Infrared and Sports Related Injuries by Dr. Aaron M Flickstein, DC Emeritus
Infrared speeds injury healing by as much as 3 weeks
If you have a sports related injury, your down time from injury can be reduced, allowing you to get back to your game much faster by using infrared therapy every other day. This is possible because far infrared rays may help reduce the severity of symptoms from torn muscle fibers, pulled tendons, inflammation, bruises (contusions) or ligaments injuries.
Whenever you are starting to develop new sports skills, there is bound to be some stress and strain on your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. While the saying “No Pain No Gain” is possibly true, we must be aware that building muscles, strength and agility, and fine-tuning automatic reflexes is a methodical process that takes time.
During this process, it is easy to overdo your training and pull a muscle or strain a tendon. This is where far infrared will come in handy. Depending on the type of injury, use of far infrared technology can speed up your healing process by up to three weeks.
How does infrared therapy help injured athletes?
Far infrared can decreases joint stiffness directly. Far infrared can be successful in helping joints to move more freely. It can work just as well on recently traumatized or chronically injured joints.
It can relieve muscle spasms. Muscle spasms have long been observed to lessen through the use of heat, even when the spasms are secondary to underlying skeletal, joint or neuropathological conditions. Far infrared heat can be used to reset the nerves of the sensory system found within all muscles and tendons. It can also help tone down the muscle spasms.
Far infrared can produce pain relief. Far infrared heat can help with pain relief by:
- Relaxing muscle spasms.
- Quickly draining overly tensed muscles of inflammation.
- Directly calming pain receptors and nerves.
- Increasing production of our own side-effect free opioids (i.e. endorphins).
- Shutting down the so-called “spinal gate,” which can reduce pain (Melzack and Wall Gate Theory of Pain).
Infrared can help with swelling and inflammation. Far infrared can produce three big changes that affect the biochemistry of inflammation:
- The rise in core body temperature can trigger a response in the control centre your brain uses to coordinate many automatic housekeeping jobs at once.
- The infrared can cause your brain to relax tense vessels. Heat one arm or leg, and the other side of the body also dilates; heat a forearm and both lower legs will dilate; heat the front of the trunk and the hand will dilate. Far infrared can engage almost every one of your body parts directly and bring more blood flow into the rest of your body indirectly.
- Heating injured muscles can produce an increased blood flow level similar to that seen during exercise. Infrared saturation can provide a doubling of the blood flow rate in your core, organs, arms and legs (i.e. the periphery).
Overall, infrared can help rapidly reduce swelling by quickly eliminating inflammation and decreasing swelling related pain. Regardless of the type of injury, infrared can speed up your recovery and help put you back in the game.