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Infrared Light: An Evolving Role in Wellness

Infrared is a ‘hot-little potato’ right now, isn’t it? From in-home IR Saunas, all the way to medical application; this post covers everything that we’ve been wondering about soaking up these rays.

What is Infrared?

Infrared light is what warms us. It is non-visible to the human eye in natural settings and can be emitted from almost any object; from the sun to snowflakes. The warmer the object- the greater the infrared radiation. More questions? Visit this site to read the long version.

Infrareds evolving role in Health and Wellness

Applications of Infrared light in the health and wellness community have become increasingly popular in the past few decades. IR therapies within the medical community have been shown to be effective in treating pain and inflammation by encouraging speedy cellular repair. The key to this is controlling the wavelength at which IR is administered combined with its innate ability to penetrate into deeper layers of our skin.

sports medicine acupuncture
muscle injury – man running clutching his calf muscle after spraining it while out jogging on the beach.

Muscular Injuries

When your body sustains muscular injuries, your tissues have typically been torn, overstretched, overworked, overused, or overfatigued- causing damages cellular structure within soft tissues of the body. Infrared rays have shown to increase productivity within the powerhouse of your cells which helps to jumpstart the growth and repair within muscles.

Heart Health

Soaking up some sweet, sweet IR rays (through controlled exposure, of course) has been linked to improving cardiovascular health! IR rays help your body produce a chemical called Nitric Oxide which supports the health of blood vessels by relaxing arteries and preventing “clumping” or clotting. Beyond that, this substance also aids in the fight against free radicals and regulates blood pressure.

Internal Effects

field of cells, field of cells with receptors, Human Immune System attack the virus

Viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites are a big deal! IR has been linked to strengthening the immune system of the body and temporarily increasing superficial internal temperatures, which can help eliminate some of these unwanted visitors in the body. This is most commonly studied through the use of UV rays, which if you’re interested in- you can read more here.

Sweating it Out

You’ve seen em’ out there, right? Ton’s of big-name retailers are now selling in-home IR saunas. Saunas themselves are known for claiming to be ‘detoxifying’. This includes strengthening the immune system, improving digestion, and even helping biochemical processes in the body for optimum functionality.

On this note, a local business in Eden Prairie, MN called Osteostrong offers a unique array of health services, one of them being an IR pod. They provide a wonderful environment and informative experience to introduce you to IR light therapy that we (Sarah E and Sarah V) have both personally done. Within the session, you’re mindfully settled into their IR pod (warm and inviting during Minnesota Winters!) as well as calf-to-foot compressive massage sleeves that increase circulation and feel insanely amazing. Sessions can span anywhere from 10-30 minutes and are as relaxing as they are beneficial!

Skin Health

Chasing the dream of perfection in the skin? Infrared might have an application that applies to you. IR has been used to help plump and tighten aging skin, improve tone, and soften texture. This is made possible by IR light stimulating the production of collagen and elastin (what gives skin its structure and tone) through professional and in some circumstances at-home application.

With Reward, There Come Risks

Since IR has an effect on internal temperatures of things, it possesses the potential to be damaging. Generally, these rays are not damaging to the body in natural occurrence (from the sun), but like anything in excess, it can cause several issues. By using IR in a controlled setting, professionals are able to custom tailor treatments or at-home care to suit your personal needs while keeping exposure at a safe level. It is always recommended that you consult a professional before beginning new regimens- always better safe than sorry! For more on risks that come with exposure, click here.

Thanks for reading our tidbits- and consult a professional before trying Infrared Therapies.


Sources:

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Infrared-Therapy-Health-Benefits-and-Risks.aspx https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728/ https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/82-109/82-109.pdf https://www.genengnews.com/topics/translational-medicine/uv-light-that-is-safe-for-humans-but-bad-for-bacteria-and-viruses/


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