Everything You Need to Know About Infrared Therapy IR therapy

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Last Updated on 3 years by Francis


Everything You Need to Know About Infrared Therapy

infrared therapy at planet fitness

IR therapy has become more prevalent in recent years, mainly because of new researches that are leading to new advances in IR treatment.

IR therapy promises to fight acne and the signs of aging with infrared technology. But how exactly can a device that emits bright lights help you achieve a lighter, more radiant complexion?

If you are facing problems such as skin sagging, wrinkles, acne, and inflammation, you should try this. This therapy has been used by celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian and Jessica Alba and is also recommended by many dermatologists.

What is infrared therapy?

Infrared therapy (IRT) is a controversial therapeutic technique that uses low-intensity infrared (wavelengths ~ 700 nanometers) to treat skin problems, such as wrinkles, scars, and persistent wounds, among others.

In the early 1990s, scientists used IRs to grow plants in space. Scientists have discovered that the intense light of infrared light-emitting diodes (IR LEDs) promotes the growth and photosynthesis of plant cells.

Infrared was then studied for its potential application in medicine, including whether IR could increase the energy inside human cells [1]. The researchers hoped that this could be an effective way to treat muscle atrophy, slow wound healing, and bone density problems caused by weightlessness during space travel.

When IR is used with photosensitizing drugs [2], it is called photodynamic therapy. In this type of treatment, light only serves as an activating agent for the drug.

There are many types of infrared therapy. Infrared beds in living rooms are supposed to help reduce cosmetic skin problems, such as stretch marks and wrinkles. Infrared therapy used in the doctor’s office can be used to treat more severe conditions, such as psoriasis [3], slow healing wounds, and even the side effects of chemotherapy.

Although there is quite a bit of evidence that RI can be a promising treatment for some conditions, there is still much to learn about how it works.

Infrared therapy VS laser therapy

Infrared skin therapy is a low intensity “thermal” therapy. It is a softer and safer treatment that will not burn, cut, or injure your skin like laser treatments.

Therefore, IR will not cause skin inflammation or erythema after treatment.


Just because infrared therapy is non-invasive and gentle does not mean that it cannot produce the same results as a high-power laser.

And the best news?

It’s safe enough to do it at home, alone, when you want, and it saves you dozens of visits to the dermatologist and a ton of money.

How does infrared therapy work?

infrared sauna therapy

Infrared is thought to act by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthen mitochondria. Mitochondria are the engine of the cell – this is where the cell’s energy is created. The energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

By increasing mitochondrial function by RLT, a cell can produce more ATP. With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate, and repair the damage.

IRs differ from laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies because they do not cause damage to the skin’s surface. Laser and pulsed light therapies work by causing controlled damage to the outer layer of the skin, which then induces tissue repair. RLT bypasses this difficult step by directly stimulating skin regeneration.

The light emitted by the RLT penetrates about 5 millimeters below the surface of the skin.

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How Red-Light therapy improves skin health and appearance

Infrared therapy is a natural skin care treatment that has been proven safe and effective in a wide range of clinical research. If you are not familiar with infrared and its advantages, this article gives a good overview of what it is and how it works.

The short version is as follows: Light therapy provides your skin and cells with concentrated and safe wavelengths of natural light, without chemicals, UV rays, or excessive heat.

These red and near-infrared wavelengths stimulate mitochondria in your cells [4] like natural sunlight, reducing oxidative stress and increasing circulation, so your body can produce more central energy to feed itself.

Making energy more productive throughout the body improves physical function, accelerates the healing process, and reduces inflammation and pain, as many peer-reviewed studies have shown. It also significantly improves the health and appearance of the skin, which is why some of the world’s leading beauticians, skin care professionals, and natural health leaders trust it.

Studies have also shown an increase in blood circulation following infrared therapy, indicating that tissues receive more oxygen and other nutrients important for healing – while getting rid of toxic by-products.

What are the advantages?

As mentioned above, some questions remain about the exact functioning of infrared therapy, but here are some of the most promising benefits that have been discovered so far:

1. It heals scars and wounds [5].

If you still have acne scars in your teenager, if you have recently suffered burns or if your wounds tend to heal slowly for some reason, then infrared therapy may be an option. It is believed to help skin cells function more efficiently and repair damage by stimulating mitochondria and stem cells.

“I think it’s a great thing from a mitochondrial function point of view,” says Will Cole, D.C., a member of the mbg collective, IFMCP, who recommends it to his patients.

Research seems to suggest that such skin problems respond better at the lower end of the infrared spectrum. In one study, patients with mild to moderate acne received infrared therapy in two different wavelengths on each side of their face – 630 nm right, 890 nm left – and only the lower wavelength significantly reduced acne lesions. In another study, diabetic patients experienced a significant reduction in the size and pain of their diabetic foot ulcers with 12 sessions of light therapy at 632.8 nm.

