Monday, July 31, 2017

Stress reduction, Healthyline Inframat Pro Tao PEMF Amethyst Mat vs Biomat Review & Negative Ion Therapy

Negative ions, stress reduction and gemstone therapy: a life update. 
If you're a part of our Facebook group (, you've already seen an update from me last week. We are finalizing things for our late summer release and I've been on a technology diet. We will start teasing our "late summer" collection this week so follow us on Instagram @solsticescents and Facebook for previews. I've found the constant EMF and positive ion exposure from the mobile device and computer has been taking a toll on my physical and mental health for some time. For the past few months, I've been focusing on anything I can do to decrease my cortisol levels and stress, support my adrenals and rebuild my vitality. Part of this quest has been reducing my tech exposure and this means less engagement on Instagram and Facebook. I've worked on having more structured times online and not succumbing to as much aimless scrolling. I've noticed a huge difference in my mood and energy levels by making these shifts. 

Negative ions: Part of my stress reducing program has been to take time for meditation, sound therapy, stone therapy, aromatherapy and negative ion exposure. You can expose yourself to negative ions by going to the ocean, waterfalls, mountains or on a rural country drive with the windows down (and get out to hike around too). Reducing your exposure to EMFs and positive ions is another key component in balancing your blood and constitution. Negative ions are also high in the air after a rainstorm. I've been traveling a bit recently to various places in my area (country, ocean, springs, forest) to ground myself and get my "vitamin I(on)". Here is an article from 2002 about negative ions:

 Inframat pro TAO. Framed paintings available at

Far Infrared (FIR): Recently I invested in a gemstone mat with far infrared therapy and PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic fields). You may have heard of the BioMat before. This is a similar product put out by a company called HealthyLine. The product I have is called the Inframat Pro TAO. stands for tourmaline, amethyst and obsidian. It contains approximately 15 lbs of amethyst, 2 lbs of tourmaline ceramic and 2 lbs of obsidian. Far infrared (FIR) passes through the stones and to you as you lay on the mat. FIR May be useful for stress, blood circulation, better nutrient uptake, metabolism, pain, chronic fatigue, arthritis, depression, insomnia, cramps and more. This mat can get up to 158°F and the soothing heat penetrates at least 4 to 6 inches into the body. Unlike a regular heating pad, it does not emit harmful EMFs due to the multiple filtering layers within the mat. The heat also penetrates deep into the body whereas a heating pad simply treats on more of a surface level. 

Sauna Function: My mat came with Mylar space blankets and a waterproof cover. You may do a home sauna by placing the cover and some towels on the mat and covering yourself with the Mylar blanket, which reflects the heat back on to you (keep your head out of the blanket, obviously). You may do this sauna by turning the heat up to 60 to 70 degrees Celsius for about 20 to 30 minutes. It gets hot and you will sweat! Saunas have been used for ages to detoxify and burn calories. Many saunas use a far infrared bulb as the heat source and this is the same concept, but without needing to have a whole sauna in your home. Watch a video of how to do the sauna here:


My first experience with gemstone FIR mats was with the BioMat. One of the acupuncture physicians that I see has a BioMat on his treatment table. The warmth from the BioMat is deeply soothing. It feels like laying out in the hot sun without the possible danger of prolonged UV exposure. Far infrared therapy is essentially like getting the best part of sun exposure. Sun exposure is important for Vitamin D levels, which are chronically low in the vast majority of the population. We've been taught to lather up our sunscreen, cover up and limit our sun exposure when in fact a small amount of sun exposure is crucial for vitamin D production and general well being. Low-frequency far infrared rays do not damage the skin and they transmit more heat than ordinary light.

I have also enjoyed the BioMat at a local crystal and mineral shop. My mom was with me and was the first to have a short session. She reported that it was better than a massage and that she felt wonderful, relaxed and de-stressed. My mom is pretty high strung, a "go, go, go" kind of character who has trouble winding down and relaxing so this was a profound change in her constitution. I enjoyed a similar experience and my lower back tension was obliterated in about 15 to 20 minutes on the mat. I thought what a wonderful addition a mat like this would be to my destressing tool box. I frequently have lower back tension and I also have a hypertonic pelvic floor as well as inflammation in my abdomen that I try to control through a FODMAP diet, turmeric supplementation and so on. FIR is supposed to have anti-inflammatory action and I felt it'd be amazing to put into daily use. I have used FIR therapy before. I have a FIR bulb that I use on targeted areas when I'm in pain or discomfort. The issue with the bulb is that you can only safely use it for a short time, you have to be extra careful about eye protection as the light can damage your eyes and you must keep it at least 18" from your body. It also emits EMFs. I wanted something that I could safely enjoy and also apply the therapy full body, so the mat started looking more and more appealing. 

