Health Benefits Of Infrared
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What is Near Infrared Light?
Both near and far infrared provide heat which in itself has many health benefits. This article will explore the two types of heat source and compare the different range of benefits. The term ‘near infrared light’ (NIR) refers to electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 0.75–1.4 µm. This accounts for 37% of the suns natural output of light perhaps explaining why the human body has evolved in such a way that this light source can have such a profound effect upon us. NIR light generates the most amount of heat but doesn’t pierce deep into human tissues.
What are the Health Benefits of Near Infrared Light?
It has been found to stimulate the function of mitochondria inside the body, leading to a multitude of health benefits. These included an increased metabolism, improved tissue repair as well as reducing inflammation from injuries. (Karu, 2008; Sommer, 2019; Sunlighten, n.d.).
Not only can NIR light provide impressive physical health benefits, there is also evidence to suggest that it can have a profound psychological effect on the mind. Schiffer et al (2009) conducted a study where patients suffering with major depression and anxiety were subjected to a single treatment of near infrared therapy to the forehead. After two weeks, 70% of patients experienced a remission in their depression score and 60% of patients experience a remission in their anxiety score. Indicating the potential for NIR light to be used in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Patients with chronic, mild traumatic brain injuries reported an increased ability to perform social, interpersonal, and occupational functions after undergoing a NIR light treatment. Patients also noted a decrease in PTSD symptoms (Naeser et al, 2014).
What is Far Infrared Light?
Far infrared (FIR) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 5.6 - 1000 µm. FIR light penetrates much deeper than NIR light, right into the tissues of the human body.
What are the Health Benefits of Far Infrared Light?
The benefits of FIR light stem from both thermal and non-thermal effects. It can facilitate increased blood flow to an area of the boy and patients have also reported decreased stress and fatigue levels when subjected to FIR radiation. FIR therapy has also been proven to improve the symptoms of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease. (Shui, Wang, Chiang and Zheng, 2015; Sunlighten, n.d.).
Beever (2010) studied the effect of regular FIR sauna sessions on patients with Type 2 diabetes. The study found that systolic blood pressure was decreased amongst participants and that there was also a trend towards decreased waist circumference. Giving FIR therapy the potential to be an effective means towards maintaining a healthy active lifestyle.
The use of FIR radiation has also been proven to be effective for patients suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee. Patients were supplied with a FIR emitting plaster and reported a 20% greater reduction in pain after one month, when compared with a placebo group. (Bagnato, Miceli, Atteritano, and Marino, 2012).
What Patio Heater Options use Infrared Light?
All of our electric patio heaters work using infrared radiation, the majority of which use NIR light. This means on top of the benefits described previously, there are also no harmful side effects from using these heaters.
Infrared heaters waste no time or energy heating up the area surrounding them and re designed to work as efficiently as possible. Helping businesses and homeowners to make the most of their outside space, whilst keeping energy costs down.
Bagnato, G., Miceli, G., Atteritano, M., Marino, N., & Bagnato, G. (2012). Far infrared emitting plaster in knee osteoarthritis: a single blinded, randomised clinical trial. Reumatismo, 64(6). doi: 10.4081/reumatismo.2012.388
Naeser, M., Zafonte, R., Krengel, M., Martin, P., Frazier, J., & Hamblin, M. et al. (2014). Significant Improvements in Cognitive Performance Post-Transcranial, Red/Near-Infrared Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Open-Protocol Study. Journal Of Neurotrauma, 31(11), 1008-1017. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3244
Schiffer, F., Johnston, A., Ravichandran, C., Polcari, A., Teicher, M., Webb, R., & Hamblin, M. (2009). 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. Behavioral And Brain Functions, 5(1), 46. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-5-46
Shui, S., Wang, X., Chiang, J., & Zheng, L. (2015). Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review. Experimental Biology And Medicine, 240(10), 1257-1265. doi: 10.1177/1535370215573391
Sommer, A. (2019). Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase is not the primary acceptor for near infrared light—it is mitochondrial bound water: the principles of low-level light therapy. Annals Of Translational Medicine, 7(S1), S13-S13. doi: 10.21037/atm.2019.01.43