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History Of Far Infrared Light

The Discovery Of Unseen Healing Power Of The Sun’s rays 

The beautiful tapestry of color that is our planet dances in harmony with the sun’s rays giving a rich and majestic quality to the forests, oceans, animals, humans, and their created structures.

Eight minutes is how long it takes for the sun’s radiance to find the surface of the earth. As light waves move through space to penetrate and saturate our planet’s atmosphere, life as we know it is born. Plants, animals, and even humans both absorb and reflect the sun’s light. 

The history of light, including the far infrared light spectrum begins with the creation of our galaxy. Before the time of the dinosaurs, and well before the time of single cell organisms lingering in the depths of the oceans, far infrared light existed and gave life to the sea’s microbes. 

The earth’s oceans are home to a plentitude of life ranging from algae to large mammals. While most of the sun’s light successfully penetrates the surface of the earth, shorter frequencies simply do not have the power to move into the depths of the ocean, but there is one very special light frequency that can move well beyond the layers of salt water to give life deep within the ocean: Far infrared light. 

To study the history of far infrared light, means going back to the very beginning of the earth’s creation. Before the reptilian era, before animals, and certainly before human kind. 

For the purposes of this article we will take a look at the human relationship to far infrared light, its discovery and eventual powerful use in biomedicine. 

The Discovery Of Far Infrared Light

Far infrared light was inadvertently first discovered and identified by William Herschel in 1800 while he was studying the color light spectrum. All light, including the visible and invisible spectrum has a thermal measurement. Herschel was in the process of measuring the temperature of different colors in the visible spectrum of light. He observed that each color light had a resonant thermal measurement unique to itself. As he moved along measuring the temperature of color he observed that orange light was warmer than blue, and that red was warmer than orange. (1)

As light frequency elongated it also got warmer. As Herschel moved along the color palette beyond the visible spectrum of red, he noticed an even stronger heat that was emitted, although there was no apparent correlating visible color. (1)

It was at this moment that infrared light was first consciously observed by humans, although not by a visual apparatus, but rather through the measurement of temperature. This is where infrared light got its name, because it was just beyond the visible color red, the greek infra means ‘below’. (1)

NASA’s publication about the discovery of infrared light is succinct and to the point:

“In 1800, William Herschel conducted an experiment measuring the difference in temperature between the colors in the visible spectrum. He placed thermometers within each color of the visible spectrum. The results showed an increase in temperature from blue to red. When he noticed an even warmer temperature measurement just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, Herschel had discovered infrared light!” (1)

Herschel, a native born German, who later immigrated to Great Britain was both an astronomer and musical composer. This makes sense given his significant contribution to the discovery of the infrared light spectrum. Like the music created by an orchestra, light is a symphonic collaboration of the entire spectrum of the sun’s radiance moving as vibration through timespace.

It is impossible to speak of Willima Herschel and his discovery of the infrared light spectrum without mentioning his sister Caroline Herschel who worked tirelessly by his side in his laboratory filled with telescopes to study the celestial realm. Caroline meticulously cleaned her brother’s instruments, and was right there by his side when he discovered the powerful and life-giving spectrum of infrared light. 

This brother-sister combination was the first to measurably observe the infrared light spectrum. Although, we owe the human discovery of infrared light to these courageous and devoted souls, they did not use the light for any practical purpose and certainly not to heal the human body. For this, we must journey across the Atlantic ocean and move forward in time by one hundred years to Dr. John Harvey Kellog, yes of Kellog’s cereal!

Far Infrared Light As Medicine: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg And The Incandescent Light Bath

A man feeling healed after infrared therapy from the sun

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg is most famous for his cereal brand, although credit for this reputation really ought to go to his brother’s keen business sense that created the brand and propelled it forward. Kellogg himself was a doctor and inventor, moreover he is the first known person to use infrared light as medicine. (5)

Kellogg invented the incandescent light bath in the late 19th century, although he was not aware that the use of infrared light was primarily responsible for the healing effect of his apparatus. Kellogg treated many patients successfully using light, including King Edward of England for gout, and countless other patients for illness ranging from: Obesity, scurvy, chronic gastritis, diabetes, scarlet fever, and the list goes on. (5)

The incandescent light bath was used successfully to treat a wide variety of conditions, seemingly unrelated to one another. Why and how was this possible? 

Although it was not understood until nearly eighty years later, the reason Kellogg’s light bath was so successful in treating and curing patients experiencing a variety of symptoms was because of the invisible field of light: The infrared spectrum and its unique and very special relationship to human cellular makeup. 

By the turn of the twentieth century humans were aware of the existence of the infrared light spectrum and were unconsciously using infrared light to heal the body. It would not be until 1965 when NASA began to investigate how light affects human physiology that any kind of cohesive understanding of the infrared light spectrum would be established by the collective human experience. 

The Race To The Moon

The cold war bred a powerful competition of the globe’s super powers to not only spread political ideology across the planet, but also beyond the earth’s parameters into outer space. What started off as a race to the moon ultimately gave way to the discovery of the deeply healing rays of infrared light for human physiology. 

Rivalry can bring out both the best and worst in human relations, beyond a nuclear war stand still, the unique relationship between Russian and United States in the 1960s stoked massive scientific discovery. As both powers rallied to be the first to the moon and began sending their astronauts to outer space serious health issues ensued as these courageous pioneers returned to earth after spending time in zero gravity. (6)

When astronauts returned to our fine goldilocks planet they had experienced remarkable skeletal and muscular atrophy. In an attempt to remedy these health issues, NASA embarked on vigorous research to find a way to quickly regenerate muscle and bone cells for their heroes. 

It was during this tireless search that once again, like Herschel and Kellogg the infrared light spectrum was stumbled upon. Research performed by NASA revealed that exposure to the infrared light spectrum actually sparked an incredible cellular regeneration of muscles and bone marrow for astronauts returning to earth. (7)

It was at this time that the infrared light spectrum came under closer examination, and it was revealed that within the infrared light band width, two primary distinct portions existed: The near and the far infrared light. Each portion of this invisible spectrum healed the human body in distinct ways. 

As far infrared light was further investigated it was discovered that the unique frequency of this band width had the capacity to move in, through, and beyond the human epidermis into the soft tissues of the body. It was in the late 1960s that infrared light, and specifically far infrared light started to be used as a viable treatment method in medicine. 

What once started as a politically inspired competition between capitalism and communism, eventually gave birth to the discovery of the deeply healing benefits of far infrared light. 

Far Infrared Light And Life In The Oceans

Infrared light hitting the ocean waves

Despite NASA’s use of far infrared light to heal astronauts this light band width remained in the sphere of scientific research for nearly twenty years before making its way into the field of biomedicine for the healing of the general populace. 

Far infrared light caught the attention of oceanographers looking to understand how and why life in the great depths of the sea remained so full of vitality despite not receiving any visible light. 

As Dr. Marlon Lewis fumbled through his PHD dissertation studying plankton, he accidentally came across the powerful light spectrum of far infrared light. The elongated wavelengths of this portion of the light spectrum had the capacity to move through the depths of the ocean to provide enough energy for plant life to continue to thrive. Without far infrared light, the sea would be devoid of plant life and therefore animal life as well. (8)

If the frequency of far infrared light had the capacity to penetrate the layers of salt water in a way that no other light spectrum could, how might human physiology respond? Although the saline composition of the ocean is different from human blood, there is enough commonality between human blood and the composition of seawater to wonder if far infrared light could foster life in a similar way for humans as it does the oceans. 

Dr. Tadashi IshikawIt  of Japan patented the first far infrared heaters intended as a medical device, and while its use was prolific in Japan it would not be until 1979 that far infrared light would be used to heal the general populace on US soil. From the deepest portions of the ocean to human cellular composition far infrared light seemed to have a very special quality: The ability to move well beyond perceivable solid material to impact the internal landscape of the human body. (9)

Taking A Front Seat At NIH In The 1980s 

Far infrared light as a healing modality remained distanced from mainstream use, until substantial research from NIH was published in the early 1980s revealing the profound impact that this light had on wound healing in rodents. (10)

With enough substantiated research into the impact that far infrared light had on human health, slowly this invisible spectrum of light started to make its way toward mainstream use. 

NIH publishes the following statement about far infrared light and medical use:

“FIR (far infrared light) application in medicine requires understanding and knowledge of the interactions of electromagnetic radiation at FIR range with biological structures (including cells, cell membranes, cell fluids – especially water, DNA/proteins) and functioning of the living systems in general. At the cellular level, the underlying biophysical mechanisms of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with living cells can be framed in terms of altered cell membrane potentials and altered mitochondrial metabolism ” (7)

The innovative discoveries surrounding how far infrared light positively altered cellular composition, specifically mitochondrial function in humans, meant that very rapidly infrared lasers, light panels, and saunas started to be built for commercial and medical purposes. 

Even with institutions such as NIH sanctioning the use of far infrared light to heal the body, its use remained largely in the fringes of alternative medicine until the early 2000s. 

Unseen By The Naked Eye: Far Infrared Light Becomes The Most Impactful Light Band On Human Health

As decades have passed the use of far infrared light to heal tissue wounds, improve cellular regeneration, and detoxify the body from harmful chemicals has proliferated across the globe. Various manufacturers have rallied to improve technology to better serve the purposes of medical use. 

Far infrared light remains evasive to the human eye, and while it is invisible, the effects of exposure to this frequency are remarkable not only for human life, but for all life in the oceans. 

Thanks to the tireless efforts of scientific researchers, humankind now has the keys to the sun’s most healing rays: Far Infrared Light.

Sources:

  1. https://science.nasa.gov/ems/07_infraredwaves
  2. https://science.nasa.gov/ems/08_nearinfraredwaves
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Herschel#Reconstruction_of_the_20-foot_telescope
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/john-harvey-kellogg-believed-light-could-cure-diabetes/382916/
  5. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/john-harvey-kellogg-believed-light-could-cure-diabetes/382916/
  6. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/heals.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699878/
  8. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2011JC007275%4010.1002/%28ISSN%292169-9291.OPTVAR1
  9. https://www.healthforsuccess.net/infraredsauna.html
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871200/

A Practical Guide To Understanding EMFs: The WHO Guidelines, Household Appliances, And Infrared Saunas

When you begin to explore the infrared sauna market it does not take long before the discussion on EMF readings is brought to the forefront of attention. The reality is that there is significant mis-understanding surrounding this topic with increasing sauna manufacturers using low EMF readings as a selling point, rather than being loyal to the truth of what this is and how you, the consumer may best protect yourself from harmful emissions emanating from electrical appliances at home. 

