The therapeutic benefits of saunas have been recognized for over 4,000 years. Our ancestors used to dig caves and cover them with animal skins. They heated piles of stones in a fire and poured water on them to create steam.
These early saunas paved the way for modern saunas, which feature advanced technology that stimulates healing and reverses aging. One of these new technologies is near-infrared light therapy.
Near-infrared light therapy is the use of low-level lasers or LEDs to provide some astonishing health benefits. Near-infrared light can help heal a spectrum of physiological and mental conditions in as little as a few minutes a day. Best of all, this technology is becoming more available, which means it's easy to get your hands on!
In this article, we'll be discussing the benefits of using this revolutionary therapy. So if you find yourself wondering, "Does infrared light therapy really work?" then keep reading to learn more!
How Does Near-Infrared Light Therapy Work?
Near-infrared light therapy is a specific kind of light therapy using invisible light. It's often used in a sauna setting, although it does not give off much heat.
Infrared light has a wavelength range of 700 nm to 0.1 mm. This range can further be divided into near, mid, and far-infrared light. Near-infrared light is the shortest of the three, with a wavelength between 700 nm and 1,100 nm.
Near-infrared light penetrates deep into the body cells, passing through muscle and bone to reach deep wounds and muscle aches. Think of it like a powerful red flashlight that can pass through your body tissue.
Benefits of Red Light and Near-Infrared Light Therapy
Because it can penetrate so deep, near-infrared light impacts the health of cells deep within the body. Improved cellular health is the basis for full-body healing. Essentially, light therapy stimulates your body's cells to heal themselves.
The skin is the largest organ in your body. It is your first line of immune defense and acts as a barrier for germs, allergens, and toxins. Healthy skin does more than make you look good; it protects you.
Collagen makes up about 70% of your skin's proteins and about 30% of proteins in your body. As you age, your body slows down its collagen production, reducing skin elasticity and resulting in wrinkles.
Near-infrared light has the ability to penetrate the skin and repair the inner layers of collagen. Restoring collagen production leads to increased tissue repair after injury and an improved appearance in scars, wrinkles, and even acne.
Recovery and Muscle Repair
Everyone from high-performance athletes to weekend warriors can benefit from increased muscle healing. In your joints and muscles, you'll find both collagen and stem cells. Near-infrared light can stimulate both of these, which allows for greater muscle repair after fatigue and injury.
The mitochondria, also known as the powerhouse of the cell, absorb near-infrared light. The mitochondria then use the light to produce more ATP, the energy source of cell function. More ATP means a greater capacity to synthesize collagen and fibroblasts, which repair deep muscle tissue.
One recent study found that near-infrared light can reach a depth of 3cm in the body. This is far enough to reach the brain and deliver many cognitive benefits.
The study went on to find that near-infrared light treated some of the symptoms related to traumatic brain injury. It reduced anxiety, headaches, and insomnia.
Even without a brain injury, near-infrared light can provide these same benefits. The findings show that regular exposure to near-infrared light helps with memory issues, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and depression.
Inflammation and Pain
You've already learned about how near-infrared light can promote healing in your body, but it can also decrease inflammatory markers and ease physical pain. This means relieving the symptoms of injuries and preventing them before they occur.
One study examined the effect of red light therapy following a severe spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries can result in severe and persistent pain. Exposure to red light therapy activated the microglia and macrophages, the anti-inflammatory and wound healing cells in the spinal cord. The results showed much lower levels of pain and inflammation after infrared light treatment.
Reduced inflammation can also ease joint pain from conditions such as arthritis and improve symptoms of auto-immune diseases. It can even relieve pain from sore muscles after a hard workout.
Near-infrared light therapy improves circulation by increasing the diameter of blood vessels. It can also protect you from oxidative stress, which is the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
The circulatory system is needed to keep your body healthy. It transports oxygen and nutrients, removes waste products, and repairs injury. Increased circulation can lead to a diverse array of physical benefits, including detoxification!
How to Use Near-Infrared Light Therapy
It's easier than ever to get an infrared light sauna tent. It's best to use near-infrared light every day, so having a sauna in your home makes it convenient to use regularly and maximizes the healing benefits.
You don't need to allocate a lot of time to use your sauna either. Just 10 minutes a day is enough! Near-infrared light stimulates your cells to reach their full potential, so a little bit of stimulation can result in improved cell function for the rest of the day.
If you're looking for a way to combine physical fitness with near-infrared light therapy, setting up your own infrared hot yoga studio is both easy and effective. Check out this article to learn more about a great way to integrate infrared hot yoga into your daily routine.
Try Light Therapy Today
Previously, near-infrared light therapy was only available in high-end salons. Now you can get the healing benefits of light therapy in your own home.
If you're looking to set up your own near-infrared light sauna, look no further than Go Healthy Next, where you can find some of the highest quality infrared saunas on the market. Take a look at our selection, and reach out if you have any questions!