iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad review – pain relief by getting “stoned”?

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REVIEW – Getting old sucks.  Everything hurts and you learn to appreciate soft things and warm things much more than you ever realized you would.  Heat is one of those therapies that seem to help with a variety of aches and pains.  That explains why heating pads exist.  Today, we’re going to look at the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad that claims to offer more than just heat.  Its heating surface is lined with natural tourmaline and jade stones.  iReliev claims that these stones emit negative ions and far infrared rays that help the heat penetrate deeper into the sore tissue.  Let’s try it out and see if there is anything to it.

What is it?

Let’s not overcomplicate this – the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad is a heating pad that uses natural stones as the heat delivery mechanism.  These are what are advertised as the benefits of natural stone therapy.

JADE AND TOURMALINE distribute heat evenly to the body as the far infrared waves pass through the stones. When heated the stones emit 1500+ negative ions per square inch. Negative ions act as anti-oxidants in the air and are believed to promote healing, positive energy, and overall wellbeing.

Jade

  • Helps to provide deep penetration of infrared rays
  • Symbolizes happiness
  • Boosts immune system and blood circulation
  • Improves energy
  • Helps to reduce bruising, pain, and swelling

Tourmaline

  • Emits 2.5~13.5 microns of infrared rays for better penetration
  • Emits more negative ions which improves well being
  • Absorbs stress and anxiety to help detoxify your body from negative emotions
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Strengthens immune system

I can’t verify many of these claims, but we’ll get to the heating and see how it feels.

What’s in the box?

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  • iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad
  • Velcro attachment strap
  • Hand Control With 10’ Cord, including power adapter
  • Carry Bag
  • Operating Manual

Hardware specs

  • Size: 24″ x 16″
  • Heating surface material: 56 jade & 56 tourmaline stones
  • Heat generation: far infrared
  • Therapy time: up to five hours with automatic shutoff
  • Heating temperature range: 55-160°F in 5°F increments
  • Power requirement: wired 120VAC, 10-foot cord

Design and features

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The pad has an off-white leather-look surface.  On the front, you can see the tourmaline and jade stones.

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Each stone is mounted in an individual pocket.

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The stones alternate tourmaline-jade-tourmaline-jade in both the verticle and horizontal directions.

There is a wide Velcro strip on the back of the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad.

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The mounting strap attaches here.

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The strap is stretchy and strong and can secure the pad on just about any size chair.

The corded controller has a large display that shows the current temperature of the pad.

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Pressing the time or temp buttons show the minutes remaining or temperature setting and allow you to change those two parameters.

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Changing the time or temperature requires multiple pushes of the button.  There is no long-press mode where the values continue to change until you let go.  If you’re changing the time from 45 minutes to three hours, that is a 135-minute change.  At five minutes per press, that will take 27 presses.  One long press to get close and a couple of up or down button presses to zero in would be much nicer.

Setup

To get the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad ready for use, plug the controller into the power brick’s cord.

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The connector has a tab that locks in place once connected and twisted.

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Attach the mounting strap to the Velcro strip on the back of the pad, stretch the strap around the back of your favorite chair, and clip the strap to secure the pad.  Plug it into the wall socket, set the temp and time, and get to the heating.

Performance

As luck would have it, a few days after receiving the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad, I tweaked something in my back between my shoulder blades, most likely playing pickleball.  If only there was something I could use to relax the muscles in my back.  Oh, wait!

I strapped the pad onto my favorite chair, plopped into the chair, and cranked the pad up.

My first thought was that with all the stones on the surface, and stones being, well, hard, this wasn’t going to be a comfortable experience.  I was wrong.  Each stone is individually attached.  This allows the pad to conform to the curves of your body.  While it certainly isn’t the same as a nice padded chair, the pad was nicely comfortable on my back.  I set it to 150°F and waited.

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After a period of time, I began to feel the heat and it felt good.  I watched as the display slowly counted up.  In about ten minutes, it reached 120°F and slowly continued its climb. Of course, I hadn’t considered that having to heat up the mass of all the stones would naturally take longer than just a heating element getting hot.

After about 30 minutes, it topped out at 145°F and wouldn’t go higher.

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I bumped the set point to the 160°F maximum and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  No matter how long I waited, the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad simply would not get warmer than 145°F.  That was a little disappointing.

At about that time, I heard a *bang* on the roof.  We live on a golf course and occasionally, bad golfers pulled a tee shot and hit our roof.  I got up, went outside, and walked around.  I retrieved a nice TaylorMade ball from under a bush in the front and came back in.  Much to my surprise, the controller was reporting that the pad had reached 154°F.  Wow.

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So, it appears that the surface of my back contacting the pad was impacting the temperature sensor.  As soon as I sat back down, the reported temperature dropped almost immediately to 147°F.

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Interestingly, when I stood up, I wasn’t really feeling the heat much even though when I put a hand on the pad, it was hot.  After getting up and then sitting back down, the pad felt hot, seriously hot.  It continued to feel warm to the point that I started sweating and had to turn the ceiling fan on high.

The bottom line is that even though the temperature being reported by the controller indicates a lower temperature, the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad does deliver significant heat.  Perhaps the position of the temperature sensor needs to change.

After a couple of hours on the pad, my back did feel better.  Of course, that didn’t last and as soon as I started moving around again, the pain returned.  But heating pads can fix what is broken, only provide some relief, and this did do that.  Still, the heating felt deep – not just surface heat, so perhaps there is something to this far infrared thing.

Because I don’t use a heating pad regularly, I didn’t notice anything overly special about this pad.  I have a friend that suffers from chronic back pain.  When he is seated, it usually involves a heating pad.  I gave it to him to try for a few days to see what he thought.

After a week of multiple uses per day, he provided a generally favorable review.  He liked the large size of the pad.  It covered a large area of his back providing wide heating.  He liked the digital control versus a more traditional level 1-2-3 type of temperature control.  He liked that the pad provided essentially constant heat.  He said his older pad goes through high and low-temperature swings but the iReliev pad, once it got hot, stayed hot.  He did mention that it did take quite some time for it to get hot.  Both of those comments are certainly due to the large mass of natural stone that has to get heated, and the fact that the stones will retain heat.

I asked him if he noticed any other difference from his traditional pad, due to the far infrared heating and the stated natural benefits of the jade and tourmaline stones.  He responded quickly with, “No”.

What I like

  • Comfortable
  • Nice mounting system
  • Gets reasonably hot
  • Provides nice, constant heat versus the high.low swings from traditional heating pads

What I’d change

  • I’d like it to heat more quickly
  • Position the temperature sensor so that it reports the temperature more accurately
  • I’d like the buttons on the remote to respond to long presses and cycle quickly through set points

Final thoughts

As a heating pad, I can recommend the iReliev Far Infrared Heating Pad.  It provides nice heat and the controller offers good flexibility.  It is comfortable and feels good.  Beyond that, I didn’t notice any appreciable difference between this heating pad and a more traditional heating pad.  My friend who is a regular heating pad user didn’t notice any differences either. Therefore, I don’t know that the far infrared tech or the other claims about the stones actually does anything.

Still, this is a very nice, albeit somewhat pricey heating pad that provides great temperature flexibility, consistent heat, a large heating area and is very comfortable to use.  If the idea of adding natural stones to your wellness routine makes sense to you, this might be the heating pad you’re looking for.

Price: $139.95
Where to buy: iReliev (save 20% with the code: gadgeteer) and Amazon ($129.95)
Source: The sample of this product was provided by iReliev.

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