The stark reality is that if you live in a developed part of the world with readily available electricity in your home, you will be exposed to EMFs. The issue is not so much how to avoid this all together, but rather how to minimize exposure. 

According to the World Bank, 87 % of the world has access to electricity, meaning that each of these individuals are exposed to EMFs as well. (1)

The sun itself emits an electromagnetic field as well, this is of course is the full light spectrum, generally speaking a discussion surrounding EMFs and their potentially harmful effects on human health is referring to electrical appliances, small and large and excludes the natural EMF radiation and is not the concern of this article. 

By virtue of having electricity in your home you are already being exposed to EMFs, a zero reading does not exist on any household appliance, small or large, although it is possible that readings are undetectable by measuring devices. 

This article discusses and explores the answers to some of these questions. 

Key questions to consider: 

  • What are EMFs?
  • What does the World Health Organization say about EMFs?
  • Will bringing an infrared sauna into my home increase exposure to EMF emissions?
  • What household appliances have the highest EMF reading and how do these compare to infrared saunas?

What Are EMFs And How Are They Measured? 

An electrician measuring EMFs

What does the acronym EMF symbolize? According to the National Institute of Health and Environment: 

“Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting. EMFs are typically grouped into one of two categories by their frequency:

  • Non-ionizing: low-level radiation which is generally perceived as harmless to humans
  • Ionizing: high-level radiation which has the potential for cellular and DNA damage” (1)

Here is a sample list of non-ionizing EMFs versus Ionizing EMFS: 

Non-ionizing radiation

  • microwave ovens
  • computers
  • house energy meters
  • wireless (Wi-Fi) routers
  • cellphones
  • Bluetooth devices
  • power lines
  • MRIs

Ionizing radiation

  • ultraviolet light
  • X-rays (3)

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the National Institute of Health (NIH), have determined that provided the EMF reading is kept below a certain measurable reading and is non-ionizing that the appliance or electronic device is safe for humans. That being said there are some correlative health risks involved with over exposure to EMFs, although the majority of this research still requires further conclusive evidence. 

From NIH’s published journal on EMF measurements and criteria; EMF readings are measured in the following way: 

“The intensities of the electric fields are expressed in volts per meter (V/m), and magnetic fields are expressed in milligauss (mG).” (4)

Most household appliances in the US are required to follow safety regulations and will have their products measured in milligauss (mG), this is the important number for you, the consumer to be aware of. 

Here is a sample list of household appliances and their milligauss measurement:

Microwave at 1 Inch Away = 750 to 2,000 mG at 1 Foot Away = 40 to 80 mGat 3 Feet Away = 3 to 8 mG

Electric Range at 1 Inch Away = 60 to 2,000 mG at 1 Foot Away = 4 to 40 mGat 3 Feet Away = <0.1 to 7 mG

Television at 1 Inch Away = 25 to 500 mGat 1 Foot Away = 0.4 to 20 mGat 3 Feet Away = <0.1 to 1.5 mG

Blenders at 1 Inch Away = 200 to 1,200 mGat 1 Foot Away = 5.2 to 17 mGat 3 Feet Away = 0.3 to 1.1 mG

Coffee Makers at 1 Inch Away = 15 to 250 mGat 1 Foot Away = 0.9 to 1.2 mGat 3 Feet Away = <0.1 mG

Toasters at 1 Inch Away = 70 to 150 mGat 1 Foot Away = 0.6 to 7 mGat 3 Feet Away = <0.1 to 0.11 mG (5)

Drills at 1 Inch Away = 4,000 to 8,000 mGat 1 Foot Away = 22 to 31 mGat 3 Feet Away = 0.8 to 2 mG

Saber & Circular Saw at 1 Inch Away = 2,100 to 10,000 mGat 1 Foot Away = 9 to 210 mGat 3 Feet Away = 0.2 to 10 mGIronsat 1 Inch Away = 80 to 300 mGat 1 Foot Away = 1.2 to 3.1 mGat 3 Feet Away = 0.1 to 0.2 mGClothes 

Washer at 1 Inch Away = 7 to 400 mGat 1 Foot Away = 0.8 to 3 mGat 3 Feet Away = 0.2 to 0.48 mG (5)

Comparatively, Neosauna has never measured higher than 3 mGs, often the reading itself is undetected by a measuring device; Please keep in mind that even if a measuring instrument is unable to detect an EMF reading all electrical devices and appliances still have one. 

Measurements Taken From 3 cm Away

  • A Television Set: 25 mGs -500 mGs Versus Neosauna: 3 mGs 
  • A Hair Dry: 60-20 000 mGS (5) Versus Neosauna: 3 mGs (5)

A basic guideline use for homes from the WHO is less than 1000 mgs from 3 cm away from each device (8). Still this organization does go on to warn that EMF exposure is a growing concern for the majority of the world’s population, particularly as technological advances continue to expand faster than research into its potential long term negative effects on human health is ongoing. (8)

By unplugging as many devices and appliances in the house while you sleep goes a long way toward minimizing exposure to EMFs. 

What Is An ELF and How Does This Relate To EMFs?

ELF stands for ‘extremely low frequency’, now this does not necessarily mean that ELFs are safe for humans, but rather is generally used to discuss the field emanating from industrial sources or large power generators outside of the home. The closer an individual is to a cell phone tower, power plant, or any other large industrial size sources of power the riskier it is for human health. 

There is little anyone can do, except perhaps choose a residence that is far away from these sources. As EMFs concern household appliances there is greater sovereignty for the individual to make safer choices for themselves and family members. 

An ELF reading is not something that applies in a conversation surrounding infrared saunas or any other household appliance. Here is what NIH says about ELFs:

“Any source of electric and magnetic fields (such as the ELF transmitting facility and antennas) creates fields essentially everywhere. As one moves farther from a source, the field intensities become lower, either because of distance or because of attenuation due to obstacles (in the case of electric fields). However, one will then be moving toward other sources, and the EMFs that they generate will increase in intensity as one moves closer. “ (2)

Again, as technology evolves at increasing rates often legislation designed to protect citizens falls behind in creating safety measures and protocols.  

EMF Safety In Your Home And Infrared Saunas

A woman using her phone, which is putting off EMFs
  • Unplug Appliances
  • Use Himalayan Salt 
  • Purchase low EMF appliances
  • Turn Off Breakers While You Sleep

Few folks living in the modern world are able to live off the grid and protect themselves entirely from potentially harmful EMFs, however there are some things each individual can do to ensure the best possible safety measures are taken. 

The simple act of unplugging appliances that are not in use will go a long way to reducing  day to day exposure to EMFs. This means, unplug your blender, coffee maker, curling iron, or any appliance that can be unplugged easily. Most people will find that nearly all small appliances can be unplugged while not in use. Clearly the refrigerator, stove, and oven are likely not great options for unplugging!

Before going to sleep at night switch off circuits on your breaker box that you will not need while you sleep. Are there breakers that can be turned off in your home at night? It is worth while cutting down on electrical conduits as much as possible especially while you sleep. 

Bring Himalayan salt into your home and place these close to appliances or devices that are used frequently. According to EMF Guard tips:

“Salt lamps consist of pieces of salt crystal that absorb and refract light. As the lamp heats up from the bulb inside it, the salt generates negative ions that provide positive benefits in the room. The salt crystals are very essential to use because they act as natural ionizers and have bioenergetic fields that help in neutralizing harmful EMF radiation.” (11)

While Himalayan salt blocks will not shield you completely from EMFs, the tandem cooperation of this salt and low EMF devices will certainly help to reduce the practical experience of exposure to potentially harmful radiation. Look for appliances that measure less than 5 mGs from three feet away. (11)

Infrared Saunas & EMFs

So, the question of whether bringing in an infrared sauna into your home will increase exposure to EMFs remains. Provided you are careful about who has manufactured your infrared sauna, the reality is that an infrared sauna (if it is made well), has a significantly lower EMF reading than your computer, or any other appliance or device in your home. 

The benefits available to individuals using infrared saunas far outweighs the potential exposure to EMFs. Now, if we were living in a time before electrical appliances, the conclusion may well be quite different. 

Further, it has been posited by several health authorities that the negative impact of EMF exposure is increased in a body that is already high in harmful toxins. The net result of regular infrared sauna bathing reduces the overall toxicity level in a body, this means that even with continued exposure to EMFs in the home, if the body is purified regularly from heavy metals the result of EMF exposure will be less impactful. 

Choosing an infrared sauna with Himalayan salt walls will be helpful in neutralizing EMF exposure, if this is not possible it may be a good idea to bring a Himalayan salt brick into the sauna with you. 

For further reading on EMF exposure in the home:

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP) is the organization that determines the safety levels for electromagnetic frequency. Their most recent publication is here: 

https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPemfgdl.pdf

This guide from the WHO is also quite helpful – https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index3.html

Sources Cited:

  1. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.ACCS.ZS?year_high_desc=false
  2. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/index.cfm
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/emf#types
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK233160/
  5. http://www-ehs.ucsd.edu/LBCI/LIPA_Magnetic_Field_Levels_Around_Homes.pdf
  6. https://www.safespaceprotection.com/news-and-info/emfs-from-home-appliances/
  7. https://emfcaution.com/home-appliances-emf-readings/
  8. https://www.who.int/health-topics/electromagnetic-fields#tab=tab_1
  9. https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index3.html
  10. https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPemfgdl.pdf
  11. https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPemfgdl.pdf

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP) is the group that determines the safety levels for electromagnetic frequency. Their most recent publication is here: https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPemfgdl.pdf 

This guide from the WHO is also quite helpful – https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index3.html

(They include a list of the EMFs produced by common household items. Their chart uses microtesla, and we use milligauss, so you just need to multiply the microtesla by 10 to get the milligauss in their chart.)

Infrared Sauna Therapy And Sports Injuries: A Path To Pain-Free Living For The Athlete

Dedicated to David Justice and his ongoing work with youth in sports.

Professional athletes are often considered to be the modern day gladiators. They are the heroes that inspire courage, determination, and help us to believe in the impossible.

Like the gladiator, their road while glamorous at times, is riddled with both overuse and chronic injuries as well as muscular and skeletal ruptures from one time traumas. 

Whether you played collegiate NCAA level sports, had a professional career, or are a devoted weekend warrior, few athletes escape the tyrannical pain of sports related injuries. An injured athlete is in a unique position, generally they are not weak or ill. For most athletes, their health and fitness are excellent. Addressing the health of an injured athlete requires a unique approach, particularly when compared to other portions of the general populace.

