If you’ve never heard of TDP lamps before, the concept might seem unusual or just plain odd. Working using far infrared fields and targeted electromagnetic fields, these lamps are commonly used across hospitals and clinics in China, and are primarily used by acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners in North America. The lamps increase microcirculation and heat in the body, and they can be used as a part of moxibustion treatments. Principally used to loosen fascia and to help muscular recovery, the lamps can also be used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Their name is short for “TedingDianciboPu”(特定电磁波谱), meaning ‘electro-magnetic spectrum,’ and they were developed in China in the late 1970s.
What are they?
TDP lamps combine thirty-three different mineral elements, which are heated evenly on a plate in the lamp. Though most of the elements have been revealed by manufacturers, the actual recipe for these elements – including their concentration – remains a well-kept secret.
The lamps were invented by a group of scientists after observing that the workers of a black clay factory in China were unusually resistant to disease, and in fact tended to live longer than their contemporaries. After eliminating other factors, the source of their longevity and surprisingly good health was concluded to be the very clay with which they were working, which once heated, had a beneficial effect on their bodies. The trace elements in the clay were then identified, and the formula was replicated to create TDP lamps.
How do they work?
Though the specific bio-mechanical effects of the lamp on the body remain mysterious, the leading theory is that the infrared field produced by the lamp has therapeutic effects because it closely matches the electromagnetic field emitted by the human body, and these rays are therefore more readily absorbed. It is worth noting that the heat produced by the lamp also has therapeutic effects, as heat can help relax aching muscles.
Who can use them?
The short answer is that almost anyone can benefit from treatments with these lamps; however, certain precautions are necessary to prevent potential injuries. Due to its radiating heat, the lamps cannot be used on areas of the body containing implants, as it risks overheating them, and cannot be used on persons who could not signal if the lamp is too hot, or on people with fevers and sensitivity to heat. Likewise, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid using them. In TCM, they should not be used by individuals with conditions derived from an excess of heat in the body.
Other conditions that could interfere with treatment or potentially cause injuries include fever, otitis media, splenitis, ophthalmic diseases, varicose veins, open pulmonary tuberculosis, serious arteriosclerosis, and bleeding disorders.
What can they be used for?
TDP lamps are commonly used to treat muscular pains and injuries, and to speed up recovery time after strains. Other applications include treatments for arthritis, poor circulation, and a variety of skin ailments including psoriasis.
Are they safe?
While the elements in the lamp are perfectly safe, these lamps do produce heat, and therefore overextended, intense use could lead to burns. Persons affected by conditions such as the ones mentioned earlier in the article should consult closely with a practitioner before trying treatment.
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