What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, or low-level laser therapy, is a therapeutic method which uses laser light at various wavelengths in order to promote healing and treat various medical conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Other advantages include providing energy, improving exercise endurance, red light therapy benefits for pain, and building muscles. In the realm of beauty, it can enhance the skin, remove wrinkles, heal acne, improve oral health, and grow the hair.
There’s no end to the health properties this method provides, and there are devices for sale for personal use so you can do red light therapy at home daily or weekly and get full benefits.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light sends photons deep into the body based on the selected wavelength. Different wavelengths penetrate at varying rates and work to heal different issues in the body. A lower wavelength helps with skin issues, hair growth, and wounds. Deeper treatment assists with more complex medical conditions.
The photons stimulate the mitochondria in the cells, which releases ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP produces energy for all of the body’s cells, providing red light therapy benefits. An article in Purinergic Signaling reviewed the synthesis and storage of ATP .
A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology concluded that red light therapy is effective at treating a number of medical and aesthetic conditions .
Orthopedic physical therapist Fabian Garcia stated that, “We are all servants to our mitochondria. Sunlight, air, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and salts all contribute to the health of our mitochondria. When one of those elements is lacking within our daily regimen, RLT fills in those missing or incomplete variables .”
Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
If you follow the instructions carefully, red light therapy should be perfectly safe. It’s important to stand the correct distance away from the device, or you may incur redness or other issues.
Make sure you check the safety certifications of the manufacturer, and check that the device is FDA-approved. In addition, see that it has low to zero EMF emissions.
What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is one of the most body-enhancing health treatments you can do, providing a wide range of benefits for numerous aspects of wellness. You’ll adore the red light therapy before and after. Let’s look at some of the top science-based health benefits of red light therapy.
1. Improves Your Mood and Eases Depression
Red light therapy stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a mood-elevating chemical that can help ease depression.
Many typical prescription antidepressants work by raising serotonin levels. Red light therapy may work particularly well with seasonal affective disorder.
In addition, the release of additional ATP helps improve brain health generally by promoting healing and repair. This could have a positive impact on mental health. According to Dr. Theodore Henderson, “Potentially, infrared light may prove to be effective for numerous neuropsychiatric conditions .”
Dr. Marc Schoen of UCLA Medical School explains that, “In tandem with psychotherapy, using red light therapy appears to catapult patients out of an acute depressive state faster than any other modality .”
2. Strengthens the Immune System
When the red light therapy activates ATP and boosts cells functioning, it greatly enhances the immune system because it allows the cells to fight infection and replicate more quickly.
It elevates the body’s ability to heal itself for optimal health and can help fight a number of diseases. An article in Aging and Disease discussed the effectiveness of photobiomodulation therapy in treating disease and preventing COVID-19 .
Red light therapy also stimulates antioxidant action, which kills damaging free radicals and lowers oxidative stress. This promotes healing in the body and makes the immune system stronger.
3. Gives You Added Energy
LED red light therapy sends photons to the cell mitochondria, stimulating the production of ATP and generating energy for every cell in the body. This revitalizes you and provides you with the drive and vitality you need to get through the days with success.
In providing the cells with added energy, this method allows them to work more efficiently and effectively to promote bodily functioning and carry out repair.
4. Decreases Pain
Generally when you use red light therapy for pain you should consider the higher wavelengths like 800-900 nm. You need deep penetration for this kind of treatment, and it tends to deliver effective results for joint pain, back pain, neck pain, as well as other areas of the body.
The treatment works because the laser lowers pain sensitivity by increasing levels of a key pain causing chemical and blocking key nerve fibers.
Dr. Bruce Coren explains, “Laser lowers nerve sensitivity by decreasing bradykinin; a pain eliciting chemical. It normalizes ion channels [cellular gatekeepers] and releases endorphins [body’s natural pain reliever] and enkephalins [related to endorphins] that produce an analgesic effect. It also has a pain-blocking effect on certain nerve fibers .”
5. Lessens Inflammation
Red light therapy improves circulation in the body, and the increases blood flow helps to lessen inflammation. It also brings blood flow and oxygen to damaged tissue for repair and healing.
Red light therapy devices are particularly effective for decreasing inflammation in the muscles, joints, and gums, as well as post-surgery. An article in AIMS Biophysiology discussed the mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation .
6. Stimulates Weight Loss
Although the red right therapy benefits for weight loss are up for some debate, there is research indicating that this technique does have an impact. When ATP releases, it promotes healthier cells, and this helps speed up the metabolism.
