Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy: What Is It, Does It Actually Work & What Are The Benefits?

Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you might be seeing more information relating to red light therapy.

All of these influencers and pretty-looking people laying down in an eerie-looking red tinted spa room, basking under the blood-red hues.

You might push past these posts assuming it’s just another gimmicky health and wellness treatment that isn’t available to most people.

In actuality, red light therapy is real wellness therapy that provides a plethora of health-related benefits. Think it’s not available to you? Think again.

What Exactly Is Red Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or light box therapy, is a form of light-induced therapy.

It has been widely considered and incorporated for over 100 years, but it has recently gained more popularity among holistic health-conscious people the last decade.

Research on the therapeutic benefits of light dates back to the 1870s where Niels Ryberg Finsen used ultraviolet light as a way to help treat lupus and heal wounds from war soldiers. 

Now – after years of research and newfound scientific knowledge – red light therapy uses ABI light bulbs that emit various infrared light wavelengths that penetrate the deep, inner layers of the subcutaneous of the skin.

Also Read: Best herbs for glowing skin

These wavelengths range between 630-770 nanometers (nm) – a deeper red that penetrates the skin and acts on mitochondria within the body – and 810-880 nm – near-infrared light that penetrates deeper tissue.

During red light therapy, the various wavelengths help restore, repair, and protect bodily tissue, muscles, joints, and bones.

Unlike tanning salons, red light therapy also uses very low levels of heat and doesn’t hurt or burn the skin, and also contains no damaging UV rays.

But wait….you’re telling us that light exposure can do this? Does this actually work? The real answer is yes!

How Red Light Therapy Actually Works

Imagine being able to harness the incredible benefits of the sun without the harmful effects of UV rays.

This is exactly what red light therapy does! When these various invisible waves hit the body, they penetrate your body’s internal tissues where it encourages nitric oxide production and mitochondrial respiration in the cells.

Remember in school when you learned that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell? This applies here.

Encouraging mitochondrial respiration helps your cells convert more energy stored in your body’s macronutrients, leading to a multitude of enhanced functions and benefits for the body. 

Benefits Of Red Light Therapy

When red and infrared wavelengths penetrate the inner layers of our skin and tissues, they are absorbed by the photoreceptors in our cells.

Through this, red light therapy can naturally boost the metabolism through increased production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NADH) – or what we call “energy.”

All of this energy generation is then used to help cells repair themselves and become healthier overtime.

With the natural enhancement of these cellular processes, red light on the basic surface level has been shown to decrease skin inflammation, smooth skin tone and reduce acne, eczema, and psoriasis flare-ups, fade scars, recover stretch marks, and reduce wrinkles.

Internally, once those wavelengths hit the cellular level within tissues, over time it repairs sun damage, increases blood flow throughout the body, stimulates hair growth, enhances the detoxification process in your liver and body, reduces body fat and cellulite buildup, and enhances tissue regeneration.

What about pain? Yes, red light therapy can also assist with pain and arthritis throughout the body as well.

Specifically, areas on the neck, shoulder, elbow, knee, and back respond to infrared light, speeding up the healing process of injured cells in those areas in just minutes of exposure to red light therapy.

Research shows that patients suffering from dental pain as well as osteoarthrosis who were exposed to red light therapy showed a significant decrease in acute pain and tenderness, as much as 50%. 

Ahem, and what about illness and infections in the body? Check. To top it all off, red light therapy can also kill pathogens, bacteria, and viruses throughout the body, most namely in “hidden” areas within the eyes, ears, sinuses, and mouth.

This is also true for bladder and vaginal infections if the areas are exposed to red light, killing off harmful overgrown fungi – like candida – throughout the body. 

Is it going to be stressful while sitting in front of all of this red light? Actually, the exact opposite.

Red light therapy actually has a lot of deep relaxation benefits as well, inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system and allowing your body to “let go” faster.

By allowing the body to fully relax, it’s more concentrated on the overall healing and restoration effects mentioned above.

Taking a little cat nap is even encouraged, just make sure to set a timer for no more than 30 minutes so you don’t over treat yourself.

Additionally, after just a couple of sessions, red light therapy can even naturally improve your sleep cycle and boost sleep quality.

Where To Get Red Light Therapy

You can actually get red light therapy in a variety of professional settings or even do it yourself at home! With the newfound research and knowledge on red light therapy for a variety of treatments, many professional rheumatologists and dermatologists will offer red light therapy in their offices.

Oftentimes though, you’ll need to go through a series of medical appointments and referrals to get there, which can be a lot of time.

If you’re still wanting a professional setting, spas and aesthetician offices throughout the world are now incorporating and offering red light therapy and infrared saunas.

Infrared saunas are slightly different in that they heat the body from the inside out and the light is visible, yet they still enhance mitochondrial function and penetrate the body. Sessions can range from $40 up to $150.

Want to source all of these amazing benefits in the comfort of your home? Yes, you actually can and it’s pretty cheap!

You can easily install red lights around your home where you can use them at your own discretion.

Research shows that red light therapy is best used in the early morning or at night before you go to bed – similar to the sunrise and sunset schedule – where your body is used to the most infrared light from the sun.

Make sure to get some lights that are within the 630-880 nm range for the best effects.

There’s a lot of different options ranging from as low as $10 up to thousands, so it’s up to you how you want your setup to be.

You can simply buy a near infrared bulb and attach it to a brooder lamp within your home, or go all-out and get something similar to the Joov, RejuvaliteMD, or Total Xen.

At-Home DIY Red Light Therapy Tips

  • Make sure to sit or lay at least 12” away from the lamp
  • Only use your red light therapy for no more than 60 minutes per session
  • Red light therapy on the head is used for no more than 10 minutes per session
  • Do your research on the bulb you’re getting, ensuring it’s not a “heat lamp” and has a high total energy output (irradiance)
  • Choose a small, handheld red light device if you’re looking to target specific locations on the body, such as recovering muscles or tissues from an injury or wanting to target the face, hair, or hand joint pain
  • Choose a larger red light panel to get more overall results throughout the whole body
  • Make sure your skin is bare/naked where the light is hitting

Also Read: Best herbs for glowing skin

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