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By no stretch of the imagination is infrared a new technical power that’s winning the world over. It’s a natural energy emitted from the Sun. So it’s been around forever. But it’s only been in the last two centuries that infrared has been studied for the benefit of man. With recent studies showing the benefits of infrared and neuropathy, more and more people are turning to infrared light therapy device for neuropathy.
With cold laser (near infrared) therapy sessions costing thousands of dollars, people are turning to red and infrared light therapy for neuropathy using devices from the comfort of their own home. Without having to spend a fortune either.
But can these infrared light devices (LLLT – low level light therapy) really relieve peripheral neuropathy symptoms like the expensive professional sessions at a clinic?. In this article I will be discussing both red light and infrared light therapy and the available devices in which you can use from home to relieve neuropathy symptoms.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 How Infrared Therapy Can Relieve Neuropathy Symptoms
- 2 The Best Infrared Light Therapy Devices For Neuropathy
- 3 Affordable Infrared Light Therapy Device For Neuropathy
- 4 Infrared Heating Pad For Neuropathy
- 5 How Does Red Light Therapy Work
- 6 The Best Red Light Therapy Device For Neuropathy
- 7 Is Infrared Light Energy Safe?
- 8 Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy In The Treatment Of Nephropathy
- 9 Heat In General Relieves Neuropathy Related Pain
How Infrared Therapy Can Relieve Neuropathy Symptoms
Infrared is an invisible energy that comes form the sun. It’s found on the opposite side of UV (Ultra Violet) on the light spectrum. Both of which are invisible energy, but UV being the dangerous kind. Infrared light conducts well with the human body.
By this I mean when using a infrared light source on your body, the invisible energy waves penetrate into your body and heat up form the inside out. So instead of only heating the surface, your skin, like a traditional heat source, infrared can penetrate up to 2 inches deep into the body.
Without getting to specific, Hemoglobin occurs and releases nitric oxide which makes the blood vessels expand. When the vessels expand, blood cells can flow more freely. When blood is circulating it brings in a fresh supply of oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart. This is how the body naturally heals and recovers itself.
When It’s Applied To Neuropathy
People that suffer from Neuropathy can experience extreme pain while at the same time have complete numbness. It can be a horrific experience that can lead to greater injuries from accidental falls. Heat can treat Neuropathy by attempting to fix the damage to the nerves associated with neuropathy.
The nerves send messages to and from the brain. When you suffer from neuropathy those messages don’t get sent or they are misread due to being damaged. This is what causes the symptoms of neuropathy. When you apply infrared light therapy to these nerves, an increase in healing blood cells can accommodate the area.
Does Infrared Light Work Immediately
With the increase in oxygen, nutrients and proteins, the damaged nerve cells can start to heal. This can have an immediate effect on pain levels as the signals to and from the brain are correctly read as the nerves no longer need to send pain signals to the brain.
But for long term conditions of neuropathy, using red light therapy or cold laser therapy is going to be a on going process. Symptoms may take as little as a few days to reduce, or it may take weeks. It will depend on a case to case basis.
The main thing to take away from this is that infrared energy is certainly beneficial to relieving neuropathy when used correctly. If you have the symptoms in your legs, a infrared foot massager is another route you can take. This is because the infrared can circulate the blood up your legs which prevents the blood from pooling in your feet, while also maintaining the benefits of massage.
Below you can find some of the useful tools and devices that uses infrared light which would be beneficial for neuropathy symptoms.
The Best Infrared Light Therapy Devices For Neuropathy
Any device that emits true infrared energy is going to help stimulate blood circulation to the affected nerves. But with any type of product, there are going to be good ones and also the not so good ones. So after much research and siphoning through the many contenders, there is one that stood out from the crowd.
That is the Anodyne Therapy infrared light kit. Reason being, it is a medical grade device that is currently being used in professional clinics all across the country. This is as close as what you can get to having the real deal infrared light therapy session from home.
The down side of course is that it is expensive, with an even more expensive model available. But, from the amount of testimonies and reviews on this product, it’s easy to see this as an investment in your body. A device that can actually relieve neuropathy according to the many testimonies.
The Anodyne Therapy Infrared Device Review
This patented and FDA cleared device is a Nobel price winner from scientists right here in the USA. Being cleared by the FDA in 1994, the Anodyne Therapy device still remains in the elite few that are evidence based in the field of infrared.
