Definition of Red Light Therapy
low-level light therapy or LLLT, Photobiomodulation or PBM, photonic stimulation, biostimulation, or light box therapy are some of the terms used for red light therapy. This kind of procedure utilizes particular wavelengths of light. By doing this, the skin is given its needed treatment. Therefore, a red light tanning bed can be used for this therapy. The ranges for the amount of red light wavelengths is 630 to 670 and 810 to 880.
How Red Light Therapy Works
The specific red light wavelengths give cells biochemical effects to increase the function of the mitochondria. As a result, the production of ATP or adenosine triphosphate is improved.
What is the importance of ATP? It is where cells in the body get energy. Therefore, you cannot function well if you do not have enough ATP. The best red light therapy device works on the surface of the skin. The light from it enters 8 to 10 millimeters deep in the skin. Hence, this therapy can act on all the layers of the skin. It can also reach the blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and pathways of the lymph.
Red Light Therapy and Sauna Therapy: What’s the Difference?
You might be wondering if red light therapy is the same as sauna therapy or sunlight. Although these therapies give different results, they are all beneficial.
You can try sauna therapy if your aim to increase the temperature of your body. This method is well-known in Finland and in other countries in Europe. It is because using the best infrared sauna can increase the temperature of the air through heat exposure. As a result, the body is warmed from the inside out. You can get more advantages through the lower amount of heat and save time as well.
For infrared light therapy, the light is invisible. This therapy penetrates more deeply into your body with 700 to 1200 nanometers of wavelengths. Red led light therapy works more on the cells. Therefore, it is not effective in increasing perspiration and improving the cardiovascular system.
These therapies provide results that depend on your needs.
Ways to Use a Red Light Therapy
A red light therapy is offered by some rheumatologists, dermatologists, and spas. Physicians can also refer to this kind of treatment to be done by a professional. It may not be covered by some health insurance companies since FDA only approved it for a few cases.
If you are considering having this therapy done at a salon, you might have to pay $50 to $100 for each session. You can also purchase your own device to enjoy red light therapy benefits. Some people enjoy a red light therapy at home more.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Although red light therapy has gained popularity recently, there are many proofs for its health benefits. Chronic pain in the joints, wounds that heal slowly, hair loss, wrinkles, and acne are FDA-approved uses for this treatment. Some people have used it to treat psoriasis and to improve immunity and circulation.
- Improved Circulation and Production of Collagen
The circulation is improved and new capillaries are formed. This happens because light enters the epidermis and dermis. In addition, this light produces more collagen and fibroblasts. Red light therapy naturally increases the levels of collagen. This is a big advantage for your health since collagen makes up 70% of the protein in your skin.
Red light therapy for wrinkles is also effective due to collagen. People who suffer from arthritis can also benefit from this treatment. It is because the condition of the joints is improved. It also works well on painful muscles. The red light therapy lessens the pain and aids healing in the body.
- Healing of Wounds
As mentioned earlier, increased fibroblasts are one of the advantages of red light therapy for skin. Fibroblasts are found in the skin. Meanwhile, collagen is synthesized, and connectives tissues are maintained through fibroblasts. These processes are highly important in wound healing.
Through red light therapy, wounds heal faster due to increased circulation and increased fibroblasts. Therefore, it has been used for the treatment of amputation, burns, wounds that are infected, and skin grafts. Damages to the skin, including the mouth and mucus membranes from cancer treatments, have been successfully treated with this therapy. A study in 2014 shows how colitis symptom in mice was successfully improved. Moreover, the light helped in the healing of the mucus.
For sores and abrasions in the mucosa of the mouth, dentists use red light therapy. Also, cold sores are prevented from happening repeatedly in the mouth.
- Preventing Hair Loss
Red light therapy is one of the natural remedies for hair growth since it can prevent balding. A study that was conducted for 24 weeks showed that the density and thickness of hair are improved. In addition, there were no adverse reactions to this light therapy. The participants of this study were asked to wear a helmet which released red light.
- Faster Recovery from Illness and Injury
Recovery is faster when you use red light therapy. It is because the circulation and ATP production are increased. Moreover, lymph system activity and phagocytosis are also stimulated. Even though red light therapy aides in regulating the immune system, a study conducted in 2006 showed that this therapy caused suppression of the immune system. The benefits of this treatment in the immune system are not very clear yet.
- Improving Thyroid Function
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of red light therapy and near infrared therapy on improving thyroid function.
In 2013, a random placebo-controlled clinical study was done to discover the benefits that patients with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis can get from this therapy. It resulted in the improvement of their thyroid function. They also lessened or eliminated the use of thyroid medications. 47% of the patients who participated in the study did not need medications 9 months after using the treatment. This result is surprising since the patients are often told they need to take medications for their entire lives.
- Treating Psoriasis
People who suffer from psoriasis can benefit from red light therapy according to a study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery Journal. The plaques in the skin show a 60% to 100% improvement when the light from this therapy and infrared therapy are used. The red wavelengths from the red light therapy help treat the surface of the skin. Moreover, the infrared light soothes inflammation.
Finally, similar to other treatments, red light therapy is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. Patients with seizures have to take precautionary measures since the pulse or light can be an issue for them. There is no need to avoid this treatment since there are devices that do not pulsate.
For pregnant women, it is safe to have this therapy. However, it is still best to consult with a physician or midwife to ensure safety.
If you find the red light too bright for you, you can wear a pair of simple tanning glasses. These glasses will make this therapy more comfortable for you.
All in all, it is best to research further and ask questions to understand red light therapy more.