Red light therapy is a natural and effective form of therapy used to improve overall health and well-being, as well as aid in recovery from injuries or sickness. Numerous health, fitness and beauty benefits can be realized from its use, which has been scientifically demonstrated.
You might wonder what exactly red light therapy is and how it works. Why does red light appear to be more beneficial than other colours, such as green light? How can it be utilized, and what is it used for? These are all good questions, so let's examine them.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and photobiomodulation (PBM), is a simple treatment that works by exposing the body to red and near-infrared (NIR) light. To receive this type of treatment, individuals will either sit or lie in front of LED panels at their home, a spa, or a dermatology clinic.
Countless studies and scientific reviews have been done to look into the physical effects of red light therapy. It has been seen to be beneficial in regards to collagen production, repairing and rejuvenating muscles, and alleviating symptoms of any diseases related to inflammation.
In order to help you understand the scientific basis of red light therapy, it is essential to understand light; particularly, why certain colors of light are capable of providing healing.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
The range of visible light contains all the colors that exist. Red has the longest wavelength and the lowest frequency, and violet has the shortest waves with the greatest frequency. All these colors combine to form white light, which is what our eyes observe when we view sunlight.
When referring to red light therapy, the light used includes both red light and near-infrared light, which cannot be seen by humans (without the help of night-vision goggles). The near-infrared light has a longer wavelength, extending from 700 nanometers (nm) to 1100 nm, whereas red light falls in the range of 630 nm to 700 nm.
Heat is not emitted by either the red or NIR wavelengths, with red light being able to go through the skin to a depth of 10 millimeters, and NIR to a range of 2 to 7 centimeters. Therefore, red light does not penetrate far beneath the surface, while NIR is capable of entering further into cartilage and even bone.
When mitochondria (which generate the most energy used to power body cells) are exposed to near-infrared or red light, they become more active. This is because of an increase in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy source used and stored within the cell.
A groundbreaking study reported a rise in ATP levels in laboratory-grown human cells after exposure to 633 nm, 650 nm, and 725 nm wavelengths of light.
Evidence is mounting that cellular responses to this type of intervention can bring about positive physiological effects. An example of this can be seen in a 2015 study conducted with fruit flies, which are frequently used in scientific research due to their comparable genetic makeup to humans. Scientists from both the United Kingdom and Brazil administered daily doses of 670 nm LLLT radiation to these insects and observed increased ATP levels, decreased inflammation, and an extended lifespan.
This research reveals the scientific principles of red light therapy; how it stimulates mitochondria and leads to positive health effects.
What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?
Younger Youthful Skin
When you continuously use red light therapy, you will notice improvements in your skin tone and texture. This is because photobiomodulation activates fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for producing collagen, which is responsible for the structure and elasticity of the skin and decreasing signs of aging.
Moreover, you can expect a decrease in the amount of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as better skin texture. A research study from Quebec, Canada in 2009 established that 94 percent of the participants who underwent 660nm red light therapy noted a decreased severity and depth in their wrinkles and lines, as well as a lower surface roughness. Ultimately, 97 percent of the people in the study found that their skin looked better after the treatments.
In a study conducted by German researchers, similar results were observed on the effectiveness of red light therapy. Those in the test group who were exposed to PBM at multiple wavelengths displayed a notable development in their skin texture and complexion. Moreover, their intradermal collagen density was greater when compared to the individuals in the control group.
These and many other studies show that red light therapy has multiple benefits on the skin.
In 2008, researchers from Brazil conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of laser PBM in treating wounds. The results revealed that third-degree burns in rats healed quicker when they were exposed to PBM wavelengths of 660 nm or 780 nm in comparison to the control group.
Additionally, the scientists found out that wavelengths of 660nm delivered more immediate results on wounds, while those of 780 nm showed more lasting progress.
Studies have revealed that employing red light and near-infrared therapy can be helpful in dealing with skin issues like vitiligo, psoriasis, burns, scarring, and herpes virus lesions.
Accelerated Muscle Recovery in Fitness
Red light therapy has become increasingly popular in the fitness world as a way to enhance workout performance and accelerate muscle recovery. This form of light therapy utilizes the power of red light to penetrate deep into the skin and target muscles, tendons, and other tissues, reducing soreness, improving muscle tone, and reducing inflammation, resulting in a faster and more efficient workout. Advocates of red light therapy also claim that it can help with fat loss and reduce the risk of injury. It is important to note, however, that there is still limited evidence to support these claims.
