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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
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09/10/12 Medical Breakthroughs: Practical Uses for Infrared Lighting

Over the last several years, there have been many investigations and research on the practical uses of infrared light in the industrial, scientific, and medical industries.  The medical industry though is spending millions of dollars on research annually to ferret out the applicability of this light source and the effects that it has on the human body from a healing standpoint.  There are proven test results and research that demonstrates that this infrared light can produce remarkable healing capabilities towards various ailments and medical problems.  The intent of this article is to focus on the various major healing successes with this light technology, and how certain companies are providing light solutions to the medical community. 

Let’s begin though with a bit of understanding about infrared light and how it has become a well-used natural source for the medical industry.  Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a long wavelength as compared to visible light and is produced above the visible range of the light spectrum.  It lies in between visible light and microwave on the frequency spectrum.  The sun produces an abundance of energy which ends up on our earth in the form of infrared radiation.  This energy from the sun provides an irradiance of approximately 1 kilowatt per square kilometer to which more than half of that value is in the form of infrared radiation, the other forty five percent is visible light, and a small portion is ultraviolet radiation.  There are 3 different types of infrared light, near, middle, and far.  This infrared radiation is all around us and the energy from this source produces a heating effect known as conversion.  The term, conversion, means that the heat from an infrared light or lamp can penetrate the body without heating up the air between light and the body itself.  This applied heating source has been used for years to penetrate the body for alleviating heavy pain in organ areas as well as muscular & joint aches and pains.  The primary result of applied infrared light is the heating of the material being focused on by the infrared source.  This type of deep tissue penetration is the far infrared type.  So how exactly does infrared light produce this heating effect?


Infrared light produces radiated heat that is able to penetrate certain barriers like human tissue because it has a long wavelength.  This light source is very directional and focused in nature and its effects on the human body are interesting to say the least.  When used as therapy or medical practices on the human body, the infrared energy from an infrared light source at specific frequencies and vibration narrows the shape of the molecules and then clusters the water molecules, which increases their hydration capacity.  This increase in hydration capacity along with the heat expanded blood vessels, results in increased blood flow throughout the body, thinning of body fluids (blood, lymph, and fat), and accelerated toxin removal.  Without any infrared radiation or light source exposure, the blood and lymph system becomes thick in consistency, the blood vessels become narrower, and thus the circulation is impeded, causing potential blood clots, or strokes.

The effects of infrared light on the human body are astonishing and can sometimes be very therapeutic and beneficial as well.  As an alternative to pharmaceutical treatment, there are some ailments that can be subdued with the use of infrared light sources.  Infrared light produces infrared heat, which can penetrate the body very easily, but without heating up the air between the light source and your skin.  This natural light which is derived from the sun can be used for therapy on their muscles and joints.  By applying the light source to the affected area, the irradiated heat from the infrared light source produces a remarkable heating effect on the damaged tissue.  Heat increases the flow of blood by dilating the blood vessels of the muscles improving flexibility in connective tissue and muscles. It can temporarily decrease stiffness within the joints, reduce pain, and relieves muscle spasms.

Infrared LED light therapy uses concentrated beams of light to help remove skin blemishes, especially on the face. In general, infrared light therapy uses a combination of red light and infrared light to promote skin health because the Light-emitting diode (LED) lights emit light at red and infrared wavelengths.  The red light helps stimulate healing, which can treat acne scars, rosacea, age spots and blemishes caused by broken capillaries. Infrared therapy tends to be used to treat wrinkles and other problems caused by poor skin support, such as translucent skin or coarse skin.  Infrared LED lights have changed significantly from just 3 to 4 years ago, whereby more lightweight portable IR LED’s are coming out like the Larson IR LED, which are being viewed by the public as being available to them.    

Laser light therapy has been used in the past widely as a good method for skin therapy; however, with the onset of infrared LED lights, the technology has proven to be far more effective.  Many dermatologists are applying this technology on their patients now.  The difference in LED light therapy and laser light therapy is in the device that generates the light. The light that is emitted is the same in both cases, but LED lights are able to produce more light over time than a laser, even though they use less energy. Light therapy takes advantage of the sensitivity of some cells to light to achieve its effects.  The human body, while not able to perform photosynthesis, is able to use light rays for various purposes (metabolism of vitamin D, for example).  The effects of light therapy depend on the wavelength of light used (a light's wavelength determines its color).  Infrared therapy uses relatively long waves of light, which are able to penetrate fairly deeply (1 to 1 1/2 inches) into the skin.  Infrared light stimulates the activity of fibroblasts, which are responsible for making the proteins collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are responsible for supporting the skin and giving it its elasticity. Replenishing the collagen and elastin helps smooth wrinkles.