Manufactured in Tampa FL, you can be assured you’re dealing with the real deal company here. It’s a non evasive and pain free approach to relieving peripheral neuopathy symptoms that has diabetics and many elderly people wearing shoes again for the first time in many years.
What this device does is emits monochromatic infrared energy at a wavelength of 890nm. This comes from 60 super luminous diodes from each pad. This causes a biological cascade causes the liberation of a compound called Nitric Oxide from hemoglobin in the blood.
This release of Nitric Oxide widens the blood vessels which indirectly relieves pain caused by the lack of blood flow associated with neuropathy. Nitric Oxide has been linked with local blood circulation, pain relief, reducing inflammation and Angiogenesis.
Why The Anodyne Therapy Is So Good
With the obvious benefits of the body releasing nitric oxide, the question remains, why is the Anodyne Therapy the best choice?. With infrared devices having various wavelengths in NM (nanometres), the wavelength used by Anodyne is 890NM. Which has been validated through data to perform at the optimum in regards to releasing nitric oxide.
The Anodyne Uses LED’s
With the wavelength spot on at 890NM, how it is dispersed into the body is the next most important factor. You may have heard of lasers or cold laser, this device does not use lasers. Instead it uses Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s). LED’s disperse the infrared energy over a greater area of the body compared to a narrow laser.
So you get more infrared coverage per square inch. This Anodyne also utilizes the laser’s benefit of being monochromatic. Which means it focuses on one wavelength, 890nm the optimum wavelength for neuropathy. So the best of both worlds in terms of distribution of infrared energy.
- Medical Grade
- Used By Over 6000 Clinics
- Made In The USA
- Monochromatic Wavelength 890NM
- LED's Cover Greater Area
- Works On The Whole Body
- Scientifically Designed For Neuropathy
- Includes 3 months supply of NEUROPAQUELL - Nerve support & Pain relief supplement
- Out Of The Price Range For Some Folks
- Not Covered By Health Care
- Some people won't like the feel of the boot. So strap the pads to your feet instead.
Does It Treat Neuropathy
The most common areas that neuropathy associates with are the arms and legs. The best part about the Anodyne Therapy device is that it can be used anywhere on the body. So in terms of treating the legs, calves and feet, this device has the boot for treating your feet and pads that you attach to your legs.
Each cycle lasts about 20 minutes and can really get the blood circulating back up the legs. In some cases the effects of blood circulation can be felt 4 hours after treatment. But again, this is a long term treatment plan. Not an overnight miracle cure. Although sometimes you can feel the difference after one session.
Overall It’s The Best Infrared Light Therapy Device For Increasing Blood Circulation
Whether you have peripheral neuropathy or one of the many of the blood circulation conditions, the Anodyne Therapy device is designed just for you. It’s incredible high quality build with the advanced scientific approach makes it one highly sort after at home treatment device.
I wouldn’t be surprised if your therapist or doctor hasn’t already recommended the Anodyne Therapy. Being used in over 6000 clinics across America, it’s sure to be noticed. Unfortunately it is not covered by Healthcare, so the upfront cost can be a little off putting. But when you have tried everything else, you really should give this device a go.
*Do note the Pro model is meant for professional clinics as the electrical device has been cleared for commercial use and comes with staff training. In most cases you won’t need the Pro model.
Affordable Infrared Light Therapy Device For Neuropathy
It’s the DPL Flex which uses red lights and infrared LED’s to promote blood circulation. In total, this 5″ x 8″ pad has 60 lights. 20 are red light and the remaining are 40 infrared which operate at 880NM. So not a bad mix for providing both heat and infrared therapy at the same time.
What’s Good About The DPL Flex
Besides being a lot cheaper than the Anodyne, the DPL Flex is also another device you can use just about anywhere on your body. It’s a flexible pad which has a Velcro strap for securing it in position.
Which means you can use this infrared light therapy device underneath your feet, on your calf muscles and on your arms to stimulate blood flow for neuropathy. I would certainly not use this pad over my eyes with it being mostly infrared. Kind of irrelevant to the topic, but worth knowing.
