Infrared Light and Far Infrared Saunas
The sun is a primary source of visual spectrum of light. These rays are made up of a series of frequencies (wavelengths) that are present in the physical environment. The frequencies are different forms of energy that appear as colors, and as invisible wavelengths. Infrared light frequencies are just above the visible spectrum where colors reside. These frequencies are made up of waves that are shorter and faster than visible light waves. These frequencies carry more energy than those contained in visible light. The energies have been found to have healing effects on the biological processes that take place in the body.
From eHOW.com …
Humans cannot see infrared light but they can feel it. Infrared light penetrates organic substances without warming the air around them. The heat from infrared light penetrates the skin deeper and more efficiently than other heating methods such as heating pads. Infrared heat is energy that is able to heat objects without having to heat the air in between the source of the heat and the recipient. One example of infrared heat is the light of the sun. On a warm, sunny day you immediately notice that it feels cooler when a cloud passes in front of the sun. The air temperature hasn’t changed, but the amount of heat you feel has drastically changed. This type of heat is used in a variety of alternative and mainstream health care settings and has several benefits.
Heat therapy that employs infrared rays is thought to increase blood circulation without straining the heart. Some believe infrared light rays increase white blood cell and oxygen levels in the blood. In general, infrared light therapy is thought to promote a strong immune system and cardiovascular system. By causing the body to perspire, infrared light helps remove toxins in the body.
There are many practical applications for infrared light. Infrared light is sometimes used to help treat wounds and heal scars. Because this light penetrates so deeply into the skin, it is sometimes used in the treatment of arthritis pain. Some use infrared light to try to loosen stiff muscles and joints.
People who are afflicted with Lyme disease are starting to understand how their traditional treatment regimens can be enhanced by using infrared saunas. People with Lyme disease suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, muscle weakness and extreme muscle and joint pain, among other things. Traditional Lyme disease treatment protocols using IV or oral antibiotics and anti-protozoa medications are not fully effective. This failure leads some Lyme disease patients to seek relief through alternative treatments, including infrared sauna sessions. Due to the warmth of an infrared sauna, it has a soothing effect on joint and muscle pain. Infrared sauna treatments can provide an effective supplement to traditional Lyme disease treatment. Further, Lyme disease patients who were previously unable to engage in everyday activities such as taking a walk reported improvement after regular infrared sauna sessions. These reports indicate that at least for some Lyme disease patients, infrared saunas are able to help alleviate some of the troublesome symptoms of this condition, including muscle spasms, constant chills, an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and the sensation of being in a mental fog.
Infrared Light Explained:
Infrared light therapy provides many of the health benefits of natural sunlight without any of the dangerous effects of solar radiation. The infrared heat is not ultraviolet radiation. The Infrared energy travels 2-3″ deep into the body and increases blood circulation and nourishes damaged tissue. The energy that we feel from the sun gets transported to the earth by means of electromagnetic radiation. These rays can be divided into several wavelengths. Wavelengths are measured in nanometers (nm). A nanometer is one millionth part of a centimeter or about 0.000000394 inch.
Each wavelength transports a certain amount of energy. The higher the frequency of the wave, the shorter its wavelength and the more energy it can transport.
Higher frequency = shorter wavelength = more energy.
Only part of the sunrays make it all the way to the earth. Some of it gets absorbed by our atmosphere. The radiation that does reach the face of the earth is called global radiation. It ranges from Ultraviolet light over visible light and then all the way over to infrared light (IR), which is used in infrared light therapy. (see sketch above)
The global radiation is divided like so
- UVB from 295 to 315 nm 0.1%
- UVA from 315 to 400 nm 4.9%
- Violet from 380 to 436 nm
- Blue from 436 to 495 nm
- Green from 495 to 566 nm
- Yellow from 566 to 589 nm
- Orange from 589 to 627 nm
- Red from 627 to 780 nm totals at 39% visible light
- IR A from 760 to 1,400 nm 37 %
- IR B from 1,400 to 3,000 nm 16 %
- IR C from 3,000 to 10,000 nm 3%
We are particularly interested in the infrared rays (IR). As you can see, they are divided in three types :
- IR-A : short wave infrared
- IR-B : medium wave infrared
- IR-C : long wave infrared .
The short wave infrared will heat up our body faster. But, they have a major drawback : they almost totally bypass the receptors in our body. The consequence of this is that our central nerve system doesn’t receive any “high temperature warning”. This is bad.
At present, several discussions are going on between governments, NORM commissions and infrared sauna manufacturers. Short wave infrared light therapy will probably only be possible under doctor’s supervision soon. A lot of people don’t like the ultra-rapid heating of short wave infrared.
That is why it is recommended to use long wave infrared in your sauna cabin. Of course, a combination of both is also possible. You can place IR-C emitters at your backside and IR-A rays in the corners in the front, as they have to travel a longer distance to your body.
Every kind of heat that we can feel from a distance is transported by infrared rays. Whether it is the heat from a stove, a light bulb, or even the body heat from another human being.
