Graphic of an infrared light therapy device.

The Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy

posted:

1/15/2023

Have you heard about infrared light therapy? It’s a light-based method to help treat different pains and has beneficial effects on overall health. The use of red light therapy is nothing new and has been used in many different ways in the past. Today I want to talk to you about the benefits of red light therapy, how it works, and other common questions you may have!

Graphic of an infrared light therapy device.

Heat therapy—sunbathing, saunas, and steam rooms—has been used by traditional cultures all over the world for centuries to promote healing and wellness. 

Infrared light therapy is an amazing holistic tool for the human body with so many benefits, such as detoxification, pain relief, opening up drainage pathways, supporting the immune system, and significant improvements in mental clarity, focus, and energy. 

An infrared photon portable light

Last year I invested in this infrared photon portable light from SaunaSpace, and it was one of the best health investments I’ve ever made!! I got the light set up on my desk and would turn it on as I worked at my computer—not only did I notice a sense of calm, but I was amazed at how much I got done and how focused my brain was. 

We have used it to support our children through days of illness, and whenever I’m having a crummy day or just feel worn out, I remind myself to go sit in front of my infrared light. My parents have the full sauna, and I have loved using it—I feel such a sense of calm energy afterward. The portable infrared light is an amazing tool and very practical!

Use the code FLOURISH5 to save on any infrared lights from SaunaSpace

Let’s read more about the red light therapy devices! 

Caroline enjoying the benefits of infrared light therapy while working

How does Infrared Light Therapy Work?

Light isn’t just sun, fire, and electricity—there are many different wavelengths of light. Infrared light comes just after sunlight, has a longer wavelength, and is invisible to the human eye. Of all the different types of light, we get from the sun, about 41% is infrared—which is why infrared lights and saunas are so impactful because they mimic something natural. 

Your body has special receptors for red and near-infrared light. The light particles are absorbed by cells’ mitochondria—the powerhouse of energy responsible for maintaining all processes and functions. This reduces inflammation, boosts blood flow, encourages relaxation and promotes energy at the cellular level.

The benefits of infrared light therapy are truly holistic as they start at the cellular level to support the body as a whole.

A graphic showing the benefits of infrared light therapy.

The Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy

This blog post is designed for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose or cure. Please consult your medical professional before using infrared therapy or a sauna.

Detoxification

No matter how “healthy” you eat or live, the reality is that we are exposed to an increasing amount of toxins in this modern world. Of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States, most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health. From plastics to cleaning supplies, from pesticides to tap water, from toys to paint, our bodies cannot keep up with the heavy toxic load. 

As the sauna raises your core temperature, your body naturally sweats—opening up a main elimination and drainage pathway. Your body’s increased internal temperature drives blood flow to the surface and also boosts blood and lymph flow throughout the whole body, encouraging detox at a cellular level. 

Sweating, most importantly, encourages not just detox but also elimination as toxins are pushed to the surface and out of the body. Detox is an energy-intensive process on the body—detoxing while in a relaxed state in a sauna or in front of infrared light allows your body’s energy to go toward what needs it most. 

Pain Relief

From headaches to sprains, sore muscles, acute or chronic pain, infrared light stimulates the mitochondria at the cellular level, which boosts circulation, oxygenates the blood, and encourages a healing response to decrease inflammation and relieve pain in an effective way. Infrared light penetrates the surface of the skin much deeper in a non-invasive way encouraging rapid pain relief and healing of deep tissues. 

Personally, I’ve found infrared therapy very helpful for chronic migraine relief—I’ll sit in front of the infrared light focusing on my face for a few minutes, then a few more minutes of targeted support aimed at the specific area of the migraine. Targeted support can be amazing at relieving PMS pain or cramps as well.

Relaxation + Calming

Rest and sleep are very different activities—but both are needed daily. Relaxation is a key puzzle piece in promoting good sleep, an effective stress response, and mental health. 

Infrared light helps boost our feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which helps decrease stress, anxiety and overwhelm and boosts joy and balance. Plus, serotonin affects the circadian rhythm, our natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and improves deep sleep. 

In our hyper-stressed, high-paced world, carving out moments, even if it’s only 5 minutes, to shift our body into a relaxed mode with a sauna or heat light session will greatly impact our mood and overall stress response. I can’t tell you how relaxed and rejuvenated I feel after a short sauna session or sitting in front of my infrared light. It’s truly powerful!

