Infrared Sources for treatment of Cancer and other Problems

Many red light sources exist that falsely claim they are "infrared" but if they don't specify their light wavelength at 750nm or more then they are just red lights. Red light therapy is helpful but not as good as true infrared light. You can buy 250W infrared light bulbs outputing around 850nm from Amazon for $29 which are useful when the treatment area is large. Be careful of the light which is slightly harmful to eyes if you look at it. I used infrared twice to get rid of a small tumor rapidly growing on my chest. The second time I only used a neodynium magnet and infrared but I think the infrared was the most effective because when the tumor became very small I stopped using the magnet and just used infrared. Click here to read about infrared saunas against cancer.

InfraRed and Red Light Therapy

Light therapy has been shown in over 40 years of independent research worldwide to deliver powerful therapeutic benefits to living tissues and organisms. Both visible red light (400nm - 750nm) and invisible near infrared light (750nm - 2500nm) have been shown to effect at least 24 different positive changes at a cellular level. Visible red light, at a wavelength of 660 nm (nanometers), penetrates living tissue to a depth of about 8-10 mm. It is very beneficial in treating problems close to the surface such as wounds, cuts, scars, trigger points, and acupuncture points and is particularly effective in treating infections. Infrared light penetrates to a depth of about 30-40 mm which makes it more effective for bones, joints, deep muscles, etc. Although both red and infrared wavelengths penetrate to different depths and affect tissues differently, their therapeutic effects are similar.

Wavelength dependent photobiochemical reactions occur throughout nature and are involved in such things as vision, photosynthesis, tanning and Vitamin D metabolism. In this view, infrared therapy is really a form of light therapy, and infrared light emitting diodes (LED's) and lasers are important in that they are convenient sources of intense light at wavelengths that stimulate specific physiological functions (Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 9:1-5, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, 1989). At this time, research has shown no side effects from this form of therapy other than an ocassional increase in discomfort for a short period of time after treating chronic conditions. This occurs as the body reestablishes new equilibrium points following treatment. It is a phenomenon that may occur as part of the normal process of recovery.

LED's and Lasers are no more than convenient devices for producing light at specific wavelengths, and in addition to the one already cited, several other studies establish that it is the light itself at specific wavelengths that is therapeutic in nature and not the machine which produced it. All biological systems have a unique absorption spectrum which determines what wavelengths of radiation will be absorbed to produce a given therapeutic effect. The visible red and invisible infrared portions of the spectrum have been shown to have highly absorbent and unique therapeutic effects in living tissues.

What is the Difference between near-infrared LED's and LASERS?

Light Emitting Diodes (LED's) are another form of light therapy that is a relatively recent development of the laser industry. LEDs are similar to lasers inasmuch as they can emit the same light but differ in the way that the light energy is delivered. Lasers are focused beam single-wavelength light emitters that can be intense enough (a 'hot' laser) to burn/cut tissue or 'cold' enough to only have light therapy effects. LEDs do not deliver enough power to damage the tissue, but they do deliver enough energy to stimulate a response from the body to heal itself. With a low peak power output but high duty cycle (50%), the LEDs provide a much gentler delivery of the same healing wavelengths of light as does the laser but without the same risk of accidental eye damage that lasers do.

A significant difference between lasers and LEDs is the power output. The peak power output of LEDs is measured in thousandths of a watt, while that of lasers is measured in watts. However, this difference when considered alone is misleading, since the most critical factor that determines the average amount of energy delivered is the duty cycle of the device. LED devices usually have a 50% duty cycle. That is, the LED pulse is ON for .5 seconds and OFF for .5 seconds, versus the .2 millionths of a second burst from a laser at 1 hertz, which is ON .0000002 seconds and OFF for .9999998 seconds. This is a .00002% duty cycle. In short, the LED diodes emit more than 33% more 'average' energy than a comparable laser diode because of the substantially longer duty cycle, even though the peak output is much less.

Moreover, LED's allow the light beam to spread out instead of being a pinpoint light beam and they generate a broader band of wavelengths than does the single-wavelength laser. The wide-angle diffusion of the LED confers upon it a greater ease of application, since light emissions are thereby able to penetrate a broader surface area. Moreover, the multiplicity of wavelengths in the LED, contrary to the single-wavelength laser, may enable it to affect a broader range of tissue types and produce a wider range of photochemical reactions in the tissue.

If LED light disperses over a greater surface area, this results in a faster treatment time for a given area than laser. The primary reason that I chose the LEDs over lasers is that LEDs are safer, more cost effective, provide a gentle but effective delivery of light and a greater energy output per unit of surface area in a given time duration. Our units produce invisible near-infrared red light with a center frequency of 940nm (nano-meters).

What does Light Therapy actually do?

Light Therapy Can:

1. Increase circulation by increasing the formation of new capillaries, which are additional blood vessels that replace damaged ones. New capillaries speed up the healing process by carrying more oxygen as well as more nutrients needed for healing and they can also carry more waste products away.

2. Stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. Collagen is the essential protein used to repair damaged tissue and to replace old tissue. It is the substance that holds cells together and has a high degree of elasticity. By increasing collagen production less scar tissue is formed at the damaged site.

3. Increase RNA and DNA synthesis. This helps damaged cells to be replaced more promptly.

4. Stimulate fibroblastic activity which aids in the repair process. Fibroblasts are present in connective tissue and are capable of forming collagen fibers.

5. Stimulate tissue granulation and connective tissue projections, which are part of the healing process of wounds, ulcers or inflamed tissue.

6. Stimulate the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells. Increases in ATP allow cells to accept nutrients faster and get rid of waste products faster by increasing the energy level in the cell. All food turns into ATP before it is utilized by the cells. ATP provides the chemical energy that drives the chemical reaction of the cell.