As a method of research and clinical studies to prove that infrared LED light were beneficial and safe for patients, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Laser Therapy examined 31 subjects who received eight treatments of infrared LED light therapy.  After the treatments were done, 52 percent of the subjects had significant improvement of their facial appearance as measured by a technique called photo aging scoring.  In addition, 82 percent of the patients reported that they had a marked reduction in facial wrinkles, especially around the eyes.  This study concluded that while infrared LED light therapy does not work for everyone, it does represent a valid and effective way of treating wrinkles and other blemishes. 

Heat from infrared LED lighting is also very deep penetrating and helps to focus on an area where there is muscle and tissue damage. 

The use of infrared therapy devices has been proposed for a variety of disorders; including treatment of diabetic neuropathy, other peripheral neuropathy, skin ulcers and wounds, and similar related conditions, including conditions such as pain arising from these conditions.

A wide variety of devices are currently available on the market today, but be very cautious in purchasing them without more knowledge of their merits.  Also, listen to your physician on a referral for this equipment.  You want to buy an infrared light or LED from a manufacturer that knows their products well.  There are some noticeable features that should stand out to you when shopping for an infrared light /LED, and here they are:

·         Built-in heat sink to reduce the higher temperatures that can usually cause premature failure in the components

·         Constructed of extruded aluminum for high durability

·         Portable, lightweight with ergonomic handheld

·         Optimal operating frequency of 850 Nm for best deep tissue penetration

·         Adjustable mounting handle for ease of self-therapy

Infrared light produces heat that can and does have a continued applicability from the medical community on people with arthritis, joint and muscle pain, and some types of cancer.   Congestive heart disease, chronic pain, immunity, obesity and skin quality are all happy beneficiaries as well of far infrared technology, and new research continues to make exciting headway every day. 

This article on infrared LED lighting realizes the fact that there is a source for these IR LED’s, and that with the onset of the light technique, the IR LED lighting finds its way into manufacturing process, or quality control, and then in the commercial / residential consumer industry.   IR LED technology for lighting has many applications, from thermography (detection of radiant heat from any object) to meteorology (determining water temperatures and cloud formations).  In the hunting and military industry, the ability to view and record images in the night has been solved by using night vision, which applies infrared LED’s.  There are few companies out in the industry that can supply quality and reliable infrared LED lighting systems robust enough for the strenuous applications and environments that these devices have to encounter.  Infrared LED’s are even being employed in the manufacturing process in combination with special cameras to detect variances on objects that are on the production line and it’s completely automated. 

Finally, it was desired in this article to provide some type of glossary of terms for infrared LED lights and specifically, the advantages to this type of lighting.    

• Efficiency: LEDs produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs; this is useful in battery powered or energy-saving devices.

   Color: LEDs can emit light of an intended color without the use of color filters that traditional lighting methods require. This is more efficient and can lower initial costs.

   Size: LEDs can be very small (smaller than 2 mm2) and are easily populated onto printed circuit boards.

   On/Off time: LEDs light up very quickly. A typical red indicator LED will achieve full brightness in microseconds. LEDs used in communications devices can have even faster response times.

   Cycling: LEDs are ideal for use in applications that are subject to frequent on-off cycling, unlike fluorescent lamps that burn out more quickly when cycled frequently, or HID lamps that require a long time before restarting.

   Dimming: LEDs can very easily be dimmed either by Pulse-width modulation or lowering the forward current.

   Cool light: In contrast to most light sources, LEDs radiate very little heat in the form of IR that can cause damage to sensitive objects or fabrics. Wasted energy is dispersed as heat through the base of the LED.

   Slow failure: LEDs mostly fail by dimming over time, rather than the abrupt burn-out of incandescent bulbs.

   Lifetime: LEDs can have a relatively long useful life. One report estimates 35,000 to 50,000 hours of useful life, though time to complete failure may be longer. Fluorescent tubes typically are rated at about 10,000 to 15,000 hours, depending partly on the conditions of use, and incandescent light bulbs at 1,000–2,000 hours.

  Shock resistance: LEDs, being solid state components, are difficult to damage with external shock, unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs which are fragile.

   Focus: The solid package of the LED can be designed to focus its light. Incandescent and fluorescent sources often require an external reflector to collect light and direct it in a usable manner.

   Toxicity: LEDs do not contain mercury, unlike fluorescent lamps.


Any questions or comments would be greatly appreciated.  And let me know if you found this article helpful and beneficial.          

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