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Near Infrared: Is It Worth It? Check Out the Benefits

Near Infrared: Is It Worth It? Check Out the Benefits

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For thousands of years, saunas have been used for their amazing health benefits. However, more recently near infrared saunas have been making their way into the health & wellness scene. Why is near infrared becoming such a popular trend? What are their benefits? Below, we’ll explore these questions, as well as determine if a near infrared could be worth it for you.


What is a Near Infrared?

Near infrared emitting devices use near infrared wavelengths as a form of light therapy. High-quality near infrared devices will use LED’s to emit the short wavelength. Interestingly, this light/wavelength will penetrate the human body just under the epidermis (skin), where it can focus its medicinal benefits. It’s also worth noting that most saunas won’t solely rely on near infrared since it doesn’t have enough energy to cause perspiration on its own. For the most part, you’ll see saunas also combine near infrared with mid and far infrared, with mid and far infrared having the power required to make users sweat. There are a few companies on the market selling products that solely emit near infrared; for those interested only in near infrared benefits, read on!

The Health Benefits of Near Infrared

Should you consider near infrared sauna therapy? Check out the benefits below and find out.

1. Accelerate Overall Healing

Over a decade ago, researchers discovered that near infrared LED light has a significant impact on wound healing [1]. This study showed near infrared exposure to aid in human tissue growth, faster cell regeneration and overall, quicker wound healing. Interestingly, in some cases, wound size was reduced by about 36% and human cell growth increased about 150%. Other studies have also stated that near infrared exposure is especially useful for wound healing due to the absence of any damaging effects [2].

2. Improve The Appearance Of Your Skin

Near infrared therapy can eliminate toxic build-up in/on the skin. It increases circulation, which may help regenerate skin cells, providing a more youthful and smooth appearance. Research has also proven this in many studies, including one in 2005 that was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy [3]. In this particular study, near infrared light therapy was used for 12 weeks. After the allotted time, researchers noticed significant improvements in skin rejuvenation factors and wrinkles.

3. Near Infrared Saunas Can Increase Your Immunity

Various research has shown near infrared light to increase white blood cell production, as well as boost collagen growth through increased energy production in the cells. Another study also showed near infrared light therapy to help improve enzyme activity and even reduce cell death by 50% [2]. This may contribute to increased immunity by supporting the natural processes within the body, as well as preventing cell death, allowing the body to fight foreign invaders more efficiently.

4. Can Help Recover From A Musculoskeletal Injury

Interestingly, working out with near infrared therapy has shown to improve muscle recovery. A 2015 study aimed to uncover whether or not near infrared light did, in fact, improve contractile function of the muscles. Researchers found that when near infrared light was applied before the performance of rehabilitation exercises, muscle function improved and less muscle strength was lost [4].

5. Can Help Improve Acne

As mentioned before, near infrared therapy helps accelerate wound healing. Studies have also found it to increase and improve mitochondria function [5], [6]. With improved mitochondria function, inflammation can decrease, and overall tissue repair can improve. Because of these effects, near infrared therapy may decrease and improve some acne conditions.

Is Near Infrared Worth It For You?

It’s rare that you’ll find a sauna exclusively featuring near infrared therapy. Most commonly, near infrared is a feature included in infrared saunas labelled as “Full Spectrum”. This means the sauna will have far, mid and near infrared, providing you with even more benefits than we just listed. Near infrared is an amazing therapy that’s been showing a lot of promise in the health and wellness field. You don’t necessarily need to have near infrared included in your far infrared sauna, but its additional benefits are definitely worth considering.

Resources:

[1] Buchman EV, Caviness J, et al. (2001) “Effect Of NASA Light-Emitting Diode Irradiation On Wound Healing.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, J Clin Laser Med Surg, 24 February 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11776448.

[2] Buchmann E, Chance B, et al. “Photobiomodulation Directly Benefits Primary Neurons Functionally Inactivated By Toxins.” Jbc.org, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 24 February 2020, https://www.jbc.org/content/280/6/4761.full.

[3] Kellett N, Reilly LR, & Russell BA (2005). “Study To Determine The Efficacy Of Combination LED Light Therapy (633nm And 830 Nm) In Facial Skin Rejuvenation.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, J Cosmet Laser Ther, 24 February 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16414908.

[4] Borsa P, Christou E, et al. (2015). “Near-Infrared Light Therapy to Attenuate Strength Loss After Strenuous Resistance Exercise.” NCBI, J Athl Train, 24 February 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4299734/.

[5] Sommer AP. (2019). “Mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase Is Not The Primary Acceptor For Near Infrared Light—It Is Mitochondrial Bound Water: The Principles Of Low-Level Light Therapy.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Annals of Translational Medicine, 24 February 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6462613/.

[6] Karu TI. (2008). “Mitochondrial Signaling In Mammalian Cells Activated By Red And Near‐IR Radiation.” Onlinelibrary.wiley.com, Photochemistry and Photobiology, 24 February 2020, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2008.00394.x.


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