If you’re into the whole biohacking phenomenon, you’ve probably come across something called red light therapy before. Health icons like Dave Asprey, Tim Ferris and others have proclaimed the healing benefits of a regular red light therapy practice, although this alternative treatment is far from new. But does it work or is it a scam? Below, you’ll find out what red light therapy is, how it works, and why you might want to add it to your wellness routine. red light therapy benefits
WHAT IS RED LIGHT THERAPY?
It’s as simple as it sounds. Red light therapy is when a red light or laser of a specific wavelength hits the body to treat pain or a condition. When a red light laser or touches the body, the light can penetrate 2-10mm deep. When your cells are bathed with the red light wavelengths, a chain reaction of regenerative effects start to occur. Red light is known to help muscle and tissue repair, promote younger-looking skin, and even help break up scar tissue.
Red light has been known to strengthen the mitochondria, aka the powerhouse of the cell that produces ATP (the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things). When mitochondria function is increased with red light, more ATP can be produced. red light therapy benefits
Not just any red light that delivers healing results. A wavelength in-between 600 – 700 nanometers are said to deliver the best biological responses . This wavelength is quickly absorbed by the skin and penetrates deeper into your body to immediately help regeneration. red light therapy benefits
What is Red Light Therapy Used For?
Melatonin & Sleep: This clinical study shows how light therapy can naturally increase melatonin production. Artificial blue light is known to mess with melatonin production, although red light can actually help reset your circadian rhythm.
- Increased Cognitive Function: A clinical study of adults with a history of traumatic brain injury were administered red and NIR light therapy treatment for their brains in 18 sessions over 6 weeks. The participants reported an improvement in headaches, depression, anxiety, improved sleep, better executive functions, improved social functioning, and an increased ability to perform tasks and activities.
- Skin Health & Anti-Aging: Red and near-infrared light has also been reported in clinical trials to have regenerative effects on the symptoms of painful skin conditions like cystic acne, psoriasis, and herpes. Other studies have shown visible improvements in fine lines and wrinkles, making red light a great anti-aging practice.
- Muscle Recovery & Physical Performance: Red light not only helps you recover, but it stimulates muscle growth too. One study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology compared muscle growth and strength between two groups of athletes: one using light therapy combined with exercise, the other using exercise alone. Researchers demonstrated that muscle thickness and strength were significantly improved (by over 50%!) in those who used light therapy. These results were clearly measurable using ultrasound imaging and isokinetic dynamometry.
- Joint Pain & Inflammation: In 2000, a systematic review in The Journal of Rheumatology set out to see just how effective light therapy could be for arthritis. This review found significant results across thirteen randomized controlled trials. The best results were demonstrated in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, with light therapy reducing participant’s pain by 70 percent compared to the placebo.
- Healing Wounds & Burns: Red light therapy has been shown in trials to aid the healing of wounds, burns, and scars by inducing the release of cytokines and chemokines in cells. In a 2018 study of light therapy and chronic wounds in diabetes patients, researchers found that the group treated with an LED device for 8 weeks resulted in scars with a smaller mean surface area compared to the non-LED group.
What do you feel during a red light therapy session?
Some people feel nothing at all during their treatment sessions. But from my experience, I typically have a few immediate (but minimal) effects during and after my session. I typically get warmer, and by the end of my 20-minutes session, I have a lovely sense of euphoria and relaxation.
It took about 5-6 sessions to see a difference in my skin texture, and it only took one session for a great night’s sleep. It also only took one session for a bruise to drastically reduce in color and size. Like any other treatment, you’ll need to dedicate to multiple sessions to see results.
Where can I get a red light therapy treatment?
Many spas, clinics, chiropractors’ offices and natural medicine practitioners offer red light therapy at their offices. Red lights are also available to purchase online for home use. red light therapy benefits
If you choose to buy your light online, make sure to purchase one with the correct wavelength. Joov offers a few different variations of sizes (floor to ceiling and small, hand-held devices) and depending on your specific need, you can buy a custom one for that. Given that there are no reported negative side effects of RTL, this natural therapy makes for a great, cost effective and natural alternative to other forms of therapy. red light therapy benefits