce in the FIR wavelengths. Fluorescence is a very specific chemical property. The range of wavelengths that excite or are emitted by a fluorescent compound is very narrow. It is more likely that the absorption-emission coupling that the FIR hucksters are describing is the result of a much more general physical property called black-body radiation.

Black-body radiation could account for a shift of the reflected radiation to a longer wavelength. According to Wien's displacement law the wavelength maximum for a black body radiator is inversely proportional to the temperature of the black body. Since the underwear should be somewhat cooler than the body on which it is stretched it should emit at a slightly longer wavelength.

For the beads in the water unit to work this way the water would have to be at a higher temperature than the beads. I’m not sure how this would occur in the DPA.

A search of patents describing FIR brings up US patent 4,886,972 “FAR INFRARED EMITTING BODY OF A CORE MATERIAL COATED WITH AN ULTRAFINE POWDER”. This describes treating material (which could be fabric) with ceramic material to improve its ability to reflect FIR. This patent describes the ceramic material as having properties that are optimal because they are “very close to black body”.

The closeness to black body is the definition of the property called “emissivity”. The closer the emissivity of a material is to 1.0 the closer that material is to acting like a black-body radiator. Emissivity of some metals (like aluminum foil) can be as low as 0.05. Many ceramics have emissivities in the 0.95 range. The emissivity of human skin and cloth is also very close to 1.0.

One could greatly increase the emissivity of aluminum foil by coating it with ceramic, but not boxers (or briefs). This is of course assuming one’s boxers are not made of the same material as their hat.

There is also a question of magnitude of the effect. A quick calculation using Wien’s displacement law (and a standard value for the Wien’s displacement constant of 2,897,768.5 nm*K) shows that in order to shift the maximum emission wavelength by just over three microns one would have to soak one’s shorts in liquid nitrogen.

Still, despite these obstacles, the use of FIR energy clothing has shown tremendous benefits:

FIR therapeutic products are supposed to:

• relieve arthritis pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and all kinds of chronic pains.
• aid the process of weight loss, wrinkle reduction and tissue regeneration.
• energize the body
• Increases metabolism
• Increases blood flow
• Reduces hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Reduces the chances of blood clots
• Improves the elasticity of arterial walls
• Flushes toxins from the lymph areas
• Reduces the acidity in our bodies (a more alkaline body is healthier)
• Improves the immune system
• Reduces pain associated with all types of Arthritis
• Increases the extensibility of collagen (fibrous protein constituent of bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissue)
• Relieves muscle spasms
• Reduces joint stiffness
• Reduces edema (an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or serous cavities)
• Reduces exudates (substances oozing from the skin)
• Successfully used to aid weight control
• Reduces sinus congestions
• Reduces migraine pressures
• Relieved headache tension and pain
• Helps to heal skin burns & reduces scaring
• Reduces inflammatory skin conditions, like psoriasis
• Reduces Cellulite dimpling

The following is a disclaimer I ran across for some magic boxers:

All products helps in preventing, controlling and relieving various ailments. Results may vary from individual to individual depending on their age, body constituency and severity of ailment/s and toxin level in the body. No medicinal system gives guarantee on health products. Company recommends to use the products 3 to 6 months for cure. Curing time varies from person to person. But from our experience, 90 -93 % is the success rate and of course this is a miracle.

Which does sound miraculous…since they do say so themselves.

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