This page will be dedicated to posting information and research
pertaining to uses of Infrared Radiation in Medical Therapy Techniques.
Infrared (IR) radiation is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that
includes wavelengths longer than about 1 micrometer (1 x 10[sup -6] meters). This section
of the electromagnetic spectrum consists of wavelengths that are too long for the human eye to
detect. From a physical standpoint, the longer the electromagnetic wavelength, the lower the
energy of the radiation. Thus, IR radiation is of lower energy than visible light and
most other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Microwaves tend to be considered of lower energy than IR (even though they were originally considered just a part of the IR spectrum), and radio waves consist of even longer wavelenghts (lower energies).
More importantly, most IR wavelengths correspond to the vibrational frequencies
of water. This is one of the defining characteristics of IR radiation not only because
it can be used to heat water (and subsequently most forms of living tissue) but also to detect
sources of heat. Because IR is just a form of light, both of these endeavors can be done
without the hindrance of physical thermal contact which has proved to be important in many medical
applications. There are many experimental methods of implementing IR light sources.
Doctors have recently found a very promising technique of heating venous ulcers with monochromatic
IR energy that leads to healing in cases where other methods have failed.
Here's a representation that shows how the IR range can be found
at wavelengths longer than about 1 micrometer (1 x 10[sup -6] meters) -- which is "below" what
the human eye can see: