How Infrared Heat Can Act as a Natural Antidepressant
Did you know that infrared heat can act a a natural antidepressant? It’s natural for human beings to feel a variety of emotions every day. It’s also normal for us to experience sadness, anxiety, or depression. When we are overcome with feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness, and fear it can be a challenge to realize the need for wellness. But, it’s during times we don’t feel emotionally well that we can benefit greatly from self care.
Hence the reason mood boosting activities are essential. Often natural remedies are the most efficient option. Take infrared heat for example, did you know that infrared heat can trigger a positive response in the brain signaling to the body that it’s OK to relax? Well, we’re here to share some studies that show just how effective infrared heat can be in lessening stress and depression.
Effects on Depression and Anxiety
Infrared heat is beneficial for inducing deep relaxation, aiding in sleep and improving the mood, naturally. In one study researchers set out to test infrared’s ability to improve the psychological status and cerebral blood flow without side effects.
To do so, they studied a group of severely depressed stroke survivors. Each participant experienced a series of four-minute “infrared” treatments in random order, two infrared treatments and two placebo treatments to each side of the head.
The positive and negative side effects were measured after each treatment and the treatment repeated at the two-week and four-week marks. After two weeks of treatment over half of the patients noted lessened depression and anxiety. Researchers noted no side effects, and the quick response from patients led them to resolve that infrared therapy may be effective for the treatment of depression and psychiatric disorders.
Improvement in just one session
In another study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers noted positive progress in mental health patients after repeated exposure to infrared lamps. During the 6-week, randomized, double blind study over two dozen participants received infrared treatments.
To truly test their theory researchers gave about half of the patients a “sham” treatment using light and fans. Researchers found that one infrared treatment can provide significant effects. In fact, participants treated with infrared heat to their chest and legs noticed lessened depression symptoms after the first session.
Infrared and Deep Relaxation
When you are stressed or depressed attempting to “relax” is challenging. But, have you ever stepped out into the sunshine after what seemed to be a crummy day and noticed a shift in how you feel? Often a little bit of heat on your skin can make a noticeable difference in your mood.
How does it work?
When you wrap up your body in 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 the heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations, and high cortisol levels can lead to health problems, trouble sleeping, weight gain and more.
During an infrared session, cortisol levels may remain the same or slightly increase. However, upon completion of your infrared experience cortisol levels can drop quite drastically to leave you feeling more relaxed, clear and calm. Infrared acts as a natural antidepressant as it can lower the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and an induce overall sense of well-being after just one session.
Focus on Self Care
Some days are more challenging than others. When you aren’t feeling your best, a little self-love can help. Infrared sessions are a great tool because all you need to do to soak up the benefits is lie down and relax. When you need relaxation, restoration and warmth consider the power of infrared, effective relief is only a one-hour session away.
While infrared heat is a great natural antidepressant, it should be considered just one of many options for improved mental well being.
- Schiffer, F., Johnston, A., Ravichandran, C., Polcari, A., Teicher, M., Webb, R. and Hamblin, M. Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety. BioMed Central.
- Janssen, C., Lowry, C., Mehl, M., Allen, J., Kelly, K., Gartner, D., Medrano, A., Begay, T., Rentscher, K., White, J., Fridman, A., Roberts, L., Robbins, M., Hanusch, K., Cole, S. and Raison, C. Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(8):789-795. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1031