Near Infrared Therapy: Health's Missing Puzzle Piece

I’ve been researching and digging into the medical literature lately on near infrared and the information that is out there is substantial and is growing exponentially year over year. The way near infrared works implies that it might, or should, be seen to be considered an essential nutrient. Let’s look at a simple explanation of how it works and why I believe it will be classified as an essential nutrient in the future.

Near infrared is part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation emitted from the sun. The sun also emits other things you are aware of such as visible light, ultraviolet light, gamma rays and radio waves to name a few. Near infrared actually ranges from 700nm to about 1400nm while visible lights wavelengths are 400 to 700nm. You don’t see near infrared and they are not harmful.

There are other ranges of wavelengths that comprise the “infrared family” and these include mid and far infrared. They simply have longer wavelengths and thus have slightly different effects. In fact slightly more than half of the total energy from the Sun has been found to arrive on Earth in the form of infrared. We’ll come back to this.

So how does it work?                                                        

While much research is still being conducted into this there is a biochemical pathway that has been identified and accepted.  It’s technical so we’ll go with the simplified version, which is that at the end of the day it creates energy in your cells which can be used for healing.

The target is an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase.  This enzyme is in your mitochondria and if you go back to high school chemistry and biology you might remember that every cell in your body has mitochondria.  This is where the energy a cell needs to function and survive is produced.  When the cytochrome c oxidase is exposed to the near infrared it increases ATP production.  ATP is the molecule that gives us energy so the more ATP we can produce and the quicker we can produce it the better.  An important note is that only near infrared does this and far infrared does not.

The near infrared actually penetrates through your skin and into the tissues.  This is important to understand and near infrared penetrates the deepest of all the infrared ranges and is actually absorbed by the tissues.  Light is absorbed by the tissues.  This means, in my way of thinking, that we need light to function optimally as human beings.  Another way of saying this is that much like plants need sunlight to create energy so do we!

Remember half of all the total energy released from the sun arriving to earth is infrared.  Surely we have evolved taking this into consideration and this is proving to be the case.

Before I explain further keep in mind the example that we need the sun to produce Vitamin D in our bodies.  From this perspective, it shows that we were designed to need the sun and it could be considered an essential nutrient.

A near infrared example is that in 2016 it was discovered that when we expose ourselves to near infrared in the morning hours this has a protective function equivalent to an SBF 15 sunscreen against UV damage.  It would seem we have evolved around normal and healthy sun exposure and that nature knows best.

To make things even more interesting, near infrared has some curious effects.  Specifically it has been found to have a positive effect on energy AWAY from where the near infrared was applied.  Studies have found for example, that the brain was benefiting from near infrared exposure even though the brain was not exposed to the near infrared.  This implies there is some signalling mechanism in the body.  It also implies again that we need near infrared exposure.

I think most amazing though is the recent research findings that show near infrared can help with a very wide range of conditions that don’t seem to be similar at all.  Everything from getting people off thyroid medication, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, wound healing, stroke, macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, autoimmune conditions like hashimotos and rheumatoid arthritis etc.  The research is clear, growing, and very fascinating.

So what does all this mean? 

Here is my summary.

1. Near infrared light is used in the tissues.

2. There is a common pathway and it results in increased ATP and energy production

3. There is a communicating systemic effect when we are exposed to localised near infrared.

And finally my fourth conclusion which is

4. We need and are deficient in near infrared. 

I base this on two facts.  One is that we don’t get out in the sun enough and the second is that we are seeing such a large group of diseases and symptoms that all seem to respond to near infrared therapy.

Much research needs to be done but I am putting it out there early that I believe a deficiency is the root cause of much of these issues.

Near infrared therapy is a new and growing therapy and is something that will likely prove very successful in treating multiple conditions.

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