With its ability to reduce pain and boost cellular energy production, red light therapy is a staple for athletes in the locker room and in beauty spas. It’s also available in at-home devices for a more affordable price.
LLLT’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to ease musculoskeletal pain, including back pain and fibromyalgia. It may also help relieve facial pain from temporomandibular disorder (TMD) or jaw problems.
1. Red Light Therapy can Reduces Inflammation
Red light therapy has been around for decades and is a staple in many tanning salons and spas. It’s also available as a portable device you can use at home. The claims about RLT are numerous, including improving skin appearance by reducing wrinkles, scarring, and acne, increasing muscle recovery after exercise, and even treating medical conditions like chronic pain. Despite all of the hype, however, additional clinical research is still needed to support many of these claims.
Inflammation can be caused by a number of factors, including stress and poor diet. Traditional treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids. However, NSAIDs can have long-term negative side effects, and some people are unable to take them due to certain health conditions or drug interactions. Red light therapy, or photobiomodulation, is a safe, non-invasive alternative that can reduce inflammation and help the body heal.
The light in red light therapy passes through the skin to stimulate cellular energy production, boosting blood flow and decreasing swelling and inflammation. It can also help to regenerate cells and restore the function of damaged tissue. This is why it’s so effective for treating conditions like psoriasis, acne, and fibromyalgia.
Another benefit of red light therapy is its ability to regulate collagen production. Which can be beneficial for both aging and pain relief. Increased collagen production can lead to a faster healing time but can also cause the formation of keloid scars. By regulating collagen, RLT can help to prevent keloid scars from forming. While also speeding up the healing process of existing ones.
It may seem strange that shining a red light on your body can relieve pain, but it’s been proven to work. Studies show that low-level laser therapy can improve the function of nerve cells. Which can help to control pain and inflammation. It’s also been shown to help reduce pain from shingles and neuropathy in diabetics.
2. Reduces Pain
Red light therapy uses photobiomodulation to activate mitochondria (the powerhouses within our cells) and boost ATP production. This gives your body energy to boost the immune system, repair damaged cells, and promote healing. The result is an anti-aging treatment that’s gentle enough to use on your face and hands. But can also treat pain and inflammation caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other health conditions.
One study found that using a red light device in the evening before sleep helps regulate your natural circadian rhythm and encourages the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Which is key to getting good quality restful sleep. This is great for people with insomnia or anxiety disorders. Denture repair or reset is a process of restoring the function and appearance of dentures that have become damaged or loose. This can involve repairing broken teeth, relining the denture base, or adding new teeth.
It’s also been used to reduce the painful side effects of cancer chemotherapy, like oral mucositis. Studies have found that a combination of red and infrared light can help heal the tissue. Increase blood circulation, and decrease swelling.
While the results are promising, more research is needed to determine if red light therapy can treat other medical conditions, especially those that affect the brain. Researchers are currently looking into whether it can aid with cognitive functions, such as learning and memory. They’re also interested in whether it can help with psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Red light therapy is available at dermatology offices, wellness centers, some tanning salons and gyms, and through at-home devices. You can purchase online or in stores. Before investing in any device or starting treatments, talk to your dermatologist and a pain specialist about your health needs and goals. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of this treatment and suggest other options for your pain and skin concerns.
3. Improves Sleep
The ability to get a good night’s sleep is essential to health. But for some, getting a full night’s rest can be difficult. Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, may help improve sleep quality.
In a study published in 2019, researchers found that saturated red light delivered through closed eyelids (at levels that don’t suppress melatonin) improved “sleep inertia.” That is, the groggy feeling you can have after waking up. The researchers believe that this type of red light therapy benefits. Because it does not interfere with our natural circadian rhythm. And doesn’t have the glare of blue-light sources that can affect vision.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to mood problems like depression. Red light therapy has been shown to boost mood and energy by promoting the production of the key cellular energy molecule ATP. In fact, a 2012 study of female athletes found that 30 minutes of daily exposure to red light therapy improved both sleep quality and melatonin levels.
While more research is needed, it’s clear that red light therapy can help improve various conditions and symptoms. But before trying a new treatment, always speak with your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe.
Typically, it’s best to use a red light device at home about an hour before bedtime. This can help the body prepare to sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. And be sure to place the red light therapy device close to your face to maximize benefits. You can find red light therapy devices at many places that focus on wellness. Including spas and salons, saunas, tanning salons, and gyms.
4. Reduces Acne
Plenty of aspects of medicine feel like they’re straight out of the future. MRIs, genetic testing, and surgical robots are just a few of them. But red light therapy—also known as photobiomodulation—is a proven, non-invasive treatment that leverages therapies that have already existed. It’s available at many spas, tanning salons, and gyms, as well as at home in a variety of “pod”-like devices.
As the name suggests, red light therapy uses LED rays that fall into the red and near-infrared wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. The cellular energy from this light is believed to trigger a regenerative response in the skin, boosting collagen and other proteins that can improve skin tone and texture. It can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and brighten dark spots caused by scarring or sun damage.
The exact mechanism of how the rays work isn’t fully understood, but researchers believe they can stimulate mitochondria in cells, which increase the production of proteins and factors that help cells repair themselves. That’s why the treatments are often called photobiomodulation.
It’s also possible that the light can prevent blemishes from becoming dark and inflammatory, a process called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Typically, that occurs when the inflammation from a pimple is so great that the surrounding tissue becomes darkly pigmented. Studies have shown that red light therapy can reduce the formation of these dark spots by stimulating circulation and delivering a mix of natural substances that control swelling.
If you’re using red light to treat acne, it’s important that you cleanse your face before your sessions and avoid products with added oil. It’s also a good idea to wear sunglasses during the treatment to avoid damaging the eyes. And, like any other skincare regimen, consistency is key: You should see results after about a month of use, depending on your goals and which tool you’re using.
5. Red Light Therapy Improves Skin Appearance
Whether it’s in the form of a panel of LED lights in a dermatologist or aesthetician’s office or an at-home wand or face mask, red light therapy (RLT) has become a trendy treatment for a variety of conditions. The good news is it may be able to treat multiple ailments at once.
It’s been found to be effective in reducing redness and improving skin texture and tone. This is because it boosts circulation and encourages the production of new cells, which can result in smoother skin and a more even complexion. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which can occur when collagen levels decrease with age or as a result of sun damage.
RLT can stimulate your body’s mitochondria to produce more ATP, which is energy for the cells in the skin and elsewhere. Increasing ATP production can help fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which contribute to many health conditions.
While research on the benefits of photobiomodulation is promising, there’s still much work to be done. More standardization of wavelengths, doses, and devices for specific health conditions is needed to fully understand the potential of this approach.
If you’re interested in red light therapy, speak with a dermatologist or pain specialist to ensure it’s safe for you. They can also give you guidance on the best type of device for your needs. If you’re purchasing an at-home device, read the instructions carefully before use to ensure it’s safe and effective. Also, avoid looking directly at the light for extended periods of time to prevent eye injury. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin or are wearing contact lenses.