Let us dive into the amazing world of red light therapy and all the incredible benefits it brings. Discover how this revolutionary treatment can help you improve your skin health, reduce inflammation, boost collagen production, and even enhance muscle recovery. If you’re ready to take your self-care routine to the next level, join us as we explore the many advantages of incorporating red light therapy into your life. Get ready to glow from the inside out.
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Red light therapy (RLT), including near-infrared light therapy, is a non-invasive treatment that has gained popularity in recent years. This therapy utilises specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to promote various health benefits. From improving skin conditions to aiding in the healing process, RLT offers a multitude of advantages. We shall now explore the benefits and uses of red light therapy and how it can positively impact overall well-being.
Please do not confuse near-infrared light with far-infrared light. Far-infrared produces heat, and is used in things like far-infrared saunas or for heating chicken coops. Do not use far-infrared devices for healing, other than their intended purposes. Avoid any red lights that have a wide band of wavelengths, including normal red light bulbs. Proper RLT uses LED lights at specific wavelengths and frequencies. Also normal LED lights do not emit any near-infrared light, only visible light.
Red Light and Near-Infrared on the Solar Spectrum
We can see that on the solar spectrum, our eyes can only see about 39% of light. 54% is infrared light, but we are only interested in the near-infrared light (NIR), which can penetrate into the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue, depending on the wavelength, which ranges from 760 nanometres to 1400 nanometres.
This chart shows more clearly the depth of penetration of red light and near-infrared light into the skin. Generally, RLT devices use red light at 650 nm and NIR at 850 nm, which means they can penetrate between 2.5 millimetres and more than 5 millimetres. The light can also penetrate through bone.
What Proportion of Our Human Cells Are Affected by NIR?
As near-infrared light is part of RLT, consider how much our cells are affected just by near-infrared light. This chart gives an idea. We see that as we age from birth to around 10 years, there is very little that NIR does for us. Thus RLT would not be recommended for young children.
Boosting Cellular Energy
One of the primary uses of red light therapy is to enhance cellular energy production. The red light and near-infrared light penetrate the skin and are absorbed by the mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells. This absorption stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule responsible for supplying energy to our cells. By increasing ATP production, RLT promotes cellular rejuvenation and enhances overall vitality.
Skin Health and Rejuvenation
Red light therapy has been shown to improve various skin conditions. By stimulating collagen production, it helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and scars, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Additionally, RLT can alleviate inflammation and redness associated with conditions like acne and rosacea. Regular sessions of RLT can promote a healthier complexion and contribute to overall skin rejuvenation.
Wound Healing and Tissue Repair
Another significant benefit of red light therapy is its ability to accelerate wound healing and tissue repair. The increased ATP production triggered by RLT promotes faster cell regeneration, allowing wounds to heal more efficiently. Additionally, the therapy helps to reduce inflammation and pain, aiding in the recovery process. Whether it is a minor injury or a post-surgical wound, red light therapy can play a vital role in promoting healing.
Pain Relief and Reduction of Inflammation
Red light therapy has shown promising results in managing pain and reducing inflammation. The therapy penetrates deep into the tissues, targeting the root cause of pain and inflammation. By increasing blood circulation and reducing oxidative stress, RLT helps alleviate discomfort associated with conditions such as arthritis, muscle strains, and joint pain. Regular sessions of red light therapy can provide long-term relief and improve overall mobility.
Mood Enhancement and Mental Well-being
Aside from its physical benefits, red light therapy also has positive effects on mental well-being. Exposure to red and near-infrared light stimulates the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones. This can help improve mood, reduce symptoms of depression, and alleviate the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Incorporating red light therapy into your routine can contribute to overall mental wellness and promote a positive outlook on life.
RLT has the potential to help with sinus healing and relieving congestion caused by mucus and colds. By exposing the affected area to red and near-infrared light, the production of nitric oxide in the sinuses can be stimulated. This can help to reduce inflammation and promote better blood flow, which in turn may aid in clearing out excess mucus and relieving cold symptoms.
