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Infrared Therapy Device

Generates Therapeutic Infrared Frequencies
Infrared_Therapy.ino_.zip801 bytes

First off, this is my dog Koda:

I call her "Roo."  Partly because that's the sound Sarah attributes to her when she sings, but partly also because she hops around a little bit like a Kangaroo.  As you can see here, she has a little problem with her "footie."  A few years back, she had a polyp removed, which resulted in some tissue necrosis around her claws.  Now her paw looks kind of like it was made of plastic and someone heated it up and twisted most of the end off.  She gets around okay, but sometimes in the winter the "footie" breaks open and she has a hard time healing (also she wakes us up licking it to distraction if we don't put the sock on it.)

Sarah takes her to the vet often for "laser treatments" and is convinced that they are effective.  I got very interested in this idea lately when she told me how much they charged for each treatment.  I wanted to know the frequencies and wavelengths involved, the science, etc.  They didn't really want to talk about it though-for all the vet knew, it was magic.

So I did minimal research and went to my go-to guy for lasers:DanM, of course! I asked if he thought it was legit or hokum.  He had more than a little insight:


It is not laser therapy. It is a "wand" with a bunch of infrared LEDs on it. Notice that they mention lasers and compared to LEDs, but towards the bottom of the page I see it says, "The light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used by Anodyne® Therapy have been tested in millions of ..." Etc. 
I saw the pictures of feet of a couple patients. Circulation is low in the first pictures and increased in the second... Here is what I am thinking about that. If you take this infrared wand and rub it all over a patient's feet, even if it is not turned on, after a period of rubbing, the skin will warm up and the circulation will increase. Same thing if someone gives you any sort of foot massage.
     Except for one thing, I would deem it a fraud.
That one thing is something I did myself many years ago. I had a small homebuilt infrared laser and was "playing around" with it. I wondered what I would feel if I let it shine of my skin. Very quickly, I flipped my finger past the beam. It was very quick and I felt nothing, –so I tried it again, pausing my finger tip in the beam for maybe a second. Again I felt nothing, so I tried it for maybe 3 seconds. Once more I felt nothing. I kept trying putting my finger in front of the beam for longer periods till I got up to maybe 30 seconds or more in the beam and still I felt nothing.
     Just to see if my finger felt warm to the touch, I touched that finger with another one, and —— I felt nothing. What?  I tapped that finger on the desk and again, FELT NOTHING. About this time I was mildly panicing. My finger did not hurt, but felt as lifeless as the skin around you mouth after getting a shot at the dentist's office. I don't know what I did to the nerves, but I am glad I didn't keep trying the laser. It did something to the nerves of my finger, to the point that my finger took about 3 days before I had feeling back in it. Also, off and on for 2 to 3 weeks, that finger would go numb for a little while and then be fine again.
     The laser beam was modulated at a low frequency, so it could have been the infrared light, or the pulses, or both, but I am wondering if these stumbled upon a similar response that deadens the nerves in a certain region for a while. Perhaps the fact that they are using LEDs instead of a laser, the effect is not as drastic, so after a few minutes of treatment it dulls the pain in that area without totally deadening the nerves.
      Now, the good news...  It is infrared LEDs. You can build a treatment wand like that for yourself. 

-(Excerpted from a personal email from DanM. 4 Jan 2013)

So of course that's what I decided to do.

I bought a little LED bug flashlight for little of nothing at HF and gutted it to use as the housing and ordered the 890nm 5mm LEDs in a giant package off of eBay. I planned to use an AT Tiny, programmed via Arduino as ISP.

One of the first jobs was to check and make sure that the AT Tiny could drive an array of LEDs at the 4v forward voltage off of a USB line.  The easy way to do that was to just use the ones provided with the flashlight:


Is that annoying?  Don't have a seizure. 

...no problem there.  That's the Arduino "Blink" sketch on an ATTiny 45 just driving the array and through the resistors that came with the flashlight on a 500ma max USB power line.

