TDP Lamps for Acupuncture Treatments

By: Dr. Ece Algur

Sometimes when you get acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist may have you lay under a heating lamp. A specific kind of heating lamp that we use for these procedures is the TDP Lamp.

The TDP mineral lamp was invented in China in 1978 by inventor Gou Wenbin, who exhibited the lamp at the 1986 Zagreb International Fair in Yugoslavia and won first place in competition. It was also exhibited in Brussels Eureka Fair for invention. Mr Wenbin died in the late 1980s.

The story of how it was discovered begins in rural China, in a black clay factory. In spite of poor work and living conditions the workers had a very low incidence of illness. The skin injuries on workers’ hands were healing faster than usual. Upon further investigation, the differentiating factor was found to be the far-infrared radiation emanating from the hot clay. 

Experimentation with TDP mineral lamps started after this observation. In 1979, the International TDP Society was formed.

When I first learned about the TDP Lamp in Dr. Fengyu Zhao’s Acupuncture Techniques Class at New York College of Health Professions, where I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, I decided to have a TDP lamp as a part of my treatment modalities.

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What Does a TDP Lamp Do?

Anybody with muscle tightness, inflammation, or pain can benefit from treatment with a TDP lamp as mineral lamp therapy can reduce inflammation, calm pain, improve microcirculation, and balance metabolism. In addition to Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, it is also used by NASA for space programs, veterinarians for race horse injuries, and cosmetologists for skin rejuvenation.

Treatments are highly personalized, but usually last 15-45 minutes, and the time before its effects are felt vary from patient to patient. There are few contraindications and safety measures, which are learned and practiced by your acupuncturist.

How Does a TDP Lamp Work?

TDP is an acronym for “Teding Diancibo Pu” which can be translated as “special electromagnetic spectrum”. The head of the lamp is different from other far-infrared heating devices. The head has an electrical heating plate that’s covered with a mineral plate, which is the unique element that’s composed of 33 trace elements. The actual formula is a manufacturer’s trade secret, but 25 of the elements have been revealed by various manufacturers. They include: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, carbon, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, tin, titanium, zinc, and zirconium, bonded on an iron plate in about 0.5-millimeter thickness. 

Infrared radiation is an invisible form of electromagnetic energy. Wavelength is longer than visible light. IR radiation can be categorized into 3 groups according to wavelength: near infra-red (NIR: 0.8-1.5 micrometer), middle infrared (MIR: 1.5-5.6 micrometer), far infrared (FIR:5.6-1000 micrometer). TDP mineral lamp emits far-infrared radiation in the 2-50 micrometer range. The heating part operates at about 870 F (466 C). 

If you’re interested in Acupuncture treatment that uses TDP lamps or just want to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine, schedule an appointment with our acupuncturist by giving us a call or filling out the form below.

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Toyokawa H, Matsui Y, et al. “Promotive effects of far infra-red rayon full thickness skin wound healing in rats.” Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2003: 724-9. PubMed.