Rainbows are beautiful things (especially double rainbows!). Rainbows are a cornucopia of different colors. Each color represents a different wavelength of visible light. There are tons of different types of light, including some we can’t see. One of these is called far-infrared light.
You’ve probably heard of it in passing: “Far-infrared therapy.” But never had a chance to ask: “What is far-infrared therapy?” In this blog post, you will get the answer to your question, as well as what far-infrared therapy can do for you.
Continue reading to learn everything you wanted to know (but didn’t get to ask) about far-infrared therapy, its history, science, and health benefits.
The History of Far-Infrared Therapy
Far-infrared is in a spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. With a wavelength of 15 micrometers to 1 micrometer, this type of light has less energy than visible light, which is partly why it is not able to be seen by the human eye. There are many applications for far-infrared; astronomers look for far-infrared radiation in the cosmos, usually to spot newly birthed stars.
When it comes to the use of far-infrared here on earth, research has shown that using far-infrared therapy can have wellness benefits. Far-infrared light transfers heat to the human skin which is perceived as radiant heat. This heat penetrates up to 1.5 inches beneath the skin, which could help with several positive health benefits.
The Science of Far-Infrared Therapy
Far-infrared rays have many benefits. When you’re sitting outside sunbathing you probably have noticed the nice, warming sensation that sometimes feels like you’re being warmed from the inside out. It’s a soothing, calming heat that radiates a kind of joy. It’s the warmth of summer, the beckoning of the beach—it’s far-infrared light.
Far-infrared light is on the opposite side of the spectrum as harmful ultraviolet light. The sun naturally radiates far-infrared rays, which help feed your skin; and also plays a large role in the process of photosynthesis. In fact, we radiate our own kind of far-infrared heat as well.
This natural form of heat can now be harnessed to improve wellness.
Forms of Far-Infrared Therapy
There are many different forms of far-infrared therapy. From far-infrared mats designed to penetrate your skin with warming far-infrared rays; to far-infrared saunas, that warm the body and enhance detoxification.
Here are some of the more popular forms of far-infrared therapy.
Far-infrared heating mats come in all kinds of sizes and configurations. The most common kind of mats use gemstone heat therapy to release far-infrared rays. Different kinds of stones naturally emit far-infrared light, such as amethyst, jade, and tourmaline. Gemstone heating mats heat up and warm the stones, releasing far-infrared rays into the body. Some heating mats will also use obsidian which doesn’t release far-infrared rays, but can enhance the experience.
Far-infrared saunas have become a very popular tool that people use to help enhance the detoxification process of the body. Unlike traditional saunas, far-infrared saunas don’t use heat to heat the air, instead they use far-infrared light to warm the skin. The great benefit of these saunas is that they elicit the same reaction in the body as exercise: increasing the heart rate and enhancing sweating.
Portable heating pads
Like the heating mats mentioned above, portable heating pads utilize gemstone heat therapy to emit far-infrared light. This is done with portable devices that usually focus on one particular area like the neck, back, legs, foot, hands, or arms to enhance the benefits of receiving far-infrared therapy on the go.
There are many other forms of far-infrared heating devices and products, these are just a few of the more popular ones you can consider using if you decide that far-infrared therapy is right for you.
The Health Benefits of Far-Infrared Therapy
We’ve briefly reviewed the health benefits of far-infrared therapy; however, I feel there is a need for a more comprehensive look at how far-infrared therapy can help benefit you. Some of the benefits of far-infrared therapy are:
- Wound healing
- Pain management
- Immunity boosting
- Enhanced relaxation
- Improved detoxification
- Reduction of inflammation
- Strengthened cardiovascular system
There are many health benefits of far-infrared therapy. Below are just a few health benefits we’d like to highlight in more detail to give you a fuller picture of the advantages of utilizing far-infrared therapy for health and wellness.
Far-infrared therapy can help with pain management. Many devices can help focus on particular areas of the body to help relieve tension and pain.
A randomized controlled trial using infrared therapy for the treatment of chronic lower back pain found that infrared therapy was effective at reducing chronic lower back pain with no known adverse side effects.
Reduction of inflammation
Far-infrared therapy penetrates the surface area of the body; this can help deliver oxygen to the areas of the body that need oxygen the most, enhancing the relief of inflammation.
A recent survey demonstrated that far-infrared therapy can result in the reduction of inflammation. Yuanmay Chang, the researcher of the survey, wrote, “These results demonstrate that far infrared radiation therapy might aid in reducing the level of inflammation experienced by patients going through peritoneal dialysis treatment.”
Far-infrared therapy can enhance cellular rejuvenation and aid in the recovery of muscles. This can help soothe pain and discomfort while enhancing the healing process. Far-infrared saunas help detoxify the body. This process has been shown to reduce muscle pain and stiffness.
Far-infrared therapy enhances detoxification. This is done by way of heating the surface area of the body, which in turn can raise the core temperature of the body. This results in sweating. When you’re detoxing, you’re sweating out all the toxins and clearing your system. This can lead to a number of amazing benefits, including weight loss, pain relief, and improved circulation.
There are many benefits that far-infrared therapy has for cardiovascular health. These include better circulation and lower blood pressure, which can lead to a healthier heart overall.
This is just a small list of the health benefits associated with far-infrared therapy. There are many more benefits including weight loss, relaxation, and wound healing.
The Risks of Far-Infrared Therapy
Like with all things, there are some risks that are associated with far-infrared therapy. These risks are far and few between, but they do merit a short section that describes them so we can be transparent about our current subject.
The risks vary among the forms of far-infrared you use. What I mean is, if you decide to use a far-infrared sauna vs. a far infrared mat, the risks are different. However, I will do a terse (and general) overview.
Risks associated with far-infrared therapy can include heat injuries associated with long exposure to far-infrared light, as well as dehydration. It’s advised that those who are pregnant, or have heart conditions, should not use far-infrared radiation—at least without first consulting with a doctor, who will likely advise you not to use far-infrared therapy.
One thing is for certain, dehydration can occur. Especially if you use a far-infrared sauna; this is why we strongly recommend drinking enough water. You need to replenish the water you lost while using a far-infrared device (sauna, specifically).
Now that you know the answer to your question: “What is far infrared therapy?” it’s time to decide if you want to include far-infrared therapy into your daily (or weekly) routine. It’s been proven that far-infrared therapy can assist in the relief of muscle pain, improve recovery, and increase your overall health and wellness potential.
Many of the far-infrared devices out there, from heating pads to saunas, are not too expensive and offer reliable policies if you don’t see the results you want.
Just remember to consult with a doctor before use if you are pregnant or have a heart condition (be prepared to not be able to utilize FIR if you are pregnant and have a heart condition). In fact, it’s best to speak to a doctor before use in general; just to be safe.
Far-infrared therapy can really enhance your wellness potential.