RED LIGHT THERAPY
Red light therapy (RLT) is a powerful therapeutic technique and an alternative healing method. It uses red low-level wavelengths of light for a variety of therapeutic purposes, including wound healing, scars and other skin issues, inflammation, pain, hair growth and sleep quality.
Red light therapy was originally used in the 1990s by scientists to help grow plants in space, because of its ability to promote photosynthesis and plant growth. Further research and experience have found that alterations influence cellular redox state and function and positively affect their photosensitivity resulting in a variety of health benefits. Today it is widely for the listed therapeutic benefits. It is used in medical settings for skin conditions, wounds, and chemotherapy side effects, in salons for cosmetic skin concerns, and even in personal home settings for any desired benefits.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy is a low-level laser therapy that is a form of photobiomodulation, a process exposes your body to low wavelength red lights that penetrate deep into your skin. Unlike ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, RLT is safe and doesn’t burn your skin.
You won’t get a tan or get a sunburn, instead, you receive all the benefits of the red light deep inside on a cellular level when standing or sitting several inches from an RLT device. This process may help to increase cellular energy and antioxidants in your body.
Research has shown that through red light therapy, the mitochondria in the skin cells are able to soak up the beneficial light particles, create more ATP energy, and able to fuel all cells with energy with it. Since your body is able to use this extra energy for rejuvenation and repair, this energy provided to your cells may contribute to many of the positive benefits of RLT.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy has several potential benefits. In fact, scientists have found that red light therapy may have some benefits that have been limited photosynthetic organisms and specialised photo responsive cells. Due to the fact that light interacts with all the cells of our body, RLT has profound influence on many systems of the body.
Supports Collagen Production
Collagen is the primary structural protein in the body. It is found in skin, tendons, bones, ligaments, and teeth. It is built up of tightly bound amino acids that help to hold your body together. Collagen is important for your skin because it ensures its elasticity and reduces wrinkles. Collagen, however, is also important for a healthy gut, mood, hair, nails, ligaments, and bones. The natural red wavelengths in red light therapy provide a boost of collagen production in your body. Research on the skin health benefits of RLT has found that red light may increase collagen production and increase intra-dermal collagen density. The same study has also found that RLT may promote fibroblast production which helps the creation of collagen in your body.
Reduces Inflammation and Pain
Red light therapy is also incredibly beneficial for pain and inflammation. According to a systemic review and meta-analysis evaluating low-level laser therapy for musculoskeletal disorders in adults, RLT may reduce pain when used regularly and a recommended dose.
Another study has discussed the benefits of this therapy on inflammation. It seems that it improves inflammatory and inflammation-related chronic health issues, including psoriasis, tendonitis, obesity, arthritis, and autoimmune thyroiditis. Red light therapy may be particularly beneficial if you have arthritis or other joint-related inflammation or pain. Researchers have found that RLT was effective for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis with few side effects. Another randomised double-blind study has found that RLT may benefit knee osteoarthritis and compliance with rehabilitation exercises.
Improves Skin Conditions
One of the main reasons people use red light therapy is for its skin health benefits. A study on the benefits of the stimulating, repair, and skin benefits of RLT found that it may increase collagen production, fibroblast production, mRNA and circulation between skin cells. As a result, RLT may help skin elasticity and facial texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and lower free radical damage.
Red light therapy may also help to treat acne. Just like sunlight it may reduce affect sebum production. However, too much sun exposure can be problematic because of the ultraviolet (UV) and UVB rays, making RLT a great option. Another study has found that it may improve complexion and the overall feeling of the skin, and help to rejuvenate skin cells.
Stimulates Mitochondrial Health
The mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. They are small organelles that are the centre of cellular energy in your body. Researchers have found that one of the main benefits of red light therapy is that it helps to stimulate mitochondrial health and help your mitochondria to create more energy. This happens because the red and near-infrared lights interconnect with certain photoreceptors called cytochrome c oxidase within your cells. This process allows the mitochondria to use oxygen more efficiently which results in the production of more ATP. ATP is the molecular unit of currency for the intracellular energy transfer process. It is a complex organic chemical that supplies your living cells with energy to help bodily processes, including chemical synthesis, nerve function, and muscle contraction. More energy and better mitochondrial health mean better health and function.
Improves Circadian Rhythm & Sleep Quality
Red light therapy may be a natural and effective sleep aid that improves your circadian rhythm and sleep quality. Exposure to red light may help your body to adjust its circadian rhythm resulting in physical, mental, and behavioural changes and benefits.
Supports Hair Growth
If you are looking to grow beautiful hair or simply want to grow more or better quality hair, red light therapy may be an option. About 50 percent of men over 40 and 75 percent of women over 65 suffer from Androgenetic Alopecia, a common form of hair loss.
Promotes Wound Healing & Tissue Repair
One of the most commonly known and used benefits of red light therapy is wound healing. It has been well-researched and has been used in professional settings in order to improve wound healing and tissue repair. According to a review of 68 studies on the biological effects of red light therapy on wound healing, it may help to reduce inflammation in the skin cells, increase collagen and fibroblast production, and help angiogenesis, or new blood vessel growth stimulation. The review concluded that red light therapy is beneficial for wound healing and tissue repair, however, treatment protocol, wavelength, and the dose may be important and determine the outcome.