While certainly physical therapy, massage, and other forms of therapeutic practices can be highly successful in treating sports related injuries, what about those nagging connective tissue issues that never seem to really go away?

Track athletes will often live many decades with searing pain in the connective tissues of the hamstrings, basketball players are well known for knees that may ache for a lifetime, and for baseball and tennis players the rotator cuff of the shoulder is a never ending segway into limited mobility and pain during every day activity. 

So, how can infrared sauna therapy help heal connective tissue wounding in the joints of athletes and retired professional players?

How is it possible that a light frequency can possibly significantly heal chronic long term injuries that may have been less responsive to other therapeutic modalities?

This article will explore the impact that the infrared light spectrum has on connective tissues, as well as the importance of thorough  detoxification protocol to rid the body of lactic acid poisoning, and ban overload of cortisol, both of which are often a bi-product of years of intense training and competition.

Near Infrared Light The Diamond In The Rocks For  Sports Related Injuries: How Does This Light Frequency Heal The Joints?

  • Reduce Inflammation In The Joints
  • Heal Tears and Ruptures To Connective Tissues
  • Improve Oxygenation Of The Blood Stream

‘High profile study reveals that Near Infrared Light heals Division I NCAA athletes faster than any other form of physical therapy…’ (1)

Athletic endeavors demand repetitive movement in order to master skill sets. While this can render an individual successful on the field, it can also create long term damage from overuse to portions of the body. Sometimes these overuse injuries, despite attention and care from sports injury experts, can last a lifetime and continue to create pain for individuals even decades after retirement. 

There is a preciousness to the tendons and ligaments that serve to create exceptional mobility of the joints. Unfortunately, unlike muscles and bones, it can take a very long time to heal these cognitive tissues. 

The National Institute of Health (NIH) performed an extensive study involving 349 student athletes actively participating in Division I NCAA athletics. The subjects had all experienced some form of ligament tears, tendonitis, or strains and sprains. The athletes were participating in a wide variety of sports, and were all looking to get back to the field, court, and track in healthy bodies. (1)

This study published by NIH used the 830 nm (near infrared light) spectrum of light to heal cognitive tissue injuries to speed up Return To Play (RTP) turn around. RTP is  paramount for most athletes, particularly when their livelihood, or scholarship depends upon it.

“For any motivated athlete, RTP may be the most important factor post injury based on the resolution of pain and inflammation and repair to tissue trauma. 830 nm phototherapy significantly and safely reduced the RTP in dedicated university athletes over a wide range of injuries with no adverse events.” (1)

Infrared light spectrum

The near infrared light spectrum has a very special role to play in injury recovery for athletes from a wide range of sports. But why? How does the light spectrum serve to heal often complex overuse injuries as well as one time traumatic ruptures of the tendons? 

Understanding the power of the near infrared light spectrums requires a gaze toward the microscopic level of cellular activity. Moving beyond what can be observed with the naked eye into the life of the individual human cell holds the answer. Within each human cell is a mitochondria, responsible for energy conversion of each cell. The efficacy of mitochondrial function directly impacts overall health of the body. Surrounding the mitochondria is a membrane, called cytoplasm C. (2) Within this protective barrier are photoreceptors that absorb light, these particular photoreceptors are sensitive to but welcome in the near infrared light spectrum. 

As this invisible light band is absorbed into the walls surrounding the mitochondria a great energy conversion system begins. Mitochondrial metabolism begins to effectively improve ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production:

“ATP is constantly formed and broken down as it participates in biological reactions and it is central to the health and growth of all life. Without it, cells could not transfer energy from one location to another, making it impossible for organisms to grow and reproduce!” (3)

A study published by NIH provides evidence of the deeply impactful relationship between the near infrared light and mitochondrial function:

“This result correlates well with the biochemical picture, reflected in a significant increase in the ATP levels at 10 Hz, when compared to 100 Hz or CW. The authors of the study interpret the maximum in ATP production at 10 Hz by assuming a greater absorption of 810 nm photons by mitochondrial complex-IV at this frequency.” 

*** Neosauna Tip: The near infrared spectrum of light is measured between 650-900 nanometers. This is the place on the light spectrum where the color red begins to merge with the invisible spectrum of infrared light, but before frequency evolves into the mid and far infrared light. (4)

As mitochondrial function is improved in response to near infrared light absorption, ATP production is enhanced to saturate the blood stream with more oxygen. When married with improved circulation this nutrient rich blood is delivered throughout the body efficiently. When locations of inflammation are steeped in oxygen rich blood injuries begin to heal and repair. When inflammation begins to reduce, pain is also alleviated, and generally athletes can begin to cautiously proceed forward with training and competition. (2)

Here is a detailed account of NIH’s published conclusion regarding elite level athletes treating injuries with near infrared light:

“Over a 15-month period, a total of 395 injuries including sprains, strains, ligament damage, tendonitis and contusions were treated with 1,669 sessions of 830 nm LED phototherapy (mean of 4.3 treatments per injury, range 2 – 6). Efficacy was measured with pain attenuation on a visual analog scale (VAS) and the RTP period compared with historically-based anticipated RTP with conventional therapeutic intervention.” (1)

In addition to the benefits to mitochondrial function in response to increased near infrared light exposure another key component necessary to experience full recovery from connective tissue injuries is collagen production. 

Collagen, the protein partner to elastin, is most famous for its ability to create a youthful glowing skin complexion. Collagen as a major player in joint health is often overlooked by the masses as well as by medical professionals. 

When collagen production is increased, so too is the rebuilding of healthy connective tissues at the cellular level. At every moment of every day old cells die off as new ones are born. As cellular replication occurs in response to its inner and outer environment it is possible to re-create entire portions of the physical body. This is the crux of why and how connective tissue injuries recover so effectively with exposure to the near infrared light. (5)

A study published by NIH reveals that collagen production is enhanced exponentially after just two hours of exposure to the near infrared light spectrum. While this study was originally performed for the purposes of reducing the biological expression of skin age, a by-product of the research also proved to be highly beneficial to parts of the body where collagen and elastin together weave a tapestry of rich strength such as or bone marrow, ligaments, and tendons. In a brief colloquial moment NIH’s publication on infrared light therapy and collagen states the following:

“Many reports have indicated that that IR  may have a stimulatory effect on the proliferation of human fibroblasts and collagen synthesis during wound healing.” (5)

Like never before, the near infrared light spectrum affords athletes the ability to not only control pain stemming from connective tissue injuries, but ultimately heal these over-stressed regions of the body. No longer are athletic heroes forced into states of chronic pain due to overuse injuries of the joints. Near infrared light exposure may be a gateway out of painful injury into the dawning of a new future free from limited mobility and achy joints.

Far Infrared Light To Free The Athlete From Lactic Acid Poisoning

An athlete working out before using his infrared sauna

An often overlooked side effect of athletic endeavor is the summing of adrenaline to achieve massive physical feats. Without lactic acid the 400 meter sprinter would not be able to perform the final 100 meter kick at the end of the race, and the baseball player would be unable to slide home in the ninth inning to win the game. 

Athletes rely on adrenaline and the release of cortisol to get the job done. This would be fine if the by-product of continued highly adrenalinalized states only occurred occasionally, but professional sports demands regular and frequent tapping into the body’s energy resources. Eventually the build up of lactic acid in the bloodstream can be toxic and places a huge toll on the internal organs. 

Whether a weekend warrior or a high profile professional athlete, lactic acid, if not actively released from the body, can produce long term and devastating effects. Active detoxification protocol is paramount in keeping athletes in high performance conditions. (6)

The far infrared light as used in infrared saunas is superb as a detoxification method for its ability to penetrate into the soft tissues of the body. As internal temperatures are radically increase heavy perspiration ensues. This perspiration acts as a river way to draw toxins, including lactic acid out of the body. (7)

The skin is the largest of the body’s organs, so it makes sense to use this membrane to detoxify the body. This further alleviates stress on the kidneys and liver, that are often in overdrive for many athletes. As the body undergoes detoxification protocol, the health of the adrenal glands is ultimately restored and athletes will experience high levels of muscular recovery and overall energy.

By reducing toxic levels of lactic acid in the body through regular infrared sauna bathing, athletes can expect to have less downtime between workouts and higher levels of energy for game day. 

High performance athletes would do well to incorporate regular infrared sauna bathing into their weekly program to ensure that both the body and mind are ready when it really matters. 

Infrared Saunas To Nourish The Autonomic Nervous System

The balance of the autonomic nervous system can be thrown off when individuals spend too much of their time in survival or stress response. The very nature of athletic performance requires its participants to level up to states of hypervigilance and readiness. The will to win and succeed requires these states of being, however too much time spent on high alert can alter the balance of the autonomic nervous system. 

The two primary branches of the autonomic nervous system are: Sympathetic dominance (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic dominance (rest and relaxation). It is only in the latter state that the body can begin the natural healing mechanism. When adrenaline is in overdrive, as is often the case for athletes, it can be difficult  to draw the body back to states of relaxation. (8)

The heat, coupled with the lights of the infrared sauna, are an easy and effective means to aid athletes out of hypervigilance and highly stoked states of adrenaline back into relaxation where healing can occur. 

Ever wonder why, despite huge output of energy it can be difficult to come down off the high of a game, race, or match? The reason is that the autonomic nervous system continues to pump the body full of adrenaline. Taking an infrared sauna regularly will draw the body back into active rest so that muscular, skeletal, and connective tissue healing can occur. 

Athletes Can Step Into The Spotlight Of Health And Vitality With Regular Infrared Sauna Use

As determined heroes and courageous individuals willing to push the boundaries of the physical, athletes deserve to live in a body free from aches and pain. There are certainly many modalities available to achieve pain free living, but often traditional methods tend to be ineffective at addressing the athlete as a whole person. 

Infrared sauna use for athletes, helps to not only relieve symptoms but actually create an internal environment of the body that is healthy and full of vitality.  Cortisol shots are a typical go to option, though rarely address underlying injuries, but rather mask the pain to ensure high performance.

It is possible to heal connective tissues with infrared sauna use by improving the oxygenation of the body, improving circulation to decrease inflammation, and by building the supply of collagen. Athletes, with the aid of infrared sauna use, can not only live pain free but actually rebuild the tendons and ligaments of the body. 

Additionally, energy levels and overall health can be improved by using infrared saunas to detoxify the body of cortisol and lactic acid needed for high performance while often polluting the body. 

