According to a recent report, the $874 million infrared light therapy device market is growing at a rate of knots, with a CAGR of 4.9%. The report also shows these devices are mainly used in hospitals, diagnostic centers, and surgical centers.
This goes to show that there must be some truth in claims that infrared devices may have healing properties. Red light therapy works by causing a biochemical reaction in cells, strengthening the mitochondria to facilitate healing.
Keep reading to find out more about the infrared therapy benefits for human health, and whether they’re a good fit for what ails you.
1. Improves Hair and Skin Health
Red light therapy boosts collagen, increases circulation, and reduces inflammation to assist with skin rejuvenation. It is thus helpful in soothing or correcting a wide range of skin conditions.
Currently, therapists use red light therapy to treat:
- Stretch marks and age spots
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin texture
- Rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema
- Scars and sun-damage
It’s also good for boosting hair growth and increasing hair density and thickness. For this reason, it’s also used to treat androgenic alopecia.
2. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Far infrared light therapy showed significant improvement in endothelial function, fasting blood sugar, and blood pressure in a two-week study involving patients with cardiac risk factors.
IR therapy increases the body’s levels of nitric oxide, a known vasodilator. In this way, it may provide benefits for people with endothelial dysfunction or high blood pressure.
3. Accelerates Healing
Studies suggest that by stimulating the mitochondria, red light triggers an enzyme that drives up the energy of the cell. This benefits muscle repair and growth.
In this way, infrared treatments before and after sports exertions can have several benefits. These include:
- Enhanced muscle performance
- Reduced post-workout soreness and pain
- Accelerated healing in cases of muscle injury
There are still questions surrounding the specifics of this light therapy per sport and regarding the timing and precise application of the treatment, but the test results speak for themselves.
NASA already uses red light therapy to help heal astronauts suffering from wounds, muscle atrophy, and bone atrophy.
4. Relieves Aches and Pains
Animal studies show that infrared light therapy reduces pain in test subjects, but research is still underway on how effective this treatment is for humans.
So far, the results reveal that by using RLT in the right doses, these treatments may very well reduce pain, thanks to their ability to decrease inflammation. A specific protein on the outside of the neuron reduces the ability of a cell to perceive or transmit pain when exposed to light.
Infrared light exposure seems to have the same effect. Randomized tests over seven weeks showed that patients suffering from lower back pain experienced significant relief thanks to infrared treatment.
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5. Assists with Chronic and Post-Operative Pain
Apart from regular aches and pains, red light therapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and more.
It’s also proven to soothe postoperative pain and facilitate a better range of motion after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery and hip replacement surgery.
In these tests, the subjects experienced about 50% less pain than those in the control group, thanks to a reduction in pain and inflammatory cytokines.
6. Brain Benefits
Red light can penetrate the skull, making it an effective additional therapy when treating brain disease. Researchers believe IRT may have the following effects on the brain:
- Decreased oxidative damage and reactive oxygen
- Improved energy production in mitochondria
- Increased production of nitric oxide locally for better blood flow
Studies involving patients with traumatic brain injury revealed major improvements in verbal learning, memory, and executive function after a series of infrared treatments. The treatments also improved sleep and reduced the symptoms of PTSD.
Dementia is a widespread condition associated with aging that can greatly hamper the sufferer’s quality of life and even become life-threatening. Now, scientists are using infrared therapy to treat this condition, too.
So far, the results show that this treatment can increase cerebral blood flow and enhance cognitive functioning, without causing any side effects.
7. Infrared Therapy Benefits the Heart
Congestive heart failure refers to a condition where the heart can no longer pump blood efficiently. This leads to congestion in the lungs and legs.
People with this condition suffer from shortness of breath, fatigue, and swollen ankles.
A ten-day study involving 140 CHF patients showed promising improvements in breathing during walking activities and a decrease in BNP, which is commonly elevated in these patients.
Long-term treatments show a decrease in cardiac events for patients suffering from CHF, thanks to increased nitric oxide production, and vasodilation.
8. Better Arterial Health
Peripheral arterial disease results from damaged arteries in the limbs, usually due to atherosclerosis.
Damaged arteries restrict blood flow from the heart to the extremities, causing:
- Pain during exertion
- A weak pulse
- Discoloration of the limbs
- Cool extremities
- Non-healing ulcers
A study involving infrared light treatment on 21 patients showed marked improvements in all the above symptoms after just six weeks.
Make Sensible Health Decisions
Many researchers have investigated these infrared therapy benefits and come across some pleasing results. This accounts for its widespread use in healthcare facilities.
If you’re ready to try anything to alleviate your discomfort, you have little fear when trying RLT. The only known side effects are thermal or heat injuries resulting from the incorrect use of these devices.
Always consult your doctor before trying any alternative measures, and never use them in place of prescribed treatments. It’s the best way to enjoy the many benefits offered by any up-and-coming therapy.
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