Japanese researchers studying infrared light therapy wanted to determine just why this form of therapeutic treatment is effective for relieving muscular pain and tension. While they understood that infrared light therapy can “improve blood circulation“ and “warm the body,” they wanted to quantify the beneficial effect of infrared light on increasing the elasticity of muscles. Therefore, they enlisted healthy volunteers to study just how well infrared light can loosen and relax muscle fibers. Results were published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
While ordinary heat therapy is effective at loosening tight muscles near the surface of the skin, the deep penetrating effects of infrared light were expected to produce measurably greater benefits. Just over seven minutes of treatment with infrared light were enough to generate a significant effect. The scientists specifically studied the muscles of the forearm and the calf, finding improvement in elasticity in both body members after therapy.
In discussing the results, the researchers believe that the positive findings on infrared therapy are especially important for the reduction of muscular stress and fatigue caused by modern lifestyles. They highlighted heavy workloads, a lack of exercise, postural errors, and high stress levels as directly leading to an increase in reports of muscular pain and in the caseloads of physical therapists. They also pointed to the complexities of treating chronic pain caused by disease or trauma.
In each of these cases, application was made of the observed benefits of infrared therapy. Even for muscle tightness related to diseases such as cerebral palsy, noteworthy improvements were cited and the expected duration of such effects noted. By producing a sedative effect on tight muscles, infrared light was believed to improve the efficiency and contractive ability of these fibers later. And while subjects with higher metabolic rates saw greater improvements in elasticity, improvements in muscular relaxation were recorded across all heights, weights and muscle masses.
For more information about how the Brain Health Clinic provides infrared light therapy for the relief of pain and muscular distress right here in Sacramento, please contact us by phone or online to request a free consultation.