As I started researching BioMat, I came across the Healthyline Inframat Pro. I was intrigued because the product appeared to be on par with the BioMat but it was significantly less expensive. The BioMat 7000mx professional is $1695 and measures 27.56" x 74". It comes with a really nice state of the art controller. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with the BioMat. The biggest factor for me came down to the price. I do not have health insurance and spend the money I otherwise would spend on insurance on organic foodstuffs, acupuncture, chiropractic, holistic, massage, herbal and naturopathic wellness. I frequently use aromatherapy, sound therapy (Tibetan singing bowls), yoga, mediation, Shamanic journeying, crystal therapy, walking, rebounding, Dead Sea salt and Epsom salt baths and so on to prevent dis-ease and maintain my physical and mental well-being. As such, I will spend this kind of money on my health as an investment if I perceive a benefit for myself and my family. This was still a lot of money to invest, however! I discovered the Inframat Pro model I ultimately purchased measured 72" x 24" and cost $999. I was able to save 10% and get free shipping at checkout, which brought the total cost to $899. $899 versus $1695 was much more in my range. (If you decide you'd like a mat from HealthyLine, use ss10s at checkout to save 10% and get free shipping). The Inframat is just slightly smaller than the comparable BioMat model. Biomat contains approximately 15+ lbs of amethyst whereas the Inframat Pro TAO contains approximately 15 lbs amethyst, 2 lbs obsidian and 2 lbs tourmaline ceramic (the small brown spheres pictured in the close up). The construction and internal layers on the two products are also very similar. 

PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields): The other difference between the BioMat and the Inframat Pro Tao is that the latter also has PEMF technology. PEMF has a host of touted benefits such as decreasing pain and inflammation, assisting with arthritis, healing a variety of wounds, being helpful for recovering cancer patients after chemotherapy, regenerating blood cells, boosting the immune system, having a positive effect on blood sugar and cholesterol and more. I had been doing independent research on PEMF and was completely fascinated with it. I researched Dr. Robert Dennis, who was contracted by NASA to develop some of the first generation PEMF technology, as well as other leading experts like Dr. Pawluk and Bryant A. Myers. There is some discrepancy about the best waveform, Hertz and Gauss that a PEMF device should have. I have watched and read some experts specifically state that under 1 Gauss (more specifically about .64 Gauss) is the most effective for treatment whereas others say that you need at least 10 Gauss to get any benefits at all! I think that if you're going to a clinic for a short 30 minute session, 10 Gauss may be more effective whereas a home device with lower Gauss is more affordable and can be used for many hours. In other words, I think the higher Gauss levels are meant for therapeutic situations and that is why some say it is better to have more power. Most of the experts do agree that the most desirable Hz level is between 1 and 50 to mimic the Earth's magnetic field. There are also discrepancies about how important the particular waveform is. I've read and watched videos where many agree that a sawtooth wave and square wave seem to be the most desirable but it seems the most attractive thing is that you want magnetic flux and even reversed polarity in a device to get the most benefit and to prevent acclimation to the treatment to where it won't effect you any longer. Dr. Pawluk believes the waveform isn't necessarily what is important. 

The Inframat Pro TAO has 7.83 Hz with 3 Gauss and uses a sine wave. It comes with a little plastic cylinder with a small metal ball inside. When you turn the PEMF function on, the metal ball jumps within the cyclinder so you can see the magnetic pulsation! You can see a video of what I'm talking about here: The link is to the HealthyLine Youtube channel where you can watch them cut open the mat to reveal the internal layers and you can also watch them test their mats with an EMF meter to show no harmful EMFs are being emitted: There is another video on Youtube where a user measures the EMFs emitted by one of the HealthyLine mats, but it is an old product where you used to have to control blocking the EMFs with the controller. Now all of the mats have the protection built in.

I found a clinic offering PEMF in my area and I'm going to be booking a session to experience a medical grade device to compare to my mat. I'm not sure if my mat is the most effective form of PEMF and if it has the right specs (as I mentioned, there are many differing opinions), but I definitely haven't had any negative effects from using the mat. In fact, I feel fantastic now that I've added the mat to my anti-inflammatory diet (no sugar, wheat, etc). I also did a 6-day fast 2 weeks ago, quit coffee and have been back to a primal/paleo style of eating since I reintroduced food to my system so it is hard to say which things are contributing to my vitality but I think the fast kickstarted some major healing. I've also been taking Jatoma bark (Mycozil from Global Healing Center) which is a powerful antifungal/anti-yeast. Candida yeast is known to cause digestive disturbance, among other things. I've been loving the Mycozil but had taken before the fast and while still on coffee, occasional alcohol and occasional wheat and sugar and I didn't feel this great. I have read that far infrared (FIR) is anti-candida as well. Kill it with fire! Or, you know, heat.

