(Powerful benefits for both men and women)
We are all familiar with the warm healing light of the sun. Nothing feels better than those warm rays penetrating our skin. The sun contains a whole spectrum of light including the ultra violet light that gives us a suntan and at the other end of the spectrum, the warmth of infrared light that warms us up.
But what if you took just the red or near infrared light and concentrated that? You would end up with a healing beneficial light that is known for treating a variety of health issues including:
• Wound healing and soft tissue repair
• Collagen growth
• Hair growth
• Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
• Pain and inflammation for joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments
• Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord regeneration
• Increased circulation and formation of new capillaries
Red light therapy in various forms has been around for a while, but we are just now starting to see some new and beneficial applications of this healing light. There are many different types of red light therapy. While there’s a fair amount of evidence to show that RLT may be a promising treatment for certain conditions, there’s still a lot to learn about how it works, too.
Red light therapy is still somewhat controversial and is still under considerable scrutiny and study, but what is known is that there are no known adverse effects of this treatment. Try saying that about the majority of pharmaceutical treatments used for various health issues!
Red light therapy, according to the Healthline.com includes a variety of types of red light including:
• Photobiomodulation (PBM)
• Low level light therapy (LLLT)
• Photonic stimulation
• Low-power laser therapy (LPLT)
There are many different options for red light therapy treatments as well. Light is organized into wavelengths, and wavelengths make all the difference in terms of the energy delivered to the treatment site. There are two main factors to consider:
1. Light wavelength—Most devices deliver red light between 600-1000nm. Although there are plenty of studies that show benefits from all these wavelengths, the bulk of evidence shows 660-680nm is the most effective.
2. Energy delivered—Energy delivered to your cells is measured in Joules/cm2. Some credible research has shown 4-6 Joules/cm2, but up to 120 Joules/cm2 is used for deeper issues like arthritis.
How does this therapy work? Visible red light is capable of penetrating the skin to a depth of about 8 to 10 mm. Once absorbed, the light energy is converted to cellular energy, stimulating the body’s natural processes on a cellular level.
Red light actually can produce a chemical reaction in the cells of the body that affect the mitochondria, or powerhouses of the cells. The mitochondria contain the energy-producing adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Red light therapy is thought to increase the ATP production in the cells, which help the cells repair damage, function better, and offer up more energy.
The thing that makes red light therapy (RLT) different from other light therapies like laser therapy is that RLT works deep in the skin, without damaging the surface of the skin. Most laser treatments actually affect the surface layer of the skin.
Many studies have had promising results, but the benefits of red light therapy are still a source of controversy. While red light therapy has been approved by the FDA and its effectiveness is being extensively studied. Let’s take a look at some of the proven benefits of red light treatment.
Red light therapy helps to reduce the painful side effects of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer patients. Utilizing a type of red light called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate (HEALS) has been shown to stimulate cells to aid in healing processes.
One of the common and painful side effects of chemo and radiation is oral mucositis or inflammation of the mouth and gums. NASA tested the HEALS method on patients and concluded that 96 percent of the patients experienced some improvement as a result. This same type of treatment is now being used for treatment of slow-healing wounds, or infections, diabetic skin ulcers, and serious burns.
Red light therapy has been shown to be very effective for wound healing, tissue repair and skin ulcers. Many laser treatments used intense pulsed light for skin rejuvenation, but this type of treatment actually causes controlled damage to the skin, in hopes it will heal better and stronger.
Red light therapy actually penetrates deep inside the skin to stimulate the regenerative process of healing by increased cell growth. RLT stimulates immune cells, causes beneficial inflammation, and stimulates certain healing elements in the skin to help repair and restore its health.
Stimulates Collagen and Hair Growth
One of the more popular treatments for RLT is its effect on reversing wrinkles. A study done in 2014 shows RLT’s effectiveness in promoting new collagen growth and rejuvenating skin. The subjects in the study reported improved skin tone, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, improved smoothness of skin texture. In addition, collagen density improved significantly, using an ultrasound to measure. Patients with rosacea and skin redness also reported improvements as well. RLT is also valuable as a treatment for acne, psoriasis, eczema and cold sores.
Red light therapy can actually stimulate follicle growth and help to reverse baldness or hair thinning. Only two drugs have been approved so far for hair loss, and the only other treatment is hair transplants. RLT has no known adverse side effects, and the red light stimulates the stem cells in the hair follicle, shifting them into a growth phase. This study done on male and female subjects showed a significant difference in the treated vs. untreated groups. The results showed low level laser treatments to be an effective option to treat male pattern baldness and alopecia.
Bone, Joint, Tendon and Ligament Health and Function
Sore achy joints benefit well from the stimulating healing power of red light therapy. Not only is RLT known for stimulating collagen production (cartilage, tendons and ligaments are made from this), but it also helps to REBUILD cartilage. A 2009 Cochrane review concluded that red light therapy (LLLT) “…could be considered for short-term treatment and relief of pain for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, particularly since it has few side effects.”
For those with other degenerative bone and joint issues, like regular osteoarthritis, or other musculoskeletal sprains, strains, and other disorders, this type of therapy can be very beneficial as well. Other studies showed a higher chance of significantly improved functional outcomes, including a better range of motion. Patients with knee osteoarthritis used red light therapy to reduce pain scores and increase microcirculation in the knee.
Literature reviews have concluded that red light therapy does reduce joint pain. even in chronic joint disorders. Red light exposure also increases blood flow to the skin and improves fracture healing time. The increased blood flow and the cellular rejuvenation that is thought to occur during this therapy are two of the important factors in improving the joints and tissues.
Decreasing some of the oxidative damage that occurs during repetitive motion, and hard use, while slowing down inflammation, are two of the primary reasons for treatment. Aging athletes could do well to start utilizing this type of treatment for their recovery, injuries, aches and pains.
Other potential areas of treatment for Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy also shows great promise in treating macular degeneration, a serious eye disease that can cause blindness and reduced area of vision. Applying the RLT to the eyes of seniors significantly improved vision after just two weeks of treatment.
Red light therapy has also been studied and has much promise for treatment of traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries. The red light stimulates blood flow and neuro-regeneration for these types of injuries. This study shows significant improvement and speed of healing in function from treatment of red light therapy.
Applying red light to the skin covering the thyroid gland in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis for ten sessions improved thyroid function.
And RLT has been also shown to be naturally energizing, while improving peoples’ moods by increasing self-confidence, positivity, passion, joyfulness, laughter, social awareness, conversation skills and sensory stimulation. While results vary from patient to patient, there’s reason to believe that LLLT has mental and emotional perks in addition to physical benefits.
While there is still some uncertainty and confusion surrounding red light treatments, much is needed to be studied. This type of treatment is showing great promise and I believe we have only scratched the surface of its healing ability at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels.
Mike’s Note: The brand of red light that I personally started using about 8 months ago is called a Joovv light. It was recommended to me by a few colleagues and really smart functional medicine doctors at the time. I’ve been using it for the collagen stimulation and anti-aging benefits for my skin, as well as muscle recovery from workouts, and also testosterone production by shining it for 5-10 minutes a day on the testes. The evidence that it works well for all of these uses, as well as wound healing and inflammation is pretty strong, so I feel really good about it using it almost daily.
Check out the Joovv lights here and how to get one (lowers inflammation in your body, fights skin aging, builds collagen, and even helps boost Testosterone too!)