Athletes can relax in an infrared sauna, and stabilize the nervous system to create space for the body’s natural healing mechanism to do its job. It is important for the gladiators of our time who inspire the rest of us to be brave, and aim for the seemingly impossible, to live a life free of painful lingering injuries. 

Sources Cited:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4846838/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6462613/
  3. https://www.luminultra.com/what-is-atp-and-what-does-it-do/
  4. https://www.shimadzu.com/an/ftir/support/tips/letter9/nir1.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728/
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/lactic-acidosis
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935255/
  8. https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Concept/Autonomic-Nervous-System

How Often Should You Use An Infrared Sauna?

Frequency, Duration, And Acclimatization Explained

Infrared sauna bathing, like other healthy lifestyle choices, is cumulative. Just as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are important elements to an integrative wellness lifestyle, regular sauna bathing is something you will want to do regularly. 

Determining how often an individual should use an infrared sauna will depend on several significant factors, such as age, experience with thermal therapy, health conditions, and level of hydration.  

As always, when introducing any new protocol into your regular daily routine, be sure to consult with a medical professional before beginning your infrared sauna therapy.

Here is a basic guide to how often you should use an infrared sauna and several factors to consider in determining your personal program.

Starting An Infrared Sauna  Program

As is true with any exercise routine you will want to be sure that you take your time acclimatizing the body to infrared sauna use by beginning with shorter sessions with lower temperatures and plenty of time between use. 

If you are someone with a background in heat therapy the process of building up to daily hour long  sessions can be accelerated, however, if you are new to heat therapy you will want to slowly and steadily build toward daily sessions. 

Here is a basic formula to use as a guide to infrared sauna use: 

  1. Begin your first session with the temperature set no higher than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Remain in the sauna for no more than 15-20 minutes. Take a day off between sessions. 
  2. Repeat this program for 1-2 weeks as the body acclimatizes to the lights and the heat. 
  3. After two weeks of laying a foundation you can begin to increase the temperature slowly as you build a tolerance. You may also begin to increase the time you spend in the sauna to 20-30 minutes. While still taking a day off between sessions, you may want to add one more session a week. Do this for 1-2 weeks. 
  4. By week 4, you may be ready to begin daily sauna sessions. Monitoring how you feel during and after the sessions. Keep the session time under 40 minutes. Remember that even if the temperature is not set very high, you will still be reaping the benefits from the light. 
  5. After six weeks you may be ready to increase the temperature to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, if this feels too hot, reduce the temperature while maintaining session durations of 40 minutes daily. Keep in mind you will still want to take at least one day off a week to allow the body to remineralize from all of the sweating.

 After six-eight weeks of laying a foundation begin to experiment with what feels comfortable for your body. Every day is different. Some days you may feel comfortable staying in the sauna for sixty minutes, while other days less time will be appropriate. 

It is not recommended to spend more than sixty minutes in the sauna at any given time. If you would like to increase the time you spend in your sauna consider a morning and an evening session. 

Micro Sauna Sessions: Two-Three Times Daily

  • Arthritis
  • Injury Recovery
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Heart Conditions
  • Pulmonary Tract/Lung Conditions

A great way to increase your body’s exposure to the healing rays of infrared light is to break your sessions up into shorter times throughout the day. This will allow you to stimulate mitochondrial activity and enrich the quality of your blood throughout the day. (1). 

This particular approach is excellent for individuals looking to improve circulation and decrease pain in the joints. The frequent stimulation of the mitochondria will stoke positive circulation and will be particularly helpful and poignant for individuals living with arthritis or recovering from injuries to the joints. This will help to reduce chronic inflammation. If you are looking to reduce pain in the joints, consider using your infrared sauna multiple times a day, with lower temperatures, and lower duration of sauna sessions. (2)

For individuals living with mood disorders such as anxiety or depression, the endorphins that are released with exposure to infrared light will positively affect neurotransmitters and the uptake of serotonin. Particularly, for individuals living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) will want to come in and out of the sauna frequently throughout the day without needing to spend longer than 10-15 minutes for each session. Again, the temperature does not need to be set too high for this type of use. (3)

Neosauna Tip: Pulmonary Health

Using a Neosauna several times a day for short intervals will help dramatically to reduce inflammation and infection within the lungs. The reason for this is two-fold. First, the dry warmth and light will improve mitochondrial function within all of the cells of the body and draw more blood to the lung region. Second, the Himalayan salt walls in the Neosauna will help to liberate any buildup of mucus and infection in the lungs. Inhaling the healing salt will help ratify the body of lingering lung infection and create a healthy pulmonary tract system. (4)

Health Conditions That Require Special Care With Infrared Sauna Use

  • Psoriasis
  • Heart Conditions
  • Cancer Patients
  • High Blood Pressure

While it is true that infrared sauna use may provide excellent benefits for a variety of conditions, it is important to approach this form of therapy with utmost care if you are an individual living with psoriasis, a heart condition, cancer, or high blood pressure. 

For individuals with specific health conditions it will be important to keep both the temperature of the sauna low, as well as the time set.

While psoriasis patients respond very well to infrared light therapy, elevated sauna temperatures can irritate the skin, so please, if you have psoriasis keep the temperature set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit and be sure to keep sauna session times low in duration. 

Similarly, individuals living with heart conditions should also be mindful to keep the temperature low in the sauna. Remember, that the light frequency itself offers great health benefits without increasing the temperature to uncomfortable levels. 

Frequency of sauna use can be increased when temperatures and time are set lower. The increased frequency will allow for more regular exposure to the infrared light without the stress of the heat on the body.

Hydration Must Increase As Infrared Sauna Sessions Increase In Frequency, temperature, and Duration

It will be crucial for anyone engaged in regular infrared sauna therapy sessions to be mindful to hydrate properly. This means drinking plenty of healthy mineral rich water before, during and after your sauna. 

While infrared sauna therapy has the ability to powerfully detoxify the body through perspiration, the membrane of the skin does not discriminate between the shedding of toxins and also healthy minerals. For this reason be sure to drink plenty of nutrient rich fluids, such as coconut water.

If hydration is not increased as infrared sauna sessions increase, dehydration headaches may ensue. Be mindful to drink at least four quarts of water daily while using infrared saunas.

Children And Infrared Sauna Use 

Happy child playing outside after using an infrared sauna

Children also benefit from infrared sauna use. The protocol used for a child is specific and must be followed with care. Three primary guidelines to use for children are as follows: 

  • Temperature Must Be Set Very Low (for example 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Children under 12 Should Keep Sauna Duration Less Than 15 Minutes
  • Monitor Your Child By Joining Them In The Sauna

Older children can increase the temperature and duration of the sauna.  Parents or guardians should be present to monitor the child’s time in the sauna. Children should never be left alone in the sauna, and always check with a medical practitioner before beginning an infrared sauna therapy program for your child.

Infrared Sauna Bathing: A Healthy Lifestyle Choice

Ultimately infrared sauna use is something that can be done daily or twice daily provided there is great care in building a foundation and maintaining positive hydration. 

Individuals living with specific health conditions need to be mindful to keep temperatures low, duration short, and time between sessions longer. These same guidelines apply also to children. 

For many adults, provided hydration is maintained, infrared saunas can be used daily, sometimes twice daily. Infrared sauna use will eventually become an integrated portion of your daily healthy lifestyle, so take your time building up a foundation.

**** Contraindication: Before beginning a regular infrared sauna program be sure to consult a medical practitioner.

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24246911/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6746555/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK202357/

Everything You Need To Know About Light

A Lay Person’s Guide To Understanding Light

  • What Spectrum Of Light Can Harm The Skin?
  • Where Does Visible Color Light Fall On The Spectrum?
  • What Is Infrared Light And How Is It Subdivided: Near, Mid, And Far?
  • Where does Microwave  And  X-Rays Fall In The Light Spectrum?
  • What Light Is Therapeutic And Beneficial For Humans?

Light is a basic element of every person’s experience, it becomes complicated because the majority of it is invisible to the human eye. Some portions of the light spectrum can be dangerous to humans, while others are deeply beneficial and therapeutic.

So, how can the average person know the difference and learn to use light in the most beneficial way?

Take a look at the light spectrum as illustrated below, we will use this as a map to understanding light: 

(1)

As you can see in the above visual guide, color light, meaning what humans can actually see with the naked eye, is a very small percentage of the entire field. This means that knowing that the rest of the spectrum is present requires, quite literally, blind faith!

Light and Its Origins: You’ve Got The Good Vibration!

The sun itself is the original source of all light, and emits the entire spectrum of light. This allows planet earth,and its relationship to the sun, to be ideal for plant, animal, and human life. Earth, the goldilocks planet of our galaxy, is such because of the life-giving properties of the sun. 

The purpose of this article is not to go far into the realm of academic research on light, but rather just to give the average person a sense of what light is and how each individual can benefit from its use in therapeutic quantities. 

While much of the light spectrum is invisible to the eye, many times it can be sensed with other perceptual apparatus, such as the skin when heat is experienced, or sometimes a headache after too much exposure, for example the x-ray range. It is possible to use how we feel and react as clues to what kind of light we have been exposed to.

Light is measured in nanometers, similar to any other form of measurement, for instance, miles to measure distance, gallons and liters for volume, pounds and grams to measure weight and mass. So, nanometers is the measurement used for light. 

Understanding nanometers does not require an overtly scientific perspective, but rather is used just as a means to categorize and discuss light frequency. All light travels in waves and expresses a unique frequency just as each individual has their own fingerprint. 

The specific light frequency or vibratory patterns of each spectrum determines its relationship to plants, water, animals, humans, and all portions of life on our planet.

Some frequency serves the health and wellness of people, while others may be detrimental, particularly with over exposure.

What Spectrum Of Light Can Harm The Skin?

With the shelves of pharmacies overflowing with various brands of ‘Sunscreen’ and with all the information about the dangers of skin cancer as a result of overexposure to the sun, few are stranger to the threat that light may have on the skin and eyes.

So, what portion of the light spectrum burns or conversely tans the skin? Looking at the map of the light spectrum, turn your gaze just to the left of color light and you will find the Ultra Violet (UV) spectrum of light. Some UV rays are necessary for the proper absorption of Vitamin D, so it is important not to demonize this entire band-width.  However with overexposure the skin may burn, and over time a variety of skin related illnesses may ensue.

It is the UV spectrum that you will find in tanning beds, and it is very important to protect the eyes from this potentially harmful bandwidth of light. It is best to take in UV rays in very small amounts. 

