Has a friend ever shared a fact with you that you took to be true? It happens to all of us, and without much thought or time spent researching we find ourselves sharing “facts” we’ve heard with others, but, is what we heard factual? Or is it hearsay? The beliefs we carry around with us can influence our decision making and general feeling about people, places, and things. They can also affect our thoughts and understanding of broad ideas, leading us to think we are right when we might be wrong.
So, what have you heard about infrared? Perhaps you’ve heard good things, like infrareds ability to show a significant decrease in pain after just one body wrap session. Or maybe you’ve heard not such positive things and are concerned about safety when it comes to infrared heat. Either way, we are big believers in doing our research, and to assist you in your quest for infrared knowledge we’ve put together four things that everyone seems to misunderstand about infrared!
1. Infrared is Only Good for Making You Sweat to Release Water Weight
Did you know that approximately 65% of our bodies are made up of water? During full body infrared immersion, the body’s core temperature is raised, which stimulates sweat production and allows the body to release toxins and fats through the sweat glands. Your body needs to excrete water to sweat, but this does not mean the results from infrared sessions are simply due to loss of water weight. Although water released in sweat will be regained by rehydration the calories consumed to make the sweat will not!
Sweating is a standard bodily function; it comes with the territory. But is it as beneficial as we say it is? The short answer? Yes. Sweating protects our bodies from overheating, helps us detoxify and strengthens the immune system by opening up the pores to purge the body of toxins that can cause pimples, eczema, and rashes. The production of sweat has also been known to lower the risk of kidney stones and rejuvenate the skin. “During an infrared session, the body can release up to 20% fats and toxins,” says FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein. "This is in comparison to about 3-5% of fats and toxins that release during traditional exercise.” How does infrared do it? During infrared immersion, the infrared waves penetrate the body about 1.5 inches, vibrating water molecules inside our bodies that burst open releasing stored toxins. Fat and toxin loss is one of the most notable differences between infrared body wraps and traditional body wraps. Infrared can provide results that other wraps cannot.
2. Infrared is Unsafe
You may see infrared called infrared radiation and here’s why. Radiation is the release of energy in the form of moving waves or streaming particles. The process is naturally occurring, and because the Earth itself emits radiation, all living things on the planet do as well. We can confidently say infrared heat is natural as it is produced by our sun and all warm-blooded animals. Infrared heat is background or natural radiation that is safe for the human body because the human body also produces it.
How safe is it? It is so safe that hospitals use it in the NICU for premature babies. “Studies show that infrared heat is both absorbed by the body and emitted from it and many cellular processes progress quicker when infrared warms our tissues,” says Flickstein. “Hence why it’s so beneficial to humans. The energy produced by infrared is strictly heat that penetrates the body to provide some amazing benefits!” Keep in mind; it’s important to do your research as we cannot speak for every piece of infrared equipment on the market!
3. Infrared Therapy Does Not Promote Healing
If you’ve ever used a hot compress on a muscle or chronic injury to increase circulation or reduce stiffness, you may be familiar with heat therapy. Infrared heat is well known for its ability to quickly reduce pain, and has been used for centuries to ease chronic pain, dilate the blood vessels, and increase oxygen and nutrients to the tissue to assist with healing.
When your body begins to warm up with infrared, the temperature elevation can increase blood flow. This combination of increased blood flow and soothing infrared heat can act directly on areas that are in a state of panic which is often the case when we experience pain. Increased circulation, blood flow and oxygen levels in our tissue have an impact on the pain we feel. New blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the area of the body experiencing pain that can promote healing. “Infrared waves penetrate the body to create heat that results in immediate therapeutic benefits through increased blood flow and tissue oxygenation that provides more energy to heal,” commented Flickstein. “A 2008 study by Matsushita found that chronic pain patients experienced nearly a 70% reduction in pain levels after the first session of infrared therapy,” he said.
4. Infrared Sessions Cancel Out Unhealthy Habits
While we would love to believe this one we simply cannot. Maintaining weight or fitness goals is a lifestyle, and we encourage healthy eating, a workout regimen and participating in infrared sessions to see weight loss results. Now, this is not to say that infrared does not help with weight loss and calorie burn, we hear success stories daily!
A one-hour infrared session can simulate a cardio workout, but it’s important to note that it may take some time to shed those unwanted pounds. It can be challenging to give an exact number of calories burned or inches lost during a session but, sweating does consume calories, and an infrared body wrap session can induce 3-5 times more sweat than exercise alone will produce.
So, let’s review. What is infrared heat? It is a safe and naturally occurring part of the electromagnetic or light spectrum that shows itself as warmth. Infrared provides benefits such as weight loss, pain relief, detoxification, skin rejuvenation, and relaxation. It is effective because it penetrates the body with the same type of far infrared heat the body itself produces. Infrared can help the body release fats and toxins, induce sweat, provide lasting benefits and become a central part of your wellness routine.
- "Real Weight Versus Water Weight". Truelemon.com. N.p., 2016. Web.
- Dr. Aaron Flickstein, FIT Bodywrap Clinical Director
- Koga, Y et al. "The Effects of Repeated Thermal Therapy for Patients with Chronic Pain". Karger.com, 2005.
- "What Is Chronic Pain and What Are the Symptoms?". WebMD. 2017.
- "Everything You Need To Know About Water Weight | Paleo Leap". Paleo Leap | Paleo diet Recipes & Tips. N.p., 2016. Web.
- Vatansever, Fatma and Michael R. Hamblin. "Far Infrared Radiation (FIR): Its Biological Effects And Medical Applications". Photonics and Lasers in Medicine 1.4 (2012): 255–266.
- Lehmann, Justus F. Therapeutic Heat and Cold. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1990. Print.
- Matsushita, Kakushi, Akinori Masuda, and Chuwa Tei. "Efficacy of Waon Therapy for Fibromyalgia". Intern. Med. 47.16 (2008): 1473-1476. Web.