Infrared Light Therapy

Infrared Light Therapy Its more than just the color. It’s also wavelengths and frequencies. Discover what health benefits wavelengths and frequencies accomplish for you.  Red infrared light therapy, particularly utilizing wavelengths around 660nm and 850nm, has gained attention in recent years for its potential health benefits. These wavelengths fall within the red to near-infrared spectrum, which is known to penetrate the skin more deeply than visible light, reaching tissues and cells beneath the surface. Here are some of the potential benefits associated with red infrared light therapy;

Improved Skin Health[i]: Red infrared light therapy has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, a protein essential for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and youthful appearance. Increased collagen production can lead to smoother, firmer skin and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

It can also promote wound healing by enhancing cellular repair processes and reducing inflammation. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in accelerating the healing of wounds, cuts, and abrasions.

Pain Relief[ii]: Red infrared light therapy has analgesic properties and can help alleviate both acute and chronic pain. It works by reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, and blocking pain signals transmitted by nerve fibers.

Conditions such as arthritis, muscle strains, joint pain, and neuropathy may benefit from regular sessions of red infrared light therapy. Many athletes also use it to speed up recovery from injuries and enhance performance.

Enhanced Muscle Recovery and Performance[iii]: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often use red infrared light therapy to accelerate muscle recovery after intense workouts or competitions. By increasing blood flow to the muscles and reducing inflammation, it can help reduce soreness and stiffness, allowing for quicker recovery and improved performance.

Some studies suggest that red infrared light therapy may also enhance muscle strength and endurance, although more research is needed to confirm these effects.

Improved Circulation[iv]: Red infrared light therapy can dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, leading to better oxygenation of tissues and enhanced nutrient delivery. This can have wide-ranging benefits for cardiovascular health, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of blood clots, and improved overall circulation.

Individuals with conditions such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) or diabetic neuropathy may experience relief from symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, and tingling through regular sessions of red infrared light therapy.

Reduced Inflammation[v]: Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the development of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Red infrared light therapy has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to modulate the body’s immune response and reduce inflammation in affected tissues.

By decreasing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory mediators, red infrared light therapy can help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Brain Health and Cognitive Function[vi]: There is growing interest in the potential cognitive benefits of red infrared light therapy, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that near-infrared light can penetrate the skull and reach the brain, where it may help improve neuronal function, increase cerebral blood flow, and promote the clearance of toxic proteins associated with these conditions.

Additionally, red infrared light therapy has been investigated for its potential to enhance cognitive performance, memory, and mood in healthy individuals. Preliminary research suggests that regular exposure to near-infrared light may have neuroprotective effects and could help mitigate age-related cognitive decline.

Mood Enhancement[vii] and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)[viii]: Light therapy, including red infrared light, has been used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs at a specific time of year, usually in the winter months when daylight hours are shorter. Exposure to bright light, especially in the morning, can help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and improve mood.

While most research on light therapy for SAD has focused on bright white light, some studies have explored the potential benefits of red and near-infrared light for mood enhancement. Preliminary findings suggest that red light therapy may have antidepressant effects and could be a promising adjunctive treatment for SAD.

Hair Growth[ix]: Red infrared light therapy has shown promise in promoting hair growth and preventing hair loss, particularly in individuals with androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness). By stimulating hair follicles and increasing blood flow to the scalp, it can help nourish hair follicles, prolong the growth phase of the hair cycle, and promote thicker, healthier hair growth.

While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying its effects on hair growth, red infrared light therapy is increasingly being used as a non-invasive and drug-free option for addressing hair loss and promoting scalp health.

Immune System Support[x][xi]: Infrared light therapy has been shown to modulate the immune system, stimulating the activity of immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes. By enhancing immune function, it may help the body defend against infections, reduce the risk of illness, and promote overall health and well-being.

Some studies have also suggested that red infrared light therapy could have potential applications in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, although more research is needed to evaluate its efficacy and safety in this context.

Regulation of Sleep[xii] and Circadian Rhythms[xiii]: Exposure to red and near-infrared light can influence the body’s internal clock and help regulate sleep-wake cycles, circadian rhythms, and melatonin production. By mimicking natural sunlight, red light therapy can help synchronize the body’s internal clock with the external environment, promoting better sleep quality and overall sleep hygiene.

Graphene Oxide Detox[xiv]: In one study, the subjects were exposed to levels of graphene oxide, a toxic substance, for a duration of 30 days. Following exposure, they received FIR therapy sessions. The outcomes were remarkable: a notable decrease in the presence of graphene oxide was observed in the tissues of the subjects undergoing FIR therapy compared to the control group. This suggests that FIR therapy effectively aided in the removal of graphene oxide from the body, showcasing its detoxification capabilities.

In summary, red infrared light therapy offers a wide range of potential health benefits, including improved skin health, pain relief, muscle recovery, enhanced circulation, reduced inflammation, brain health, mood enhancement, hair growth, immune system support, and regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying its effects and optimize treatment protocols, red light therapy shows promise as a safe, non-invasive, and versatile approach to promoting health and well-being.

NEXT: Infrared Light Wave Frequencies and their Benefits

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Citations

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[viii] Nussbaumer-Streit B, Forneris CA, Morgan LC, Van Noord MG, Gaynes BN, Greenblatt A, Wipplinger J, Lux LJ, Winkler D, Gartlehner G. Light therapy for preventing seasonal affective disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Mar 18;3(3):CD011269. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011269.pub3. PMID: 30883670; PMCID: PMC6422319.
[ix] Yang K, Tang Y, Ma Y, Liu Q, Huang Y, Zhang Y, Shi X, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Wang J, Zhu Y, Liu W, Tan Y, Lin J, Wu W. Hair Growth Promoting Effects of 650 nm Red Light Stimulation on Human Hair Follicles and Study of Its Mechanisms via RNA Sequencing Transcriptome Analysis. Ann Dermatol. 2021 Dec;33(6):553-561. doi: 10.5021/ad.2021.33.6.553. Epub 2021 Nov 4. PMID: 34858007; PMCID: PMC8577899.
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[xiv] Li Y, Wang Y, Tu L, Chen D, Luo Z, Liu D, Miao Z, Feng G, Qing L, Wang S. Sub-Acute Toxicity Study of Graphene Oxide in the Sprague-Dawley Rat. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Nov 17;13(11):1149. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13111149. PMID: 27869683; PMCID: PMC5129359.