Infrared Heat Therapy: How it Works and 5 Surprising Benefits

We all know that you should warm up your muscles before doing any physical activity. This could be a small walk before a run, light stretching or using a heating pad. It is especially critical if you have sore muscles. Sore, cold muscles can rip, tear, or strain when physical activity is incorporated. When you warm your muscles, you are protecting them.

Infrared heat penetrates into the body better than regular heat. Infrared can be applied locally or generally. Infrared heat pads penetrate into the area they are applied on. Larger applications, such as infrared saunas, penetrate into the entire body. 

What is Infrared Light Therapy?

Infrared light therapy uses a light therapy device and penetrates locally. The infrared light is absorbed into the skin and muscles and brings benefits on a cellular level. This therapy gets to the root cause of pain and other issues, such as mitochondrial disorders [1][2]. The therapy is non-invasive and safe. 

Infrared Light Therapy

How Does Infrared Light Therapy Work?

Infrared light causes the nitric oxide in your body to increase. This is great for your cardiovascular health. [3] Nitric oxide gives a richer oxygen content in your body by relaxing the vascular system. This can bring a range of benefits to many people, especially those who are at risk of heart attack or athletes seeking to hit their personal best. 

Types of Infrared Light Therapy

Over the past few years, the demand for infrared light therapy has increased. The general public is becoming savvier when it comes to choosing the therapy they need for pain and other afflictions. Due to the high demand, production is increasing, meaning that costs are coming down. Infrared therapy, which was not available to the regular person, is now becoming an affordable option. While many treatments are only available through licensed health practitioners, there are options for your home. 

Infrared Saunas

Saunas have been used since the beginning of time. While people did not know of their health benefits, the relaxation which they brought was reason enough to use them. The traditional wood or coal has been taken out and replaced with carbon fiber heating elements. These elements produce infrared radiation (do not worry, it is safe). Saunas are a big investment, but once they are assembled in your home, they can be used every day. The cost is big, but the heat benefits are also big. 

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Cold Lasers

Cold lasers are much more affordable and work on a smaller scale. A good-quality cold laser can be found for under $100 (do not worr, the word laser evokes images of injury, but these lasers are safe). These lasers cannot offer the widespread infrared that the saunas can, but they can be used to pinpoint and treat affected areas of pain and soreness. The device uses LEDs to emit light frequencies which are they absorbed into your body on a molecular level. Cold lasers are great for small areas of pain, damaged muscles, inflamed skin, tension, stress, and re-growth.

5 Benefits of Infrared Therapy

1. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation can be hard to treat. If it is in the skin, there is not much problem. If there is inflammation in the muscle, it can be harder to get to. If your joints are inflamed, it can sometimes be impossible to treat them with traditional therapies. Infrared therapy is the solution. The infrared light is able to penetrate deep into skin, muscles, and bones. This works for both those who have injured joints and those who have long-term problems such as arthritis. Infrared has been shown to promote recovery better than previously used methods. [4]

2. Faster Healing

We do not need to go into all the boring science but know that TGF-β1 is the key to inflammations. If you can increase it, you can decrease inflammation. The quicker you can increase TGF-β1, the faster you can rid yourself of annoying inflammation. Infrared does just this. Not only this, but Infrared therapy also helps to form new connective tissue. If you combine shorter inflammation periods with faster cell regrowth, you can suffer less and enjoy your life more. [5]

3. Improves Circulation

When infrared gets deep into your skin, tissues, and muscles, it does wonders for you. It has been shown that infrared boosts your blood circulation and beings all the benefits which come with this increased circulation. With better blood flow and oxygen levels, you will suffer less from fatigue and tiredness. [6]

4. Protects the Heart

As infrared penetrates deeper into your body, it really gets your blood flowing. Treatment in an infrared sauna does just this. The infrared is able to get into all parts of your body and get your blood circulating. This is great for the health of your heart and has been shown to reduce the build-up of plaque and fat in your arteries. [8]

5. Treats Diabetic Complications

Infrared therapy really does wonders for your blood and heart. It has also been shown to reduce the glucose levels in blood. This is a wonderful thing for this who have diabetes. Infrared can limit the need for control through medication. [9]

Is Infrared Therapy Safe?

We have thrown around a lot of words like radiation and lasers, but the truth is that infrared light is very safe. The light we can see never does us any harm. Infrared is on one side of this light spectrum. It is all around us every day. It is 100% safe.

Watch this video to learn how to heal yourself with infrared light at home.

Elena Curtis
 

Elena graduated from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy Clinic, and since her graduation in 2008, she's honed her style that consists of Eastern and Western massage techniques. When she's not working with patients, Elena spends her time reading and enjoying nature.

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