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Infrared Radiation

Reasons to Have One, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

Key Points

  • Infrared radiation treatment is a non-pharmaceutical, non-addictive therapy beneficial for chronic pain and injury recovery.
  • The therapy uses electromagnetic radiation to stimulate healing, relieve pain, and potentially boost mood by penetrating deep into the skin and being absorbed by body cells.
  • It can effectively treat a variety of health conditions including arthritis, post-trauma pain, muscle strains, and wounds, without increasing the risk of skin cancer.
  • The treatment is generally pain-free, causing only a mild sensation of heat, and is administered in a medical setting by a licensed provider.
  • While beneficial, infrared therapy is not a quick-fix for serious health concerns and may need to be incorporated into a larger treatment strategy.

2 Reasons Why Would You Need an Infrared Radiation Treatment

1. Chronic pain

Chronic pain often results from long-term health conditions like arthritis. Coping with this pain can be a challenge, but your doctor may suggest trying infrared therapy to help relieve chronic pain.

Prescription pain medications often provide some relief, but many doctors have grown wary about long-term use of prescription pain medication. If you're concerned about the risk of dependency, non-pharmaceutical treatments may be an option.[1] Infrared therapy is not habit-forming and may have a lower risk of side effects than most medications.[2]

2. Injury

Falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, and other mishaps can cause debilitating pain. Surgery can help repair the damage caused by trauma, but sometimes pain can linger. Infrared radiation may help your body heal after an injury as well as provide drug-free pain relief.[3] If you experienced a serious injury, your doctor might offer infrared therapy as part of your recovery plan.

Understanding Infrared Radiation

Infrared radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that's invisible to the naked eye. Like ultraviolet light, infrared light penetrates deep into your skin and is absorbed by the cells in your body.[2] However, unlike ultraviolet light, infrared light isn't harmful to your cells and tissues. Instead, infrared light can help promote circulation, encourage healing, and relieve pain. Infrared radiation may even boost endorphin levels and improve your mood.[2]

Exposure to infrared radiation can improve circulation and help your body access key nutrients. Better blood flow can heal damaged tissue and promote healthy cell function.

Today, infrared radiation helps treat a variety of health conditions, including:[2]

  • Back and neck pain
  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Surgical incisions
  • Injuries and wounds
  • Skin lesions or ulcers

Infrared radiation is often used as part of a broader treatment strategy, rather than as a stand-alone treatment. If you have a chronic health condition or a severe injury, you may need several different treatments, but infrared therapy may help speed up the healing process.[3]

Risks of Infrared Radiation

When administered in a medical setting, infrared radiation seldom causes any side effects. Infrared therapy is noninvasive, meaning it doesn't require any surgery or incisions. Unlike many prescription medications, there is also no risk of dependency or addiction.

Infrared therapy also isn't associated with life-threatening complications or long-term health consequences. Since infrared light doesn't damage the skin, it doesn't increase your risk of skin cancer.[3]

Nonetheless, despite the lack of these dangers, it's essential to receive infrared treatments from a licensed medical provider. Your doctor uses medical-grade equipment to provide treatment in a supervised setting. Today, many tanning salons and day spas offer treatments that use infrared radiation. However, these treatments may not be safe.

Home treatments like sunbathing can provide some infrared light, but exposure to sunlight may increase your lifetime risk of skin cancer.[4] If you fall asleep in the sun, you may also risk a serious sunburn. Talk to your doctor before trying any at-home treatments.

What to Expect with an Infrared Radiation Treatment

Infrared therapy can be administered in many different ways. Your treatment will depend on which area of your body is being targeted. Many people seek infrared therapy for a small area, like the joints in the wrist. In these situations, your doctor may use a handheld device to administer treatment,[4] but if treatment targets a large area of your body, your doctor may have you lie in a device that resembles a tanning bed or sauna.[1]

Infrared therapy is generally pain-free, but you may experience a mild sensation of heat. Some patients start to sweat during or after treatment. Others might notice an increase in their heart rate.[1]

Treatment times vary depending on your medical history. For some conditions, you may need regular infrared therapy treatments. For others, your doctor might suggest just one treatment to give your health a boost.

It's essential to follow up with all the other treatments your doctor has prescribed. Infrared therapy can be an effective treatment, but it isn't a quick-fix for people with serious health concerns. You may need several different types of treatment to achieve complete pain relief.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Infrared Radiation

  • Can infrared radiation help with severe pain?
  • Can this treatment help improve my mobility or energy levels?
  • Is this treatment safe for someone with my medical history?
  • What side effects might I experience?
  • How many treatment sessions will I need?
  • How can I determine if this treatment is working?

Infrared Radiation May Also be Known as:

  • Infrared therapy


Frequently asked questions

  • What is infrared radiation treatment?

    Infrared radiation treatment is a type of therapy that uses electromagnetic radiation to stimulate healing and relieve pain. It's non-pharmaceutical and non-addictive.
  • What conditions can infrared therapy treat?

    Infrared therapy can treat a variety of conditions including arthritis, post-trauma pain, muscle strains and sprains, carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, surgical incisions, injuries, wounds, and skin lesions or ulcers.
  • Is infrared therapy safe?

    Yes, when administered by a licensed medical provider in a medical setting, infrared therapy is generally safe with a lower risk of side effects compared to most medications.
  • Does infrared therapy increase the risk of skin cancer?

    No, infrared therapy does not increase the risk of skin cancer. However, it's important to avoid at-home treatments like sunbathing that can increase this risk.
  • Is infrared therapy painful?

    No, infrared therapy is generally pain-free, though it may cause a mild sensation of heat.
  • Can infrared therapy be a standalone treatment for serious health concerns?

    No, while infrared therapy is beneficial, it's not a quick-fix for serious health conditions and may need to be part of a broader treatment strategy.
  • How is infrared therapy administered?

    Infrared therapy can be administered in many ways and treatment times vary depending on the medical history. It's important to receive treatments from a licensed medical provider.
  • Can infrared therapy improve mood?

    Yes, infrared therapy may boost endorphin levels, which can improve mood.

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

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