Can the flick of a switch actually heal your health issues? Red light and infrared therapy promises to fix all manner of afflictions, from sore muscles to wrinkles to back pain. A pain-free, drug-free method of cure all ills might sound too good to be true, but studies have started to show how beneficial this therapy really could be. So here is everything you need to know about infrared healing…
What Is Infrared Healing?
Infrared healing is a catch-all term which covers both infrared therapy and red light therapy. The two are slightly different – infrared therapy is invisible light which has frequencies below that of red light (700-0.1 nm on the electromagnetic scale). Infrared light is the reason we feel gentle heat in the sunshine – infrared creates heat in our tissues.
Red light, on the other hand, is visible and falls between 630-700 nm on the electromagnetic scale.
Both of these have healing effects on the body, and the varying wavelengths work in different ways. Infrared healing uses the wavelengths to boost your body’s restorative process.
Although there are slight differences between infrared and red light therapy, they have similar benefits, and are often used together.
How Does Infrared Healing Work?
Red light therapy works by delivering the safe wavelengths of natural light into your skin, where they are absorbed by your skin. This causes increased production of collagen, elastin and fibroblasts, and enhances ATP. This is the only source of energy in our body that is directly usable, and it can’t be created by our bodies – instead, it is recycled time and time again, and it is this process that is boosted by red light therapy. Your cells are therefore able to carry out more of the necessary reactions to enable your body to work properly.
These beneficial reactions allow your cells to regenerate and multiply, working at their full capacity. The red light and near-infrared light stimulate antioxidant production, and this helps to reduce oxidative stress (which leads to cell damage, muscle fatigue and inflammation). Antioxidants protect your cells from stress and early death.
But Does It Really Work?
NASA asked the very same question back in the 1990s. They discovered that red light therapy allowed plants to grow in space, and so they decided to research whether there were any health benefits for humans. Their findings demonstrated numerous advantages for their astronauts, and since then the medical science community has researched further, with extremely encouraging results.
The History Of Infrared Healing…
The idea of using infrared light as a healer has been around for centuries. Palm healing was used in China over 3,000 years ago – you might not know that our palms emit infrared waves, and Chinese healers used this method to ease pain and treat headaches.
Infrared rays themselves were discovered by William Herschel in 1800. During his work, he studied red light and found rays underneath red light, which he called infrared.
Infrared and red light are used for various purposes, aside from healing. Infrared is used in electrical heaters, optical fibres and thermal imaging cameras. Red light, on the other hand, is used in photography dark rooms and in certain flashlights as a gentle alternative to bright white light. However, it is their healing powers that are really exciting.
What Are The Benefits Of Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy has numerous exciting benefits, and these are elevated by the fact that red light therapy comes without side effects. The therapy is extremely safe – so much so that there isn’t a maximum time that you can use it for. The light won’t damage your skin, and many people use red light therapy every single day. Here are some of the incredible benefits:
1. Wound Healing
When you injure yourself, inflammation and swelling usually occur. These create pain, reduce activity and slow down the healing process (although some inflammation is good – it’s when our bodies go into overdrive that healing is slowed down). Red light therapy helps your body to produce new blood vessels, connective fibres and new tissue formation – all of which lead to faster, stronger healing (with less pain). Faster healing is advantageous not just because you’re in pain for less time, but you’re also less likely to get an infection which could cause even more damage.
As well as helping with injuries such as falls and burns, red light therapy can also help to speed up recovery after surgery.
2. Muscle Repair
When you exercise, your muscles are subject to many microtears. This is good – it is when these tears are repaired that your muscles get stronger, ready for your next workout. But, there’s nothing more frustrating than that feeling when you push yourself hard and then can’t exercise for a few days (or perhaps even weeks).
Red light therapy has been shown to speed up the recovery of those damaged muscles, so you become faster, fitter and stronger. You can get back to the gym (or field, or track) more quickly, giving you a bonus competitive edge.
3. Pain Relief
One of the most exciting benefits of red light therapy is as a medication-free option for pain relief. Too often, sufferers of conditions which cause chronic pain such as rheumatoid arthritis are left with medication as the only option. This can have a number of problems, including nasty side effects (such as nausea), resistance (when your body gets used to the drug and you need more for pain relieving effects) and addiction.