The DPL Flex is a handy device for people that suffer from Neuropathy. It has the infrared wavelength of 880NM which is slightly off compared to the clinically tested Anodyne and utilizes LED’s for greater coverage. As we are dealing with feet, legs and arms, a larger surface is usually the way to go.
The other advantage to the DPL Flex is that it can be USB powered. So you could use this device as a portable infrared light therapy device if you had a strong enough power bank. Or if you are by the computer you can simply plug it in and get relief. This device is also FDA approved “Class II OTC Medical Device” making it a safe device to use. However it is not recommended if you suffer from a thyroid condition.
Infrared Heating Pad For Neuropathy
From all the information available on this page, it should be clear that infrared light is invisible and not red. Those red bulbs that that are classified as red light therapy and not infrared are two completely different devices. So don’t be shocked when below you can see that I’ve recommended a heating pad.
This is because this heating pad emits far Infrared through the use of Jade stones. So instead of a bulb or a light, this device can offer the benefits of infrared like any other infrared light therapy device. I think it’s a good fit for people with neuropathy symptoms.
The UTK Jade Stone Far Infrared Heating Pad Review
The UTK heating pad is another FDA cleared product suitable for transmitting infrared light. The Jade stones built into this pad are a natural conductor for infrared energy waves. So this means the infrared can be better distributed throughout the pad.
The pad comes in a variety of sizes to suit many conditions. Which is why it is one our our top rated heating pads of all time. But in the case of neuropathy, the medium size pad is best suited. This is because it can wrap around your arms or legs to treat more of the affected areas.
For the feet you can sit on a chair with the pad wrapped underneath your feet and over the top to get maximum blood circulation. Pushing all that pooled up blood back into circulation.
The UTK ‘Medium’ Specs
- Pad size is 21″ x 31″ and is about half an inch in thickness. So can be used on larger muscle groups as well as the feet.
- 126 natural jade stones in each pad to distribute the far infrared energy.
- 10 foot power lead with a digital controller.
- Benefit of heat therapy as well as infrared. So can be used for general muscle pain throughout the body
- Heat temperatures range from 103°F-159°F. Temperature can be adjusted in 1°F increments.
- You can adjust how long you want the session with a maximum 4 hour shut off.
Overall I Love It
The UTK heating pad is one of my households favorite heat therapy devices. As it uses infrared it also doubles up as a pain reliever. Other heating pads don’t stand up to the UTK in my opinion. The Velcro strap makes it suitable for neuropathy as it can be positioned on the legs or arms and set for 15 minute sessions while watching TV.
But it goes beyond treating just the legs and arms. This device can spread the benefits of far infrared just about anywhere on the body. You can even lay on top of the device when you need to get those hard to reach spots.
So when you need blood circulation to those damaged nerve endings while also enjoying some warmth, the UTK is a great option. A pad that has many uses.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work
What is Red Light Therapy?
Certain wavelengths in lasers are effectively used in applications such as lowering pain in those suffering from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and neuropathy caused by diabetes, reducing the symptoms of restless leg syndrome or speeding up wound healing. Red light therapy, also known as LLLT (Low-level Laser Therapy) makes use of low-energy light-emitting diodes (lasers) as an alternative therapy to improve cell function and reduce pain.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
The principle behind red light therapy is similar to that of photosynthesis. It is believed that certain light wavelengths are capable of enhancing the functioning of the mitochondria, the organelles in the cell that are responsible for taking on nutrients and turning them into energy creating molecules. By enhancing cellular respiration, the functioning of the whole cell is improved.
Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
Because visible light in the form of LED and lasers are used in red light therapy, it is extremely safe as it does not affect DNA and therefore cannot cause cell mutation that causes cancer. Generally, red light therapy is well tolerated although results vary widely depending on the type of person and the extent of the condition being treated. Some people respond better and faster than others.
Does it have Side Effects?