Improved sleep/sleeping on the mat: I really feel like the FIR and the negative ions have boosted my mood, relieved nuisance muscle aches and pains and I have been sleeping very well all through the night. I'm on a sabbatical from alcoholic beverages and will say that when consuming them, I'd always have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and I'd have trouble falling back asleep for a while. I did try sleeping on the mat but didn't care for it as it is a bit hard. You also have to turn the temp down to 35 to 40 Celsius and I prefer the mat at full temp for 30 to 60 minutes when I use it. I really like it hot! The other concern is that I have a Tempur-pedic mattress and Tempur-pedic warns against using a heating pad with the Tempur material. I think the heat can possibly degrade the material. The underside of the mat does get a bit warm so when I use it in bed to watch a movie or something, I am now placing it on a comforter to have a barrier.

Mat for dogs: When researching PEMF, I realized that it and the FIR therapy could be great for my senior dog who has bad arthritis in his hips. He is on a fantastic supplement with glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin and MSM and he also receives acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments as well as a hyaluronic shot to help him naturally without the side effects of Rimadyl. In one independent study done by Dr. Dennis, PEMF regrew bone in a rabbit. Well, one night I was "preheating" my mat so I could lay on it and meditate a bit before bed. The door to the room was only open about 2 inches. I walked past the room again and saw it was wide open and in the light of the Himalayan salt lamp, I saw the shadow of my senior dog, Blix! He had pushed the door open and positioned himself directly on the mat. I had to turn on the light and take a picture. Ever since then, he has tried to get on to the mat and I've even found him on the cold mat that isn't even on, if I leave the door to that room open. I believe that he has experienced pain relief from the mat so I routinely invite him on there with me. He has a really nice Lai Fug which is a Tempur-pedic type of dog bed) and even an indoor dog house with a soft blanket inside (originally built for another dog to hide in during thunderstorms but she prefers under the desk or in the closet. He loves it though!). He sleeps with us at night on our Tempur-pedic. Point is, there are plenty of other places for him to enjoy laying down other than this kind of hard mat. So I think he is enjoying the penetrating heat.  The sheet is a bit mussed from when I laid on the mat earlier (I like to take the top folded layer and put it over me for extra warmth); this is a candid shot!

Yoga on the mat: I have tried yoga on the mat and I think it will take a bit of practice as the surface isn't completely flat so your hands can slide a little. It could be that the sheet I have on the mat is a bit too slick. The mat does have the cotton cover on it, under the sheet, which helps. When I talked to the HealthyLine customer service rep, Tina, she mentioned that she uses the mat to do yoga. I don't want to put my yoga mat on top of the mat as I don't think heating up the chemicals on the yoga mat would be great to breathe in. 

Gemstone therapy:  Working with crystals as a healing modality is not widely scientifically proven and falls a bit more into the esoteric realm of alternative healing. There are ways to work with the stones as tools where you may release trauma, grief, fear, anger, malcontent and other negative emotions and empower yourself with positive, higher vibration energies. Different stones are used for different mental and physical conditions. There are a variety of techniques for chakra healing and balancing, using sacred geometry and crystal grids, spiritual reflection, meditation, astral projection and so much more using crystals. I have had exceptional experiences using stones as a tool to convert negative energy and release old hurts. I often use them on my chakras (on the mat!) while meditating on each chakra and healing.

All of this being said, there are scientifically proven uses for many crystals. They are used in your television, lasers, watches and many other things. Crystals are conductive and can store energy.  Amethyst, a form of quartz, is a super conductor and it is an ideal material for the FIR waves to pass through on your mats. It emits a lot of negative ions. There are many claims about what different gemstones can do for your mental and physical health. Amethyst has been said to reduce stress, anxiety, depression (the negative ions can have an impact on mental wellness so I can buy this), increase lymphatic drainage, rejuvenate the skin (FIR has also been said to promote collagen production, reduce fine lines and reduce acne), decrease hyperactivity and more. In the mats, the jade and tourmaline offer similar benefits in conjunction with FIR. They all emit negative ions and naturally emit FIR and to some degree assist with a peaceful state of mind and well being. They all transmit the FIR heat wonderfully. You don't have to believe that certain stones have certain frequencies and internal lattices which can assist you with a whole host of conditions. The focus of this article is about the mat and FIR therapy and PEMF have been well-researched and accepted as supportive treatment modalities. You can try the mat and see if you notice positive effects for yourself and ignore the more "woo woo" aspects of the crystals and focus on the fact that they are great natural conductors of the therapeutic FIR heat.

