The color red is special, we all love it. It is energetic and attention grabbing. But what would be your reaction if I tell you that a red light therapy can heal your torn tissues, can treat your joint pain and can help with many health issues, that we’re going to discuss further in this article.
Light is a powerful biologic force that affects circadian rhythms of behavior, physiology, and metabolism of all mammals. We cannot deny the fact that the lights of different intensities and spectral transmittances (wave lengths) have different effects on our body. For example, sunlight helps in photosynthesis in plants, skin exposed to high-intensity sunlight causes sunburn and blue light (which is a part of the visible light spectrum) reaches deeper into the eyes and its cumulative effect can cause damage to the retina.
Today, I’m going to share this article, facts researched by my team and reviewed by Dr. Abeer Kartik Gupta and how it is used as an alternative treatment for cancer, arthritis, chronic joint pain, tissue tear and many other health issues.
I will also share a study conducted by Dr. David R. Axe and his team, that backed the theory of cancer treatment with Red Light Therapy in 2012.
- 1 What Exactly Is Red Light Therapy? (in simple words)
- 2 How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
- 3 Benefits Of Red Light Therapy
- 4 Red Light Therapy For Joint Pain
- 5 Red Light Therapy For Acute Neck Pain and Musculoskeletal Disorders
- 6 Can It Help With Depression and Fatigue Overcome?
- 7 Why Is It Hard To Get Insurance Coverage For LLLT?
- 8 Blue Light Therapy And Red Light Therapy Aren’t The Same
- 9 Can Red Light Therapy Prevent Tooth Decay Due To Aging?
- 10 Is It Effective In Treating Thyroid?
- 11 If you See Hyper Pigmentation, Continue With The Therapy
- 12 Precautions Before Beginning Red Light Therapy
- 13 Final Words On Red Light Therapy
What Exactly Is Red Light Therapy? (in simple words)
Red light therapy is an FDA approved treatment option which is now widely preferred & performed to cure many health issues like chronic joint pain and wounds. It is now more likely to get FDA approval for the treatment of other health issues such as arthritis, muscular pain, neurological damage, tissue tears, and sprains.
Not just health issues, its cosmetic importance is also widely known. It is considered as one of the best anti-aging methods available today.
Red light therapy is also given to cancer patients to rectify the tissues harboring cancer cells. Here is a detailed study conducted by Dr. David R. Axe and his team mates on this matter, you cannot miss the full read.
Red light therapy involves the emitting of low-intensity red light wavelengths through the skin. Direct exposure of skin to the red light is safe because it doesn’t produce any heat and pain. It boosts up the cellular energy and has a positive effect on metabolism process when absorbed to the depth of 10 millimeters in the skin.
Although the therapy is still in controversy and a subject of debate between many doctors and the therapists, none of its adverse side effects are witnessed, rather a growing list of its benefits is getting the world’s attention.
It has also delivered promising results in the treatment of hair loss, wrinkles, acne and skin discoloration caused due to chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Even looking at a red light pumps the blood and primes our senses, just imagine what happens when it passes through your skin.
Here are some ways in which red light wavelengths works:
- Red lights entering through your skin helps in releasing ATP from cells’ mitochondria. Mitochondria are the structures provides energy to the cells to work. The mitochondrial electrons have been shown to be photosensitive to red and NIR light.
- Improves the natural production of collagen, that’s most important for skin, joint and digestive health.
- Repairing the soft and damaged tissues by boosting the cell formation.
- Improving the functioning of immune system and fighting many health issues indirectly.
- Fights skin aging and other aging issues such as memory loss, weak eyesight etc.
- Forming new blood vessels.
- Improves blood flow in the arteries and heartbeats.
- It is also considered as a placebo for stress relieve, and researchers are hard at work to find if it is possible to treat migraines with red light therapy.
- It is also possible to alter metabolism with red light therapy but is not FDA approved for the general practice.
- It helps in activating lymphatic system, an important part our immune system to carry waste out of our body.
Benefits Of Red Light Therapy
- Strengthens Weak Immune System: If You have got a weak immune system, means if your body immediately gets affected due to viral fevers or general body issues, you should get a red light therapy once in a while. It will strengthen your immune system.
- Treats Symptoms Of Cancers: You can refer it to somebody who is dealing with any type of cancer. In fact, a research done by NASA in conjunction with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital has shown that the red light technology can successfully reduce symptoms experienced by cancer patients. red light therapy has shown to release the stimulating photons that aid the healing process and works as a catalyst during the healing time. The device used to emit near infrared and infrared light are called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or in this case, HEALS.
- Alters skin aging: You can get red light therapy if you want to look younger for more years. Yes, red light therapy has shown positive effects in fighting the skin aging and it is practiced widely. It helps in fading the wrinkles and fine lines which are natural with the age and often occurs due to improper care.
- Fights Hairloss: Not just anti-aging, It is proved that the red light therapy can also alter the hair loss problems. It stimulates the follicle growth, which works in many of the same way as red light therapy for wound healing.
- Improves Skin Tone: People kept under the red light for the skin treatments experienced better skin tone and improved skin complexion. It showed some amazing skin benefits such as reduced wrinkles and fine lines, soft skin
- Pace Slow Healing: Low-intensity monochromatic light has shown to cause a variety of effects on irradiated cells. Red light therapy is widely used to treat slow wound healing and to repair damaged tissues.
