If you're like me, you've started to hear rumblings about the health benefits of (Near Infrared light therapy via) NIR saunas and are wondering just what they can do for you. In an age when we are flooded with information coming at us from several different places--now even attached to our bodies on our wrists via our smartwatches--it's important to also take time to completely recharge. Even better if you can do it in the comfort of your own home with a home NIR sauna. I didn't know just how beneficial the new NIR technology could be until I started researching all of the health benefits for you in this article.
Improves Athletic Performance
Improves Certain Skin Conditions
Helps to Boost Metabolism
Promotes Fat Loss
Alternative Cancer Treatment
Effective Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Effective Eye Treatment
What is Near Infrared Light?
Near-infrared (NIR) light therapy is the common term for the science of photobiomodulation. NIR utilizes invisible, near-infrared light wavelengths between 700 - 1200 nm in order to deliver healing energy to the cells at a mitochondrial level. Infrared light is able to reach deep into soft tissues, muscles, joints, and bone treating the causal factors of pain, not merely masking it. Once absorbed, the light energy kicks off a whole series of metabolic events, stimulating the body’s natural processes on a cellular level. There is an increase in blood flow, allowing the parts of the body to receive the oxygen and nutrients they need in order to function more effectively. Regeneration is stimulated while inflammation and pain are reduced.
Infrared light therapy has been scientifically proven to be effective by hundreds of studies all over the world and is 100% natural. According to Harvard PhD Dr. Micahel Hamblin, "light allows your body to use food more efficiently. In other words, light helps the cells make the best use of whatever food they have, and improves the generation of energy. Light Therapy seems to combine very well with modest amounts of exercise.”
Near Infrared Improves Athletic Performance
According to Dr. Hambin, NIR light therapy benefits athletic performance two-fold, during the training phase to improve stamina and post-race to dramatically decrease recovery time. During the Rio de Janiero Olympics, many athletes were using NIR light therapy and full light therapy beds to naturally enhance their performance: “In Rio, there were a lot of light therapy devices … Athletes get huge benefits from putting red near-infrared light on their muscles. A lot of them use LED arrays. Some use whole body light-beds. It’s a huge big deal … There’s basically two ways athletes use [these devices]. One is preconditioning before your sports event … the time to exhaustion is extended with light therapy … and then there’s after, which helps recovery and delayed onset muscle soreness …”
It all starts deep in the cells where tiny structures called mitochondria take in nutrients, process them, and convert them to an energy source that the cells can use to function and repair themselves. Different types of cells have different energy requirements, and that means they contain different numbers of mitochondria. In the case of muscle tissue, which has high energy demands, mitochondria abound. In fact, it’s those high levels of mitochondria inside the muscle tissue that makes red and NIR light therapy so effective in promoting muscle health.
Adopted by Nike's Oregon Project just before the Olympics and many NFL teams to improve muscle growth, improve endurance and reduce recovery time, near-infrared light therapy has made a dramatic difference in countless athletes performance.
Improves Many Skin Conditions
Near Infrared Light Therapy has been proven to be very helpful for improving acne, speed up the healing process in a herpes blister outbreak and rejuvenating the skin back to normal state while increasing the time between eruptions. It's also been proven to expedite the time to heal a wound or skin trauma. This Low-Level Light therapy promotes collagen and elastin formation as well as wound healing. Phototherapy improves the appearance of aged and photoaged skin in a safe manner.
Helps to Boost Metabolism
This effect cannot be overstated. Everything works better when oxidative phosphorylation (ATP production) improves. Mitochondria ramp up ATP production when excited with NIR light which directly helps to boost the metabolism. The faster your metablism burns, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to burn excess fat.
Promotes Fat Loss
Near-infrared energy increases tissue circulation and promotes healing as well as promotes skin rejuvenation and its deeper tissues. NIR sauna therapy stimulates detoxification while boosting overall metabolism. Exercise combined with exposure to near infrared energy results in decreased overall body fat, further helping the cellulite problem. The relaxation and stress relief achieved through NIR sauna therapy may reduce adrenalin (catecholamine) levels. Reducing adrenaline also helps to reduce cellulite. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise program NIR Light Therapy can be very efficacious.
Alternative Cancer Treatment
Cancer statistics are at an all-time high not only in the US, but around the world. It's projected that there will be 1.7 Million new cancer diagnoses in 2018 with close to 610,000 deaths this year. Many families have had to deal with this devastating news firsthand and few are completely untouched by the disease.
Cancer treatment has become a massive $100B industry where the conventional protocol includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery can be an effective and quick tool at times while chemotherapy and radiation therapy leave the patient weak and toxic. Radiation attempts to kill the cancer cells within a tumor while chemotherapy attempts to poison the cells. Both of these methods are quite expensive and also have severe side-effects oftentimes damaging the healthy cells around the area. There are several instances where patients require all 3 treatments in order to stave off a fast-moving cancer, but there are also many cases where a more holistic approach is also warranted.
