What is infrared?
Infrared light makes up a significant proportion of the radiation we receive from the sun. In fact, 50% of the radiation emitted by the sun lies in the infrared spectrum. We divide the infrared spectrum into two categories: Near Infrared, which lies in the 700 – 810 nm wavelengths, and Far Infrared, which lies in the much longer 3000 – 100,000 nm wavelengths. Near infrared is closer to the visible spectrum and even bleeds into the visible light spectrum. Therefore, we can perceive with our eyes near infrared radiation as the color red. Far infrared is further from the visible light spectrum, closer to microwaves, therefore we can only detect it as heat or warmth. Unlike other forms of radiation (like ultraviolet or X-rays), Infrared is non-ionizing, so does not harm DNA or other important cellular components. In today’s modern environment, lack of exposure to natural sunlight can starve people of these important frequencies of light – frequencies our bodies have evolved along with since the dawn of life.
How does infrared light affect our cells?
- Penetrating – Preliminary research suggests that IR light is able to penetrate human tissues, in the range of 690-900 nm. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18784511/)
- Heating – IR light heats areas of the body, similar to what a hot compress and heating pads can achieve. This causes vasodilation and brings blood, nutrients, and immune cells to surface tissues.
- Structures water – According to Gerald Pollack, PhD, light is the critical factor that organizes water molecules in a way that allows biochemical reactions to take place.
- Improves enzyme activity – Infrared light is able to change the shape of enzymes and other biological compounds, which can have an activating affect, stimulating their activity in cells.
- Improves mitochondrial function – The mitochondria utilize various enzymes and proteins to produce energy for our cells, infrared light (whether by structuring the water or activating enzymes), has been shown to improve function of the mitochondria.
Benefits of infrared lamps
Emit NIR and FIR (visible), perceived as both heat and light (https://bengreenfieldlife.com/article/brain-articles/red-and-infrared-light/)
- Improved skin health and appearance
- Improved muscle tone
- Pain reduction
- Improved sleep
- Relief from mood disorders
- Improved wound healing
Benefits of infrared saunas
Emit FIR (not visible), perceived as heat/warmth (https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/sauna)
*Note: These benefits are those that have been studied in the use of dry saunas at 174°F for 30 minutes sessions 3-4 times per week. Most IR saunas do not go above 150°F, so take these benefits with a small grain of salt (in your water).
- Improved cardiovascular health (vasodilation)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers vascular stiffness
- Increased cognition
- Reduces risk of neurodegenerative diseases
- Improves focus, attention, and mental processing speed
- Stimulates neurogenesis
- Increases in brain derived neurotropic factor BDNF, leads to generation of nervous tissue in the central and peripheral nervous systems
- Improves mood
- Boosts levels of norepinephrine, endogenous opioids (relieves pain)
- Stimulates growth hormone
- Maintains muscle mass
- Assists in muscle hypertrophy
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Lowers fasting blood glucose in diabetics
- Increased Endurance/sports performance
- Improves oxygen and CO2 exchange in the lungs
- Enhances detoxification
- Helps eliminate heavy metals, BPA, PCBs, and phthalates through increased urine output and speeding up kidney function
- Decreases markers of inflammation post sauna session
- Reduces sperm count and motility
- Contraindicated for pregnant women and children
- Contraindicated while under the influence of alcohol or certain drugs
- Important to replenish electrolytes lost from sweat, either add salt to water, your favorite electrolyte mix, or drink coconut water
Conditions Infrared Light May Benefit
- Metabolic diseases
- Mood disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Autoimmune diseases
- Lyme’s Disease
Sunlighten Infrared Sauna at the Ozark Holistic Health Center
We are now offering sauna sessions to clients seeking the benefits of infrared sauna. The Sunlighten sauna has several preset settings that focus on targeting specific benefits of sauna. The sauna would be a perfect adjunct to any of the other offerings here at OHC.
- Cardiovascular Benefits (Near, Mid, and Far for 45 min)
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. In order to truly optimize your health, you must take care of your heart. It is literally the core of our well being. Everyone knows that one of the best ways to improve heart health is to get regular exercise, but getting the exercise can be difficult for many different reasons and lifestyle limitations. Thankfully, using an infrared sauna provides a real solution to getting your heart working without demanding physical strain. Multiple studies have shown that sauna has a similar benefit to cardiovascular markers as does the equivalent duration of moderate exercise! So sit back and relax while your heart gets pumping. Your body will thank you.
- Improves circulation (which speeds recovery and nutrient delivery to tissues)
- Causes vasodilation – widening of the blood vessels
Lowers blood pressure
Lowers vascular stiffness
- Improves blood sugar regulation
Infrared Saunas acutely increases heart rate, meaning it acts as a passive form of cardiovascular exercise. Sauna bathing is equivalent to a moderate physical exercise load of about 60-100 watts.