RLT may well help in dealing with stuffy sinuses and persistent colds, being a non-invasive and drug-free option that could provide some much-needed relief.
Choosing a Red Light Therapy Device
Should you purchase your own RLT device, or go to a health clinic or similar and use theirs? Although RLT devices are expensive, it can be more expensive to go to a clinic and end up paying many times more, as it takes time to see any benefits. You will save money in the long run buying your own RLT device.
When it comes to picking the device, one of the key factors to consider is the wavelengths it emits. Different wavelengths have different effects on our bodies. You should look for a device that emits red light in the range of 630–660 nm, which is great for promoting collagen production and reducing inflammation. For near-infrared light, it should operate in the range of 810–850 nm, which penetrates deeper into our tissues and can help with muscle recovery and joint pain.
A device that combines both red light and near-infrared light is ideal, providing multiple types of healing in one.
It might also be helpful, but more expensive, to find a device that offers a variety of wavelengths so you can target specific concerns or enjoy multiple benefits. Some devices even allow you to customise the wavelength settings according to your needs. The device should have full instructions on usage, and recommended durations.
You can get devices that are larger for covering more of your body, or smaller devices for close up on your face. Remember, everyone’s needs are different, so take some time to research and read reviews from others who have used these devices. This will give you a better idea of what works best for different individuals.
You should also choose good quality eye goggles to protect your eyes when using RLT, some devices come with goggles, or else buy ones specifically made for RLT.
Optimal Usage Times for Red Light Therapy
To start with, you might want to use RLT for 5 minutes, then 10–20 minutes later on, doing this daily, or least several times per week.
It is important to note that longer sessions do not necessarily equate to better results, as overexposure to red light therapy can lead to adverse effects such as skin irritation and fatigue.
It is also important to note that results may not be immediate, and it may take several weeks of consistent use to see improvements.
The best times of day for red light therapy treatment may also vary depending on the specific condition being treated. However, studies have shown that using red light therapy in the evening, at least 60 minutes before bed, can yield benefits such as improved sleep quality.
Alternatively, using red light therapy early in the morning can also be beneficial. Some people prefer morning treatments to kick-start their day with an energy boost.
Natural sunlight tends to have more red at sunrise and sunset, so using RLT just after sunrise or in the evening can have the most benefits, as that is what our bodies would naturally be used to.
Consistency is key when it comes to red light therapy. So whether you choose mornings or evenings, try to stick to a routine that works for you and fits your daily life.
How Long Will It Take to See Any Results?
Red light therapy might take some time before you start seeing any benefits. RLT works by creating more energy within your cells so it up-regulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within your mitochondria.
You need to understand that if your cells are not used to getting much red and near-infrared light, which is most people who are living an indoor lifestyle, then when you first start out it may be a bit of a shock to your cells.
When your mitochondria are producing more energy as a byproduct, they are also producing more free radicals, which should be balanced out within your cells by antioxidants. If your cells have not been producing a lot of energy and then you start using RLT, you might find your cells need time to up-regulate the amount of antioxidants they are producing, in order to balance out this increased free radical production.
This is completely normal but happens as a byproduct of this increased energy production in your cells.
You might not see any benefits for the first two weeks, after which sleep quality may improve, due to improvements in the amount of melatonin produced by the body.
Red light therapy (including near-infrared light therapy) offers a plethora of benefits and uses that can positively impact our physical and mental well-being. Whether it’s improving skin health, promoting wound healing, managing pain, or enhancing mood, RLT has proven to be a versatile and effective treatment option.
With its non-invasive nature and minimal side effects, red light therapy has gained popularity as a safe and natural alternative. So, whether you are seeking to improve your skin’s appearance, recover from an injury, or simply boost your overall vitality, consider incorporating red light therapy into your wellness routine for a brighter and healthier future.
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Please do your own research before purchasing any red light therapy equipment.
Note that if you have very sensitive skin, you may want to avoid red light therapy.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you should consult a medical professional before using RLT.
You may find these links helpful to give you an idea of what to buy:
Red light panel (Nebula Appliances): https://amzn.to/483ULXr