Posted by Sunlighten on 12 May 2016

NASA Research: How Wound Healing Can Be Accelerated Through Near Infrared & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

In 2001, the Medical College of Wisconsin undertook a research study on wound healing.

infrared sauna wound healing

The study was managed and supported by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre – SBIR Program in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.

The purpose of the study was:

“…to assess the effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and near-infrared light therapy on wound healing”.

Tests were conducted on both humans and animals. NASA utilised a variety of near infrared LED wavelengths, power intensity, and energy density parameters.

For studies on humans, the key aim was to review the effect of near infrared LED treatment on acute and chronic wounds.

Here were the findings of the study1:

Human studies examined wounds on U.S Navy officers and children with oral mucositis.

  • LED produced improvement of greater than 40% in musculoskeletal training injuries in Navy SEAL team members
  • Decreased Wound Healing time in crew members aboard a U.S. Naval Submarine
  • LED produced a 47% reduction in pain of children suffering from oral mucositis.

Examinations were also conducted on rats with ischemic and diabetic wounds.

  • Animal studies were conducted on ischemic and diabetic wounds for rats. Wound size decreased by up to 36% in conjunction with HBO in ischemic rat models.


At the conclusion of the study, researchers stated:

“We believe that the use of NASA LED for light therapy alone, and in conjunction with hyperbaric oxygen, will greatly enhance the natural wound healing process, and more quickly return the patient to a preinjury/illness level of activity”

How this links to Sunlighten

The AirPod

The NASA study states:

“There are a variety of instances in which a patient who may benefit from HBO is unable or unwilling to be treated in a high-pressure environment. These situations include lack of access to a facility equipped with HBO, claustrophobia, and certain current or chronic medical conditions that would make HBO therapy contraindicated”.

For this reason Sunlighten introduced the AirPod, a mild-pressure oxygen therapy capsule.

The AirPod is less confronting and more comfortable than a traditional hyperbaric chamber. It uses pressure to increase the available oxygen in the blood (by increasing atmospheric pressure).

airpod mild hyperbaric chamber

The AirPod is a non-claustrophobic experience. Consumers can even use electronic devices such as mobile and tablets during the session.

As a non-medical wellness tool, we recommend the AirPod to people looking to reduce swelling and inflammation with post-treatment recovery.

NIR in the mPulse sauna

Dr. Whelan is a world renowned thought-leader in near infrared technology. He was instrumental in developing the correct micron output and wattage density for our LED near infrared heaters. We wanted to emulate NASA’s clinical trial so consumers can have the same experience in their own sauna.
Including the NASA study, Dr. Harry Whelan has completed over 80 publications on near infrared.

What does this mean?

Previously on the market, far-infrared has been the most commonly used wavelength. Through our research we have learnt that there are potential outcomes associated with near and mid infrared. So we set out to develop a technology that could provide near, mid and far infrared.

The mPulse is the only sauna in the world capable of providing precise near, mid and far infrared wavelengths.

infrared sauna heaters

It is necessary to have 3 individual heater panels in order to provide 3 individual wavelengths - near, mid and far. This follows the law of physics.

Here is a link to the NASA Study –


Have you tried a combination of Oxygen Therapy and Infrared Heat? Did you see any changes or results? Let us know in the comments below.

Whelan et al; Effect of NASA Light Emitting Diode Irradiation and Wound Healing. Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery, Volume 19, Number 6, 2001, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, pp. 305-314.

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*Sunlighten does not provide medical advice. We recommend you consult with a health care practitioner if you are unsure if using an Infrared Sauna or AirPod is right for you. For best results, our products should be used in conjunction with an appropriate diet and exercise program. Individual results may vary.   

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