What is Red Light Therapy? 

Red light therapy (also called biophotomodulation) is a type of light treatment that uses high-power LEDs to expose you to specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light. Most research shows the benefits of red and near Infrared light wavelengths in the 630nm-680nm and 800-880nm ranges.

Near-Infrared light is a type of energy your eyes can't see, but your body can feel as heat. The red light is similar, but you can see it.

A red light therapy device puts out a slight warmth but is not hot and will not burn you.

Initially, scientists in the early 1990’s used red light therapy (RLT) to help plants grow in space - you may recall seeing this in movies about space travel. They found that the intense light helped promote the growth and photosynthesis of plant cells and then discovered that red and near-infrared light helped limit bone and muscle loss in astronauts living for extended periods in zero gravity. RLT has traditionally been used in skin laser clinics, due to the positive benefits on skin conditions and aging, however, further research has shown to enhance cellular function and promote greater efficiency in the energy-making process within our cells. This has led to RLT being used in wider treatment settings.

Why is Red Light Therapy good for us? 

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The human body needs natural light to be healthy.

Sunlight is an essential nutrient and provides macronutrients that the body metabolises much like we metabolize food. In our modern-day lifestyle, we don’t get enough of the sunlight (the good wavelengths of light) that we need, and we get too much artificial light. This means our bodies lack some of the macronutrients needed to stay healthy and sunlight deficiency has been linked to numerous diseases. It's much more than just about a lack of Vitamin D that we get from sunlight.

Sunlight exposure also comes with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) A and UVB rays, which may cause other skin issues over time, however RLT exposes the skin to beneficial levels of light that are not harmful to the surface of the skin or underlying tissues.

How does Red Light Therapy work? 

When red and near-infrared light hits your skin, it can penetrate several cm below the skin surface and the energy is absorbed by your cells. These specific wavelengths of light act on numerous molecular, cellular, and tissue mechanisms that then help modulate inflammation, relieve pain, support cell regeneration, and more.

There are two key mechanisms in which RLT does this:

  1. Stimulating increased ATP (energy) production in the mitochondria. By supporting the mitochondria to produce more energy there is a flow-on effect on the rest of the body. The more efficiently we can create ATP, the better we feel and function.

 

  1. Creating temporary low dose metabolic stress on the system builds up anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and cell defense mechanisms of the cells. This works in the same way exercise provides stress on the system to improve strength and fitness and is known as hormesis.

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A large number of studies have been done on the skin rejuvenation effects of RLT, which is shown to work through increasing collagen production in the skin, increasing fibroblast production, and improving circulation.

 

Wound and injury healing can be supported by reducing inflammation in the cells, stimulating new blood vessels to form (angiogenesis), increasing collagen production, and increasing fibroblasts.

Inside Matters is excited to be partnering with Waitakere Osteopathic Centre to make Red Light Therapy available for you at afforable prices in Henderson, West Auckland. 

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What can I use Red Light Therapy for?

RLT can have a significant effect on inflammation in the body and hence is used for many conditions where inflammation is a root cause. Research has shown these effects can be both local (targeting a specific area) and systemic, benefiting overall body processes.

You may want to look at using RLT for:

  • General Skincare and aging

  • Muscle Healing - athletes can improve their sports performance by using red light for pre-conditioning before exercise, and after exercise to support recovery.

  • Injury Rehabilitation – RLT can be effective at stimulating, healing, and regenerating damaged muscle tissue.

  • Hair Loss – research has shown statistically significant improvement in hair growth in people with hair loss.

  • Arthritis Joint Pain, Fibromyalgia, and other Musculoskeletal Disorders - red light has been shown to relieve pain and increase mobility for many arthritis patients. 

  • Chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne

  • Skin wounds and scars - effectively treat skin wounds, which minimizes scarring.

  • Low Back Pain - both acute (short-term, often injury-related) and chronic (longer-term).

  • Boosting immunity

  • Improving thyroid health

  • Supporting mood

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Is Red Light Therapy safe?

RLT is natural and therefore there are virtually no side effects and it is very safe. If you have a chronic condition such as ME/CFS, starting slowly is best to enable your body to cope with the changes.

If you have a disease that involves the retina of the eye, such as diabetes, are taking photosensitizing medications, have skin cancer, are undergoing chemo, have seizures, or are sensitive to light always consult your trusted medical professional before using RLT.

If you have a chronic illness we can provide you with a shorter treatment time bundles. Please reach out to discuss this with us.  

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For more information:

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 315: The Scoop on Red Light and Infrared Therapy.

These ladies are exceptional in the science-based information they provide and this episode on Red Light Therapy is very informative.  Listen for yourself to get the science behind RLT

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The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy: by Ari Whitten

This is a very comprehensive book, written in a way that is easy to understand. The content is summarised on his website The Energy Blueprint and the book is available from Amazon and the Book Depository. 

This health information is provided for general information and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals before taking any actions based upon this information.

 

Red light therapy has extensive research on its therapeutic benefits. It should not be considered to cure or prevent disease but should be viewed as a general wellness/fitness product.