Does Infrared Light Therapy Really Work

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It seems like red light treatments are all the craze these days, but the questions is: Does infrared light therapy really work or is it a big hoax to get you to buy devices that offer invisible light?. That is what the aim of this article is out to achieve, the answers.

There are many issues we may face in life but one of the most common problems is a dealing with pain. It is something that affects everyone at some point or another and for some people, it is a problem that is chronic and perhaps quite severe.

When a person is experiencing this type of pain the most important thing on their mind is finding a way to reduce it or perhaps to remove the pain altogether. Many people turn to infrared therapy for that reason, but does infrared light therapy really work for pain reduction?

First of all, it is important to compare the process of infrared therapy with the typical methods people will use to reduce pain, medication. In most cases (if not all cases), the pain-relieving medication is only going to mask the pain and will not really get to the core of the issue. In addition, it may cause a wide variety of side effects, some of which are much worse than the pain you are experiencing. Infrared light therapy, on the other hand, treats the pain naturally and gets to the root of the problem. It also does so without the negative side effects.

In order to truly know if infrared light therapy really works for relieving pain, sore joints, muscle stiffness and so on. One must first understand exactly what is this thing called infrared. I find it quite fascinating how it remained undiscovered for so many years, but today is so very powerful.

So What Is Infrared Light?How Infrared Light Works

Infrared light was first discovered by William Herchel way back in 1800 when he detected infrared radiation coming from the sun when he was testing filters through a telescope. When light from the sun shines though a prism you get a rainbow of colors on the other side. So by using different color filters on the telescope, William was able to determine that a red filter made the light hotter than the coolest color being violet.

To prove this, William set up a prism with white light coming in one side and the colors of the rainbow shining through on the other side. By putting a thermometer on each of the colors, William discovered that red is in fact the hottest color of the electromagnetic spectrum.

But what makes this story fascinating is that what happens next is what has changed the heat therapy world 200+ years later. William accidentally discovered ‘infrared radiation’. He accidentally had another thermometer sitting just next to the red light shining through the prism. This thermometer was sitting in a area where no visible light was shining. But when William looked at this thermometer that was sitting just outside the red shade light, he discovered that it was the hottest of all the colors shown through visible colors. This invisible light source was hotter than any other visible color known. Which is what is known today as infrared light.

Does Infrared Light Therapy Really Work

This new found invisible light measured in with a temperature hotter than using any other color filter, the hottest filter being red. Anything past red, the Human eye can’t see. As this invisible light was heating up just after the red color on the spectrum, it makes sense that it is called infrared, even tho it is not red but invisible light. So this invisible radiation was found to be hotter that any other source. At the time, this infrared radiation was not really understood.

Science was unsure as to what this invisible light that the human eye couldn’t see was exactly. But today, we know the benefits infrared heat can be for not just therapy, but also TV remote controllers, infrared cameras etc. It’s important to know that mobile phones and digital cameras etc can pick up infrared light, but if you were to uses a infrared torch you would see nothing. But the mobile camera could see the light emitting from the device. That is the power of infrared working. An invisible light source.

How Does Infrared Light Help Relieve Pain

When it comes to pain relief from infrared therapy, it is important to look at the science behind it. Like in the above color spectrum from violet to red (cool to hot), this spectrum also is a measurement of how far the light can penetrate. Again with violet being the least effective heat penetrating source. As we just learned, infrared is hotter than the visible ‘red’ color on the spectrum. Infrared also has the most penetrability of the color spectrum. What this means is that infrared light is hotter than any other light source and penetrates deeper into the sun far greater.

The Benefits Of Infrared Light On Your Muscles, Joints etcHow Does Infrared Light Help Relieve Pain

Infrared light has the ability to penetrate deep into the tissues, rather than just having an impact on the surface like other traditional heat sources.

This allows the tissues under the surface, including the internal organs and muscles, to experience the heating of infrared directly. When it comes to the power that this natural healing process offers, that is really the key.

When your body is heated in this way from the inside, it will improve your circulation, increase the heart rate and bring vital oxygen and nutrients to all areas of the body. In fact, some studies have shown that infrared therapy can triple the flow of blood in the body.

The benefits of infrared light on your body is a chemical reaction of damaged nerve cells that stimulate healing. Remember, nerves cells tell the brain that something requires attention and therefor brings the pain. So healing these nerve cells is critical to faster recovery time regardless of the injury.

