We’re just going to come right out and say it. There are TONS of benefits that infrared heat can provide. Most have heard that infrared heat can assist with pain, but did you know it can also improve the quality of your sleep? For your reading pleasure, and because we love it, we’ve compiled fifteen fascinating facts about infrared!
1. Gentle and restorative infrared rays can provide deep heating to your muscles and joints, loosening knots, reducing tissue stress, relieving pain, and improving circulation. “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,” says FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein.
2. Infrared heat is known for providing deep relaxation, but how? First, lying down in a relaxing space with infrared warmth covering your body is pretty peaceful, but there is a scientific reason. During a session, your body is reacting to the heat.
“In the 1980’s, NASA concluded that infrared heat causes the heart rate and the cardiac output to increase, while the diastolic blood pressure starts to decrease,” says Flickstein “While cortisol levels would likely stay the same or rise slightly during an infrared session, the infrared rays will drop these levels afterward.” A drop of this nature indicates that participants feel deep relaxation during infrared exposure and the user often notices a sense of well-being after just one session.
3. Full body infrared immersion can provide your body with a passive cardio workout to not only relieve stress but help with symptoms of sleeplessness. Many find that their sleeping patterns improve when they start exercising. Because infrared can increase blood flow and heart rate to create a passive cardiovascular workout, users can notice similar effects.
4. “Two of the highest calorie output forms of exercise are rowing and marathon running. Peak output on a rowing machine or while running a marathon burns about 600 calories in 30 minutes. An infrared body wrap may better this effect from ‘just slightly’ to up to 250%, by burning some 900-2400 calories during a session. [It] might then simulate the consumption of energy equal to that expended in a 6-9 mile run during only a single session,” says Flickstein.
5. How can detoxification with the aid of infrared can help combat the appearance of aging? By stimulation of tissue cell production and regeneration to increase cellular metabolism, oxygenation of tissue and blood flow. This, in turn, can have a positive effect on wrinkles, blotchy pigmentation, and skin elasticity.
6. Our blood flow and blood pressure can contribute to the aging of our brains. “Increasing blood circulation leads to many beneficial effects upon the human body, such as promoting cell growth and organ functions, rejuvenation of skin, and maintenance of healthy blood pressure,” explains Flickstein. “The oxygen supply from blood flow is critical for the brain to maintain its cognitive functions.”
7. When you wrap up with infrared heat, the soothing rays work to lower or balance your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone, made in the adrenal glands. This hormone raises your heart rate and blood pressure when you get stressed, and high cortisol levels can lead to health problems, trouble sleeping, weight gain and more.
8. Those who detox regularly report a sense of clarity and relaxation. An infrared session can help the body let go of more than just toxins; it can improve your mood, provide relaxation and jumpstart a healthy lifestyle.
9. When your body starts to “heat up” the temperature elevation can increase blood flow. This 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 you’re in 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. Pain experience also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period.”
10. “Infrared healing has become a leading-edge care for soft tissue injuries to promote relief in chronic or intractable “permanent” cases, and accelerated healing in newer injuries,” clarifies Flickstein. “Infrared heat can be beneficial for inflammation, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.” A 2009 article from Clinical Rheumatology points to a study in which 17 rheumatoid arthritis patients received eight infrared treatments over a four-week span. They noticed that their pain, stiffness, and fatigue showed improvement, without adverse effects.
11. If you’re on a weight loss journey or just looking to drop a few stubborn pounds, infrared may just be your new BFF. Immersing the body in infrared heat triggers the sweat glands, but it’s a bit deeper than just sweating. Infrared heat can penetrate the body to break up trapped fat and cholesterol, creating a way for it to leave the body through the sweat glands and lymphatic system.
Studies also indicate that infrared can raise your basal metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories while resting. The human body responds to the infrared loading experienced during a session by increasing the heart’s output and the rate of the heartbeat.
This beneficial “stress,” applied to the heart during infrared exposure can lead to cardiovascular conditioning training effects, thus the reason a 60-minute session is considered a passive cardiovascular workout. An infrared body wrap is the same idea as an infrared sauna, but it’s even more efficient!
12. When you’re alone, breathing deeply and quietly “in the moment” a sense of relaxation may come over you. When you add infrared to the mix, there’s more to it. Not only does the comforting warmth of infrared heat make you feel cozy, but one of infrared’s many talents is lowering or balancing cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can lead to stress, anxiety, overeating and let’s be honest; it can kind of be a killjoy. During an infrared body wrap session, a few things happen. One, you’re wrapped up for an hour, so it’s a pretty good time just to let it go, take a nap and zone out. Two, infrared gets to work on balancing out those cortisol levels and three, you begin to sweat out toxins, fats, cholesterol and more leaving you with a sense of calm and wellness.
13. Pain in the body can make daily tasks difficult or just downright irritating. When something is out of sync, it distracts us from making the most of our day. Infrared sessions initiate increased blood flow, circulation, and the soothing rays can also act directly on irritated nerve endings to calm the pain. Many users notice relief about 30 minutes into their session, and depending on the type of pain, the relief can last up to 48 hours.
However, infrared can do more than just temporarily mask the pain as it promotes the rebuilding of injured tissue by positively affecting the fibroblasts or the connective tissue cells necessary for repair. It also increases the growth of cells, DNA and protein synthesis necessary for tissue repair and regeneration. Infrared can also aid in reducing soreness in nerve endings and muscle spasms by heating the muscle fibers resulting in natural pain relief.
Of course, there are many painful situations infrared can relieve. For example, headaches may be reduced due to the increase in circulation and work infrared can do with tight muscles near the neck, shoulders, and head.
14. Most of us want soft, smooth, glowing skin and an absence of the dimpling we call cellulite. By increasing blood flow and circulation areas of the skin that may not receive proper circulation may improve. Detoxification also helps as infrared sessions get things moving in the body to improve the skin. Infrared heat therapy may also be useful for skin tightening, anti-aging and delaying the effects of photoaging.
15. Have you ever wondered what makes your body feel warm, even on a cloudy day? What about the heat emitted from your body when you give a friend a hug? Or, have you stopped to think about what the heat our sun produces is? Well, we have, and the answer to these questions is infrared!
Infrared is light or energy that cannot be seen, but it is felt as heat.When we think about light, a picture of the sun, a lamp or a light bulb may pop into our heads, but visible light is just a small portion of the light energy all around us. We experience small amounts of this safe, natural and effective heat nearly every day.
And that’s a wrap! How can you experience the wonder that is infrared heat? Wrap up in a FIT Bodywrap and relax as pain and toxins melt away.