The Effects of Infrared Wellness
The best wellness treatments are those that provide multiple benefits, and here at FIT, we’re all about results. You may know that infrared heat can soothe sore muscles, but did you know that it can also improve energy levels, speed up recovery and improve your mood?
Incorporating infrared sessions with a healthy lifestyle can help you reach health and fitness goals. Let’s dive into some of the effects infrared can have on the body and how it can improve wellness.
Improved Sleep and Energy Levels
If you’ve struggled with restlessness or insomnia for a while infrared may be the answer. What causes sleeplessness? Most cases are attributed to poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, the absence of exercise, chronic illness, medications, and stress. While there is not a cure, there are remedies that may help, infrared being one of them.
Soothing and deep penetrating infrared heat can help you manage your stress by inducing deep relaxation and lowering or regulating your cortisol levels with each session. How can infrared assist with deep relaxation? 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 1980s, NASA concluded that infrared heat causes the heart rate and the cardiac output to increase, while the diastolic blood pressure starts to decrease,” says FIT Bodywrap’s Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein.
So, how does regulate cortisol? “While cortisol levels would likely stay the same or rise slightly during an infrared session, the infrared rays will drop these levels afterward,” he says. This research indicates that participants feel deep relaxation during infrared exposure and when cortisol levels drop the user can feel a sense of well-being after just one session.
Quick Recovery and Relief from Pain
Have you ever taken your workout to the next level, hiked for hours or hit the gym harder than usual? If you have, we are willing to bet you’ve experienced soreness in your body. Many notice delayed-onset muscle soreness, muscle fatigue or aches or pains after a good workout. Working our bodies is healthy, but if you’re injured, overworked and have muscles that are sore an infrared session may be the answer.
“Not only does infrared therapy promote caloric consumption and cardiovascular conditioning, but it is also very effective in relaxing the joints and muscles. The deep penetrating heat of infrared rays can be used to reduce muscle spasms and relieve pain, muscle tension, and even tight shoulders,” explains Flickstein. Because it can increase the extensibility of collagen tissues, infrared is a great tool to get you back into your regular workout routine.
Here at FIT we always say, take it to your edge, but don’t push it too far. A challenging workout that inspires you is great (get it!), pushing yourself so hard that can’t get up off of the couch for days may be too much. You know your body, if you can’t breathe, feel intense pain or just know it’s time to take a break it probably is.
Skin Beautification and Cellulite Reduction
Cellulite is a gel-like substance that is made up of fat, water, and wastes trapped in pockets below the skin’s surface. The pockets of cellulite we see are often called globules. Cellulite globules can become visible in part due to weakened connective tissue and tight fascia. Fascia is a fibrous connective tissue fused to each vein, artery, bone, and muscle. It’s present throughout the entire body, and unhealthy fascia can cause body pain, the appearance of cellulite and more.
The body’s physiological response to infrared immersion often includes improved circulation, increased blood flow and sweat production. European beauty specialists and infrared experts, like Dr. Flickstein, confirm that exposure to infrared heat can significantly advance an anti-cellulite program.
Besides encouraging fats and toxins to leave the body, exposure to infrared saturation can also prompt the rebuilding of collagen connective tissue by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells producing collagen fibers). Stronger collagen may help rearrange the globules away from each other and the skin’s surface, leading to the prevention of further accumulation of cellulite. Also, because you’re sweating and because of infrareds ability to penetrate deeply, it can help with the release of toxins through the skins sweat glands.
Improved Mood and Sense of Calm
We all have moments in which we are down in the dumps. Perhaps we’re having a bad day, fighting off a cold or just can’t seem to catch up on sleep. We know that infrared heat can boost your energy, but it’s also a great mood enhancer! When you are battling with anxiety, sadness, fatigue or frustration wrapping your body in soothing infrared heat can leave you feeling more relaxed and calm.
If you’re waking up exhausted each day, you may not be rising in the best mood. Cortisol affects your stress levels, but it also makes a difference in your sleeping patterns. We live and work in fast-paced environments. With long to-do lists and trying to keep a work-life balance many people struggle with insomnia, restlessness and don’t get enough ZZZ’s.
Infrared can also improve your trips to dreamland by lowering cortisol, which may calm down a stressed, or high heart rate and reduce high blood pressure. A 2009 study done on patients experiencing depression and insomnia found that regular infrared immersion can increase serotonin levels which directly impact poor mood, sleep, and behavior. The study participants also noticed lower MDA levels, which are a standard marker for oxidative stress.
With a variety of benefits to offer infrared makes for an excellent addition to a healthy routine. Most infrared lovers participate in sessions anywhere from one to four times each week, depending on their goals.