There are virtually no side effects and those that may occur are mild and do not last long. Eye strain may be experienced and a headache may occur from the intense glare from the light, which is why eye protection is normally worn. Higher doses are more effective, however, it may cause dizziness or mild nausea in some people. When using at home, care should be taken not to overuse the therapy. Always follow the manufactures strict guidelines for how often and for how long to use red light therapy. After red light therapy, the skin may be more sensitive to sunlight and it may be necessary to avoid direct sunlight for a period of time.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
The main benefits of red light therapy are attributed to the exchange of light. The response of tissues and cells to red light therapy can be compared to the body’s reaction to heat, although the light does not produce much heat itself. Certain red light wavelengths are capable of penetrating deeper into the skin than other visible forms of light, where it is absorbed by the cells with the following benefits:
- Reducing joint stiffness & Relieves muscle spasms
- Improves Blood Flow & Reduces inflammation
- Improves Elasticity of Collagen Fibres
- Can reduce local pain
- Wound healing and scar tissue rejuvenation
- Improves the elasticity of collagen fibers for a more youthful appearance
- Treatment of the symptoms of frozen shoulder
- Aids in weight loss especially with the use of infrared body wraps.
With the introduction of LEDs to red light therapy, those that study the techniques have changed the term to Low-Level Light Therapy or photobiomodulation. These methods have been successfully used in the alternative treatment of fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and even smoking cessation. In the treatment of light acne, red light therapy can also be used in conjunction with blue light to eliminate certain spot-causing bacteria. Red light therapy aids in the softening of scar tissue in acne which improves the appearance.
The Best Red Light Therapy Device For Neuropathy
When it comes to red light therapy and not infrared therapy, the Tendlite Laser is the best in the business if you ask me. This device is a at home treatment that you can use anywhere due to utilizing a rechargeable battery. So while good for neuropathy, it’s also a great muscle pain reliever and being portable means you can take this red light laser with you on runs or to the Gym.
How Does The Tendlite Red Light Work
Quite simply it works with the push of a button. So in seconds you can start targeting those numb, tingling and painful areas muscles with red light therapy. The difference between red light and infrared is that you can actually see the red light. As this device uses a therapeutic wavelength of 660NM, you can see the color red. The human eye has a visible color spectrum of between 390 and 700NM. So the Tendlite falls just in the visible color spectrum and is not invisible to the human eye like infrared light is. Infrared is from 700NM.
So the Tendlite being a visible red light means it is not as effective as infrared. Infrared produces a more deep and effective treatment of heat therapy as it conducts well with the body. However, the Tendlite is still what I consider to be the best red light laser therapy device available for home use.
As mentioned above, there are certainly benefits to red light therapy, especially for people with neuropathy. With the Tendlite you can be more precise with where you need blood to circulate due to it being a narrow laser like device. But for areas like the feet, it can be more difficult to position your hand with the Tendlite to reach around the ankles for example. This is where the Anodyne boot really does favor people with neuropathy.
Is Infrared Light Energy Safe?
Infrared light, also known as infrared radiation is a type of light which lies in the invisible sections of the electromagnetic spectrum of light. This means that our eye cannot detect this kind of light. We only get to experience infrared radiation in the form of radiation heat that our skin feels.
Just like it is with any other kind of light, it is important to ask the question “is infrared light energy safe?” infrared light is found just outside the visible light, next to the color red. As such, it has less energy than even visible light. While it can cause vibration movement of molecules, it cannot cause molecule damage much the same as X-rays can.
Any Light Therapy Can Be Dangerous
That being said, in most cases, any light source (even visible red light) that is intense enough will cause damage to the eyes and the skin. When high-intensity beams are absorbed by the eyes or the skin, a high amount of infrared light is absorbed, thereby causing eye or skin damage. It is also important to note that, in the case of infrared light, since it is invisible to the eyes, you will not blink or close your eye.
So, is infrared light energy safe? In the general sense, it is safe. For instance, the infrared produced by TV remote controls cannot cause damage to the eyes or skin. However, in high enough concentration, infrared light is dangerous. As mentioned above, since you cannot see IR, it is readily absorbed by the eyes and the skin causing burns, which can cause irreversible damage.
As such, when there is a potential for interacting with highly contracted IR, precaution should prevail and you should wear protective gear. A good example is while working with instrument systems and lasers; you should take precaution and wear the appropriate gear to protect your eyes and your skin. Also, note that normal sunglasses are not effective guard against infrared radiation rays will simply pass through the glass.