Our bodies emit infrared radiation in a wavelength range from 300 to 5,000 nm and our hand palms emit radiation from 800 to 1,400 nm. Infrared light therapy is very old. Healing by laying on of hands is practiced in China for 3,000 years and is based upon this emission of IR rays. Indian yogis mainly perform laying on of hands in cases of sore eyes.
What is Infrared Therapy?
Light therapy has been shown in over 40 years of independent research worldwide to deliver powerful therapeutic benefits to living tissues and organisms. Both visible and infrared light have been shown to effect at least 24 different positive changes at a cellular level. Visible light penetrates tissue to a depth of about 8-10 mm. It is very beneficial in treating problems close to the surface such as wounds, cuts, scars, trigger and acupuncture points and is particularly effective in treating infections. Infrared light (904nm) penetrates to a depth of about 30-40mm which makes it more effective for bones, joints, deep muscle, etc.
Depth of penetration is defined as the depth at which 60% of the light is absorbed by the tissue, while 40% of the light will continue to be absorbed in a manner that is less fully understood. Treating points with light can have a dramatic effect on remote and internal areas of the body through the stimulation of nerves, acupuncture and trigger points that perform function not unlike transmission cables.
The technology is now becoming accepted and widely used in human medicine as well. Light therapy stimulates the natural healing power in the cells of the body. This tool uses the energy of light, called photon energy, to stimulate the activity of certain cell components. By using photo energy, you have a simple, effective, non-pharmacological medical alternative. Conservative management of acute and chronic injuries and postoperative wounds has come to include the use of photo energy because it is quickly effective, cost effective, and easy to administer.
Future LED Applications
Much research is underway on the use of medical LED therapy to determine whether there are other applications for light therapy. “Research is currently being done on the different effects of different spectrums of light on living tissues,” says Braden. It is thought that the visible red spectrum, which is roughly in the 600 to 700 nanometer range, is effective with surface issues such as wound care and that higher wavelengths, including infrared, are more penetrating. Studies also suggest that going down to the 400 or 500 nanometer spectrum, which is blue light, might be effective for treating skin disorders including acne and scarring.
“We’ve already seen how using LEDs can improve a bone-marrow transplant patient’s quality of life,” said Dr. Harry Whelan, professor of neurology, pediatrics and hyperbaric medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “These trials will hopefully help us take the next steps to provide this as a standard of care for this ailment.”
“Companies in this business are looking at the medical research that is being conducted regarding different frequencies of light to see where this technology might take us,” says Braden. He foresees wound care as being the next big application. “You can expect over the next few years to see LED therapy as being the primary treatment for wounds such as post-surgical and non-healing wounds like diabetic ulcers.” Whelan and Ignatius say they would like to test their technology in other clinical situations such as spinal cord injuries and for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, strokes, brain tumors, and tissue and organ regeneration.
“It may seem strange to some people because it is very much a change in the whole paradigm of medicine, which has been pretty much poisons and knives up until this point. The use of natural energy at an intensity that is brighter than the sun, but still nonetheless near infrared light at wavelengths that are helpful and not harmful, to enhance the cells’ natural biochemistry truly has a lot of potential in the medical arena,” says Whelan.
Light is energy that moves in a wave pattern. Light is also characterized by its wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum. There are components in the tissue and blood that absorbs these wavelengths and activate normal cell activity that may have been disrupted by injury or sickness. The reason for this increased cell activity is the photon. The photon is the energy portion of the light wave. For this reason we often refer to this therapy as PHOTON THERAPY.
Infrared therapy utilizes light energy in the invisible range of light. Infrared rays are just beyond the visible red range of light in the spectrum, thus we cannot see the Infrared light emitted from the treatment unit. Virtually all light has some penetration properties; however, it is often absorbed by the outermost skin layers. Traditional thermal (hot) laser light, on the other hand, can penetrate but often destroys tissue.
|Far Infrared Saunas BENEFITS: DetoxificationToxins are unavoidable and are often absorbed into our bodies. Since we are bio-accumulators, the large quantities and numerous types of toxins we are exposed to overwhelm our bodies’ ability to metabolize and get rid of them naturally and thereby accumulate in our bodies. The poison from toxins may result in immune symptom problems, such as chronic pain syndromes, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraines, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancerSo, how can we best get rid of these harmful toxins? Body detoxification through sweat in an infrared sauna!The revolutionary Vital Rays Far Infrared Carbon Technology coupled with the Magnetic Flux Therapy System is the perfect solution for helping our bodies get rid of the environmental toxic chemicals (pesticides, heavy metals, alcohol, nicotine, sodium, sulfuric acid and hydrocarbon residues). The infrared heat from the suana deeply penetrates tissues, triggering mobilization of chemicals from fat storage and directly into sweat . The magnetic therapy promotes metabolic processing of toxins to help your body expel them.
Weight LossFat becomes water-soluble at about 100 F° before it begins to dissolve and enter the bloodstream so that it can be removed from the body. Infrared heat will increase the peripheral blood flow and remove fat through sweat. Weight loss is one of the greatest benefit of using our Vital Saunas every day. A single therapeutic sauna session will burn as much as 300-600 calories.Another problematic and difficult to get rid of waste is cellulite, a gel-like substance made up of fat, water and wastes that are trapped in pockets under the skin. The infrared heat can assist in reducing this condition, as profuse sweating helps clear this form of unwanted debris from the body. Magnetic therapy can facilitate the metabolism process and speed up the removal of these wastes.