  • Infrared heat increases blood flow which increases tissue oxygenation and healing attributes.
  • This improves sensation which provides better gait and balance when walking.
  • Reduces pain, burning and stinging sensations
  • Increased oxygen which reduces inflammation and increases circulation that speeds up healing times and decreased wound incidences.

Using Infrared Light Therapy To Relieve Pain

It is also important to consider why you are experiencing the pain as well. In almost all cases, it is not only the sensation of pain but there is also swelling (inflammation) involved. This inflammation can occur in the muscles, joints and nerves. When the blood flow is increased, it can have an anti-inflammitory effect that can target the pain directly. It has been shown to really impact your comfort level.

Since heat is so important for the relief of pain, why not just use heating pads or perhaps a hot water bottle? There are actually some significant differences in what a heating pad and infrared heat have to offer. You can think of a traditional heating pad as being like a convection oven. The heat comes from the outside and it affects the surface first, eventually penetrating into the deeper tissues. This type of external heat may feel good but when the effect is measured, it really only penetrates slightly into the underlying tissues. That is not the case with infrared therapy.

Infrared Heating Pads Are The BestInfrared Light Therapy Devices

Rather than only penetrating a few millimeters under the skin, infrared therapy is able to reach up to 2 to 3 inches below the skin, affecting all of the tissues. In other words, all of the deep tissues and organs that the heating pad is missing are being affected with infrared therapy. Also remember that infrared is the hottest on the light spectrum. So infrared offers a deeper and more effective heat therapy inside your body where it really matters.

Infrared heat pads and even infrared massaging devices are becoming more and more popular due to their healing attributes. But heat pads in particular have taken the therapy world by storm. This is down to having the ability to offer better and deeper heat directly into the painful muscle, swollen joints, pinched nerves etc. The higher quality heat pads also come with gem stones with transmit infrared much more evenly for an even better heat therapy session. Here are a few infrared heat pads that I recommend for targeting specific body parts:


Infrared Light Really Does Work For Muscle & Joint Pain

If you want to know the ins and outs of how exactly the infrared light increases blood flow and brings the needed oxygen and nutrients to the affected area, this short 4 minute video is really good at explaining it all. But it does use some terminology you may not be familiar with, so sub titles are a good option to turn on.


Lasting Benefits Offered by Using Infrared Light Therapy

Another one of the higher popular benefits of using infrared light over any other source is not just for immediate pain relief. But rather than simply providing some temporary pain relief, far infrared can also provide relief that sticks around for the long term. In fact, there have been some studies to show that the increase in circulation and lack of inflammation continue to benefit those who use infrared for up to 6 hours or more!

One other consideration is what is being accomplished when infrared is being used. Traditional medication will mask the pain. The pain and inflammation may still exist but it is blocking the ability of your body to feel the pain. Infrared, on the other hand, provides true relief; reducing inflammation and getting to the root of the problem.

So, when you want some relief from pain, infrared provides that relief in the best way possible. It is more than just a temporary way to feel better when you are at your worst; it is an opportunity to get the long lasting relief you desire.

  1. I have never heard about Infrared Light Therapy until I read this today. Very interesting! I wonder if this would be something to try on my sciatic pain.
    When I was delivering my youngest child, the epidural needle was placed incorrectly because the doctor didn’t know I had a scoliosis in my lower back. It has resulted in pain that is excruciating at times. This is definitely something I would like to look into more because I hate taking painkillers.

    • Hi Colette, that certainly sounds very painful. My sister in law suffers from chronic sciatic pain and uses infrared heat therapy on a daily basis to cope with the pain. So I would certainly look further into this. Avoiding pain killers as much as possible is a good idea if you can get the same pain relief elsewhere.

  2. Interesting post. It’s worth it to try a more natural way to alleviate pain. Also just a way to relax from everyday tension and avoid injury from everyday stuff. I mean I once threw my back out for two weeks just bending over to pick up a piece of paper! I also wonder with the increased blood flow and tissue oxygenation if there will be a detox effect. That would be a plus.

    • I know what you mean Ryn. I did my back in just sliding about a foot down a sloped surface. Immediate intense pain like I’ve never felt before. So I’m all for natural ways to relieve pain over medications. I’m not against medications, but when I can use such things as infrared lights and heating pads to aid in the recovery process I all for it.

  3. Really informative article…Thank you for that! Since a long time I am using an Infrared Lamp to release muscle pain. During the therapy you really feel, how the skin and the underneath tissue warms up and the stiff neck and should muscles are relaxing. Just when on-the-go such a lamp is not that handy…will check for the infrared head pads as they sound really like a great solution!

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