UV rays have a shorter wave frequency than visible light and are measured between 10-400 nanometers. 400 nanometers is where the human eye can begin to detect the color light spectrum, specifically the color violet. (2)

In short, protecting the eyes and skin is important to limit the amount of UV rays exposed to the body; however, some exposure is important for Vitamin D absorption. (UVB is the frequency that is responsible for Vitamin D Absorption) (3)

The morning hours of the day is when infrared light is at its most potent and is a very safe time of day to spend in the sun. 

What Is Visible Light And Where Is It Expressed On The Light Spectrum?

As UV rays begin to dwindle out, the visible spectrum fades in at 400 nanometers and here begins the story of the color palette. In many ways color light really steals the show from the rest of the light spectrum because humans can see it. It is however a very small portion of light.

Most folks can visualize the color wheel or a rainbow in an instant. In addition to being very beautiful, color light also boasts many benefits to human health. When color light is used for therapeutic purposes it is called Chromotherapy. Each color fosters a unique benefit to human physiology and psychology, including, but not limited to:

Color LIght Benefits

  • Radiant Skin
  • Bacteria Free Skin (as a therapy for acne)
  • Scar Reduction
  • Reduction Of Biological Skin Age
  • Improved Serotonin Uptake
  • Balance Circadian Rhythm
  • Deeper More Restful Sleep

For more details on color light therapy and chromotherapy, please click here.

Color light over all is not only safe, but moreover potentially beneficial for health and wellness.

From Color Red To Near Infrared: The Plot Thickens

  • Enhanced Mitochondrial Health
  • Improved Collagen Production
  • More Efficient Circulation
  • Neurogenesis

As the eye moves across the light spectrum map from left to right, eventually the visible color red becomes apparent. This frequency of light offers a unique set of benefits for human biology and is also the bridge into what is called the infrared red spectrum.

As the color red fades out in the 600-700 nanometer range it becomes invisible to the human eye, but can be experienced tactfully as heat. This is the near infrared range.

Near infrared light is perhaps the most valuable light frequency for human health because of its relationship to mitochondrial metabolism, collagen production, circulation, and even neurogenesis. (4)

The mitochondria is essentially the energy plant of each individual cell. Surrounding the mitochondria is the cytoplasm C, within this membrane are photoreceptors. These photoreceptors are particularly sensitive to near infrared light and absorb this light efficiently. (4)

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has published a plethora of journals surrounding the relationship between near infrared light and cellular energy production, believed to be the root cause for a variety of illnesses ranging from Parkinson’s to cancer. Many medical professionals have argued that by improving mitochondrial metabolism a plethora of illnesses could be healed. (4)

From a journal published in April of 2020 by NIH, the authors elaborate on the specific details of how near infrared light improves energy conversion within each cell of the body:

“The transfer of electrons from cytochrome C to O2 is coupled with the expulsion of 4 protons from the mitochondrial matrix across the IMM, contributing to the transmembrane electrochemical gradient that drives ATP synthesis. Nitric oxide (NO), a molecule known for its vasodilatory properties in vivo, competes with O2 for its binding site on the CuB center of COX” (4)

Stemming from the profoundly positive effects that near infrared light has on mitochondrial health and improved ATP synthesis, vasodilation (widening of blood cells) occurs to promote improved circulation which positively affects heart health, as well as injury recovery. Positive circulation is necessary to decrease inflammation and therefore pain. (5)

Collagen is a protein that is necessary to maintain skin’s elasticity, healthy bone marrow regeneration, and to maintain the integrity of the connective tissues of the body. Near infrared light’s relationship to the mitochondrial also influences collagen production. 

Consider that collagen is the glue that keeps it all together. This protein is critical to the physical well being of almost every system in the body. 

When near infrared light is combined with red color light and used for therapeutic purposes it is called Photobiomodulation. For more on the science behind photobiomodulation please click here.

For being a light frequency that is invisible to the human eye, near infrared light is mighty and powerful in its positive effects on health and wellness.

From Near To Far: Explore The Mid And Far Infrared Spectrum

a man enjoying an infrared sauna

“Infrared is usually divided into 3 spectral regions: near, mid and far-infrared. The boundaries between the near, mid and far-infrared regions are not agreed upon and can vary.” -NASA & ipac 

Moving along the light spectrum from right to left, near infrared light blends into mid and far infrared light. Light is fluid, and unlike other realms of the material world it cannot be these electrons move in waves unlike their particle counterparts.

In terms of nanometers, mid and far infrared light occupies anywhere from 800-1350 nanometers. This frequency of light moves and vibrates in a profoundly different way from near infrared light and was made popular by its impact on life in the oceans. (6)

Far infrared light is unique because of its ability to penetrate deeply through matter, including your body. This action becomes beneficial to health because of its ability to increase the core temperature of the body. This serves to create an artificial fever, and begins the profound detoxification protocol through perspiration.

All forms of sauna bathing induce a detoxification protocol through intense sweating, but none so profound as the experience of far infrared within the chamber of the sauna. 

Organ health is dramatically improved with far infrared light sauna bathing, as is the body able to rid itself of lingering bacterial infection. Immunity is improved as the body is cleansed of harsh toxins and bacterial infection. 

So what happens as the infrared spectrum fades out? What is next of the light spectrum?

After Infrared Light: Microwave to Broadcast

The healing rays of far infrared light blend into the microwave frequencing and then the broadcasting band where radio and television signals abide. 

The exodus out of the 1350 nanometer range and beyond can be dangerous for humans, as seen in results from over exposure to the microwave frequency. As much as possible this frequency ought to be avoided. Of course, there is use in the broadcast band, without it radio and television would be impossible. (8)

Although this technology has served the human kind as a means of communication and sharing information in large doses, it is not at all healthful for human physiology.

Enlightened Understanding Of Light Frequency

An understanding of the basic mechanism of light allows each individual to make informed choices for themselves about how much, if any, forms of light frequency they invite into their daily activities.

Some exposure to UV rays are necessary for vitamin D absorption, but should be limited in doses. Color light and all portions of the infrared light band are deeply beneficial to humans and can be used in therapeutic doses in infrared sauna therapy, as well as in photobiomodulation devices. 

Before beginning any protocol therapy using light, be sure that you understand the basics of how light works so that you can incorporate specific spectrums into your practices. 

Sources:

  1. https://news.californialightworks.com/light-spectrum-and-plant-growth/
  2. https://scied.ucar.edu/ultraviolet-uv-radiation
  3. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/sun-protection-and-vitamin-d/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145956/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/exercise_and_your_arteries
  6. http://www.icc.dur.ac.uk/~tt/Lectures/Galaxies/Images/Infrared/Regions/irregions.html
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4246346/
  8. https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/resources-you-radiation-emitting-products/microwave-oven-radiation

Benefits of Having Salt in a Sauna

Halotherapy To Relieve Chronic Pulmonary Tract Conditions

  • Asthma
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
  • Pneumonia
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Hay Fever
  • Sleep & Snoring

As a species we are no strangers to turning to salt as a therapeutic modality to improve respiratory function and to relieve chronic conditions affecting the pulmonary tract. From the salt caves of ancient Greece to the salt mines of Eastern Europe and Russia, humans have turned to salt for its benefits to pulmonary health for centuries. 

So why incorporate salt into your sauna experience?

The addition of salt walls into your sauna experience will add a dimension of healing that caters specifically to respiratory health by capitalizing on the negative ions released from the salt as atmospheric heat is increased.

This article will elaborate on the history of salt therapy, its relationship to pulmonary health, and the efficacy of its use in tandem with sauna therapy.

History of Salt Therapy: Introducing Halotherapy

The use of salt for therapeutic purposes is generally referred to as halotherapy (HP), derived from speleotherapy in salt mines. While many cultures throughout history have turned to the inhalation of the negative ions emitted from salt to foster the health of the pulmonary tract, this particular therapy was rendered popular by the health of the salt miners in eastern Europe.

Generally, mining is considered to be a potentially hazardous and dangerous occupation; however, it was remarkable that workers of the salt mines were demonstrating superior respiratory health. With some investigation, it was found that the particles that these miners were inhaling were actually beneficial to their health. Interestingly it was the salt miners in Poland during the 19th century that brought into focus the health benefits of salt exposure in confined spaces, such as salt mines and caves. (1)

Since then, several therapeutic models have attempted to mimic the conditions of salt caves and mines to treat respiratory disorders. More recently salt, specifically Himalayan salt, has been used in saunas to add an additional dimension of healing. 

How it works

A woman on the beach, benefiting from natural halotherapy

Once inhaled, salt particles cause the mucus within the lungs to thin and liquify, thereby dislodging potentially harmful pathogens and bacteria within the pulmonary tract. This process allows for easier expulsion of allergens and other airborne disturbances to the lungs. (2)

Salt is negatively charged which gives it the unique capacity to bind positively charged particles to it. This effect that salt has on positively charged emissions from electrical devices neutralizes some of the harmful effects from electromagnetic radiation. (5)

Further, it is believed that as Himalayan salt is heated, negative ions are released into the air of a confined space. As the negative ions are inhaled, they serve to balance the positive ions emitted by an array of electrical devices. (2)

More recently, the National Institute of Health has begun researching the practical application for individuals living with chronic pulmonary tract disorders such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), Emphysema, Hay Fever, and respiratory sleep disturbances. (3)

The result of case studies has proven to be significant and now has put halotherapy as a viable integrative, or supplemental treatment for individuals living with chronic pulmonary conditions.

Case Study:

This particular study performed by the National Institute Of Health, recreated a salt cave, using Himalayan salt walls in a confined space. Fifteen subjects, all of whom had been diagnosed with serious and chronic respiratory illness from asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema participated. 

After the initial five to ten days of exposure, ten of the subjects experienced a dramatic improvement in dry cough as well as other related symptoms. By day twelve of the experiment all of the subjects had experienced a reduction in symptom expression. (4)

An excerpt from the conclusive report on the study reveals the following:

“The assessment of results achieved in the investigated patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.” (4)

Further research performed by the same group of scientists found that the inhalation of dry salt particles dramatically repressed symptoms and assisted individuals diagnosed with COPD through the liquefaction of mucus in the airways, which helped the explosion of harmful bacteria and allergens from the lungs. (3

Here is the conclusion of the study, performed by NIH:

“The assessment of results achieved in the investigated patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.”

The use of halotherapy is not a substitute for allopathic treatments, such as cortisol ventilators or any other drug treatment; however may be a supplementary tool for individuals living with chronic respiratory conditions. 