Home trial and warranty: Healthy Line offers a 45 day in home trial. They will refund you 100% if you don't love your mat, though you have to incur the cost of shipping the mat back to them. I read some complaints about the BioMat controller ceasing to function. I think it is a touch screen controller and it is state of the art. The controller is somewhere in the $250 range to replace if your warranty is out of date. The controller for the HealthyLine mat costs around $20 to $30. It is very basic and easy to use. I didn't need anything fancy and I think that is part of why the BioMat is a more expensive product. The HealthyLine controller has on/off switch and a dial to turn to set your temperature. The PEMF has its own button so if you want to turn it on, you push the button. You can use the PEMF by itself or in conjunction with the FIR. You can also use the FIR by itself without the PEMF. The PEMF cycles on for 20 minutes and off for 100 before turning back on to 20. You may set the controller for a 3, 6 or 12 hour session so it can be on while you sleep and automatically shut off after the allotted time. They offer a 1 year full warranty to replace your mat or controller if it breaks. The mat is very well made and the most likely problem, according to customer service and if you should even have one, would be the controller. I'd rather spend $30 or less to replace a controller than be caught in a situation where a more advance controller, such as the one with the BioMat, breaks on me outside of warranty. HealthyLine does offer an extended 5 year warranty for 20% of your mat price but I decided not to go for it after talking with customer service. You may also trade your mat in at any time to get 50% off another mat, should a newer model come out that you really want. I figure I'll go that route should something happen to my mat in the coming years.

Proper use of mat: I have photographed the mat to show how it looks but in use, you need to cover it with a sheet, thin blanket or towel. My mat came with a cotton cover so I put that on and then cover it with a sheet. I asked for a cotton cover in the comments at checkout. It came with the waterproof cover as well, for the home sauna function, and I did not ask for that or the 2 Mylar blankets so I assume that those items come with the mat as they were a pleasant surprise when I opened my mat's travel bag. The cotton cover for this mat runs around $30 if you ever need to buy a new one or forget to ask for one.

This mat is inflexible though they have many other mats: This mat is stiff and can not be positioned to put on a chair. It does tri-fold so you can store it in its bag but it does not bend and fold as much as you would need to put into a chair. They do sell a really flexible mat that I was very close to purchasing instead of the Inframat TAO. It is called the Reverse-18JT Inframat Pro: .This flexible mat can be positioned on a chair, bed, floor, whatever. I love that it is dual sided so you can lay on the amethyst side or you can go for a more acupressure point hot stone sensation by laying on the jade and tourmaline side. You choose which side you want on during your session. I thought it would be great to have therapeutic options and I could see myself using both sides. The flexibility was very attractive as I do a lot of computer work. However, I chose the mat I did because it was $100 more and I felt it was a superior product. The Reversible model has 10 lbs of amethyst on one side whereas the Inframat TAO has 15 lbs plus the 4 lbs total of obsidian and tourmaline. I liked the idea of being able to lay on 19lbs of stones on one side to get all that power instead of just 10 lbs. The mat I chose also has gets up to 158F whereas the Reverse only gets to 140. I knew I would want more heat and the customer service rep agreed the higher heat is much better for the sauna function, even though the Reverse listing says you can do a sauna. The reverse side of the Reverse model has 120 pieces of jade and tourmaline ceramic discs. I loved that but for $100 more I felt the one I got was a better fit and I liked that it has PEMF and also almost 20 lbs of stones on one side. HealthyLine also sells a few really cool chair models, including one like my Inframat TAO, that can also be converted to use in the car. That would be amazing for long distance drives. My back always kills me when sitting in the car for a road trip.

Since I didn't get a flexible model for my chair, I'm strongly considering getting the small pad that they sell as it is only $99! It does not have amethyst or PEMF. It is just 16 2" discs of jade and tourmaline but the mat gets up to 160F and it would be perfect for the back of the chair or on my seat. I can also see using it on my abdomen as I lay on my back in bed. I would usually use The Original Bed Buddy (a buckwheat pillow you put in the microwave for 2 minutes. It provides about 1 minutes of damp heat) on my stomach after dinner and in bed just to relax and assist with digestion but I've been laying on the mat every night instead. However, you do have to make time to use the mat so this portable option could be great.

