Infrared heat is pretty magical; it is invisible yet the soothing heat can be felt throughout the body, and the wellness benefits that come from infrared exposure are second to none. As with any scientific concept, research can be complicated and the lingo may be somewhat confusing for those of us who aren’t doctors and scientists! This is why we’ve put together an infrared cheat sheet, because the more informed you are the better!
What is infrared heat and how does it work in the body?
Infrared is light that we cannot see but can feel as heat, some call it energy while others refer to it as radiation. We know that the word radiation may make you say “what?!” but, let us explain. The term infrared radiation refers to infrared energy in the region of the electromagnetic spectrum that has longer wavelengths than visible light and shorter wavelengths than a microwave. Sunlight is another example of natural radiation and not all radiation is harmful, in moderation of course!
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s talk infrared. It’s a safe and natural heat that penetrates the body to help the user shed pounds, revitalize their skin, say see-ya to toxins, experience deep relaxation and get rid of pain. Why is it more effective than just a regular old hot compress? Because the human body produces far infrared heat which just so happens to be the same type of infrared that is used by most infrared equipment.
To get a little technical here, when you expose your body to this wonderful energy the infrared waves are absorbed by the body. During the absorption process your molecules can begin to vibrate, so much that they expel toxins, fats, cholesterol and other impurities through your sweat glands and bodily functions.
More interested in the history of infrared for wellness? Click Here.
How can I experience it?
We’ve got some great news! You have already experienced small amounts infrared on the regular, when you’re outside in the sun. To feel or notice the benefits that infrared can provide it’s recommended to completely immerse the body in it! This is why infrared body wraps have become the most effective way to feel the heat. Infrared saunas are also largely popular, however, body wraps may be the most effective option for those looking to see results. Infrared can be found in spas, tanning salons, chiropractic offices, physical therapy centers and in fitness centers/gyms. The recommended exposure to infrared is typically about 20-60 minutes, though research does indicate that calorie burn, toxin release and increased blood flow may happen towards the end of the session when the body temperature has been raised.
Who uses it?
Millions of people worldwide participate in infrared sessions because they are able to experience multiple benefits.
Those that are in pain love infrared because it can increase their blood flow, act directly on irritated nerve endings and some may experience relief for up to 48 hours after exposure. Studies show that heat can assist with chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, onset muscle soreness and relief between workouts.
Those on a weight loss journey employ infrared sessions to increase their sweat production, which results in calorie burn. Weight can also be lost due to the release of fats and toxins.
People who desire beautiful skin rave about infrared because of its antiaging, toning and tightening and cellulite reducing expertise. Again, the increase of blood flow makes a difference in the rejuvenation of skin because it brings oxygen and nutrients to tissues and cells.
Relaxation seekers choose services that incorporate infrared because it can lower cortisol levels, leaving the participant with a sense of spaaa (AKA zen-like feelings).
Toxin fighters also enjoy the detoxification benefits provided by increased sweat production. Because the toxins that leave the body during an infrared session will be not replaced after a session and many health conditions can be improved by letting go of what we no longer need, this is a highly sought after benefit.
What results can be expected?
Because of its soothing effects many people leave an infrared session with a sense of well-being and relaxation. In 2011 a team of researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York published a study in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. The study found that a heightened body temperature can help the immune system fight off illness. We asked FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein if this happens during an infrared session and he said, “during an infrared session the temperature of the body is raised and the heat can trigger an “artificial fever” which in turn stimulates the immune system. This process can help the body effectively fight or get rid of bacteria, toxins and viruses existing in your system.” Additionally, all of those fantastic benefits we mentioned above… those benefits can be expected with frequent infrared exposure as well!
How do I find out if infrared sessions are right for me?
If you are reading this blog you’re thinking “I want all of those things!” infrared may just be able to grant your wishes. If you are unsure about health conditions that affect you it may be best to consult with a doctor before you explore the greatness that is infrared!
Ready for your pop quiz?! Don’t worry, we’re just kidding, but now you can say you know the basics about infrared heat.
Sources & Related Research:
- Guyton and Hall.,. Textbook Of Medical Physiology. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2011. Print.
- Flickstein, Emeritus D.C., Dr. Aaron M. Fit Bodywrap® For Wellness White Papers. 1st ed. San Diego: FIT Bodywrap, 2014. Print.
- Flickstein, Emeritus D.C., Dr. Aaron M. Fit Bodywrap® For Weight Loss White Papers. 1st ed. San Diego: FIT Bodywrap, 2014. Print.
- "Why Fevers Aren't Always So Bad". The Huffington Post. N.p., 2011. Web. July 2016.