Wrecked my ribs snowboarding in February, had a 50K step day in April, and sprained my ankle in May.
What do all of these things have in common? (If you like videos scroll to the bottom and just watch that instead!)
In all three cases, I used infrared light therapy to reduce inflammation and in all three cases I was stunned at how quickly I was back on the mountain, on the road, and on the soccer field.
Let’s take the ribs. If you’ll recall, I was happily snowboarding along on a beautiful day when all of a sudden a sniper jumped up, grabbed my board, and my left elbow jammed into my ribs as I hit the ground. Have you ever seen a snowboarder fall? One minute they are up, and in one second flat they are sprawled flat. It’s not pretty.
As I came up gasping for air, I thought, “Now you’ve done it. Ribs take forever to heal!”
Fortunately, my dear friend and functional nutritionist Margaret Floyd Barry insisted I come over and use her infrared sauna an hour a day for two weeks straight to accelerate the healing.
I resisted, and then caved.
Anticipating 6-ish weeks of recovery: instead, I would say using the infrared cut that time in half. I’m not kidding! Half! I think several of my friends thought I was making up how painful it was initially as I wasn’t following the traditional trajectory for recovery.
I discussed this at length with my dear friend and incredible massage therapist Kim Dewey (Heartsongforhealth.com) She like Margaret had been using infrared light with her clients and she gave me the fantastic Dgyao wrap for my birthday.
When it arrived my husband opened the box, whisked it away to his office, and immediately starting zapping (and when I say zapping you can’t feel much other than a gentle warming) his low back. I hadn’t had a chance to even look at it closely! I asked him a few days later how he liked it and if he thought it worked. He is a scientist, and usually gives a well thought out long-ish qualified answer, but in this case he simply said, “yes!”
Next thing you know I was “inspired” (read: challenged by a client 🙂 to get 50,000 steps in one day. That’s 23.75ish miles for the day of running, walks with the dog, extra running, and more walking around the block and house until 11:15pm to get all the steps in. I did all the things I usually do after exercise: roll, cold shower, scrub, etc.
However, the next morning my legs were sore. I figured it was just par for the course and that’s what I get for being competitive. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the wrap, and grabbed it and put it on my legs over my running tights. It has an automatic shut off feature after 20 minutes, and the official directions say to put on bare skin for 20 minutes. I had done the sauna for an hour with clothes on, so I decided to keep hitting the button until I was at an hour.
I stood up from sitting through a hour FaceTime call while I was zapping, and my legs were fine.
As in: Not Sore At All.
As in: Oh You Did 50K Steps Yesterday? No Big Deal.
WOW! This was astonishing! I had no idea that would be the result.
Sadly, my third game back to futsal (Indoor soccer with a smaller heavier ball) I twisted one way, stepped the wrong way, and felt my ankle pop. Darn it! I hadn’t twisted my ankle in a long time, but I had done it many times in the previous decades, so it wasn’t a new thing. I did forget how much it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of losing all the fitness I had worked so hard to achieve over the pandemic.
Professional athletes ice for 20 minutes every hour, and I decided to act like a pro with a small twist. Instead of waiting the traditional 72 hours of pure icing, I would jump into what’s called “contrast baths” right away to take the pain out. Historically that meant 3 minutes in an ice bucket, followed by 90 seconds in a tepid (not hot and really just barely warm) water bucket. However, my ‘tepid’ would be the wrap.
If I wasn’t icing, I was zapping….all the next day. 24 hours later, I could walk without a limp, there were no crutches in sight, and the pain was extremely manageable. It was so manageable I did not take any Tylenol or Ibuprofen at any time (honestly I forgot to, but I prefer to not take anything if at all possible).
This was all ice and infrared healing, as an accidental experiment.
A successful experiment!
Do your research, but I am impressed with this modality. I like the wrap with the auto shutoff feature, the fifteen foot cord, and the convenience of being able to lie down comfortably and have healing happen and inflammation reduced quietly without a roller, or a fascia blaster, or a cold shower.
Here is the video summation I put on Instagram earlier this week, if this is easier for you to absorb the information!
Have you ever used this infrared to heal or reduce inflammation? Let me know in the comments below!