The result is that the body enters the fat-burning state of thermogenesis, which can lead to rapid weight loss. A study in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine found that red laser therapy was effective in fat layer reduction .
7. Promotes Brain Health
Exposure to red light therapy leads to the release of the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood, motivation and learning. In addition, the added circulation improves cerebral blood flow which promotes better cognitive functioning and alertness.
A study in the Journal of Neurotrauma concluded that people with traumatic brain injury showed significant improvements in cognitive performance from a 6-week red laser therapy course . There’s also evidence that light therapy may slow the progress of dementia.
8. Enhances Sleep Quality
If you have difficulty getting enough rest at night, consider red light therapy for sleep. The lasers stimulate the hypothalamus region of your brain, the location of the pineal gland.
It activates the release of the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for making you fall asleep. In addition, it helps balance your sleep-wake cycle.
9. Increases Testosterone Levels
Although there are few research studies exploring the issue, there’s reason to believe that red light therapy might raise levels of testosterone in the body, with all of the accompanying benefits of greater muscle mass and strength, enhanced exercise endurance, a stronger libido, and elevated sexual stamina. In addition, it promises to elevate overall sexual satisfaction. Research must confirm this information in future and explore the issue further.
10. Improves Fertility
Red laser therapy may enhance fertility for both men and women. Physicians began using it for this purpose in the 1990s and discovered that in some cases it actually brought women out of menopause .
A study in Laser Therapy in Japan concluded that laser therapy helped a significant number of infertile women conceive .
Red laser therapy helps male fertility by improving both the number of sperm produced and their motility .
11. Prevents Sunburn and Treats Damage
Not only can red light therapy help prevent sunburn, it can heal an existing condition and reduce the associated inflammation. The stimulation of ATP energizes the cells and allows them to heal and repair more efficiently.
It also stimulates the activation of antioxidants which promotes further healing and strengthens the immune system. A study in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery found that treatment with red light therapy healed sunburn .
12. Balances the Hormones
Red light therapy does more than just raise testosterone levels – it balances a number of hormones in the body. This method may raise your cortisol levels, which could decrease your stress and anxiety.
In addition, it balances the production of the thyroid hormones, the mood-elevating hormones, and other reproductive hormones. The promotes health all over the body, as hormones influence a wide range of processes.
13. Prevents Cold Sores
A cold sore develops due to a virus, and some people are carries of the virus and get them on a recurring basis. Red light therapy helps prevents you from growing a cold sore, mostly because it’s so effective at boosting your immune system.
If you’ve already got one, it can speed up healing, reduce inflammation, and make them less painful. Using red light therapy for face has minimal to no risk for the user, as the technology is safe for anywhere on your body.
14. Builds Muscle Mass and Enhances Performance
Since red light therapy boosts testosterone levels in the body, it also has the effect of building up muscle mass and strength. As the device improves bodily circulation, it brings added blood flow and oxygen to the muscles for greater development. In addition, the ATP provides you with added energy to help you be more active, and it can enhance athletic performance significantly.
15. Assists in Muscle Recovery
In addition, the activity of ATP promotes the healing and repair of new muscle cells and tissue, decreases pain and inflammation, and speeds up muscle recovery after a workout.
A study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation concluded that red light therapy can decrease muscle pain, damage, and atrophy. They also found that it improved muscle mass, recovery, and athletic performance .
16. Enhances the Health of the Eyes
Red light therapy benefits for eyes include reducing oxidative stress, which repairs damage. In addition, it provides a huge energy output which contributes significantly to elevating eye health.
Significantly, red light therapy also promotes the health of the mitochondria on the eyes, leading to improved sight and enhancement of declining vision.
Improving your vision with red light therapy for eyes does not require a big time investment. You only require one 3-minute treatment once a week to boost vision for a week.
In the words of Professor Glen Jeffery, “The great thing about the retina is that it has more mitochondria than any other organ, because it uses so much energy. On top of this, you have easy optical access — you can direct light right onto retinal mitochondria, which you can’t do to mitochondria in the liver or the kidney.
Add to this the fact that the retina ages faster than any other organ, and you can simply test its function by asking people what they see, and you have a perfect target for red light therapy .”
17. Promotes Bone and Joint Health
Red light therapy has healing properties which assist in repairing damage to the bones and joints. It’s also effective at lowering the pain and inflammation that accompany arthritis and can improve circulation to the inflamed areas.