Does Halotherapy Work When Used In Conjunction With Sauna Therapy?

Recreating the conditions of the salt caves in Eastern Europe requires ample salt that is being crushed and turned into airborne particles as well as a confined space. Mimicking nature may never quite bring the same majestic opportunity, however modern technology is able to render a sufficient substitute. 

Saunas are an effective means of recreating salt caves for two primary reasons: 

  • A confined Space
  • Elevated temperature

In order for halotherapy to be effective it is important that the space is confined to contain salt particles, and the negative ions that are released. This is simply not the case in household rooms, however the cabin-like structure of the sauna is ideal.

Secondly, as the atmospheric temperature of saunas is elevated it causes the salt crystals to release negative ions into the space. As this occurs, potentially harmful positively charged pathogens bind to the salt particles. (4)

In many ways using halotherapy in conjunction with sauna therapy can be an effective means of recreating the salt caves that made this form of respiratory therapy popular in the first place.

The Merger Of Sauna Therapy And Halotherapy: A Supplement To Your Respiratory Protocol

A Neosauna sauna, with salt walls for halotherapy

The unique structure of most saunas makes for an ideal landscape in which to create the healing power of salt caves. The confined space allows for the health benefits of halotherapy to be truly effective. 

A sauna chamber that incorporates Himalayan salt walls may not be as powerful as an underground salt cave, it does however come very close to its replication. 

Research has demonstrated that incorporating halotherapy into an integrative protocol to treat a variety of pulmonary disorders is effective, although not a substitute for traditional treatments. 

In addition to the clinical research, the time spent in a sauna equipped with salt therapy is deeply relaxing and inviting. Whether respiratory conditions are active or not, the experience of joining salt and sauna together is a powerful healing modality.

Sources

  1. https://www.vtsaltcaves.com/history-of-salt-therapy
  2. https://www.salttherapyassociation.org/how-and-why-it-works
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3937102/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391365/
  5. https://www.massageacademyllc.com/wp-content/uploads/Halotherapy-FAQs.pdf.pdf

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Red Light Therapy

  • Pain Reduction
  • Skin Health (wound healing, scar repair, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles)
  • Muscle Recovery
  • Improved Sleep
  • Stabilized Mood
  • Neurological Well Being
  • Positive Cellular Replication: Anti-Aging

From neurological specialists to the pages of beauty magazines the use of red light therapy has become a beacon of hope for a plentitude of conditions and a source of renewed vitality.

So, what is the big deal? 

How is it possible that a color light can boast so many positive health benefits for such a vast array of ailments?  Understanding the answer to this question involves taking a closer look at the biological response that occurs as the body is exposed to red and near infrared light wavelengths. 

Specific cellular photoreceptor mechanisms absorb the light energy from red and near infrared spectrums to create a cascade of positive biological responses.  Among them are, but not limited to, pain reduction, skin health, muscle recovery, improved sleep, stabilized mood, neurological health, and positive cellular replication for anti-aging purposes.

This article will outline in detail the specific cellular response to red and near infrared light.  This stokes the powerful transfiguration of the body into greater degrees of health and vitality when exposed regularly to therapeutic doses of the red and near infrared light spectrum.

Waves, Frequency, And Light: A Brief Exploration Into The Light Spectrum

The sun that our planet revolves around is the primordial source of both light and life on our planet. Radiating off of the sun is the entire spectrum of light both visible and invisible. Light travels in patterns that look somewhat like the waves of the ocean which are referred to as wavelengths. Each color of the light spectrum has a unique wave pattern similar to fingerprints. Both visible and invisible light has an effect on its recipients based on the patterned wave frequency that is emitted. 

Light frequency is measured in nanometers. Light that is vibrating within the bracket of 600-900 nm has demonstrated to be particularly heathful to cellular health. This measurement encompasses both the visible light frequency of red as well as near infrared light. The latter of which is invisible to the human eye, but can be experienced as a subtle heat. 

It is the very unique relationship between human cellular composition and the red and near infrared light spectrum that creates a cascade of biochemical changes to produce an internal climate ripe with vitality and health.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work: Photobiomodulation To Ignite The Health Of Every Cell Of The Body

  • Mitochondrial Activity Is Increased To Improve Energy Conversion
  • Augmented ATP Production
  • Reduction Of Cellular Waste
  • Nitric Oxide Increase
  • Improved Overall Blood Circulation

Red light therapy as it is known colloquially, or photobiomodulation (PBM), as it is known in scientific terms, has become a very popular therapy both for deep seated medical conditions as well as a cosmetic treatment.

PBM is not a thermal therapy, but rather depends upon how the red and near infrared light travel as wave frequency both around and into the body. (1)

As the body is saturated by a red light bath, the unique imprint of wave frequency from the red and near infrared spectrum is absorbed by the photoreceptors of each cell of the body.

Specifically, it is the Cytochrome C Oxidase, the membrane wall that surrounds the mitochondria of cells that absorbs light photons. The mitochondria is the power plant of each individual cell and is responsible for energy conversion. (1)

The unique capacity of the red and infrared light to be absorbed by the inner walls of the cell sparks a tremendous cascade of biological changes. The National Institute Of Health recently published the following description of PBM:

“Photobiomodulation (PBM) involves the utilization of light from the visible and near infrared portions of the spectrum at a relatively low power density that is insufficient to heat or burn tissue… Rather, the photons themselves stimulate chemical changes within the cells, provoking biological reactions that benefit the body in a variety of ways – including the triggering of neuroprotective responses, improvements in metabolism, blood flow, and neurogenesis, and decreases in inflammation and oxidative stress.” (2)

Neosauna Tip: A Basic RunDown Of Cellular Response To Red And Near Infrared Light

By exposing the body to red and near infrared light in controlled doses allows for the absorption of these wave frequencies into the inner chamber of each and every cell to trigger a remarkable upgrade in mitochondrial activity. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate Production), the necessary molecule involved in energy transmutation in the cell is stimulated. By enhancing nitric oxide production, oxygenation of the intracellular communities is augmented. 

In short, humans absorb light not only through the eyes but also through the epidermis. Certain wavelengths are able to penetrate the body with greater ease to effect a change within each cell, namely red and infrared light. Photoreceptors are activated by contact with this light frequency and a domino effect, originating within the energy centers of each cell, ultimately affects all portions of human physiology.

Consider also that the human body is composed of roughly fifty trillion cells, as the body is immersed in red and infrared light, quite literally each cell is illuminated by these wavelengths. It is for this reason that PBM has a resounding positive effect on a vast array of conditions.

Pain Reduction: Improve Circulation To Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation is created within the body in very localized ways as a reaction to blunt trauma causing injury. Inflammation can show up chronically as a result of autoimmune related conditions. Either way, where there is inflammation in the body, there is also pain.

While an inflammatory response is often important and healthy in injury recovery, prolonged inflammation can be debilitating and cause significant chronic pain. 

When individuals are exposed to therapeutic doses of red light,  ATP production is augmented. Nitric oxide is produced at higher rates as it causes blood flow to speed up bringing necessary nutrients to damaged tissues of the body. (3)

Where there is healthful circulation, inflammation retracts and pain is reduced. Some individuals notice a remarkable decrease in inflammation after just fifteen minutes under the influence of red and near infrared light. 

Skin Health: Augment Fibroblasts, Collagen, And Elastin

The skin is the largest organ of the human body; it mediates between the internal external environment. The epidermis is composed of two primary proteins that weave together to produce the texture and quality of skin, collagen and elastin.

Red light therapy is particularly effective as a tool to increase the quality of skin tone because it fosters the health of fibroblast cells that are the precursor to collagen. Fibroblasts are believed to largely be responsible for the healing mechanism of the skin. When there is injury to the skin fibroblasts migrate to the area to deposit collagen. (4)

A body that is high in fibroblasts will experience faster wound healing, decrease in fine lines, and an overall healthier look and feel to the skin. A study performed by the National Institute of Health demonstrates substantial benefits for the skin after using red and near infrared light on individuals suffering from severe burns, psoriasis, and acne. (5)

Ground zero of the process of creating not only more fibroblasts, but also improving migratory speed, begins with heightened mitochondrial activity of each cell resulting from increased energy conversion that occurs due to absorption of the red and near infrared light. From the National Institute of Health’s journal on red light therapy and skin wound healing:


“Red light stimulates the copper/heme-iron centers on cytochrome C oxidase (CCO), an intramitochondrial component of the electron transport chain. CCO is a protein complex containing two copper and heme-iron groups that play a key role in the electron transport within the mitochondrial. LED-RL photostimulation of CCO directly influences reactive oxygen species (ROS) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and results in increased ROS and ATP levels.” (5)

Whether you are looking to heal scars, purify the skin, or just looking to improve the overall tone and look of your skin, exposure to red light in therapeutic doses demonstrates positive results for skin. Further, this treatment is non-invasive, easily accessible and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Muscle recovery: Photobiomodulation and Tissue Repair

Over forty-six studies have been performed on both trained and untrained individuals engaged in exercise to determine if red light therapy is a significant factor in muscle recovery. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the application of red and near infrared light after exercise dramatically increased the rate of muscle recovery in both groups of individuals. (6)

The National Institute of Health published the following journal,  ‘Photobiomodulation In Human Muscle Tissue: An Advantage In Sports Recovery’. The clinical results found on muscle recovery in the studies highlighted by this journal were remarkable. Here is what it says on the biological process behind the increase muscle repair:

“The rationale for using PBM on muscles relies on the well-known stimulation of mitochondrial activity that occurs after red or near-infrared photons delivered to the tissue have been absorbed by cytochrome c oxidase. Muscles rely heavily on adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the biological source of energy needed for muscle work, and therefore robust increased ATP levels are the most popular hypothesis to explain the extraordinary effects that PBM appears to exert on muscle tissue.” (6)

Whether for elite level athletes or individuals engaged in moderate exercise, the combination of red and near infrared light exposure will aid in both quality and speed of muscle repair. This is particularly significant for individuals looking to increase the frequency of workouts, with less recovery time between sessions. Athletes competing at an elite level would do well to incorporate photobiomodulation into their post workout routine to augment performance.

Improve Sleep And Balance Circadian Rhythm

Adequate sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy and vitality filled body; unfortunately, a sound night’s sleep eludes many individuals. While there are a plethora of causes that impact quality of sleep, it is believed that over exposure to blue light as found in computers, televisions, cell phones and other devices disturbs circadian rhythm. 