Then there was the math part of it. "Nogier frequencies," as they're called after the French Physician who researched and documented them in the 70's are well documented and published all over the Internet. They are mostly harmonic frequencies akin to, but not exactly, the D pitches on the western tuning (diatonic, whole-tone, etc.) scale. Different harmonics (octaves) are attributed different physical results-digestion, nerve therapy, etc. The one I was most interested in for Roo is skin regrowth.  Nogier gave each frequency a letter designation, apparently (either that or someone else did later and they kind of became standards.)  Here's an example table:


 Main Area of Influence

A~290 Hz."Ectodermal" tissue treatment (skin and nerves.)  Called the "Universal Frequency" in Acupuncture.  For wounds, eye injuries and post-surgical sites.  Tones tissue and minimizes hemorhaging in fresh wounds/surgical sites
B~585 HzGastrointestinal and Metabolic 
Lymphatic and Circulatory, including liver and pancreas.  Also apparently most effective for neuropathy.
C~1,170 Hz"Mesodermal" tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, muscles, viscera and bones.  Also for relaxation of large muscle groups
D~2,335 Hz"Imbalances of Laterality" or chronic conditions that don't respond to A or C, or when setting A was working but no longer seems to.
E~4,670 HzSpinal Cord and Nerve - C Fibers, pain control specifically at accupuncture/accupressure points.
F~75 HzBrain and Bone tissues, Chronic, Recurring Problems, humoral and endocrine functions and localized circulation increase.
G~145 Hz

Cerebral Cortex and Mental Imbalances, 
Universal Frequency for Inflammation, Yellow scar tissue on tendons and ligaments.

Again, this is all over the interwebs in different forms, and the frequencies are all rounded to the nearest 5 Hz.  Different sources list variations in these frequencies of up to 5 or 6 Hz for a given letter, so I'm not thinking that you have to tune it with much precision to acheive therapeutic results. 

To figure out how to generate the pulse rates needed to drive the 890nm IR LEDs, first I had to convert the frequencies from Hz to microseconds(essentially I divided one million by the listed frequencies), then see if the ATTiny could handle the delayMicroseconds command without an external clock. No problem there, it turns out. I tested my sketch with a guerrilla rig: I put a speaker on the Arduino digital pin that the LEDs would normally be on and checked the sound it produced against a virtual synthesizer to make sure I wasn't off by" octaves." As it turns out, there was something odd in the implementation. My microsecond delays were off by a multiplier of four-but no worries, it was easily solved in the sketch.

I chose only to build frequencies A, B, C and E into the unit.  I wasn't that interested in the more esoteric settings, but in retrospect it would have been a simple matter to program those frequencies as well and use other combinations of LED indicators to signify their mode.  The Tiny 45 still had enough memory to assign a few more possibilities in the main while loop.

The schematics are pretty straightforward:


(Corrected Schematic 1/21/2013)

 The design uses all the Tiny pins. 0 drives the emitters, 1-3 are indicator lights for whichever frequency you set, and 4 is a push button for cycling though those frequencies.  These are not the dip layout pins in this case-when talking about AtMel/Arduino pins, you use the programming assignments.  See the HLT tutorials for more info. Also, the cycling switch works a little dirtily. I didn't use the debounce library or anything and as a result it kind of randomly picks the next step from possible cycle frequencies, but it seems to hold at the selected one once you get to it.

...and for the infrared detector in the video:

About as simple as it gets, really.

I decided I needed to hook it up to the oscilloscope to make sure it was putting out the frequencies I intended it to:

(I haven't really had time to master the oscilloscope/logic analyzer yet, so I thought this meme was particularly appropriate. Actually, there is a very low amplitude squarewave captured and if my math is right the generator is doing what I think it is-all I had for a detector was the same IR Detector as in the video, so the signal was tiny.  Even at full 40x magnification there was barely a shift of .2v, but it was there and only there when the generator was over the detector.)

In any case, enough with the feely-weely science stuff.  Reality is what we humans choose to believe, right?*  We've used it on Koda two nights, and Sarah is convinced of its effectiveness.  Apparently, the sores healed up with about the same speed as experienced with the "professional" unit at the vetrenarian.  We have been applying it every other night, for about 90 seconds.  I guess at the vet they go for about 5 minutes, so it may be time to up the dose.  I haven't had any stomach troubles since I finished the unit off so I can't attest to that setting. (Not that I'm complaining.)


First off, I'm not making any medical or scientific claims about the therapeutic efficacy of this unit, circuit, program or the Nogier frequencies in general.  There are sketics and believers here, and I'm neither completely convinced nor closed to being convinced yet.  Second, it's probably best to avoid applying any device like this to any areas prone to tumors if you have a personal or family history of cancer.  This is the warning they give at the vet's office, but I think it just makes sense-probably best not to mess with any radiation if that's the case.  After all, you stay out of the sun if you are prone to skin cancer, right?



