Red Light Therapy (RLT) also referred to as Photobiomodulation (PBM) is the process of using certain wavelengths of light to repair, restore, and treat skin issues. The therapy is focused primarily on injured, degenerating, or tissues that are on the brink of dying. Different wavelengths of light affect the body in distinct ways, however, the most adequate range used for Red Light Therapy is 810 to 880, and 630 to 670.
There are numerous names of this therapy. With the two already mentioned, it is also called as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), Low-Power Laser Therapy (LPLT), and LightBox therapy. The affected or the to-be-improved area is exposed to red light helping the cells to charge themselves. The therapy uses near-infrared or red light which is invisible to human eyes but the body can feel the heat upon its contact with the skin. Red light is similar to infrared with the only exception of being visible to humans.
How does the Red Light Therapy Works?
As a beneficiary of the therapy, you just have to stand next to a lamp, laser, or a device emitting red or near-infrared light. However, the technicalities of this therapy do provide some solid proof to back its claims. Red light wavelengths affect the body on a biochemical level. How? There’s a part of cells called mitochondria, usually known as the powerhouse of the cell which soaks up the energy that’s provided by the red light. This increases the mitochondrial function, and help produce more cellular energy.
This spike in cellular energy enhances certain body functions. According to some experts, this process also allows the cells to repair themselves and become healthier than before. This aids in the healing of muscle and skin tissues. Red light has a wavelength that makes it possible to penetrate up to 8-10 millimeters into the skin. So, depending on where the therapy is used, for example, head, face, etc., all the surrounding blood vessels, skin layers, nerves, hair follicles, and lymph are affected.
Since the therapy doesn’t make use of damaging UV rays, it poses less risk of skin burns. Also, red light therapy uses a low level of heat that doesn’t hurt the skin in any way. It has been tested and studied across many clinical trials and has received positive results in issues related to collagen production, skin health, joint pain, inflammation, muscle recovery, and a lot more. What more? You can even buy red light therapy to get the therapy at the ease of your home.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
This process of treating skin issues and various other health conditions is known for many years now, however, although the treatment is deemed effective, there aren’t many studies to back this claim. Considering the ones present, RLT may be used for:
Since RLT can enter a few millimeters into the skin, it helps excite cellular activity which may increase the blood flow. An increased blood supply means more oxygen and nutrients are supplied to the area, enhancing and nourishing the skin cells further.
The therapy can also be used to fade away scars, acme, bruises, insect bites, cut marks, dry skin and psoriasis, sunburns, and even stretch marks. The therapy is also used by many people to prevent wrinkles.
Pain and Injury Treatment
An increase in cellular activity also speeds up the healing process where any wound or injury is quickly recovered. This therapy can also help reduce inflammation. For people who are experiencing back pain, arthritis, and other forms of joint pains, this therapy can improve the motion of joints and help ease the pain.
Red Light Therapy and Weight Loss
Sure the idea of losing weight by shining bright red lights may sound impossible and childish, but it is a scientific fact. The reason why it promotes weight loss is that it causes the fat cells to dump their content, making it easy for our body to remove the fat.
Red light causes the fat stored in that area to break down, which is then converted to carbon dioxide and is removed from our body through breathing out, urinating, and defecating. However, it is not a magic wand that will help you lose weight without any physical activity. For your body to lose weight, you will have to change your lifestyle and incorporate exercise into your lives. Red light therapy alone cannot do wonders if it isn’t clubbed with physical activities. You need a healthy routine to lose weight. Period.
Treatment for Rosacea
Since RLT is completely drug and chemical-free, it has no side effects on the skin. Also, its ability to penetrate the skin makes it a good choice for the treatment of rosacea related acne without having to use harmful chemicals and drugs which may make the skin extra sensitive. The therapy reduces inflammation, swelling, and redness, boosting the healing process from within the skin.
RLT can also help promote hair growth by stimulating the hair follicles. Light of wavelength between 630-670 is well-absorbed by the hair follicles, triggering a natural biological reaction that promotes hair growth. However, it also crucial to be noted that if the hair follicles have died, they cannot absorb this light energy, and hence hair growth cannot be achieved.
That said the early, the better works in this treatment as well. Successful results are only visible if the treatment process started earlier. The kind of hair loss the patient’s experiencing also plays a major role. For example, hereditary hair loss has fewer chances of succeeding. This treatment is recommended for hair loss caused due to medication side effects, surgery, stress, or menopause. It takes 2-3 months for visible results to surface.
A small study indicated that using red or near-infrared light therapy on patients with dementia helped in having better sleep, memories, and less aggressive behavior. They received the therapy on their heads and through their nose for twelve weeks.
Red Light Therapy is a good way to improve cellular activity and enhance the skin’s health. It can also aid in getting rid of several other problems such as hair loss, dental pain, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, wrinkles, and even joint pains in adults. However, depending solely on this therapy is not recommended. While the ease of access and results are both plausible, it is still advisable to get proper medical care along with this therapy.
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