Numerous studies have shown that red light therapy has pain relieving effects and, by reducing inflammation and swelling, actually helps to heal the underlying problem rather than just treating the symptoms. It doesn’t matter where your pain is situated, red light therapy can target and reduce your pain.
4. Skin Issues
If you suffer from skin issues such as acne, you may well have tried everything to cure them. But everyone’s skin is different, and creams and other medications can inflame already damaged skin. Harsh chemicals are often used to decrease bacterial levels in your skin, but these can harm your delicate layers of skin.
Red light therapy is tolerated by all skin types and tones, so even if you have particularly sensitive skin you can utilize it. It’s proven to negatively impact sebum production, which contributes to acne.
Even if you don’t have problem skin, red light therapy can help…
Want to banish fine lines, wrinkles, dryness and redness? These tend to happen to our skin as we age and collagen production reduces and cells are unable to dispel toxins as efficiently.
Red light therapy increases your body’s production of collagen. You will have heard about collagen in relation to the skin – many creams contain it. When your body produces more collagen, your skin will appear firmer, plumper and with less lines. Collagen is also vital for strong bones and muscles, so red light therapy can help to limit the injuries and weakness that often come with age.
Looking younger, with rejuvenated and healthier skin (including smaller pores and better texture and tone), is one of the biggest benefits of using red light therapy on a regular basis.
6. Fat Reduction
Losing weight and reducing fat is one of the most common goals for Americans – both for health and cosmetic reasons.
Light therapy can help you to reach your goals. Studies have shown that red light therapy can help your body to wash away lipids and fat cells, leaving you slimmer. The therapy also encourages your cells to work harder, using more energy – burning fat.
In addition to this, red light therapy can help to reduce cellulite, improve body contouring, decrease your waistline and leaves you with tighter hips and thighs.
Red light therapy can also affect hunger levels – so your appetite is less, and you don’t reach for the snacks. This helps to prevent the build up of extra fat before it begins. As red light therapy helps your sleep patterns too (see below!), this has a positive effect on your eating schedule.
7. Sleep Improvements
If you struggle to sleep properly and find yourself struggling to stay awake at work, you need to try red light therapy.
Poor sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, including weight gain, inflammation and worse cognitive function.
You might be aware that light plays a huge role in your sleep cycle, and our modern lives spent mostly inside under artificial lighting can mess up our circadian rhythms, leaving us unable to sleep properly.
Blue light (like daylight and the light that is emitted from smartphones and PCs) keeps us awake, whereas red light helps us to sleep. Utilizing red light therapy in the evenings can have a hugely positive effect on the quality of your sleep – leaving you with more energy and reducing many cognitive issues, including PTSD, anxiety and stress.
8. Reduce Allergy Symptoms
If you struggle with hay fever or other allergies, you may well be used to taking antihistamine daily. You might not know that cells in your body release histamine, and this leaves you with runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.
Red light therapy can suppress the cells’ production of histamine, so your symptoms are relieved without the need to take medication.
9. Libido Boost
Red light therapy can give you higher energy levels and increased testosterone, leading to a libido boost in men. Many men have reported a higher sex drive after red light therapy, and all of the health and wellbeing benefits that come with that.
The therapy may also increase sperm’s ability to move and swim, potentially having a significant effect on treating male infertility.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Red light therapy and infrared healing are incredibly safe, with the only potential negative effects coming to those who are photosensitive. In fact, many people choose to use red light therapy every day, and they can enjoy the incredible effects throughout their daily lives. Red light therapy harnesses the natural healing and rejuvenating benefits of natural light, and delivers this at a higher rate than the sun – without the harmful, damaging UV rays.
It is usually advised to use red light therapy on a regular basis so that you can really see changes to your body. Over a prolonged period of time, you will notice more energy, less aches and pains and significantly better skin.
Where Can I Get Red Light Therapy?
Although hand held and localized devices are available, the best way to make use of red light therapy is in a whole-body bed. Unlike sunbeds, these are not damaging to the skin – instead, you experience the amazing benefits throughout your whole body.
The process is extremely relaxing as you are enveloped in gentle warmth and a red glow.
Here at BluVida Wellness & Med Spa, we offer the use of the innovative Theralight 360, which provides a unique full body experience utilizing both red and near-infrared light in four wavelengths. This is the only true 360 degree treatment system, so you get the best infrared healing out there.
It is easy to book your session online. We look forward to welcoming you to our spa in Katy, Texas, near Houston.