How to use infrared heat on a wound

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How to use infrared heat on a wound
Handheld infrared devices are used to ease pain and heal wounds. (Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

Infrared light penetrates deep into the body, warming tissue and improving circulation. This improved circulation is thought to speed up wound healing and boosts the immune system. Infrared therapy is being used for many conditions, from acne and burns to hypertension. A wide variety of infrared heat tools are sold for home use. These include screens, mats and strap-on devices, gloves, bootees and other clothing, helmets, beds and saunas. These tools are widely used to treat pain. Recent research is leading to the development of new forms of infrared therapy for use by doctors, especially for chronic wounds associated with diabetes.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Infrared heat tool
  • Goggles

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Instructions

    Infrared heat lamps, pads and beds

  1. 1

    Start with clean, dry skin. Set up the heat lamp, strap on the pads or bootees or get in the infrared heat bed.

  2. 2

    Put on goggles if you're using the infrared light on your face. Otherwise, avoid looking at the light for too long.

  3. 3

    Turn on your infrared heat tool. If you're using a lamp, direct it toward the wound area.

  4. 4

    Use the infrared heat therapy from nine to 45 minutes, depending on your doctor's advice. Emerson Worldwide, manufacturers of a deep-penetrating light system, recommend 17 minutes for pain relief daily or nine minutes twice a day for skincare. Emerson reports that you can use the infrared light for up to 10 weeks twice a day and then maintain your skin with one treatment two to four times a week. The makers of Healthlight pads recommend using their product for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes to treat wounds three times a week. Their products are formulated to treat the chronic wounds associated with diabetic neuropathy.

    Infrared saunas

  1. 1

    Avoid niacin and exercise before using the sauna.

  2. 2

    Drink around 500 ml of water before using an infrared sauna.

  3. 3

    Use the sauna for just 15 to 20 minutes for the first few weeks. After a few weeks, you can increase your sauna time to 30 or 40 minutes and you can then use it for anywhere from twice a day to twice a week.

  4. 4

    Rest for at least 15 minutes after your infrared sauna session. Shower and relax.

Tips and warnings

  • Near infrared saunas use less electricity, generate less electromagnetic radiation and penetrate more deeply into the body. Far infrared saunas are less intense and don't require rotating the body.
  • Water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) is a form of heat therapy using a special radiator and water. These 30-minute treatments, two to five times a week, have proven effective at accelerating wound healing.
  • Make sure someone is around whenever you use a sauna. Stop if you feel faint or weak, if you stop sweating or if your heart begins to pound or race.
  • Infrared heat should not be used by people with severe heart, liver or kidney problems, those who have reduced skin sensitivity, pregnant women or chemotherapy patients.
  • Always check with your doctor before using infrared heat therapy.

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