Benefits of Infrared Light Therapy In The Treatment Of Nephropathy
Every year over three million new cases of peripheral neuropathy are diagnosed in the United States alone and the rate continues to grow each year. Infrared light treatment has shown significant results in reducing pain, improving sensation and relieving the symptoms and discomfort associated with this painful condition.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy
The condition is characterized by an abnormal sensation of pain in the hands and/or feet described as tingling, stabbing, burning, and stinging. Numbness and pain are common discomforts experienced by those suffering from neuropathy. This pain frequently interrupts sleep in the early hours of the morning and prevents the person from going back to sleep. It often interferes with walking and daily activities to such an extent that it affects the person’s quality of life.
Sever neuropathy can be so damaging that the mere touch can cause burning sensations. Which is why some people canno’t use foot massagers for neuropathy. While a foot massage is a great way to get blood flowing, it is not ideal for everyone with neuropathy. Which is why these infrared lights have become so effective.
Sensation and pain problems associated with neuropathy initially develop slowly and worsen over time. Light therapy has become a cornerstone in many neuropathy treatment programs in clinical settings because of the ability of infrared light to increase blood flow.
How Infrared Lights Works
Improved blood flow and increased delivery of oxygen to the nerves can be achieved with infrared light therapy in neuropathy. The treatment may help the nerves to start carrying sensation again where the cause of neuropathy is due to poor circulation. Infrared light triggers the release of oxide in blood vessels and in red blood cells in areas directly exposed to the light.
Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to widen, (vasodilation), that lasts for several hours after the light therapy. Improvements in pain and sensation typically occur after weeks of regular infrared therapy sessions and continued sessions help to maintain the improvements by continuing to improve and support circulation.
Infrared Light Increases Circulation Of Blood
The use of infrared light triggers the release of nitric oxide in blood vessels and red blood cells that improves blood flow. This promotes a positive change in the poor blood flow experienced by patients with neuropathy. This improvement in blood flow results in less pain and a return of sensations to the extremities.
Poor blood flow is often caused by vascular damage in diabetic patients who respond well to infrared therapy. Neuropathy may also be caused by the use of statin drugs or by chemotherapy that causes peripheral neuropathy. Patients with idiopathic neuropathy may not respond to red light treatment as the cause of the condition is often not vascular in nature.
Professional Infrared Treatment for Neuropathy
Treatment by a licensed provider typically lasts for a number of weeks at least three times per week. Increased treatments of 4 to 5 times per week may result in more rapid improvement, but care should be taken not to overexpose the skin to infrared light as it can cause skin burns.
Home Infrared Therapy
Infrared treatment for neuropathy at home allows for more frequent and convenient scheduling and is practical for maintenance therapy after the symptoms have lessened and improved sensation is experienced. After successful treatment, it is important to maintain regular therapy to prevent the symptoms from returning over time.
Light therapy devices are not intended to cure or prevent diseases, but to provide an environment in which the body can heal itself. In the case of infrared therapy, the aim is to improve vascular dilation and provide more oxygen to the affected parts.
Heat In General Relieves Neuropathy Related Pain
It’s not fully proven how heat therapy relieves neuropathy pain, but it is something that is accepted, and that has proven to be very effective. The main theories regarding how heat therapy relieves neuropathy related pain are that it stimulates blood flow, which can help with repair of damaged tissue, and that the sensation of warmth helps with relaxation, and also stimulates the nerves, thereby reducing the sensation of pain.
Neuropathic pain is a form of pain where parts of your body feel like they are constantly asleep. There is an alternating sensation of mild numbness, then tingling and burning as some nerve endings ‘wake’.
This type of pain is commonly experienced by diabetics, but it can also be a symptom of infections, some hereditary disorders, Vitamin B deficiency, and tumors. The most common way of treating neuropathic pain is to work on treating the condition that caused it – because this should, in theory, reverse the pain.
If the cause of the pain is unknown, then the challenge is to treat the symptoms, and while supplements, medical marijuana (where it is approved), topical pain relief and physiological treatments are all options. Heat therapy is something that can be tried as well and that may be worth it if someone would prefer to avoid the issue of taking medications in the long term.
Heat therapy can help to stop that tingling, and because the heat offers stimulation to the nerves it can be quite soothing indeed. For those with mild neuropathy, it is one of the best non-invasive, non-drug related treatments for neuropathic pain. If you decide to try it, then make sure that you use only moderate heat, taking care not to burn yourself. The sensation should be soothing, not hot enough that it starts to feel slightly unpleasant.