While limiting screen time is certainly helpful in achieving a restful night’s sleep, for many it is simply impossible to avoid hours spent in front of a screen. If individuals are able to modulate exposure to blue light by increasing red light exposure, research suggests that circadian rhythm can be balanced and improve sleep experience.

From the International Journal of Endocrinology:

“Results showed that, as expected, only the blue light reduced nocturnal melatonin” (7)

Melatonin is a necessary component to induce a healthy and restful night’s sleep. As blue light has been shown to decrease melatonin production, red light does the very opposite. Neurotransmitters pick up signals from the red and near infrared light spectrum to produce ameliorated serotonin uptake. Serotonin is converted into melatonin in the pineal gland, a small pinecone shaped gland in the center of the brain as the sun goes down. (6)

Morning sunlight is stronger in red and infrared light.  As many individuals are inside office buildings during this time, they are missing out on exposure to this spectrum of light. To balance circadian rhythm it is imperative to ‘catch up’ on lost red light exposure. With a simple red and near infrared light instrument this can be done in a matter of minutes. 

While it may not be practical to eliminate over exposure to blue light from screens, it is possible to balance this with red light therapy, in doing so sleep mechanisms are improved. 

Stabilized Mood With Red Light Therapy

For many of the same reasons that red and near infrared light positively impacts sleep, this spectrum of light has also demonstrated positive effects on mood stability.

Quality of sleep is closely related to mood stability. Many individuals living with depression and anxiety also experience sleep disturbances. As circadian rhythm is balanced, very often there is a natural stabilization of mood.

Further exposure to red light positively impacts neurotransmitters to induce serotonin uptake. As serotonin levels are balanced within the brain, so too is mood. From a journal published by Psychiatric Times:

“The response [to red light therapy] is quite rapid, often within a week or two, which is more rapid than the response to antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy,” (9)

While there is still more to learn and discover about how red and near infrared light impact the emotional centers of the brain, there is enough clinical evidence to demonstrate that mood is positively impacted by exposure to this light spectrum. (9)

Neurological Health And Red Light Therapy

Exposure to the red and near infrared spectrum of light appears to be wildly impactful on neurological health, and very specifically on the creation of new brain cells: Neurogenesis.

The National Institute Of Health has been studying the effects of light on brain health for several decades. From a recent journal publication on the topic:

“Animal research has shown that PBM stimulates neurogenesis and protects against cell death. Data suggest that red light, close to the NIR spectrum (670 nm), protects the viability of cell culture after oxidative stress, as indicated by mitochondria membrane potentials.” (10)

The implications of this research is promising for brain degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, not only is red and near infrared light correlated to increased neurogenesis, it  may also reduce inflammation in the brain. (10)

Many brain related disorders demonstrate mild to severe inflammation. Inflammation of the brain can be reduced by sparking mitochondrial activity, improving ATP production, and blood flow to the brain.

Additionally, in more recent years PBM has been used to treat stroke patients, or ‘cerebral Ischemia’. From the peer reviewed journal ‘Frontier Neurology’:

“The main benefits attributed to brain PBM therapy are related to different biological processes such as increasing cerebral metabolic function, stimulating neurogenesis and synaptogenesis, and neuroprotection via anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant biological signaling.”

From treating post stroke patients, brain injury, and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the red and near infrared light demonstrates a promising safe means toward neurological health.

Positive Cellular Replication: Extending The Life Span Of Cells

All organisms have a life span, including cells. Disease is often manifested when the life span of cells is decreased, and new cells are not able to replicate fast enough to replace the rate of dying cells. Apoptosis, is the name for programmed cell death, this is the completion of the natural life cycle of a cell. 

Health issues arise when external factors from the environment such as pollution, pathogens, and toxic heavy metals, deplete the body of vital life force and cells begin to die before their programmed death. Ultimately if cells are dying at a faster rate than they are able to be healthfully replicated,  illness may ensue. 

There are many factors in our environment that are beyond the immediate control of the individual; however, it is possible to reverse the premature death of human cells by exposing the body to red and near infralight in therapeutic doses.

Although it remains unclear exactly how and why photobiomodulation affects the life span of cells, this therapy has proven to extend the life cycle of cells so that renewal and replication occurs in alignment with apoptosis, programmed cell death. 

The Marriage Of Red And Near Infrared Light: Why The Coupling Of These Two Spectrums?

Most photobiomodulation devices come equipped with the color red spectrum as well as near infrared light. What is it about this combination that has such a powerful positive effect on human physiology?

According to the journal ‘Frontiers in Neurology’, the unique blend of these two light spectrums play off of each other to create a powerhouse of tandem light unity. 

“It is important to highlight the scientific rationale for the use of red and NIR wavelengths at the same time. Our research group already reported previously that irradiations with red and NIR wavelengths at the same time possibly offer advantages based on the absorption bands of the chromophores in the cells that absorb light, in special cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, resulting in even more synthesis of ATP than either red or NIR used alone.”

As was discussed earlier, each light spectrum has a unique wave pattern, similar to the human fingerprint. The specific quality of frequency emanating from the red and infrared light spectrum join forces to meet the photoreceptors within each human cell to produce a cascade of health benefits.

Understanding the human form as a community of trillions of cells working together to create balance, equilibrium, and health; it makes  sense that optimizing the energy centers of each cell will positively affect overall health.

With red and near infrared light working in tandem in therapeutic doses it is possible to optimize cellular function and therefore overall radiant health.

Sources:

  1. https://www.litecure.com/about-photobiomodulation/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5448311/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325884#bone-recovery
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325884#bone-recovery
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848333/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5167494/
  7. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2010/829351/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181775/
  9. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/bipolar-disorder/light-treatment-nonseasonal-depression
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777909/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587748/
  12. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.00911/full
  13. http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/PH/Aging/mobile_pages/Aging2.html

PTSD & Sauna Bathing

How Heat Can Stabilize The Autonomic Nervous System

Traumatic life events happen for nearly every human alive, however, some devastate beyond a healthy range of recovery for a variety of reasons. Many of life’s challenges, brutalities, and losses are not preventable, and even how recovery occurs surrounding these incidents may be beyond the realm of immediate control. 

Many individuals are left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and live with the symptoms of this condition every day… And night! There are many therapeutic approaches to help heal PTSD, most of which are beyond the scope of this article. However, clinical research can demonstrate the positive healing effect that regular sauna bathing may have on symptoms of PTSD. 

A significant factor contributing to the expression of PTSD is an autonomic nervous system that is apparently permanently out of balance. This results in significant symptoms that can make everyday life difficult. 

This article will examine how regular sauna bathing may help reduce symptoms of PTSD by enhancing homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system.

PTSD And The Autonomic Nervous System: Why A Balanced Nervous System Is Critical

  • Improve quantity and quality of sleep
  • Minimize anxiety & panic attacks
  • Increase In Positive Thinking (less hypervigilance)
  • Healthier internal organ function
  • Positive cellular replication

A pillar of PTSD is an imbalance to the autonomic nervous system, a portion of recovery needs to include the redemption of homeostasis to this system.

Remember that when there is an immediate threat to life, the adaptive quality of the human body to summon all resources toward survival is critical and necessary. This is where the autonomic nervous system serves to assure survival of the human race.

The concern is that once the immediate threat has been resolved many individuals remain in hypervigilance, unable to return to a healthy equilibrium. In the long run, this deteriorates both physical as well as emotional health.

Understanding how sauna therapy can summon physiology out of hypervigilance back into balance may be wildly valuable in any PTSD treatment protocol.

Neosauna Tip: The autonomic nervous system is composed of two primary branches, each of which determines the state of being of not only physiology, but also emotions and thought patterns. (1)

Parasympathetic dominance, also known as rest and digest, or states of relaxation occurs when the body and mind feel safe. In addition, sleep occurs easily, as does healing of the body in this state of being as energy is directed inward for healthy cellular replication and general rejuvenation. (1)

Sympathetic dominance, also known as fight or flight, is the other branch of the autonomic nervous system. The body is transferred into this state of being when a threat is perceived. It is difficult to sleep or relax when the body is in states of sympathetic dominance. When individuals remain in states of hypervigilance for prolonged periods of time, eventually the health of the body is eroded. (1)

It is not uncommon for individuals who have experienced severe trauma to remain in hypervigilance. An important element of treatment of PTSD is the fostering of a balanced autonomic nervous system. 

The National Institute Of Health describes the relationship between PTSD and the autonomic nervous system in the following statement: 

“A hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is autonomic nervous system imbalance, characterized by a hypoactive parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and hyperactive sympathetic nervous system (SNS) . Indeed, PTSD diagnosis and symptom severity have been associated with higher baseline heart rate (HR)  and reduced heart-rate variability (HRV) , a non-invasive index of autonomic control of cardiac rhythm . This is concerning because elevated HR and attenuated HRV are not only indicators of poor cardiovascular health, they are also precursors, conveying heightened risk for arrhythmia (5) and artherosclerosis.” (2)

Unfortunately, remaining in states of stress response for prolonged periods of time can have catastrophic effects on the body. For individuals living with PTSD it is imperative to find a variety of tools to help relax the mind and body to harmonize the autonomic nervous system once again. 

While sauna bathing is not the only means to finding homeostasis of the autonomic nervous system, it is powerful and effective. 

How Does Sauna Bathing Impact The Autonomic Nervous System?

Sauna therapy can help relieve PTSD

For most people when they think of sauna bathing they associate the experience with relaxation, and this is valid. A study published by Science Direct, in August of 2019 revealed that after just one sauna session participants experience: “The study showed that a single sauna exposure leads to significant changes in cardiac autonomic nervous balance as indicated by modulation of heart rate variability.” (2)

Several significant reasons to use saunas to stabilize the autonomic nervous system include, but not limited to :

  • Pharmaceutical Free: All Natural
  • No Special Activity On The Part Of The Participant Is Necessary (such as breathing exercises, meditation etc…)

Often, but not always, individuals living with PTSD will be prescribed a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, mood stabilizers, and the list goes on. While sometimes this form of intervention is necessary, finding a natural means to stabilize the autonomic nervous system can be crucial for health and ultimate healing. 

Through heat, and in the case of infrared sauna bathing light, the nervous system is gently coaxed back into states of relaxation without the use of pharmaceuticals. Not only is this objective satisfied, also sauna bathing acts as a powerful means of detoxification from any pharmaceuticals that have been taken to calm the nervous system, as well as other toxins from lactic acid, cortisol, and other substance overloads from spending too much time in stress response. 

