Chap. 2: Infrared Effects on the Body
The text below is an excerpt from Infrared Light Therapy for Recovery, Fitness, Skin Care, and Total-Body Wellness. A complete copy of the ebook is available on KindleUnlimited at https://amzn.to/3YkaDzj.
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HOW INFRARED LIGHT AFFECTS THE BODY
In this post, we’re going to take a look at one particular type of bioactive light: infrared light. In so doing we’re going to provide information that will help you understand whether or not infrared light therapy is right for you.
Specifically, we’re going to get answers to the following questions:
- What does infrared do to the skin?
- How does infrared light promote healing?
- How can invisible light help with pain?
Please keep in mind that this information is not intended to be medical advice and that you should always consult with a medical professional before beginning any sort of therapeutic regimen, including infrared light therapy.
When researching infrared light, you’ll see the term photobiomodulation come up quite a bit. This is because red light therapy is designed to enhance cellular function and promote greater efficiency and balance in the cellular energy-making process. Which is, in a nutshell, what’s happening during photobiomodulation.
Let’s go all the way back to basic biology. We each have trillions of cells in our bodies, and each one needs energy to function. This energy comes from the food, water, and oxygen that we bring into our bodies and metabolize through the process of cellular respiration.
The product of cellular respiration is adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a carrier of energy that our body is both constantly producing and consuming. The more efficiently we can create ATP, the better we feel and function.
Infrared light makes the cellular respiration process more efficient and, in turn, helps your body make and use ATP energy more effectively. Infrared light exerts its influence directly on the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. Red light therapy can both increase the number of mitochondria and boost their efficiency.
This boost comes from stimulating the electrons of the mitochondria during cellular respiration, helping to clear out nitric oxide, which is, a barrier to ATP production. Nitric oxide can build up almost like sludge in a car’s engine and, like that sludge, it can make it harder for normal processes—in this case ATP production—to be carried out.
IR light, along with red light, flush out nitric oxide to help prevent and reverse this problem. The photons in these types of light are temporarily absorbed by the electrons in the nitric oxide molecule, which is known as exciting the electrons. In this state, the bonds in the molecule break down, which allows hydrogen ions to move through the cellular respiration process more easily.