*May the ghost of Carl Sagan forgive me for this crime against science.

UPDATE 1/26/2013

I had stomach cramps Thursday night and decided to give myself a dose of the yellow setting. For the hell of it, I decided to use my iPad charger-which is 10w instead of the PC USB 2.5 watt or iPhone 5 watt version (still only 5.1v of course but it can source up to 2.1 amps, which are still cut through the CLRs). The results were apparently a transition from the kind of cramps I was having to a wretched case of diarrhea, followed by gassy constipation. Who knows if it was the real cause-I don't have a control body to test against. I probably won't try that again though.

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Wow Max this is very interesting and the final product looks very sci-fi and advanced.  It reminds me of one of those Star Trek gadgets.  Great job, thanks for sharing with us.

That's interresting. IR LEDs normally have a forward voltage drop of 1.2V

You have 3 strings of 6 in series. By rights, you need to supply at least 7.2V to make them light up and yet your schematic only shows a 5V supply.

If they are lighting up then it will be due to leakage current and they will be nowhere near as bright as they should be. Can you post a link to the datasheet of the LEDs?

The data sheet that links off of this page is actually for the whole series. This is the Digi-key product page for the particular ones I got, and where I got the 4v forward voltage to calculate the CLR value from: http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?x=0&y=0〈=en&site=us&KeyWords=365-1056 The resistor or the other LEDs I didn't calculate but just grabbed because it came free with the LEDs I used for indicators, also free ;)

Ok, according to your datasheet, each LED has a forward Voltage drop of 4V so according to your diagram you need Vcc to be at least 24V!! Either you have wired them all in parallel and drawn the schematic wrong or the LEDs are not working.

I am guessing the GIF is not your device because your schematic shows 3 strings of 6 LEDs in series. The GIF show a PCB with 4 rows of 5x LEDs. Plus I find that IR LEDs look violet on a camera.

i know it's a lot to read, but it does say that the gif isn't the infrared ones, it's of the LEDs that came with the flashlight. And I did drop one row of LEDs from the schematic. Also, I think I was careless in drawing the schematic because each row of 6 LEDs is in parallel, not series. I am satisfied that the unit is emitting IR (see the video where I test it against a TV remote.). The question in my mind isn't that, it's if the frequencies work.

And now I'm sick again so I get to try out the stomach setting.

I presume you fixed the schematic, as they are now all shown in paralell. It looks like you are within the limits for an output of the ATtiny to drive. 18 LEDs in paralell from a 5v (or slightly less) supply if those LEDs have 1.2v junction voltage, that leaves 3.8 dropping across 110Ω (three 330's in paralell) for 34.5 mA total. This means the LEDs are getting just under 2 mA each. Of course, since they are switching on and off at frequency, the overall average is lower. You could raise the current slightly for brighter LEDs without over driving the ATtiny.

Was wondering about the switch on pin 3. I presume that is used to switch modes. (Each time it is clicked, it steps to the next frequency mode?) I was trying to think of a simple way to get another ATtiny pin for more drive current for the LED strings. The best I can think of would be to multiplex the colored LED signals onto 2 pins, leaving the third one for additional drive current for the IR-LEDs. However, to do that, you would need a diode matrix to demultiplex the signals to get the four light conditions: red, yellow, green, all.


I only "almost" fixed the schematic. There's still a dropped row. You're correct in reading the switch on pin 3 as a mode cycler. I did consider your idea of putting the LED array on a switching transistor to get the full "oomph" out of the power supply, but I had doubts about it at frequencies like that. My test with the visual spectrum array seemed to bear out that I could drive them straight off the tiny though. One thing absent in all the reading I did about the commercial units is a measurement of the "brightness" of the IR signal, as it were.

Very thorough coverage of the project Max. Me thinks you stand a chance at a spot on Mythbusters. Do you have any effects still from the experiment with the laser? I've read that eye damage from lasers is sometimes only temporary(Small ones) but I still would treat them with care.
Plus one for the changing pictures. I think that's a first for a project post.
Oh yeah, better not tell the vet how much you can make one for, he probably paid a few thousand for his, heheh.

I think Mythbusters sounds like a fun gig-especially if Kari is still on the show!

I think I may have written this in a confusing way-it was DanM that was experimenting with the home-made laser and ended up with numb fingers. He says he was pretty much back to normal after about 3 days and then had occasional bouts of numbness for three weeks.