Evidence has demonstrated that red light therapy is efficient in healing muscle injuries induced by physical exercise, due to its special capability to boost mitochondria. Michael Hamblin, a renowned authority on photobiomodulation, performed a meta-analysis in 2012 which yielded the conclusion that red light therapy can be effective at decreasing muscle damage indicators such as lactic acid and creatine kinase. This suggests that low-level light therapy has the aptitude to mend the body by lessening the strain of muscle damage due to strenuous exercise.
In 2008, Brazilian scientists released the results of a study that looked at the effect of red light therapy on the performance of 12 male professional volleyball players. Specifically, they studied the impact of the therapy on the players who did bicep contractions. Their findings indicated that red light therapy can help athletes to enhance their performance and resist muscle fatigue.
On the last day of the trial, the test group was given LLLT after their activity, and the control group was given a placebo. The test group showed an improvement of 8.5 reps from the start of the trial; however, the control group only managed 2.7 more reps. Moreover, the test group displayed higher levels of lactate dehydrogenase than the control group, which might signify that LLLT hinders muscle fatigue and exhaustion even with an increase of lactic acid.
Does Red Light Therapy Have Other Benefits?
The benefits of red light therapy go beyond promoting skincare and muscle repair. It is being investigated in the following areas as well:
- Fibromyalgia: This disorder is caused by inflammation and oxidative stress, which are both issues that red light therapy has been known to address. A study conducted in 2019, which was published by Taiwanese researchers, concluded that the majority of those who received LLLT treatment for fibromyalgia experienced significant pain reduction and other positive results.
- Dementia: A lot of research has been conducted to explore the potential of red light therapy to benefit brain health. One of the areas explored is its effects on dementia patients. While only a select few clinical studies have been conducted, they offer encouraging results that could guide further research into red light therapy and Alzheimer's disease.
- Neuropathy: Low-level light therapy (LLLT) has been found to be beneficial in relieving the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, likely due to the stimulatory effect of near infrared (NIR) on nerve cells. A 2014 study conducted on rats with induced neuropathic pain demonstrated that those given LLLT experienced a higher degree of relief and improvement, compared to those that did not receive any treatment.
- Hair Loss: Research suggests that red light therapy can be effective in treating androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness or hair loss). A 2014 study reported that patients who used a device equipped with low-level laser therapy saw a considerable improvement in their hair density when compared with the control group.
Can I Use Red Light Therapy At Home?
Yes you can! At-home red light therapy is a convenient way to address multiple health and wellness problems. It's amazing that a single device can provide such a wide range of benefits in the comfort of one's home.
The RedShift Max series is designed to make at-home Red Light Therapy simple. It uses a variety of Red light and Near-Infrared (NIR) light technology. We have different categories that you can customize based on your needs.
- The OmegaRed LED Light Therapy Belt specifically designed for RedShift delivers both a wavelength of red light therapy of 660 and 850 at the same time, to help with Body Fat Loss/Muscle Pain Relief/Inflammation Relief/Back Pain Therapy
- The RedShift RST 1000 MAX of both 660 and 850 wavelengths, a helpful wavelength of light therapy for skin, face, and pain relief.
Our devices are designed for various sizes and wavelengths, offering superior irradiance levels for maximum output. The modular and linkable design of the panels allow for custom configurations.
The first step is to determine which device is most best suited for your needs. After this, Red Light Therapy becomes a simple process that just requires some time, a designated area, and a bit of patience.
Here are a couple of methods to practice red light therapy at home.
- For weight loss and reducing cellulite: Exposing fat cells to red light causes them to have small openings that allow fatty acids, commonly known as lipids, to be released.
- For increased collagen production and improved skin: Integrate brief intervals in front of the panel into your skincare routine several times a week. It will reduce wrinkles and deliver an overall smoother skin.
- For reducing inflammation: It is not only an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions like psoriasis but also an inhibitor.
Learn more about how Red Light Therapy can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any drawbacks to too much red light therapy?
Red light therapy(RLT) is a widely used, non-invasive treatment that can be beneficial for many health conditions. The general rule is to stay within the 650nm and 850nm range to maximize the impact of RLT.
How many minutes per day should I use RLT?
Every body is different but the general recommendation is at least 10-20 minutes per day. However, when you become a member of RedShift Therapy you will be assigned a coach that can help scope your treatment options to get the maximum benefit.
We hope you found this article informative and look forward to sharing more discoveries!
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