Ever since red light therapy was discovered, it has claimed its spot in the health and wellness domain by being effective in curing many ailments and enhancing effects.
I have been sticking my face, body, and any problem area in front of a red light. I had a health coach who swore up and down about red light therapy, which is what made me want to try it for myself.
I still haven’t regretted my purchase.
Some scientists refer to the benefits of light therapy as a placebo effect. In contrast, some of them are bringing forth the evidence. Whatever the source is, the benefits exist, and that’s what matters the most.
From skin healing to weight loss and fat reduction, light therapy is now being used by people worldwide for many reasons. Not only has it a proven record of healing wounds faster, but it also has a positive effect on the immune system and improves hair growth as well.
The strange discovery of red light therapy happened when a group of NASA scientists demonstrated that red LED wavelength boosts plant growth. However, the scientists noted that the lesions in the skin were healing quicker than before.
The wellness industry did not take long to make a move and adopted light therapy after some experiments, which proved to be successful.
How Does Infrared Light Therapy Work?
Light therapy is a simple procedure where the body cells are exposed to low wavelength red light. The natural red light penetrates the skin, and cells absorb it, which helps them produce more Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the energy source for cells. With an increase in ATP production, Mitochondria is strengthened, and therefore the rejuvenating abilities of cells.
With multiple kinds of research going on red light therapy, there are mixed views about the possible effects red light has on the human body, which results in benefits.
Near-Infrared Light Therapy Benefits
Light therapy has a long list of benefits, and all of them have been proven by scientists and experienced by users. Let’s see if there’s anything that you can use light therapy for.
- Wound healing – Wounds usually take a long time to heal, and exposure to natural red light increases the blood flow to the wounded area and rejuvenates the cells. This ensures that the cells heal better and faster, decreasing the time it takes for a wound to heal.
- Hair growth – Various experiments have been conducted with a set of participants who were exposed to different wavelengths of red light. The wavelengths 665 nm and 808nm proved beneficial, and an increase in hair density was seen. ‘
- Reducing pain – Studies conducted by the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine showed that light therapy reduced the pain in patients with musculoskeletal disorders. The effectiveness of therapy was further increased if the patients stick with a certain dosage.
- Bone recovery – Patients with facial bone defects were studied by exposing them to red light. Increased healing was enabled, and the researchers commented that it might also increase the bone recovery process. However, a proper study regarding bone recovery and red light therapy still needs to be conducted.
- Anti-inflammatory benefits – Scientists have found out that the majority of the diseases the red light therapy cures are of inflammatory origin. Although this particular benefit’s origins are still unknown, the promising benefits as an anti-inflammatory have compelled the scientists to tag it as beneficial for diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Alopecia Areata, and inflammation of the thyroid.
- Muscle repair – Red Light therapy, if used post and pre-workout, has shown proven benefits. Not only does it decrease muscle soreness, but it also prevents muscle strength loss and repairs the micro-fiber damages in the muscles if used regularly.
- Anti-aging – The natural red light stimulates collagen production in the skin, which results in a better skin tone and an evenness in the skin. Not only is the existing collagen protected but also the production of collagen is improved.
Is Light Therapy for Skin Effective?
The majority of skin-related benefits of red light therapy have been proven and are associated with the following processes underneath the skin.
- Stimulating collagen production in the skin, which gives the skin its elasticity
- Improving fibroblast production, thus helping to produce collagen and other tissue fibers
- Enhanced circulation between blood and tissue cells
- Increased protection to cells from damage
- Increasing the amount of mRNA in the cells, which helps stimulate the cell
Research conducted on more than 100 people resulted in a clear improvement in the skin’s feeling. They also reported enhanced complexion, hydration, and nourished skin.
Light Therapy for Skin Benefits
The long list of light therapy benefits makes it a viable natural measure. Here’s how you can use red light for your wellness and health.
- Acne and acne marks – Acne is perhaps one of the most common issues, and teenagers suffer quite a lot from this problem. Red light therapy cannot kill the acne-causing bacteria, but it effectively reduces the inflammation caused by acne. Red light penetrates the skin and powers the cell to repair and heal the skin faster.