7. Increase lymphatic system activity. Edema, which is the swelling or natural splinting process of the body, has two basic components. The first is a liquid part which can be evacuated by the blood system and the second is comprised of the proteins which have to be evacuated by the lymphatic system. Research has shown that the lymph vessel diameter and the flow of the lymph system can be doubled with the use of light therapy. The venous diameter and the arterial diameters can also be increased. This means that both parts of edema (liquid and protein) can be evacuated at a much faster rate to relieve swelling.

8. Relieve pain. The photons of light energy enter the body as negative ions. This calls upon the body to send positive ions like calcium among others to go to the area being treated. These ions assist in firing the nerves thereby relieving pain. Light therapy is successfully used in pain therapy, dermatology and rheumatology with excellent therapeutic effects in the treatment of periarthritis and tendonitis.

9. Stimulate acetylcholine release and other parasympathetic effects.

10. Increase phagocytosis, which is the process of scavenging for and ingesting dead or degenerated cells by phagocyte cells for the purpose of clean up. This is an important part of the infection fighting process. Destruction of the infection and clean up must occur before the healing process can take place.

11. Induce a thermal like effect in the tissue. The light raises the temperature of the tissue treated which can kill or disable temperature sensitive bacteria and viruses.

Editor's experience: I had injured some ligaments on the inside of each knee from running in sub-freezing temperature. They hadn't bothered me much until recently when I walked for 5 miles. The next day they were really killing me and so I strapped on the red light therapy device at night to the worst area and slept with it on. To my splendid surprise, the next morning (and thereafter) the pain and restriction in movement were completely gone!


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Technical Considerations and Health Effects

Wavelengths of light spectrums:
Red Light : 620nm to 750nm
Near Infrared : 750nm to 2,500nm
Mid Infrared : 2,500nm to 10,000nm
Far Infrared : 10,000nm to 1,000,000nm

Some people can see wavelengths up to 780nm, but most people can't. Therefore, for most people near infrared light is all invisible.

For a Laser or Light Emitting Diode (LED), the wavelength of light is extremely important since the wavelength ultimately decides the penetration depth in the target tissue. Red light from a 660 nm continuous-wave has a penetration rate much greater than from other hair lasers closer to the lower end of the red spectrum (630 - 650 nanometers). Since wavelengths from 670 to 690 nm support the redox processes (oxidization processes) it is believed that the 660nm wavelengths show better efficacy in therapeutics than lower wavelength lasers. Low-energy visible light (LEVL) has been shown, in some studies, to stimulate certain cell functions. This is called "photobiostimulation" and has been used over the last three decades for treating a range of conditions, including soft tissue injuries, severe wounds, chronic pain, and more.

In the field of photochemistry, the light must be absorbed before photochemistry can occur. This is a very simple but powerful concept for this field and as such, is basic to the 'laws' of the science. Of the lasers in the visible region of red light, lasers close to 670nm are considered to provide superior absorption (penetration). In 1993 a study on rat schwann cells demonstrated the variations between 670, 780 and 830 nanometer absorption. The highest absorptions were exhibited at 670 nm and the lowest at 830 nm. However there is clinical evidence that in contrast to other wavelengths, the 830 nm laser light produces specific beneficial biological reactions that are not produced by other wavelengths. Because the scalp skin is thin, the deep penetration of the 830 nm wave length may be too deep to get the full benefits to the rather superficial hair follicles and is therefore not needed for hair therapeutics. Today, the wavelengths most commonly used for therapeutic purposes are 635 nm, 650 nm, 660 nm, 670 nm, 780 nm, 820 nm, 830 nm, 904 nm (GaAs lasers). Except for GaAs, all these lasers usually produce a continuous beam but some may also be pulsed. The infrared lasers, invisible to the eye, are more suitable for muscle therapy (deep penetration) and are not used in hair loss therapy because the penetration depth is not needed. With these lasers, eye protection is needed and these devices are considered Class IIIb medical devices by the FDA. (Visible light ranges from: 400 nm (violet) - 750 nm red light: Above the 750nm light, the light is invisible and is called Near Infrared light (up to 2500nm).

For hair applications, the first and most significant condition in choosing laser wavelength is depth penetration, which should be sufficient to target hair bulbs typically resting at a 5-6 mm depth.

Visible red light, at a wavelength of 660 nanometers, penetrates tissue to a depth of about 8-10 mm so the entire hair organ will be covered to a depth just beyond the hair bulb. Visible red light also can theoretically be effective in the entire scalp and might include; wounds, cuts, scars, folliculitis, etc. Infrared light in the non-visible area will penetrate to a depth of about 30-40 mm and therefore might make it effective in the treatment of joints, deep muscle, etc… (areas of application which are used today).

Lasers and LED's can operate in two modes: (1) either continuous-wave (cw) or (2) pulsed operation modes. The biological responses of the same cells to pulsed and continuous-wave (CW) light of the same wavelength, average intensity, and dose can vary.

Supporters for pulsed low level laser therapy (LLLT) produce the following arguments for why pulsed might be better:

* It is believed that pulsed LLLT can stimulate tissue repair and regeneration.
* It is believed that pulses stimulate cell activity. Theory suggests that rapid pulsing of LLT starts to simulate a continuous beam.
* It is believed that pulsed LLLT can regulate biological rhythms or cycles.
* It is believed that pulsed light produces deeper penetration compared to continuous wave. More science is needed to define and prove such claims.
* It is believed that pulsed LLLT has an anti-inflammatory effect.
* It is believed that when both pulsed light is used in combination with the visible red light spectrum, it might have value for various hair treatments which are becoming the focus of marketing and research activities today.