I love that the Saunaspace infrared light minimizes EMFs with its protective shield and grounding cables allowing your body to go deeper into detoxification, relaxation and healing. 

Energy

The specific wavelength of infrared light causes the mitochondria, the part of the cell responsible for energy production, to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which helps the body use water, oxygen, sugar, and nutrients for energy. 

The more efficient cells are at making energy, the better you will feel! A 15-minute session in front of my infrared light truly gives me a boost and turns around the day. I recommend it a lot for those who suffer from the seasonal affective disorder.

Sitting in front of a computer during the day? Place your desk light next to your computer, aimed at your face and eyes, to beat screen fatigue and counteract the blue light from flickering computer light waves. 

Mental Focus + Clarity

Oh my, mental focus and clarity is by far the biggest benefit I have noticed! I keep my infrared light on my desk as I work and also love it first thing in the morning during my quiet time. It gives me such a calm sense of energy and focus; I’m often amazed at how much I get done, even as an often tired mama.

Infrared light improves the connectivity of neurons in your brain and enhances your ability to process information, empowering you to tackle tasks with a renewed sense of clarity.

Immune Support

It raises your body’s temperature, which triggers your immune response. When our body is in a weakened state of energy—adrenal fatigue, sleep exhaustion, stress, or sickness—it is important to keep our bodies warm to encourage natural healing. When the body is cold, more energy is required to bring up the body temperature, and that energy could be allocated towards more important activities like healing. 

Warming—whether with blankets, saunas, baths, or warming spices and teas—follows the traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practices. Consistent daily use of infrared light or sauna sessions gives the immune system a boost to help you recover faster.

I’ve found a few minutes of infrared light super helpful when my kids are actively sick or at first symptoms of sickness. You only need a few minutes, and it’s especially helpful at bedtime to promote calming. 

Skin Clarity + Rejuvenation

As infrared light boosts blood circulation and brings blood flow to the skin’s surface, this can help cleanse the skin, decrease blemishes, and helps make the wound healing process faster. It also boosts collagen production, which promotes a youthful glow and helps skin look firmer, decreasing the effects of aging, fine lines, and wrinkles, and overall helps with skin rejuvenation.

It’s a non-invasive way to treat different skin conditions and improve skin health in a holistic way.

Closeup of a portable infrared light therapy device

How to Incorporate Infrared Light into Your Wellness Routines

Why do I love the infrared photon portable light? It’s practical for most people!! Most of us may not have the space or finances for a full sauna, but you can still get so many benefits from the light!!! And let me tell you, it’s one of the best health investments I’ve ever made!

If you have space for a sauna, I would go for it! Heat therapy is truly holistic, and your entire body and mind will benefit. In this stressful world, taking steps to intentionally relax, detox, and rejuvenate will keep you energized and well.
When doing a sauna session, be sure to start small with 5 minutes and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure elimination pathways are open—I recommend consistent gua sha, dry brushing, and walking routines for a few weeks before starting sauna sessions.

Portable infrared light therapy device on a desk

FAQs

Now that you know the health benefits red light therapy has to offer, you may have some other questions about its use.

Q: Can you use infrared light while pregnant or breastfeeding?

While I can’t give medical advice, I have found it SO helpful during these exhausting and depleting seasons of life. The light can really boost mood and also warm the body and energy levels postpartum. Sitting in front of the light does not promote detox as a sauna does. 

Q: Can children use infrared light therapy?

A: While I can’t give medical advice, this has been so helpful to our entire family, especially when sick or overly tired/overly stimulated! Shorter sessions in front of light can have a big impact on little bodies. 

Q: Can you use a sauna while pregnant or breastfeeding?

A: Always consult your healthcare provider before using a sauna while pregnant or breastfeeding. Saunas stimulate detox, which is not recommended during these life seasons.

Q: Are there any negative or side effects to infrared saunas?

A: If elimination pathways are not open (digestion, sweating, lymphatic drainage) then toxins can be released but not eliminated from the body. This can cause a build-up. I recommend first focusing on consistent drainage by staying properly hydrated, gua sha, focusing on digestion, and walking or stretching before starting sauna therapy. Sauna sessions will cause you to sweat a lot—this is great—but be sure to hydrate thoroughly before and after to prevent dehydration. If you have low blood pressure, proceed with caution.

Illustration for The Wellness Collective for Adults and Children.

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