The Healing Power of Light

The sun doesn’t just provide light for us to see by.  That same light becomes energy that living things use to thrive and grow.  Humans absorb the sun’s rays through the skin and eyes, and the sun helps stimulate the metabolism.  Without light, our bodies cannot properly absorb certain nutrients.  Suppressed immune function, fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, and other ailments may be other consequences of a lack of sufficient exposure.

Aside from what we can see (visible light), a large portion of the sun’s energy is in the invisible, infrared part of the spectrum.  In 1800, English astronomer Sir William Herschel experimented with putting a thermometer at various points in a prismatic spectrum.  He found that ordinary light transmits some heat, but the effect is even more marked beyond the red end of the spectrum, in the far infrared band.  Unlike high frequency ultraviolet rays, which can provoke sunburn or cancerous changes in the skin far infrared rays do not damage the skin.  Far infrared and its therapeutic properties have been studied in China and Japan for over 30 years.  Researchers have found far infrared can be helpful for enhancing blood circulation, reducing pain, strengthening the cardiovascular system, easing joint stiffness and inflammation, and revitalizing skin cells.

Going way beyond the old heap lamps, there are now products available like infrared saunas, mineral lamps, as well as knee, ankle, and elbow wraps.  Many of these products are enhanced with far infrared emitting elements composed of oxides of zirconium, aluminum, zinc, titanium, and antimony.  These products have been undergoing extensive investigation for their ability to retain body heat and emit safe far infrared rays that penetrate deep into joints and surrounding tissues.

The benefits of far infrared extend to the cardiovascular system.  Repeated far infrared therapy has also been shown to improve impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with atherosclerosis and other coronary risk factors.

A Japanese study tested the effects of far infrared rays on chronic pain.  The investigators studied far infrared efficacy in patients suffering from fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by sleep disturbances and widespread pain with tenderness in specific areas.  Thirteen female patients received far infrared therapy once per day for two or five days per week.  All of the patients experienced a significant reduction in pain (by about half) after the first session.  The effects of treatment became stable after 10 sessions, with participants experiencing up to a 78% reduction in their pain.

Another study backed up these findings, suggesting that an approach of multidisciplinary treatment that included far infrared therapy could be a promising method for treating chronic pain.

Patients suffering from chronic inflammation have been the subject of a variety of tests utilizing far infrared treatment.  A recent study in Taiwan found that far infrared radiation exerts a potent anti inflammatory effect via induction of heme oxygenas  – 1, an enzyme that confers cellular protection against oxidative stress.

The possible benefits of far infrared treatment for arthritis, a disorder associated with chronic inflammation, are also the subject of ongoing promising research.  A Chinese study found that infrared radiation exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the release of the inflammatory chemokine interleukin.  Researchers believe a fuller understanding of the process could serve as the basis for improved treatment of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Living things require sunlight in order to grow and thrive.  Far Infrared light, the safest segment of energy that comes from the sun, offers a wide array of therapeutic benefits for various health conditions.  Studies demonstrate that far infrared helps enhance circulation in the skin, modulate sleep, ease pain, protect against oxidative stress, and relieve inflammation.

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