Edit 8/2/17: (Please see my edit for 9/4 below if considering a small mat). Yesterday, I ended up purchasing the Pebble T 20 x 20 mat. I decided on this model because it has more negative ion output (1500/cc versus 700/cc) than the small one linked just above and I liked the smaller tourmaline disks. I plan on using it on the seat of my office chair for comfort while working on the computer and I like the negative ion output to combat the positive ions from the monitors! I have a Himalayan salt lamp and a variety of crystals on my desk for this purpose but this mat will be much more powerful. I can also put it against the back of my chair for my back and look forward to taking it to bed and placing over my stomach when I'm full or underneath my lower back. It gets up to 160F as well. We have a converter for the car to plug that mat in, so I am also planning on putting it to use in my car seat during traveling as my bum always bothers me as I sit for long stretches. It is so small that it will be great to have on a trip anyway, instead of packing the full size mat: 

Edit 9/4/2018: I prefer the TAO MAT SMALL 1818 Inframat Pro to the Pebble T Pad Small 2020 Firm Inframat Pro ( I did order the Pebble T as mentioned in my edit just above on 8/2/17 my office chair. Sometime after I ordered, Healthyline released a small TAO mat, that is basically the same thing as the large mat I reviewed in this blog post, without the PEMF technology ( I ended up getting one for my parents and one for my in-laws for Christmas but checked it out before I gifted it. I can unequivocally state that this mat is the superior model when it comes to the smaller mat options Healthyline offers. I plan to do a blog post comparing just these two items, but I did want to share that between the Pebble T currently priced at $119 (I paid around $150 originally, I believe) and the Tao Mat Small, the Tao Mat small for $159 is 10000% worth the extra money. It is a little smaller but it is flexible, more comfortable/softer and has a more satisfying and comfortable heat emission. I also love that it looks just like my big mat, which I still enthusiastically recommend to everyone and still use almost every day!!!

Contraindications/who shouldn't use this mat: Pregnant women, people who have had bypass surgery, have a pacemaker, are using muscle relaxants and blood thinners (i.e. Coumadin), are very elderly or who have an intolerance to heat or experience hot flashes. See the HealthyLine site about contraindications in the FAQ or by contacting the customer service department to make sure it is safe for your general condition as these were the warnings issued in the brochure under the "hot stone therapy" section and who should not receive it. Certain conditions such as cancer, liver or kidney disorders and more need to keep the heat lower, suggested at 90 to 120F.

Conclusion: If you are fatigued, depressed, anxious, have digestive troubles and other nuisance health issues, you may need to take a serious look at your diet to start. This may include nutritional support such as an organic bioavailable food-based vitamin supplement, adaptogenic herbs and herbal allies in general and so on. You may need to tear down your rickety house and rebuild from scratch because there is no sense replacing the leaky roof if your walls are termite ridden. Allopathic medicine and pharmaceuticals can only patch the holes in your foundation but should not be the foundation of your existence (I'm talking about common conditions here such as lethargy, minor pains, etc that might be overcome with natural methods instead of Rx. For much more serious maladies, a nutrient-rich diet and mental health are also important but I'm not saying "Cure cancer by eating seaweed"!). Mental health and well being are of paramount concern in your quest for wellness. You cannot just eat your way to a better lifestyle. Core changes within your spirit need to occur. This is the holistic approach to health, a focus on both physical, mental and spiritual wellness. You cannot isolate one factor such as focusing on exercise and still eat lousy. You can't eat top of the line non-GMO organic foods and leave your spirit in shambles by not working through your pain, fear, grief, heartbreak and so on. Those negative emotions sit within you and create havoc for your health. You can't just push them down and thing they will go away. I've focused far to long on my physical health through diet and supplementation but did not place enough emphasis on how important the mind, perspective, peace, forgiveness and acceptance (among other things) are for overcoming physical debilitation, even though it is a component I knew was important. I was addicted to my personal pain but didn't realize it until I began to overcome it. Now I have come to the point where I am addicted to feeling well and when I catch myself falling into focusing obsessively on certain physical health issues, I work quickly to diffuse the bomb before the old habits and mental constructs blow up in my face and bring me to my knees.  Working on adding tools, like this mat, to my toolbox in order to assist myself with diffusing the bomb has been a strong focus.

I'll conclude this long post by inviting your questions and to also say that I am so glad I made this investment. I really do feel the benefits and my husband also loves to use the mat for his tight back and to relax before bedtime. (ss10s at checkout = less 10% and free shipping).

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