- Rosacea Treatment: Rosacea is a medical condition which involves redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts. Patients with Rosacea have found relief with red light therapy.
Red Light Therapy For Joint Pain
Red light therapy is capable of providing placebo relief to the patients suffering from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is called a placebo because even if it is capable of stimulating collagen and rebuilding cartilage, it does not rectify the cause of arthritis.
In 2009, Chchrane reviewed the effect of red light therapy on the arthritis patients and the author’s conclusion was ” LLLT could be considered for short-term treatment for relief of pain and morning stiffness for RA patients, particularly since it has few side-effects”. Please take a full read in order to check the full study.
Main reasons for improved joint health because of red light therapy are due to its increased blood flow and cellular rejuvenation effect.
Red Light Therapy For Acute Neck Pain and Musculoskeletal Disorders
Red light therapy was found to immediately reduce the neck pain, according to a study published in 2009 in The Lancet. Seven trials provided follow-up data for 1-22 weeks after completion of treatment, with short-term pain relief persisting in the medium term with a reduction of 22.07 mm (17.42-26.72). Side-effects from LLLT were mild and not different from those of placebo.
It showed that LLLT reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.
Patients with musculoskeletal disorders were not found to experience any relief from the pain, instead, they were found with improved functionalities such as improved range of motion and fewer ticks.
Can It Help With Depression and Fatigue Overcome?
Even seeing the color red is physically stimulating, primes our senses and pumps our blood, so imagine what red light penetrating through your body can do.
Although the psychologists have a different point of view on this matter and aren’t considering it as an anti-depression therapy, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have something to say. According to them, As every light is a source of energy, our bodies are energy systems. Like ultraviolet rays, sun rays etc have a significant effect on our body, red light or low-intensity wavelengths also have major effects on our body (It may be positive or negative, depending upon the intent of use).
Red has different meanings in different contexts. It is a color of love as well as a color of bloodshed. So, using it with a particular system and intent can have significant effects on the psychology of individuals.
Researchers have also found that the red lights if used in offices and workplace, can have a major impact on the productivity of employees, their moods and ability to make decisions faster and correct through sensory stimulation.
Why Is It Hard To Get Insurance Coverage For LLLT?
Red light therapy is widely used in many parts of the world to treat and cure many disease symptoms and for many other cosmetic purposes but conventional doctors are still considering it a matter of more research. Because of this less-acknowledgment by the doctors and FDA, insurance companies are still not confident in providing insurance coverage for the therapy.
Blue Light Therapy And Red Light Therapy Aren’t The Same
Red light therapy has the ability to penetrate deeper into your skin alike of blue light therapy. Blue light therapy can be used to treat acne problems but not for the healing or curing purposes.
Blue light is a more monochromatic and has shown less significant results, while red light therapy is accepted widely for cell stimulation benefits.
It is not advised to keep the patient under blue light for more time because it blue light produces health and friction, unlike red light.
Can Red Light Therapy Prevent Tooth Decay Due To Aging?
Not many studies are available to attest this but researchers and our expert for implantology, Dr. Priyadarshani Pawar suggests that it is possible to prevent tooth decay by red light therapy if the therapy given to the patient is at the starting stages when the gums start loosening their hold and grip with the teeth.
In fact, it is also possible to treat oral infections and infections due to plaque forming. But since this matter still needs a lot of research, 100HealthCare does not recommend any such treatment before it is approved by FDA.
Is It Effective In Treating Thyroid?
There is some evidence of benefits for treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with LLLT. It is not advised to apply red light directly over the thyroid as it may stimulate some thyroid activity. Although, no adverse effect or over stimulation has been noticed when done under the guidance of an expert.
If you See Hyper Pigmentation, Continue With The Therapy
You should not stop using red light therapy if you see hyperpigmentation in your skin, If you see any, it means they lifted close to the surface of the skin. It means the therapy is working for you to brighten your skin.
Precautions Before Beginning Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is considered as the safest type of light therapy because of its non-heating and gentle nature on the skin.
It is not harmful to your skin but can cause harm to your eyes, if directly exposed. Not red light causes any harm but the equipment and the device can cause high glares in your eyes.
You must see whether the therapist has an eye protection in the clinic or not, you should ask for one if he takes this possibility for granted.
You should never look directly into the red light therapy device.
Final Words On Red Light Therapy
- Red Light Therapy is very effective in repairing damaged tissues, cell rejuvenation and increasing blood flow. Its overall effect is a strengthened immune system and improved body performance.
- It is very helpful in treating cancer treatment side effects such as hair loss, loss of appetite, memory etc. Please note that it is not for the treatment of cancer but to treat the treatment (Chemotherapy) side effects of cancer.
- You may not get an insurance coverage for the red light therapy as the subject is still in controversies and still wait for a solid evidence to back the claims.
- You should wear an eye protection while getting this therapy because direct looking into the therapy equipment would harm your eyes and cause inflammation.
- A lot of African Americans do it to lighten their skin tone. If you see any excess pigmentation during the course, it means the therapy is working for you and you should continue with the therapy.
- It has proved to give anti-aging effects due to its capability of collagen production. It helps in diminishing the fine lines and wrinkles.
- You should get it if you feel anxious or depressed. It helps in boosting your mood and alters the effects of bad experiences on your nervous system.