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The top 4 most unexpected benefits and uses of infrared and red light!

August 19, 2021 6 min read

Number 3 can help improve libido!


It's no secret that ClinicRed customers love infrared and red light technology. The team already know the power of the technology and work hard to try to get the information to the customers. Sometimes a study or benefit is discovered that is new knowledge so it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. These four benefits are the ones that surprised the staff the most!


  1. Protection from the sunburns

It is well known that exposure to sunlight can cause damage to the skin leading to premature ageing which causes wrinkles on sagging dry skin [LINK WRINKLES TO ANTI-AGEING ARTICLE FOR SEO]. Infrared and red lights can be used to treat this skin damage. But it can also help prevent damage and even sunburn! The name for this benefit is called photo-prevention or pre-conditioning [1].


This process is a totally natural process that happens every day when out in the sun and is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation. Early morning and late afternoon sunlight contains the highest amounts of naturally occurring infrared light [1]. It is thought that this morning and afternoon light offers protection for the skin from the more harsh midday sun. Exposure to this protective sunlight with high amounts of infrared light triggers a protective gene mechanism which promotes resilience of keratinocytes (skin cells) against future sunlight insults [1]. 


Studies have shown that this natural process can be replicated using infrared and red light technology. People experience less sunburn symptoms when they were pre-treated with red light before sun exposure. It was likened to a SPF-15-like sun protection factor effect and also resulted in less post sun exposure tanning response, meaning less skin damage was experienced as tanning is the result of sun damage [1].  


Hands up those who have gotten burnt when heading to a sunny location in the middle of winter? Suddenly, the skin that has been covered up by long sleeves and scarfs is assaulted by that lovely warm sun and left with sunburn. Next time, pre-condition the skin with a larger area infrared/red device for a few days or so before arriving to help avoid the burn and damage.


That's not to say that infrared and red light technology should be counted on as the sole sun protection for those who are spending a day in the sun. This benefit is safer for those incidental daily sun exposures. Sensible sun protection should still be used for longer term sun exposure. 




  1. Bone repair

At first thought, bone repair seems a little far beyond the scope of infrared light but due to its ability to be absorbed deep into the tissue, it is not. To be fair, most of the studies have been completed using samples of bone tissue or small animals. In these studies it was shown that the peak time for the benefits is within the first two weeks after the injury occurred. It was found that ATP, the energy source of the cell, was increased in the first 5-10 minutes of application of the light therapy [2]. This ATP production increased up until the 45 minute mark where it steadied out to be the same as the rest of the treatment [2].  Tissue samples also show increased deposits of collagen fibres by day 15-21 with well-organised bone formation which was not present in the untreated animals [3]. 


Have faith, studies do show that infrared light does work for human bones also! When a bone is broken, a soft callus of cartilage and fibrous tissue forms at the site. After a few weeks, a hard callus, which is made of hard bone tissue, forms and can be seen on xray [4]. Application of infrared light was shown to significantly accelerate bone regeneration, callus formation and healing in humans [4]. Another human study showed that it can initiate the bone healing process and also shorten the time for fracture union in those who were experiencing a low healing rate [5]. As a consequence, this results in decreased treatment costs and less discomfort for people experiencing fractured bones, particularly when they are struggling to heal on their own. Previous blog posts have talked about the ability of red and infrared technology causing a pain reduction,so as well as speeding up the healing time, it has the benefit of reducing the pain of having a broken bone. 


  1. Increased testosterone 

This one is for the fellas! What makes a man, a man? Testosterone! Red and infrared light has been used successfully in the treatment of male infertility and low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in the testicles and is important for controlling sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength and the production of red blood and sperm cells [6]. Having low levels can result in low sex drive, increased fat, weak bones, low energy and a lowered sperm count. 


So, how does one use infrared and red light to increase testosterone? That testosterone that's produced in the testicles.....? Yep, go directly to the site! Using red light directly on the testicles has been shown to be a beneficial treatment for infertility and increasing testosterone levels. As a result of using this technology, there is an increased production of immature sperm cells and an activation of the process which allows them to mature [7]. The ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg is also increased [7]. There is also a significant increase in production of testosterone [7]. It appears that a broad exposure of the testical area, not pinpoint exposure, is best and only about 1-2 minutes is necessary to receive the benefit [7]. 