Repairing the bones and joints requires an infra red light therapy at a wavelength of 800-1000nm which penetrates deep into the tissue for maximum benefits. A study in Geriatric Rehabilitation found that light therapy improved pain, function, and quality of life in osteoarthritis patients .
18. Treats Your Sinuses and Improves Breathing
There’s some evidence that red light therapy might unclog blocked nasal passages and improve your breathing. For example, a study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that it was an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis .
When treating your nose, don’t attempt to use a panel. You can purchase a special red light therapy device made to shine directly into your nasal cavity to provide maximum benefits.
19. Provides Anti-Aging Skin Benefits
This method stimulates the production of fibroblasts in the skin, which promotes collagen and elastin production. These levels decline with age, and the added boost can make the skin tighter and more elastic, smoothing wrinkles and lines.
Esthetician Shane Millier explains how RLT can slow aging, “As we age, our cells become larger,” Miller explains, “making it increasingly difficult for them to divide and multiply, ultimately slowing our bodies ability to regenerate. Red light therapy technology delivers low-wavelength light to energize our skin cells .”
In addition, red light therapy for the face can eliminate scarring, age spots, and skin conditions. The added circulation flow enhances overall skin health and can give you a fresh, rosy glow which is youthful.
20. Treats Skin Conditions and Wounds
You can effectively treat wounds, burns, and post-surgery incisions with a red light therapy device. When the laser targets the mitochondria in the cells and generates ATP production, this provides the potential for great healing and regeneration of cells and tissue. It also decreases inflammation and eliminates the pain that goes along with the wound. A study published in Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologic found that low-power light therapy was effective at healing wounds .
21. Heals and Eliminates Acne
The most effective method for healing acne is blue light therapy, but red light therapy also has some potent effects. It improves circulation to the skin and reduces the inflammation that goes along with pimples.
In addition, it speeds up healing, repairs tissue, sooths the skin under the acne, and fades scarring. The method may not be as effective in treating blackheads and whiteheads.
22. Boosts Oral Health
There are a number of ways that red laser therapy for teeth can enhance oral health. The improved blood flow to the gums and increased cell turnover improves the health of the gums and can help whiten the teeth.
This helps prevent gum disease, preserve general oral health, and even get rid of bad breath. A red light therapy lamp also reduces inflammation in the mouth and gums and decreases pain.
23. Supports Hair Growth
If you are experiencing hair loss, breakage, or shedding, you may want to try red light therapy for hair loss. It stimulates blood circulation to the scalp and follicles, as well as oxygen and nutrients. The result should be steady hair growth and enhanced overall health.
A study on men with hair loss in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine concluded that red light laser and LED light experience significant hair growth in a 16-week period .
24. Elevates Thyroid Functioning
The beneficial effects of red light therapy for thyroid activity include increasing the production of T4 cells for improved overall functioning and decreasing harmful antibodies. In addition, it repairs damage and reduces inflammation.
Red light therapy also helps balance levels of the thyroid hormones, and it’s these specific chemicals that are responsible for stimulating the mitochondria of the cells and releasing ATP for energy production. By healing the thyroid gland, this process is further accelerated.
25. Helps Treat Heart Disease
There’s evidence of the effectiveness of red light therapy for heart disease and general heart health. The technology stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body, which improves blood flow and may help repair the blood vessels.
Evidence in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine found that light therapy improves cardiac function by increasing ATP levels in cardiomyocytes and cardiac tissue .
26. Improves Recovery From Stroke
Patients who are recovering from a stroke may greatly benefit from red light therapy treatments at home. It helps restore nerve regeneration, reduce pain, and increase antioxidant levels which repairs damage.
Physical therapy in combination with red light therapy on a full-body panel can do wonders for the recovery process. A study published in Stroke concluded that infrared laser therapy is safe and effective for the treatment of ischemic stroke .
27. Heals Fibromyalgia Patients
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition with symptoms that include full-body pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, overintensity to pain, and sometimes depression and anxiety.
The elevation of ATP levels gives the sufferer a boost in energy, a decrease in pain, and higher melatonin levels for a peaceful sleep. A critical review in the Journal of Lasers in Medical Science discussed the use of laser therapy for patients with fibromyalgia .
28. Helps Treat Diabetes
Diabetes patients can benefit from red light therapy on several levels. It may repair the damage of neuropathy and decrease pain. People with diabetes often have low levels of nitric oxide, leading to poor circulation.