- Minor burns – The therapy does not damage the skin, nor does it involve any kind of dangerous radiation that might cause burning. The waves penetrate the skin and increase the blood supply to burned areas, thus enabling the body’s natural repair mechanism to work efficiently.
- Cuts, scrapes, and wounds – Using red light therapy on wounds, cuts, and scars helps increase the blood flow to the area and enables the body’s natural repair mechanism to heal the wounded area faster.
- Dry skin and psoriasis- As the waves penetrate the thickened dry skin, the blood flow increases and nourishes the skin with essential nutrients, thus reviving the dead and dry skin.
- Scars and stretch marks- Saggy skin is usually caused due to a decrease in weight or aging. Collagen production is stimulated by light therapy, which prevents scars and stretch marks and evens the skin tone.
Look Book for Anti-Aging by Revive
For the best skin results, I recommend either using the Look Book like the one above for your face, or the handheld device that you can easily use for all parts of your body that are hard to reach. See my handheld device review here.
Infrared Light Therapy Side Effects
Every solution out there could turn into a problem if not properly administered or executed in the way it is supposed to be, the same is the case with red light therapy.
- Using light therapy for people with drug-resistant and non-seasonal depression can also lead to a worse condition called Mania.
- The user might experience light headaches and eye strain which go away a few hours after the therapy. They are not permanent, and once the user gets used to them, nothing is to be worried about. Use eye protection if you are sensitive to light.
- People who are sensitive to light should consult their physician before using light therapy or use protective gear. Not doing so might result in irritation or permanent damage in some cases.
Weight Loss and Light Therapy
Natural red light has shown significant weight changes when used with wavelengths from 630 to 680 nm. Not only can you decrease the fat in targeted areas but also get an overall toned body. If fat reduction is your goal, then I would recommend looking into a full-body panel like the one below versus a single red light bulb for better results. However, relying on light therapy for weight loss solely isn’t recommended.
If you eat a Taco after every mile you run, you are just running around in circles. Similarly, light therapy isn’t going to do anything if your eating habits are not in accordance with a weight loss diet.
Near-Infrared Red Light Therapy Full Body Device by VitaliZEN
Are There Similar Treatment Options?
Red light therapy is not the only source of treatments that exist. Blue, green, and multiple other mixtures of light have been used in experiments to see if there are any benefits.
Below are some similar methods of treating the symptoms that led therapy works best for. However, there are quite a lot of differences and nitty-gritty that you have to study before opting for any of these (except the natural sunlight).
- laser treatments
- natural sunlight
- blue or green light therapy
- sauna light therapy
- ultraviolet light B (UVB)
- psoralen and ultraviolet light A (PUVA)
Is LED Light Therapy Safe?
The short-term safety of the therapy is not much of a complicated subject. All you’ve got to do is protect your eyes during the therapy and make sure you are not on any medication that might not be recommended to use during such therapies.
The best thing to do is to consult your physician before using light therapy devices at home or going to a red light therapy session.
As obvious as it may sound, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure a safe and pleasant experience.
My fave handheld red light device by ReVive
Red Light FAQs
How long does it take for red light therapy to work?
Most people see changes within 3-5 days of the first session. Moreover, you will have to continue the therapy to see improved and better results.
Will the treatment be affected by or affect any medications I use?
Using drugs such as Tetracycline, Digoxin (used for heart irregularities) and photosensitizing drugs might cause a problem during the session. Consult your physician before the therapy.
Is wearing eye protection necessary during light therapy?
It is not compulsory to wear eye protection, but the bright lights can make people uncomfortable, and thus covering the eyes is recommended.
How warm could the Light Therapy bed get?
The temperatures can get as warm as 80 degrees, and the rooms are properly ventilated to make the environment comfortable.
Light Therapy; the New Elixir of Life?
With the little research that has been conducted on red light therapy and its benefits, the signs are good, and it might turn out to be something very commonly used for its benefits in the future. Until then, a little care needs to be taken, and one can enjoy the trial version of Elixir of life in the form of Red Light therapy’s anti-aging effects.