Heat for wounds – water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) assists wound healing

The results of 7 clinical studies (the largest study with 400 patients) about water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) for wound healing have been published on 29.06.2016 as comprehensive review in the interdisciplinary e-journal „GMS German Medical Science“ of the Association of Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF) [1].

The six included randomized controlled clinical trials compare a combination of high standard care plus wIRA treatment vs. high standard care alone.

wIRA increases tissue temperature (+2.7°C at a tissue depth of 2 cm), tissue oxygen partial pressure (+32% at a tissue depth of 2 cm) and tissue perfusion.
wIRA promotes normal as well as disturbed wound healing: wIRA diminishes inflammation and exudation, wIRA promotes infection defense and regeneration, and wIRA alleviates pain. During 230 irradiations without any exception an alleviation of pain was observed with a substantially reduced need for analgesics (52–69% less in the three groups with wIRA compared to the three control groups without wIRA after major visceral surgery, nearly 60% less need for analgesics in chronic venous stasis ulcers).

Further effects are:

– Faster reduction of wound area (in severely burned children: 90% reduction of wound size after 9 vs. 13 days, after 9 days approx. 89% vs. approx. 49% reduction in wound area, complete wound closure of chronic venous stasis ulcers after 14 vs. 42 days).

– Better overall evaluation of wound healing.

– Better overall evaluation of the effect of irradiation.

– Better cosmetic result.

– Lower wound infection rate (single preoperative irradiation: 5% vs. 12% wound infections in total, of these: late wound infections (postoperative days 9-30) 1.7% vs. 7.7%).

– Shorter hospital stay (discharge after 9 vs. 11 postoperative days).

The effects of wIRA are compiled with extensive numerical data in a table of several
pages and illustrated with figures.
Water-filtered infrared-A is a useful complement for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds.

Publication (freely available):
[1] Hoffmann G, Hartel M, Mercer JB. Heat for wounds – water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) for wound healing – a review. GMS Ger Med Sci. 2016;14:Doc08.
DOI: 10.3205/000235, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-0002352
Publication online freely available as PDF and shtml from:

Extensive presentation of a variety of applications of water-filtered infrared-A (including applications besides wound healing) in German language is freely available from:

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