2. It promotes collagen production.

In addition to its beautifying benefits, infrared therapy can also help to counter common skin problems that occur with age, such as decreased collagen production (which begins to decline at age 30), which can increase the appearance of fine lines. In one study, patients receiving infrared facial therapy twice a week for a total of 30 sessions showed an improvement in skin tone, complexion, complexion, and texture, as well as collagen density (measured by an ultrasound test). In fact, the study included before and after photos, which is quite impressive.

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3. Reduces the side effects of cancer treatment.

NASA research has shown that infrared therapy helps to counter a side effect of chemotherapy called oral mucositis, characterized by extremely painful lesions, redness, dryness, and burning sensations in the mouth and throat. A two-year trial in which cancer patients received red and near-infrared LED treatment showed that 96% of patients experienced less pain as a result of this treatment. This is excellent news, as it could help increase food consumption, reduce the use of analgesics, and boost the morale of cancer patients.

4. It relieves joint, muscle, and tendon pain [6].

joint pain

Since far and near infrared penetrates deeper than other wavelengths, it has the unique ability to also treat problems below the skin’s surface, such as joint pain and muscle and tendon damage. One of the original uses of infrared therapy was the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, and research shows that it can reduce pain and improve grip strength in carpal tunnel patients. A research review also reveals that infrared therapy is an excellent resource in the treatment of skeletal muscle injuries, as it reduces inflammation and increases angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels). Besides, painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and back pain all respond positively to infrared treatment.

5. It accelerates recovery and increases endurance [7].

endurance training

Infrared therapy also has advantages for male and female athletes. One study found that men who participated in intense exercise and who also received infrared therapy had better performance and less exercise-induced muscle pain. While another survey of women basketball players found that infrared therapy improved endurance and sleep, infrared therapy is thought to help mitochondria produce energy more efficiently, making muscles less likely to get tired.

6. It promotes hair growth.

hair growth

The most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, affects 50% of men over 40 years of age and 75% of women over 65 years of age, and there are only two drugs approved to help fight it. But research shows that infrared therapy can be a powerful and drug-free solution.

Research review revealed that infrared therapy is safe and effective in promoting hair growth in both men and women.

It seems to work by stimulating the stem cells of the hair follicle and passing the follicles into the anagen phase (the active growth phase). Further research is needed to determine the optimal wavelength to promote hair growth, but one study found that women who received infrared therapy at 650 nm every other day for 17 weeks experienced a 51% increase in hair density.

7. Infrared is a natural anti-inflammatory treatment for the skin.

Infrared therapy reduces acute and chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow to damaged tissues and has been shown in many clinical trials to increase the body’s antioxidant defenses. This natural anti-inflammatory effect of infrared therapy, which has been the subject of numerous studies, is the key to healing the skin and improving its appearance.

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8. Infrared therapy to rejuvenate the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles

An in-depth meta-analysis of the effects of infrared therapy on the skin was carried out in 2013 and completed:

9. Infrared reduces wrinkles and signs of aging:

The analysis cited numerous studies showing how light therapy can counteract the signs of skin aging. Red and near infrared have been shown to stimulate collagen, smooth wrinkles and improve skin tone, resulting in a younger appearance.

10. Infrared rejuvenates the skin [9]:

Researchers have noted that infrared is particularly useful in healing and regenerating the skin, as well as reducing inflammation.

11. Infrared therapy for eczema and psoriasis:

We are just beginning to understand the positive effects that light therapy can have on psoriasis. The researchers cited a recent study that found “no adverse side effects and resolution of psoriasis” in patients who were not helped by traditional treatments.

12. Recover from plastic surgery with infrared

Infrared therapy is an effective natural pain and inflammation reliever in all kinds of postoperative environments, including plastic surgery.

Many of these procedures create a lot of inflammation that makes the healing process longer and more painful. The natural anti-inflammatory effects of infrared therapy reduce pain and swelling and accelerate the healing process of plastic surgery.

In 2015, researchers conducted a systematic review of 40 studies (28 animal and 12 human trials) on healing after plastic surgery and found that infrared treatments helped to heal acute wounds and improve burn scars.

Conclusion: Infrared therapy improves the appearance and healing of the skin.

Infrared light therapy is a safe and effective natural skin treatment that is used every day by some of the world’s best skin professionals for wrinkles, rejuvenation, acne and wound and scar healing.

Over the years, infrared treatments have improved appearance, stimulated collagen, improved healing times, decreased inflammation, and reduced acne and blemishes.

IR therapy for pigmentation

Can IR help with hyperpigmentation?

Although not proven [9] Few professionals suggest that IR can prevent hyperpigmentation following exposure to the sun. Timely therapy can help in reducing inflammation of the skin (sunburn or erythema) with an effect that is equivalent to SPF 15.

Considering hyperpigmentation, IR exhibits a “normalizing” effect. Since IR penetrates deeper into the cells and helps in the production of collagen, it may help in normalizing the skin coloration.

What about hypopigmentation?

IR may also help to treat pigmentation disorders such as vitiligo and albinism.

It increases the production of melanocyte cells [10] (the cells that form melanin) and reduces any autoimmunity that contributes to depigmentation.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5505738/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29864428

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756569/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387504/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047939/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1727843

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733097/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2687728/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737833/

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