Hi, I’m Dr. Emily Parke with your functional health minute for today. Today I’d like to discuss the different types of infrared therapy. Of course, there are infrared saunas that can be used, but there’s also some individual devices that are out there that can also be really
So, there’s three different types of infrared. There is near-infrared light, mid-infrared light, and far-infrared light. Near-infrared light is very typically used for wound healing, conditions of the skin, but it also is very helpful to your mitochondria, that powerhouse of the cells and energy producers, which can have many health benefits when the mitochondria are functioning
Then there is mid-infrared therapy. Mid-infrared tends to typically penetrate the mid layer, so more like muscles and blood vessels, so it can be helpful to relieve muscles aches for example, and it can be helpful for lowering blood pressure, things like
Then there’s also far-infrared therapy. Far-infrared therapy is very typically known for detoxification. And that’s just one of the general benefits of sauna therapy is that it does help upregulate your detoxification pathways ways faster than just sweating from, let’s say exercise, or being outside when it’s really
So, some of the benefits of infrared therapy are really, really helpful for cardiovascular conditions especially. So, infrared sauna users have a decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease and specifically it helps increase cardiac output. It can help lower blood pressure via increasing something called nitric oxide, which helps dilate your blood vessels. It can even help lower cholesterol. Infrared therapy can also help increase your metabolic rate and oxygen consumption, so it can be helpful for weight loss there. And we know that infrared therapy overall decreases oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is stress at the cellular level. Also, it has an impact on hormones, so it can help balance hormones, like growth hormone and cortisol for
To talk about some specifics with infrared therapy, it doesn’t have to be quite as hot as you would expect. Some people think that the hotter the better, but that’s actually not the case. As long as you’re getting a temperature of about 135 degrees in your sauna, you are still going to get the benefits. Now, saunas can go all the way up to about 158-160 degrees at top heat, but you still do get good benefits at lower mid-range heats like 135 degrees. That’s because infrared therapy works a little bit differently than just regular radiant heat. It actually penetrates through the body instead of just warming the air around you like a traditional dry sauna at the gym would, for example.
How often do you have to use this to really get the benefits? There are some studies that have been done and as little as three times a week, 20 minutes, had some significant benefits to health. For example, there is a study of type 2 diabetics using infrared therapy for 20 minutes, three times a week, and they did have improved fatigue and less stress. Then there was a really great study on rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis patients, and infrared sauna therapy was proven to decrease their pain.
So, commonly in my practice here, I will recommend infrared sauna therapy as part of a detoxification protocol if we found, for example, heavy metals, or molds, or environmental toxins that we’re dealing with and I will also recommend it just as part of general pain relief. I do have some acupuncture patients that when they come for acupuncture they’re getting into the sauna afterwards and it is tremendous pain relief. If the sauna is not comfortable for you to sit in or be in, we do have a second option and that’s the Biomat. It’s a mat that is the size of about a twin bed that provides infrared heat. It also has some other benefits to … Has amethyst in it that is very grounding and healing and helps kind of naturally emit some infrared therapy by itself.
There are many different uses and ways to get benefits from infrared therapy. I highly recommend you check it out. This is Dr. Emily Parke with your health minute for today.