by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2010, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
This article is not about sauna therapy, but rather about the benefits of near infrared energy. It discusses a few additional benefits that are not discussed in the article entitled Sauna Therapy on this site.
The following was taken from the SaunaLite website, www.saunalite.com. They offer a set of heat boxes that are basically just infrared heat lamps that one shines on oneself during exercise workouts. Please note that they use halogen infrared lamps, which we do not suggest for the sauna, although they are fine for other applications. The reason we do not recommend them for saunas is their spectrum is a little different, and we prefer the incandescent heat lamps for this reason.
SaunaLite has run studies and documented scientifically the results that can occur from near infrared heat lamp exposure. These and future studies may help us to understand the effects of the near infrared radiation that is emitted by the reddish heat lamps. Here is a part of one of their web pages concerning the extra benefits of near infrared exposure during exercise routines. The benefits that have been researched include:
á BOOSTS METABOLISM – The mitochondria (power plants of the cells) produce more ATP (energy currency of the cells) when NIR (near infrared rays) is introduced. (1,2)
á REDUCES BODY FAT – A group of 20 women riding stationary bicycles 3 times per week for 4 weeks exposed to NIR lost an average of 8 cmÕs or 444% more as compared to 20 women doing the same exercise without NIR. (3)
á INCREASED ENERGY – NIR activates the color sensitive chemicals (chromophores & cytochrome systems) to depths of 23 centimeters (or about 10 inches), stimulating the energy processes in cells. (1)
á IMPROVED CIRCULATION TO THE MUSCLES – NIR causes the release of nitric oxide. This stimulates vasodilatation of the microcirculatory system, bringing more blood to the muscles. (4)
á BETTER ENDURANCE – Muscle fatigue was reduced by up to 42.2% when exposing muscle to NIR. (5,6)
á INCREASED STRENGTH – Growth hormone release is induced by an increase in body temperature and not by exercise itself. Growth hormone increases muscle mass, calcium retention, and lipolysis (the breakdown of stored fat). (14)
á FASTER RECOVERY TIME – Certain tissue regenerating genes including integrins, laminin, gap junction proteins and kinesin proteins have shown a two- to five-fold increase upon exposure to NIR. (7,8)
á WORKOUT IN LESS TIME – Due to increased production of ATP and quick dilation of the microcirculatory system, a person can lessen warm-up time and work at a higher level of exertion without increasing blood pressure. (1,9,10)
á DETOXIFY THE BODY - Increased blood circulation stimulates the sweat glands, releasing built-up toxins and waste. Sweat is the only way to remove certain carcinogenic PCBs, dioxins, phthalates, and volatile organic hydrocarbons. (11)
á REDUCED VISIBLE CELLULITE - Cellulite is fat mixed with toxins that are trapped, in part due to an underactive circulatory system. Cellulite is so visible, in part due to weakened connective tissue. NIR helps rebuild connective tissue and has been shown to reduce cellulite. (12)
á REJUVENATES SKIN - DNA Synthesis of fibroblasts, which affects the elasticity of skin, increase five-fold with NIR. The result is younger-looking, more beautiful skin. (1,7)
á LESSENS JOINT AND MUSCLE PAIN & INCREASES FLEXIBILITY - Penetrating heat from NIR has long been proven to reduce pain and increase circulation to areas of discomfort. NIR has also been shown to significantly increase the range of flexibility. (13)
1. Whelan H.T., Buchmann, E.V., et al, NASA Light-Emitting Diode Medical Applications From Deep Space to Deep Sea
2. Wong-Riley M.T., Bai, X., et al, Light-Emitting Diode Treatment Reversed the Effect of TTX on Cytochrome Oxidase in Neurons
3. Mockel F., Hoffmann G., et al Einfulss von Wassergefiltertem Infrator A auf die Reduktion von Lokalem Fett und Korpergewicht unter Korperlicher Belastung
4. Gilligan D.M., Panza J.M., et al, Contribution of Endothelium-derived Nitric Oxide to Exercise-Induced Vasodilation
5. Lopes-Martins R.A., Marcos R.L., et al, Effect of Low Level Laser on Skeletal Muscle Fatigue Induced by Electrical Stimulation in Rats
6. Abou-Hala A.Z, Barbosa D.G., et al, Effects of the Infrared Lamp Illumination during the Process of Muscle Fatigue in Rats
7. Wong-Riley M.T., Whelan H.T., Effect of 670-nm Light Emitting Diode Light on Neuronal Cultures
8. Buchmann E.V., Dhokalia A., et al, Effect of NASA Light-Emitting Diode Irradiation of Molecular Changes for Wound Healing in Diabetic Mice
9. Savard, G.K., Nielsen B., et al, Muscle Blood Flow is not reduced in Humans during Moderate Exercise and Heat Stress
10. Hannuksela M.L., Ellahham S., Benefits and Risks of Sauna Bathing
11. Rogers S., Reversing the Neuro-degeneration from Ubiquitous Environmental Endocrine Disruptors
12. Alster T.S., Tanzi E.L., Cosmetic Laser Therapy
13. Demura S., Noguchi T., and Matsuzawa J., Effect of Linear Polarized Near-infrared Irradiation on Flexibility of Shoulder and Ankle Joints
14. Christensen S.E., J¿rgensen O.L., et al, Characterization of Growth Hormone Release in Response to External Heating