The sun is an incredibly powerful life source, giving us heat and light. But can we really harness the power of the sun’s light, and use it to heal aching and sore muscles? That is what infrared therapy is – but how exactly does it work?
What Is Infrared Therapy?
Infrared therapy is an innovative light therapy for muscle pain relief. It uses specific wavelengths of light which are delivered to parts of the bodies which have injuries.
For hundreds of years, illness and disease have been treated by sunlight. Doctors would place patient beds on sunny balconies to treat rickets or psoriasis. In the 1920s, Olympic athletes bathed in sunlight to boost performance. This all fell out of favor when concerns about skin cancer began to rise.
Sunlight is made up of two different waves – infrared and ultraviolet. Ultraviolet light is the damaging one, the one that causes sunburn and other problems. Infrared, on the other hand, helps cells to regenerate and repair themselves. It also improves the circulation of oxygen-rich blood in the body. It is the heat you feel when you stand in the sun and has a huge range of health benefits.
Your body also emits infrared energy, particularly from the palms. People in Asian countries, particularly in China, have been practising palm healing for thousands of years. Heat therapy like this has been used for physical and emotional wellbeing for countless years, but it is only recently that technology has been developed to harness this power and precisely apply it to the areas that need it most.
Infrared light is able to penetrate below the layers of skin, pinpointing the actual muscles or bones that require pain relief.
How Does Infrared Pain Relief Work?
Infrared light penetrates about 2-7cm deep, reaching the muscles, nerves and bones. Once there, the light is absorbed by photoreceptors in cells. The light energy triggers natural processes of the body on a cellular level. The key to how infrared therapy works may be down to nitric oxide, which increases after therapy. Nitric oxide has many beneficial functions, including relaxing arteries, battling free radicals, preventing platelets from clumping in veins and regulating blood pressure. An increase in nitric oxide enhances blood circulation, delivering important nutrients and oxygen to damaged cells.
Increased blood flow enables cells to function properly. Infrared therapy, therefore, stimulates the regeneration and repair of injured tissues, leading to less pain and inflammation.
Is Infrared Therapy Safe?
It might sound dangerous, but infrared therapy has been proven to be completely harmless. You can harness the sun’s power without exposing your skin to those damaging ultraviolet rays, and it is so safe that it is used to treat jaundice in new-born infants.
Who Could Benefit From Infrared Light Therapy For Muscle Pain?
Anyone suffering from any kind of pain, even severe, chronic pain, could benefit from infrared light therapy. Sufferers of the following could see huge improvements:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Nerve pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Degenerative disc disease
In addition, it is highly effective in treating sports-related pain and injury. Infrared light can benefit those sore, damaged and tired muscles after a workout by increasing blood circulation and assisting muscle repair. Additionally, it helps to reduce lactic acids, allowing muscles to relax and repair (and limiting that painful next day tightness!)
Inflammation pain is the number one reason why people miss their workouts – and using infrared light therapy reduces that soreness, helping you to repair faster and keep going without skipping workouts.
How Long Should I Be Exposed To Infrared Light For Muscle Pain Relief?
There is no specific amount of time needed in order to feel the benefits; in fact, some people report significant improvements after just one session. However, studies show that the most benefits come from partaking in infrared sessions 2-3 times a week, and for 30-45 minutes at a time.
You can see and feel the positive effects straight away, but if you’re using the therapy for something like acne or boosting hair growth, it might take 8-12 weeks of use to gain the full benefits.
What Does It Feel Like?
One of the best ways of exposing yourself to infrared light is through an infrared sauna for muscle pain or a pod. These pods, such as the Theralight 360, allow you to lie down in a calm, relaxing environment whilst the gentle infrared light warms your body from the inside. Because these pods target the whole body, the benefits are enormous. Infrared therapy heats your skin without heating the air, making it a much more comfortable experience than a traditional sauna or steam room (no stuffy air!). People describe the experience as hugely relaxing, gently warming, and not a problem for the heat-sensitive.
Are There Any Other Benefits?
You don’t only need to use infrared for pain – it has many other uses too. The blood circulation-boosting waves can help with acne, anti-aging (ridding your skin of wrinkles) and clearing your face of bacteria – no more blackheads! Infrared light can also help to banish the negative effects of winter – lots of people find the dark, cold months difficult and an infrared sauna can help to battle these feelings, increase serotonin and leave you feeling happier.
In addition, infrared saunas could even help you to lose weight. Spending time in an infrared sauna raises your heart rate and makes you sweat – similar responses to when you do light exercise.
In fact, an infrared sauna can even help you to feel more relaxed, sleep better and stress less. The benefits are huge!
The sun has been helping things to grow and thrive since life on earth first began. The therapeutic benefit of those infrared rays can’t be understated. It is well known that too little exposure to the sun’s rays leads to all sorts of health problems (difficulty sleeping, depression, heart disease, and even obesity) – and the opposite is true too. Not only does infrared light therapy have a myriad of benefits, but it is also non-invasive, safe, natural and drug-free.
Want to learn more? Contact our highly trained therapists at BluVida Wellness & Med Spa and book your appointment today!