Infrared light therapy has become an increasingly popular natural modality for enhancing health, performance, and anti-aging. But why exactly is this form of photobiomodulation gaining so much interest? Let’s explore the reasons behind the growth in infrared light therapy.

Infrared Light

What is Infrared Light Therapy?

Infrared light therapy involves exposing the body to near-infrared wavelengths of light between 700-1200nm. Special LED devices emit these wavelengths that penetrate below the skin and are absorbed by cells.

This stimulates beneficial cellular changes linked to increased energy production, blood flow, tissue healing, and more. Daily use of infrared light is emerging as a powerful therapeutic tool.

Infrared therapy is one component of the broader category of photobiomodulation treatments that also includes red light therapy with wavelengths between 600-700nm. But why specifically has infrared light gained popularity?

Infrared Light and red light therapy on body

Deep Tissue Penetration

One key reason is that longer near-infrared wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body’s tissues compared to red light. While red light penetrates a few millimeters, near-infrared can go 2-10 centimeters deep.

This allows infrared light to effectively reach deeper muscles, joints, nerves, lymph nodes, and organs. Near-infrared is particularly effective for therapy aimed at musculoskeletal tissues, internal organs, and the brain.

Greater cellular stimulation

Some studies have found near-infrared wavelengths between 700-900nm may elicit slightly stronger cellular responses compared to red light wavelengths below 700nm.

Human cell studies have shown that cytochrome c oxidase, a key protein involved in energy production, has a higher absorption rate of photons from near-infrared light than from red light.

This results in greater increases in ATP energy production, cell proliferation, and signaling molecules when exposing cells and tissues to near-infrared wavelengths versus red.

Unique Mechanisms and Applications

Infrared light therapy offers some unique mechanisms and clinical applications compared to red light. Here are a few examples:

  • Improved blood flow – Infrared light significantly increases microcirculation and the formation of new capillaries. This has been shown to help treat conditions like diabetic neuropathy and improve exercise performance.
  • Increased nitric oxide – Near-infrared boosts nitric oxide availability. This helps dilate blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and treat headaches/migraines.
  • Detoxification – Exposure to near-infrared prompts the release of toxins from cells and stimulates lymphatic drainage, excellent for detoxification.
  • Reduced oxidative stress – Infrared light elevates antioxidant enzymes in cells, protecting against free radical damage involved in aging and disease.
  • Enhanced immunity – Studies show near-infrared exposure activates immune cells and anti-microbial effects, helping prevent and treat infections.
  • Neuroprotection – Animal research found that near-infrared light protects the brain from neurotoxins and traumatic brain injury through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions.

The unique tissue penetration depth and mechanisms of near-infrared offer targeted treatment potential for many conditions.

red light therapy panel fda approval

FDA Approval for Pain

Infrared light therapy was granted FDA clearance in 2020 for the treatment of temporarily reduced pain. This was based on clinical studies finding significant chronic pain reduction from near-infrared light use.

This stamp of approval from the FDA has helped legitimize near-infrared light therapy in health care and boosted consumer awareness of its validated benefits.

Having FDA clearance gives consumers and medical professionals confidence in the technology compared to unverified products or treatments.

Non-Invasive and Safe

Near-infrared therapy is completely non-invasive with no harmful side effects. Devices simply emit LED light, so the technology is very safe compared to medications, supplements or surgery.

There are no adverse reactions, as long as recommended session lengths and eye safety guidelines are followed. This makes infrared light far less risky than pain medications like NSAIDs that can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding.

Infrared therapy is gentle and can be used daily for anti-aging, health optimization, illness treatment and prevention, and sports performance. No drugs are necessary.

Widespread Musculoskeletal Benefits

Near-infrared light research has demonstrated remarkable benefits for treating musculoskeletal pain conditions.

Chronic joint disorders like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis markedly improve with regular near-infrared use. Back pain, neck pain, muscle strains, tendinopathy, and fibromyalgia also respond well.

In a study of elderly patients with chronic back pain, near-infrared treatment decreased pain scores by 70% versus 15% in the placebo group after only 10 weeks of use.

For deep muscle and joint issues, near-infrared light is able to penetrate up to 4 inches deep to accelerate healing.

Improved Brain Function

Another key reason for the popularity of near-infrared light is its nootropic and brain optimization benefits.

Also called photobiomodulation, near-infrared therapy to the forehead has been shown to improve memory, cognition, depression, and emotional regulation in multiple studies.

Transcranial infrared stimulation takes just minutes daily but has demonstrated cognitive-enhancing effects similar to medications or brain training programs.


Availability of Home Devices

A final factor driving interest in near-infrared light is the increasing accessibility of affordable LED devices for convenient use at home.

Reliable and clinically effective near-infrared panels and masks now provide professional-grade photobiomodulation. Full body systems are even available.

Home use enables daily infrared light therapy to maximize wellness and longevity. You can now get the proven benefits without frequent visits to a doctor’s office.

red light therapy devices

Beurer Infrared Light Therapy Lamp

The Beurer Infrared Light Therapy Lamp is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for high-quality infrared light. This lamp is designed to deliver therapeutic heat to the body, which helps to stimulate circulation and promote the healing process. It has a large treatment area and comes with a timer function, so you can easily adjust the duration of your therapy session. The Beurer Infrared Light Therapy Lamp is also equipped with a tilt angle adjustable feature, making it easy to target specific areas of the body.

Tendlite Red Light Therapy Device

The Tendlite Red Light Therapy Device is another popular infrared light. It delivers red and infrared light at a wavelength of 660nm and 880nm respectively. This device is portable, lightweight, and easy to use. It comes with a rechargeable battery and is designed to be used for 60 seconds per treatment area. The Tendlite Red Light Therapy Device is also backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.

Biomat Infrared Amethyst Crystal Mat

The Biomat Infrared Amethyst Crystal Mat is a unique infrared light therapy option. This mat uses far infrared rays, negative ions, and the healing properties of amethyst to deliver a full-body treatment. The mat is designed to promote deep relaxation, reduce stress, and improve circulation. It also comes with a control panel that allows you to adjust the temperature and timer settings.

Pure Enrichment PureRelief Infrared Heating Pad

The Pure Enrichment PureRelief Infrared Heating Pad is another excellent option for those looking for an infrared light. This heating pad uses a combination of infrared heat and traditional heating to deliver therapeutic benefits. It has a large treatment area and comes with six different temperature settings. The Pure Enrichment PureRelief Infrared Heating Pad also has an automatic shut-off feature, so you can use it safely and easily.

The Future is Bright

Infrared light therapy is surging in popularity thanks to its proven deeper tissue effects, FDA clearance, innovative applications to brain and immune health, safety, and home device availability.

With thousands of studies and decades of photobiomodulation research validating its efficacy, near-infrared therapy is now mainstream.

However, researchers are still uncovering ways to optimize treatment protocols and new clinical applications. The future will likely see infrared light therapy become as commonplace as vitamin supplements for supporting health.

Talk to your doctor about whether daily near-infrared light use is right for you. Give your body the optimal cellular environment to thrive and heal.

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