Panic attacks are not uncommon for individuals living with PTSD. Often individuals will be encouraged to slow breathing down, and engage in other mindfulness activities. While this is ultimately helpful, often when anxiety and hypervigilance are highly activated it can be difficult to slow breathing down. Sauna bathing does not demand anything of the participant. (3)

The mere act of being inside the cabin structure with the heat will invite the body out of states of fight or flight and back into states of calm and rest. It is only in states of relaxation that the body can begin the natural healing process. 

Sauna bathing is not the only option to treat PTSD, it is a powerful means to aid in the recovery of the autonomic nervous system back into states of balance. 

According to a publication by the Medical Press: 

“Regular sauna bathing stabilizes the autonomic nervous system, reduces blood pressure, inflammation, oxidative stress, circulation of bad cholesterol, arterial stiffness, and vascular resistance.” (4)

For many individuals living with PTSD inflammation can be a significant issue as well, sauna therapy has been found to also assist in the reduction of inflammation. 

PTSD And Sauna Bathing: A Natural And Effective Treatment Therapy To Alleviate Some Symptoms

A couple enjoying life after PTSD and sauna therapy

It may be impossible to entirely avoid traumas from occurring.  It is, however, possible to respond with treatment that is both integrative and holistic to avoid long term damaging symptoms of  PTSD.

There are a plethora of therapies available in treating PTSD, typically a combination of methods will prove most effective. Any treatment plan ought to include a robust balancing of the autonomic nervous system to improve sleep, reduce hypervigilance and anxiety, as well as improve the overall health of the heart. 

Sauna bathing, in all its forms, including infrared sauna bathing, is a powerful and effective means of drawing the autonomic nervous system back into states of balance for individuals living with PTSD. 

The human experience will likely never be devoid of heartbreak, loss, and tragedy.  How we choose to respond to these challenging events, ultimately is what makes the difference. Sauna bathing will not make all problems vanquish, however it is a powerful tool in the balancing of the autonomic nervous system. 

When individuals are able to exit out of states of fight or flight easily, healthy sleep patterns return, and typically anxiety is calmed. Consider incorporating sauna bathing into your PTSD treatment protocol to assist the recovery of the physical and emotional body.

***Remember to always consult your medical practitioner before beginning sauna protocol. 

For more information and immediate assistance please contact the PTSD Foundation Of America

Sources:

  1. https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Concept/Autonomic%20Nervous%20System
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003742/
  3. https://nrd.gov/resource/detail/21077949/PTSD+Foundation+Of+America
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229919301943
  5. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-frequent-sauna-health-benefits-literature.html

Comparing Infrared Saunas

What Are Some Important Consumer Considerations When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna For Your Home

As a consumer it can be challenging at times to discern the quality of a product from one manufacturer to another. While this may not be a huge issue for small purchases, it does pose significant questions on bigger ticket items and investments. 

If you are considering bringing an infrared sauna into your home, it will be important to understand the componentry that affects the efficacy and safety of each unit. This will allow you to ask the right kind of questions to ensure you bring the highest quality sauna into your home for the lowest price.

Not all saunas are created equal. The intention of this article is to help you, the consumer, understand the elements of an infrared sauna, and what to look for in quality control.

An infrared sauna is a powerful healing modality for a wide variety of conditions, and is also a vehicle to enhance vitality and longevity. This means that it is important that your infrared sauna be a safe oasis of health, not another contributing factor to illness.

What Are The Key Factors That Consumers Should Look For When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna?:

Near, Mid, And Far Infrared Light Spectrum: Does It Matter If Your Sauna Contains All Three?

As you begin investigating buying options for an infrared sauna for your home, you will want to have an understanding of the distinction between near, mid, and far infrared light. This will give you an opportunity to educate yourself as the consumer about the relationship between light and human physiology.

You will notice that big box stores offering lower priced saunas generally only offer the far infrared spectrum. This is significant to note as it is the combination of the infrared light spectrum that renders the most impactful healing benefits for the body.

While there will still be some benefit to using just a far infrared sauna as is offered by big box stores, it is exponentially more valuable to health to engage in broad spectrum infrared sauna therapy. This is because each wavelength interacts with the body in a very specific and unique way.

Ideally, you will want to bring a broad spectrum infrared sauna into your home for maximum healing benefit. Before making a purchase be sure that the infrared sauna offers near, mid, and far infrared light.

All light emanates from the sun and is measured in nanometers, some light is visible to the human eye, such as color light, while others are invisible. Infrared light is invisible to the human and begins just as the color red fades out on the light spectrum. (1)

This means that infrared light is on the far end of the light spectrum from potentially harmful light, such as UV rays. Any light measured at 400 nm or less will fall under the category of ultraviolet light, for which there are several subsections. (1)

Visible color light ranges from 400-600 nm. The invisible infrared spectrum ranges from 650-1200 nm. There is a strong quality of healing from this spectrum of light in relationship to the human body that is remarkable. 

Red and Near Infrared Light: 

The wavelength of red and near infrared light produce profound effects on mitochondrial metabolism. Light frequency emanating between 550-800 nm stimulates photoreceptors within the cytoplasm C to positively affect change within the energy conversion centers of the cell: The mitochondria.(2)

The ostensible effect is to increase ATP production to enrich the quality of blood while simultaneously improving circulation. It will be important for anyone looking to bring an infrared sauna into their home to ensure that near infrared light is included. (2)

Collagen production is also stimulated by the near infrared spectrum which positively affects bone marrow, connective tissues, and skin.

***It may even be worth buying a separate panel of red and near infrared light that can be added to your sauna for increased exposure.

For more information on the benefits of red and near infrared light, please click here.

Mid and Far Infrared Light:

The mid and far spectrum of light when used in tandem with near infrared light is particularly effective in penetrating deeply into the soft tissues of the body. This occurs due to the wave frequency of this light. This means that not only is the surface layer of the epidermis affected, but the internal body temperature increases to induce a cascade of biological changes. These include, but are not limited to, artificially induced fever to reduce lingering bacterial infection, improved production of Heat Shock Proteins (HPS), profound detoxification and therefore significant relief to the internal organs. 

When shopping for an infrared sauna for your home you will want to be sure that your sauna is broad spectrum and features the near, mid, and far infrared light spectrum.

Wood: Eco-Friendly, Untreated, and Durable Wood

The cabin-like structure of an infrared sauna is made of wood. By virtue of being a sauna the temperature within the unit will rise. As this occurs the potential for off-gassing from heavily treated wood increases. Breathing in this toxicity is potentially very harmful. The wood within the saunas sold by big box stores tends to be treated and therefore poses a potential threat to health.

Sauna manufacturing companies should to be able to tell consumers where the wood comes from and whether it has been treated. Consumers should also be mindful of the durability of the wood. Look for manufacturers that use Basswood or Red Cedar, as these wood types have a long life span and will not splinter off with exposure to heat. 

EMF Reading: Measure Emissions Off Of Heating Panels

EMF stands for electromagnetic field, or electromotive force. All electronic devices emit some level of EMFs, some more than others. An infrared sauna is an electrical appliance and there will be some EMF exposure during use. 

Be sure to find a manufacturer that demonstrates the EMF measurement with a device, if they are unwilling to demonstrate measurements then move on to the next provider. 

Typically, cheaply made saunas will have higher EMF readings. This is unacceptable for a health care appliance such as an infrared sauna. 

Heater Type: Ceramic or Carbon?

While shopping for an infrared sauna you will certainly be confronted with the decision to go with one type of heating panel or another: Ceramic or Carbon. The reality is that both types of panels are effective in maximizing the different light frequencies. You will want to find a manufacturer that offers both ceramic and carbon heaters.

Carbon heaters are better at delivering mid and far infrared light, while ceramic heaters are more effective in providing near infrared light. You will want to find a manufacturer that offers both ceramic and carbon heaters that surround the walls of the sauna so that all portions of the body are immersed in light emissions.

Cheaply made infrared saunas will feature less square footage of heating panels, be sure that the infrared sauna that you choose offers significant heating panels that surround the entire interior walls of cabin structure.

Chromotherapy: Medical Grade Light Therapy

chromatherapy lights

Chromotherapy is the use of color lights to heal the body. When shopping for an infrared sauna, be sure that the quality of color lights used is high, and not simply LED light of the Christmas decoration variety.

Additionally, the benefits of color light therapy when used in conjunction with broad spectrum infrared light, including near infrared light, are enhanced because the color light spectrum is able to ride on the back of the giant of the infrared spectrum. This means that color light has by nature a different wave pattern and when used in conjunction with infrared light is more effective as a healing modality.

Find more information on chromotherapy here.

Certifications: Approved Nationally & Internationally

As a consumer, it is important to ensure that all health and wellness related products come with the stamp of approval from both national and international organizations that guarantee safety, health, and quality control.

Be sure to check for the following certifications on the sauna brand you wish to buy:

ETL, ROHS, CE, ISO: 9001

For more information and details on the meaning of each of these certifications please click here.

Health Claims: Reliable And Authoritative

As you educate yourself about the myriad of health benefits available to individuals who engage in regular infrared sauna bathing be sure to check that manufacturers are using reliable sources for their information. 

All claims should be backed by primary authoritative sources, these would include abstract journals from NIH, Harvard Medical, and other reputable academic institutions. 

Mayo Clinic and other health foundations may be sufficient, however these often depend on primary sources. Be sure that your infrared sauna manufacturer has well cited sources for all medical claims. 

Consumer Education Is Vital When Purchasing An Infrared Sauna For Your Home: What Sets The Neosauna Apart From Other Brands?

neosauna full spectrum infrared sauna

Take your time purchasing an infrared sauna for your home, ask lots of questions of manufacturers, and be sure that all health claims are backed up with reliable and authoritative sources.

Neosauna is committed to using state-of-the-art technologies that enhance health, are safe to use, and are made with high quality non-toxic materials, for the lowest consumer cost possible.

Neosauna is the only infrared sauna on the market today that comes fully equipped with Himalayan Salt walls, these are both attractive aesthetically and therapeutic for the pulmonary tract as they serve as a form of halotherapy, or salt therapy.

For more information on halotherapy click here.

Neosauna, unlike many other infrared sauna brands, has the ability to increase temperature to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the typical 150 degrees of most other infrared sauna brands.

While there are many considerations to keep in mind when purchasing an infrared sauna for your home, there is also ample information available for consumers. Take your time, and ask lots of questions to be sure you are bringing in the ultimate healing vehicle into your home! 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763133/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28748217/

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