Most men also experience an increase of sex drive along side their other health and fertility benefits. In one study 67% of infertile couples fell pregnant within 12 months [7]. So beware, with the combined sperm potency and increase sex drive – ClinicRed holds no responsibility for little unexpected bundles of joy!


Oh, and don't worry, the ClinicRed staff does know there really is lots more to being a man than just testosterone! 


  1. Improved vision

Those who are familiar with the ClinicRed product line might wonder why improved vision is a possible result of using red and infrared light since there are protective glasses available for purchase. The lights can be too bright for some people with sensitive eyes so the protective glasses just make it a little easier to do the treatments. 


For those who aren't wearing the protective glasses, their eyes are reaping the benefit, even if they didn't know it!! Red and infrared light therapy is an effective method for treatment of eye conditions with no side effects [8]. Similar to how it works for healing wounds and to reduce the pain of arthritis, red and infrared light can improve the metabolic processes within the tissue of the eyes to improve the cell energy and reduce inflammation [8]. It can help the recovery of the nerves of the eye from toxicity, trauma and neuropathy It has also been shown to improve conditions of the retina which is the surface on the back wall within the eyeball. These conditions, such as retinal injuries, pigmentosa and macular degeneration, can result in loss of vision [8]. Infrared and red light can be a safe and effective method for a wide range of applications in eye conditions [8]. As well as being a safe treatment, using the light therapy can also be protective against eye damage occurring from chemical and light exposure, for example direct sunlight [8]. 


Does this mean people should start staring into their red/infrared devices? Probably not! It won't cause any damage but it may cause irritation and be very uncomfortable. The best way to go about it is to use the device as usual, treating other conditions that have already been written about but feel free to look at the light while doing it occasionally. For those using the protective glasses, try leaving them off for a small amount of time. Most research shows that two minutes of exposure every other day is beneficial [8]. 


Want to know more about any of these topics? The ClinicRed staff always wants to bring the information the readers and customers want to see. Don't be shy – get in contact!




References


[1] Barolet D., Christiaens F., Hamblin M.R., Infrared and skin: Friend or foe, Journal of  Photochemical Photobiolology, 2015 December https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745411/


[2] Quirk B.J., Sannagowdara K., Buchmann E.V., Jensen E.S., Gregg D.C., Whelan H.T., Effect of near-infrared light on in vitro cellular ATP production of osteoblasts and fibroblasts and on fracture healing with intramedullary fixation, Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, Decebmer 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5106470/


[3] Pinheiro A.L., Martinez Gerbi M.E., Carneiro Ponzi E.A., et.al., Infrared laser light further improves bone healing when associated with bone morphogenetic proteins and guided bone regeneration: an in vivo study in a rodent model, Journal of Photomedicine Laser Surgery, April 2008, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18341420/


[4] Alberta Laser Rehabilitation Center, Bone/Fracture Healing using Low Level Light Therapy, February, 2019

https://www.albertalaserrehab.ca/2019/02/12/bone-fracture-healing-using-low-level-light-therapy/


[5] David I.P., Use Of Low-Level Laser Therapy In Conservative Treatment Of Delayed Union Of Human Upper And Lower Limb Fractures, The Internet Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, 2017, https://ispub.com/IJOS/25/1/49132


[6] Wein, H., Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men, National Institute of Health, September, 2013,

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/understanding-how-testosterone-affects-men


[7] Moskvin S.V., Apolikhin O.I., Effectiveness of low level laser therapy for treating male infertility, Biomedicine Journal (Taipei), June, 2018,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992952/


[8] Shinhmar H., Grewal M., Sivaprasad S., Hogg C., Chong V., Neveu M., Jeffery G., Optically Improved Mitochondrial Function Redeems Aged Human Visual Decline. Journal of Gerontology: Series, September, 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7738953/