Ruby Pryde - March 02 2021
Why we should all be looking into infrared therapy
Whether it’s mum’s hot water bottle, a healing cup of chicken soup or a luxurious warm bath (bubbles optional), heat therapy is certainly a go to when we are seeking to better our health.
So with that being said, we wanted to take a look at all things infrared, and the ever growing popularity of this epic form of heat therapy.
What exactly is infrared light therapy?
Infrared therapy is a light based heat method that is used to treat pain, inflammation and support general health and wellbeing.
Infrared lamps use wavelengths of light that are absorbed by photoreceptors in our cells that make us, us! Once absorbed, the light energy is a catalyst for a range of different processes that are undertaken at a cellular level; including helping cells to regenerate and repair themselves, improve circulation of oxygen-rich blood, promote healing of tissues, relieve joint pain, assist wound healing and even increase endorphin levels.
Having the ability to penetrate below the skin layers, reaching between 2 and 7 centimetres deep, this allows the light to not just reach the outer of the body, but the muscles, nerves and bones too, aiding in cell repair. The longer the wavelength, the lower the frequency, and the deeper the light can penetrate into the body.
Note that infrared saunas are very different to traditional steam saunas *Insert picture of old men wrapped in towels sitting in a steam room*. Rather than heating the air around you with steam, infrared lamps increase your core body temperature, pushing heat from the inside out from a cellular level.
The effectiveness of infrared therapy in part, is thought to be a result of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is naturally produced by our bodies, responsible for things like battling free radicals, relaxing arteries and regulating blood pressure. Nitric oxide in turn helps to improve blood circulation to transport nutrients and oxygen to damaged cells within the body.
In a 7 week study on chronic lower back pain, those who underwent infrared treatment fell from a pain level of 6.9 out of 10, to a 3. Those receiving a placebo only drop to a 6.
It's important to note however, that the benefits of infrared therapy go far beyond minimising pain and inflammation.
So, what are the benefits?
Brighter and clearer skin
Skin impurities most often come from within. Usually, if the liver, kidneys or gut are struggling to eliminate toxins they show up on the skin and the pores become blocked.
Infrared rays are not only good at opening pores but help you get seriously sweaty! Even people who have trouble with circulation and sweating have seen great results from infrared. The rays not only clean your pores but also take the load of the liver and kidneys. Instead of having to filter out these toxins, the skin can more effortlessly eliminate them.
This combination of giving the eliminatory organs a break, bringing nutrients to the skin’s surface, cleansing the pores, and colour therapy (explained below), is why people find vast improvements in skin texture and tone after using the infrared capsule.
Allows for a deeper detox
Infrared capsule emits the same rays as the sun but without the harmful UV radiation. The infrared rays penetrate the body and heat up the core allowing for a deeper level of detoxification.
The sweat produced from an infrared sauna eliminates up to seven times more toxins than a typical sauna. However, the healing capacity of the rays differ depending on their wavelengths and strength.
The three levels are near, mid, and far. Near rays are targeted at the level of the skin, mid rays delve deeper into the soft tissue targeting inflammation and increase blood circulation, and far rays have the longest wavelength, also giving the deepest level of detoxification.
The far infrared rays (the deepest waves) are also thought to aid weight loss, with a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting a 30-minute session in a far infrared sauna burns 500-800 calories, which is the equivalent to running 3-5 kilometers.
Also known as colour therapy, chromotherapy is often used in conjunction with infrared therapy to balance the body emotionally and physically in different ways depending on the light spectrum used.
Red supports the blood and circulatory system. Pink eliminates the impurities in the bloodstream. Orange helps eliminate fat stores. Yellow purifies the skin, aids digestive function and increases metabolism. Green helps to kill fungus, bacteria, and viruses, blue lubricates joints and calms the nervous system, and violet is known for its meditative effects.
Besides the array of health benefits, why infrared?
Our skin naturally radiates infrared heat every day, the same heat that we feel when in the sun. So you might be thinking, why not just get some Vitamin D each day? Well, for more acute injuries or chronic illnesses, targeted, regular and specific therapy like the infrared light means that it can work on exactly what it is that needs assistance.
Infrared therapy also allows us to avoid the potentially harmful ultraviolet rays that we get with sun exposure. In other words, the rays that leave you looking brighter than a ripe tomato after a day spent at the beach.
But the real selling point of infrared therapy is that for most people, there are little to no adverse side effects of treatment, meaning it’s safe for just about anyone.
Whether you’re treating a chronic illness, an injury or simply are just here for all things #detox, then infrared therapy is certainly worth looking into.
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