Physical therapy (physiotherapy), a complementary and alternative medicine therapy, has been widely applied in diagnosing and treating various diseases and defects. Increasing evidence suggests that convenient and non-invasive far-infrared (FIR) rays, a vital type of physiotherapy, improve the health of patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms by which FIR functions remain elusive. Hence, the purpose of this study was to review and summarize the results of previous investigations and to elaborate on the molecular mechanisms of FIR therapy in various types of disease. In conclusion, FIR therapy may be closely related to the increased expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase as well as nitric oxide production and may modulate the profiles of some circulating miRNAs; thus, it may be a beneficial complement to treatments for some chronic diseases that yields no adverse effects.
Keywords: Physical therapy; cardiovascular disease (CVD); diabetes mellitus (DM); far-infrared (FIR); miRNA.
© 2015 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.