Light therapy boosts levels and elevates blood flow for improved functioning and healing of ulcers and infections. The poor circulation often interferes with mitochondrial functioning in diabetes patients, thus disturbing the proper release of ATP.
Red light therapy, of course, reverses this by stimulating and repairing the mitochondria followed by the release of additional ATP. There’s also some evidence that the treatment can reduce blood sugar levels.
29. Heals Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition happens due to consistent compression on the median nerve in your hand, leading to numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and often arm. The red light penetrates deep into the area of the inflamed nerve and heals the damage and swelling. It also helps to reduce any associated pain and stiffness.
30. Assists in Healing Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive nervous system condition which leads to symptoms like shaking, tremors, difficulty with balance, and stiffness. It may include other symptoms like pain, fatigue, sleep problems, cognitive decline, and mental health issues.
LED Red light therapy for Parkinson’s can repair and regenerate nerve cells, protect them from damage, reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance cell activity. In addition, it offers neuroprotective properties and can enhance mood, mental functioning, and sleep. Red light therapy can be a highly effective adjunct treatment for Parkinson’s diseases with the potential to improve quality of life.
What are the Wavelengths, and Which Should I Use?
The wavelengths span from about 600-1070mn, which offer a range of different benefits at all levels. A laser between 600-700nm is effective for treating wounds or mild pain, while at 750-950nm it can treat deeper issues and conditions. The wavelengths from 700-750 nm apparently have little effect on the body.
How Long Does it Take for Red Light Therapy to Work?
The LED red light therapy benefits may occur at different times for different people, and it also depends on the wavelength you are using and the condition you are treating.
For example, wounds or muscle injuries heal up within a couple of days, while a disease will obviously take longer. Promoting full hair growth takes from 4-6 months.
Are There Any Side Effects to Red Light Therapy?
These devices are safe, and there are unlikely to be any red light therapy side effects. On rare occasion someone very sensitive may have redness on their scalp. If this occurs, stop using the device immediately and check with a doctor.
Personal Experiences With Red Light Therapy
Beyond all of the specific facts about red light therapy, I want to share my own personal experience using it. The reason I bought the panel was to help ease the pain in my back that I got from an injury.
Truthfully, I also hoped it would help me the lift the low mood I was experiencing at the time. I bought a full PlatinumLED BioMax panel and used it for 20 minutes 3 times a week. Have you ever heard of this brand? It’s a really quality product, and I loved the results. Let me share them with you.
I started to experience a boost in my mood after about 2 or 3 weeks of doing the treatments. After weeks of suffering from moderate depression, it was a huge relief to my mind and spirit. The accompanying fatigue also lifted, and I was able to be active and get more done during the day. I give red light therapy for mood 5 stars!
At the same time as it elevated my mood, red light therapy also took the edge off my stress and anxiety levels, and this really had a huge impact on my life. I feel relaxed instead of edgy, and the quality of my work has really improved. This has also helped my get along better with the people around me, and I really appreciate that.
It took a couple of weeks for full results, but the pain in my back did disappear with red light therapy. This alone makes it more than worth every penny I spent on the device.
The decrease in pain also did a lot to get rid of my depression and irritability, and it really helped with my sleep. Without the pain, I sleep like a baby at night.
One of the unexpected benefits of red light therapy for me was the big boost of energy and motivation it gave me. I didn’t have to wait days of weeks for this bonus, as it kicked in soon after the treatment. It has helped me to be more active, which I hope will lead to weight loss in the long run.
Any Other Benefits?
Those are the main advantages I got from red light therapy, but there are other things I have noticed. I feel like I’m mentally sharper and my memory is a little better…oh, and my skin is much improved. My acne is much better than it was before, and I look rosy and healthy.
The Final Word
In the final analysis, red light therapy is a highly effective technology which can help treat a range of medical issues from a small wound to diseases like arthritis or Parkinson’s disease. Research shows that it’s safe and shouldn’t cause any side effects or complications.
Red light therapy treatments are available in a number of spas and naturopathic clinics, but you can also purchase your own device for easy at home use. Full red light therapy beds can be costly depending on the manufacturer, but there are smaller devices available to start with.
There are a wide range of red light therapy reviews online for devices like PlatinumLED BioMax which are largely very upbeat and positive. Users sited many health benefits like added energy, enriched skin, and easing of aches and pains. The majority of customers said the red light therapy device had a significant impact on their mood and overall health and wellness.
Where To Find It
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