Cardiovascular HealthA heating effect deep in the muscular tissues and internal organs is caused by the infrared rays generated by our Vital Rays Far Infrared Carbon Technology. Our bodies respond to this deep heating effect via a hypothalamic-induced increase in heart volume and rate. This heart stress is beneficial. It leads to a cardiovascular training and conditioning effect. Medical research confirms that the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning as the body works to cool itself and involves substantial increases in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic, while diastolic blood pressure drops, for improved overall cardiovascular fitness.
Pain ReliefIt has been shown that heat reduces pain sensation by direct action on both free-nerve endings in tissues and on peripheral nerves. The Vital Rays penetrate heat deep into the skin, over 1 ½ inches into the muscle tissue, and helps in alleviating symptoms such as back pain, sprains, strains, joint stiffness, muscle spasms and headaches as well as pains due to conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.Magnetic therapy can also assist in relieving the pain by blocking pain sensations. It improves blood flow and oxygen to enhance the body’s natural healing process. The improved blood flow and fluid exchange to the injured tissue helps reduce pain and inflammation.
Skin BeautificationSaunas are excellent for increasing blood circulation to the skin, which is essential for beautiful, youthful, glowing skin! The increased blood flow allows for important nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue, promoting cellular activity and growth. By open the pores of your skin from accumulated dirt and dry skin cells, you will experience a new inner glow. The infrared rays help firm and improve skin tone and elasticity. Infrared heat has been noted to reduce acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns and any skin lesions or cuts. Additionally, according to NASA technology, open wounds can heal quicker with reduced scarring. Magnetic therapy has been known to positively influence conditions of aging.
Body Flexibility Studies show that tissues heated to 130° and then stretched have exhibited an elastic elongation that continues long after the stretch is removed. Infrared heat is a therapeutic haven for athletes looking for a pre-workout to warm up muscles for range of motion and increase flexibility to help prevent injury. Infrared Saunas are also ideal for pre-warm-up for physical therapy and massage therapy, or for a relaxing your muscles after a long workout. Magnetic therapy has been shown to help increase athletic endurance and performance, as well as promote the healing process of body aches and inflammation reduction
Relax & RejuvenatePerhaps the most immediate relief you will get from basking in a far infrared suana is simple relaxation, as it melts away the stresses and tensions of the fast-paced life, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! Infrared heat from a suana will give your body an overall massaging effect, soothing jangled nerves and knotted muscles. Magnetic therapy has also been shown to help reduce stress and enhance your body’s energy supply!
Lower Blood PressureRecent studies show that repeated far infrared sauna treatments improve impaired blood vessel functions in patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. This suggests a preventative role for infrared sauna use for arteriosclerosis.
Blood CirculationHeating of muscles with infrared heat produces an increased blood flow level. Body temperature rise also produces an increase in blood flow. As your body produces sweat to cool itself, your heart works at a higher rate to pump blood, increasing your overall circulation. During this time the increased work load from your cardiovascular system helps free up harmful molecules in your blood vessels, allowing your body to flush them out through your sweat glands. Magnetic therapy may help to increase blood circulation.
Cancer TherapyOther researchers believe that infrared therapy can help stimulate the body’s immune system by elevating body temperature. The infrared sauna’s deep heat penetration raises your body temperature, inducing an artificial fever. As it works to combat the “fever,” the body’s immune system is strengthened. The intense heat also stimulates production of white blood cells and therefore helping to target tumor cells. Studies have shown that extreme heat protects healthy cells and makes tumor cells more susceptible to radiation. This makes infrared heat a useful addition to cancer therapy treatment as it enables the use of lower doses of radiation. Other studies have shown that breast cancer was less prevalent among women who frequently use infrared saunas. Contraindications – Use of Infrared Sauna It is neither implied nor should it be inferred that infrared saunas prevent, treat or prevent any disease. DO NOT attempt to self treat any disease with an infrared sauna without the supervision of a certified physician. Hydration is a vital requirement for using a sauna and it is recommended to consume water before and after use. Please consult with your certified physician before using a far infrared sauna if any of the following items apply to you :Prescription Drugs Cardiovascular Conditions Alcohol and Illegal Substances Pacemaker / Defibrillator Joint Injuries Other Conditions and Diseases Pregnancy Children Elderly Fever Hemophiliacs Disclaimer : All information contained within this website is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be considered promises, guarantees or warranties. It is neither implied nor should it be inferred that infrared saunas with magnetic therapy prevent, treat or cure any disease. Consult your personal physician prior to the use of an infrared sauna or any type of magnetic therapy. If you have certain health conditions, consult with your physician for clearance before purchasing a Vital Sauna. Information and statements provided on this website about our saunas have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The author will not be held responsible for anyone using this information to treat themselves or others.