We've heard all about the health benefits of cold therapy, but if that's not your thing, did you know that there's a whole host of benefits associated with heat and red light therapy?
Heat therapy has been appreciated for centuries all over the world for its wellbeing benefits. Red light therapy on the other hand is relatively new. It uses the power of infrared energy without heat (or very low levels) to rejuvenate your cells at the mitochondrial level.
Harnessing the power of heat and light in your wellness routine can provide a range of advantages to support you and promote healthy ageing.
You can watch the video below or listen to the podcast (episode 132);
Health benefits of heat and red light therapy
- Detoxification – studies suggest that heat therapy, including infrared saunas, may support the body's natural detoxification process by getting you sweating and helping to eliminate toxins through the lymphatic system.
- Enhanced Sleep and Mood – Heat exposure during a bath stimulates the body's thermoregulatory system, resulting in a subtle drop in body temperature that prepares you for a restful sleep. Research suggests that red light therapy helps regulate the circadian rhythm and melatonin production, promoting a healthier sleep-wake cycle. It may also potentially alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and improve overall mood.
- Boost Growth Hormone and Support the Immune System – Heat therapy, including saunas, infrared saunas, steam rooms, hot baths, and hot springs, has been associated with boosting growth hormone production, which plays a crucial role in tissue repair, joint health, and the maintenance of skin and hair. Studies have shown that regular sauna use supports the immune system, promoting overall wellness and resilience. And red light therapy has been shown to improve tissue repair and wound healing, as well as reducing inflammation.
- Stress relief – Heat helps relax muscles and promotes a sense of calm. The soothing effect can alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and enhance overall relaxation and mood.
- Improved Muscle Mass and Physical Capabilities: Active middle-aged individuals who regularly use saunas have shown a slower decline in muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia.
- Promoting Cardiovascular Health and Aid in Recovery: heat can be as beneficial as exercise for your heart! Heat causes blood vessels to dilate, improving circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. And combining heat with exercise is even better, improving blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Heat also helps the recovery process, a valuable tool for athletes and individuals seeking to enhance their performance and recuperation. One study indicated that longer sauna sessions (20 minutes compared to 10 minutes) were associated with a 52% lower risk of heart disease.
- Enhanced Respiratory Function: The steam rising from hot springs or a steam room can help clear the respiratory system and open up airways. This can provide relief for individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, or congestion.
- Skin Health – Studies have shown that red light therapy can stimulate collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots while improving skin texture and elasticity.
- Dental Health – research has explored the potential of red light therapy dental devices in supporting gum tissue repair, reducing inflammation, and accelerating healing after dental procedures. These devices may contribute to improved oral health and well-being.
- Vaginal Rejuvenation – Red light therapy has shown promise in promoting vaginal health by enhancing blood circulation and addressing concerns such as dryness, stress urinary incontinence, and vaginal laxity. Specific devices that you can use at home provide discreet and convenient options.
- Longevity – A study conducted in Finland discovered that individuals who used a sauna 2-3 times a week had a 24% lower risk of death. Those who used saunas almost every day experienced an impressive 40% reduction in mortality risk.
Different Forms of Heat & Red Light Therapy:
- Saunas: there are many types of saunas that can create beneficial heat, including;
- Infrared saunas – infrared heat therapy works using light to heat your body from the inside. It can penetrate the skin deeply, reaching a depth of approximately 5 centimetres.
- Coal, wood burning, or electric saunas – traditional heat based saunas
- Himalayan salt saunas – salt is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and can help with excessive mucus, pathogens, digestive issues, skin conditions, and the immune system.
- Steam saunas – a warm, humid environment can help support relaxation, respiratory function, and detoxification.
- Hot stone therapy – placing warmed stones on specific points of the body can promote relaxation, circulation and enhance overall well-being.
- Heat wraps and pads – can offer targeted heat therapy for relieving muscle pain and stiffness.
- Hot baths, hot tubs and jacuzzis: can relax and soothe the body.
- Hot springs – hot springs have long been recognized for their therapeutic properties and have been enjoyed by cultures worldwide for centuries.
- Red light therapy – red light therapy operates by emitting specific red low-level wavelengths of light that penetrate about 5 millimeters below your skin's surface (so great to combine with heat based infrared saunas which go deeper).
If you don't have access to saunas or hot springs, there are various products available on the market, including infrared home saunas, lamps, red light face masks and vaginal devices, sauna suits and blankets, amongst others. Make sure to choose reputable products from trusted sources.
I've recently invested in the Equinox red light face and neck mask from Luyors. It's not cheap, and it's a bit creepy looking (🤣), but I love the fact it's promoting collagen and reducing inflammation while I'm watching TV!
Heat and light therapy, in their various forms, can hold immense potential for healthy ageing. From supporting growth hormone production and the immune system to promoting detoxification, cardiovascular health and reducing stress. They can be combined since they each have unique effects, so don’t be afraid to try both.
Remember, ensure to stay adequately hydrated when incorporating regular sauna or heat therapy product usage into your wellness routine and always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new routine if you have a health condition.
Do contact us for information on our testing and 1-1 support if you're struggling with peri or post menopausal issues.