Near Infrared Light Therapy and Heat Therapy are both known holistic cancer treatments. The SaunaSpace products help you to achieve both of these goals in the comfort of your own home. Toxicity is often a common issue among cancer patients -- especially those who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy. They often suffer from congestion of the crucial internal organs most responsible for the elimination of toxins--the liver and kidneys. Toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and radioactive materials all contribute to the onset of cancer too (ironic that they are the two most common and mainstream cancer treatments widely used today). Near-Infrared Light Therapy provides the deep heat penetration necessary to relieve liver and kidney congestion, rapidly shunting blood to the skin and improving detoxification in the cancer patient. This allows easier removal of dead tissue and toxins associated with cell death.
“One of the fundamental methods for detoxification used at Hope4Cancer is the near infra-red sauna. Near infra-red light assists in the removal of chemical toxins and heavy metals through the sweat glands. It also increases oxygenation and enhances the immune system while reducing the radiation burden in the body by removing radioactive particles resident in the tissues.
The sauna near infra-red heat penetrates into the body stimulating the sweating process without the feelings of suffocation and discomfort that are common in high temperature dry and steam heat saunas.
Hyperthermia or Thermal Therapy is deliberate heating of the whole body or parts of the body for therapeutic purposes. It has in recent years received increasing attention as an adjunct to cancer treatment. Systemic or Whole Body Hyperthermia for cancer and other systemic diseases is now carried out at several university hospital centers in the United States and Europe.”
According to Dr Lawrence Wilson, MD in his Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, “If I were to single out one method to combat cancer, it is the sauna. It assists removal of chemical toxins and heavy metals, increases oxygenation, enhances the immune system, and reduces the radiation burden in the body.
Cancer does not like high oxygen levels and an absence of readily available sugar. Cancer hates nutritionally healthy people with good detoxification and eliminative functions. Cancer does not like love and other positive emotional states along with spirituality. Everyone seems to agree that cancer can’t stand increased temperature.”
According to a study run by Dr. Everett M Lauten, the use of Near-Infrared Light to treat those with acute chronic pain was very effective in treating pain in the foot, wrist, ankle and knee joints. Many people suffer from debilitating pain to the back, feet, ankles and knees which can keep them from moving about freely and/or exercising regularly. NIR Light Therapy has proven to be a very effective and natural pain remedy that can really make a difference in people's lives.
In this particular study, 40 patients were evaluated and monitored over the course of a 9 month period and received from 1-10 NIR treatments schedule permitting. Conditions treated included acute and chronic non-fracture musculoskeletal injuries, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, shin splints, acute hand and wrist sprain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic knee injury pain. All but one patient reported a significant decrease in pain, ranging from 40% to 100% reduction. In most cases, the pain reduction started within hours after the first treatment (34 patients) or second near-IR treatment (39 patients).
The pain reduction experienced by the participant of the study appeared to be long-lasting--weeks and even months later, all patients with pain reduction were still either pain-free or had markedly reduced pain. Many were able to return to exercise or wearing high heels. As an added bonus, no complications occurred during or after any treatment.
As we learned earlier, Sauna Therapy is very effective in helping cancer patients to detoxify the liver and kidneys. It's also not just for cancer patients, but is great for anyone looking to enhance their detoxification and improve their overall health. The heat generated from NIR Light Therapy improves and expedites the overall detoxification in all people by utilizing the tremendous ability of the skin as an organ of elimination and detoxification.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Alternative Treatment
There are currently over 2.5 million emergency room visits per year for concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Many professional athletes and military veterans have suffered from TBIs and could greatly benefit from NIR Light Therapy
According to a recent study by Dr. Larry Morries, Dr Theodore Henderson and Paolo Cassano of Massachusetts General, "Treatments for traumatic brain injury with emphasis on transcranial near-infrared laser phototherapy," found that a specific high-powered, near infrared light (NIR) can effectively re-energize damaged brain cells after penetrating the skin and skull. All the patients in the study reported significant clinical improvement in their condition with no negative side effects."
Patients who participated in the study experienced a significant improvement in their regular symptoms. According to Dr. Henderson, "They all improved dramatically. Headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, sleep problems, and relationship problems all resolved. Several unemployed patients returned to work or started new careers." This could be an exciting alternative therapy to those suffering from a TBI.
According to an article published by the US National Library of Medicine in Sep of 2016, Photobiomodulation (PBM), also known as low level laser therapy, has "recently risen to the attention of the ophthalmology community as a promising new approach to treat a variety of retinal conditions including age-related macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, amblyopia, methanol-induced retinal damage, and possibly others. Given the promising pre-clinical results and the equally promising first few translations to human patients, we should expect a growth in the field of photobiomodulation applied to treat common retinal conditions."