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You’ve probably heard that exposure to blue light at night can reduce sleep quality, cause hormone imbalances and contribute to weight gain and depression or anxiety, but what’s not as well known is that other wavelengths also have biological effects. And it’s not just through our eyes but also through our skin that light exposure has a biological effect. Most wavelengths of light (blue, green, ultraviolet) do not penetrate the skin at all but are just absorbed by the outer layers. Red light and near infrared light are not only able to penetrate through the skin but they’re also able to induce significant physiological changes inside the tissue resulting in numerous well-documented healing and rejuvenating effects on the body.
The Benefits of Red Light Therapy: Nourishing the Body & the Mind
As research into red light therapy has progressed, it has become increasingly apparent that the treatment offers astonishing health benefits. Clinical studies are beginning to explore the diverse potential of red and near-infrared wavelengths for healing diverse physiological and mental conditions. Think of red light as food for your body; providing nutrient-dense nourishment that contributes to enhanced well-being.
During a red light therapy treatment, red and near-infrared light wavelengths are emitted and absorbed by chromophores within the cells. The various cells and tissue types within the body possess their own unique light absorption characteristics, responding best to different wavelengths. Red light wavelengths and near-infrared wavelengths therefore work best delivered in tandem, delivering a greater range of benefits to the body’s cells and tissues.
The benefits of red light wavelengths: Red light wavelengths measure between 630-700 nm. These are an ideal length to penetrate skin cells and sebaceous glands, offering benefits for skin texture and tone, smoothing fine wrinkles, promoting collagen production and generally rejuvenating the appearance of skin.
The benefits of near-infrared light wavelengths: Near-infrared light (NIR) wavelengths are longer than red light wavelengths, and measure between 700 nm and 1,100 nm. They penetrate deeper into the tissue to deliver energy to the body’s cells and can pass through bone to assist with healing deep wounds, muscle aches, nerve injury or joint pain.
One recent study even demonstrated that when near-infrared light is delivered at the appropriate fluence or dose, the wavelengths can penetrate to a depth of 3cm to alleviate symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, offering neuroregenerative benefits. Further clinical research found that NIR can help reduce headaches, anxiety, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairment.
First do no harm: The benefits of red light therapy as a safe and painless treatment
Red light therapy is distinctive to other light-based therapies because it promotes beneficial healing without inflicting damage on the body. IPL (intense pulsed light) or laser improve the appearance of the skin by causing controlled injury to the outer layer to stimulate collagen regeneration.
Red light and NIR wavelengths penetrate below the skin’s surface, stimulating deep healing and cellular regeneration without harming the outer epidermis. Regular red light therapy sessions with PlatinumLED’s top-quality devices revitalize the cells from the inside out. There is zero pain, heat, or sensation during the treatment itself. Also, red light therapy carries no known serious side effects.
Restored cellular health: the basis for all healing
The most significant benefit of red light therapy is the effect it has on the body’s cells. When our cells are provided with support to operate at or close to their optimum efficiency, the benefits for health and well being are countless. One of the most critical outcomes of red light therapy on cellular function is the stimulation of collagen production.
Collagen is the most common protein found in the body, constituting 70% of the proteins found in the skin (our largest organ) and 30% of the proteins found in the body. Collagen strengthens hair, is responsible for the health of connective tissue, and provides our skin with firmness and elasticity. As we age, collagen production decelerates, resulting in thinner, looser skin. The result is a more wrinkled appearance.
Since red light therapy restores cellular function, collagen production is also increased. As a consequence, individuals who regularly use red light therapy report that not only do they feel better and heal faster, but their appearance is more youthful and refreshed.
The benefits of red light therapy for diverse conditions
Just some of the scientifically proven results of red light therapy investigated thus far include:
Near-infrared light reduces overall inflammation in the body by decreasing the presence of inflammatory markers. This reduction can help ease the symptoms associated with joint pain, sore muscles, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
2. Reduced pain
In one clinical study, neuropathic pain caused by a spinal cord injury was dramatically reduced by the application of red light treatment. Scientists conducting the study referred to it as “as an exciting prospect with significant clinical relevance.” Near-infrared light wavelengths reduce overall pain by easing joint stiffness and soreness, diminishing inflammation, easing muscles spasms and enhancing blood flow.
For high-performance athletes (and those who train like them) red light therapy can help accelerate muscle repair following fatigue and injury. Mitochondria within cells are particularly responsive to red light therapy, and muscles cells are exceptionally rich in mitochondria. Red light therapy may additionally stimulate stem cells, further assisting in muscle recovery.
Around the age of 30, male testosterone levels naturally start to decrease. Men hoping to achieve a natural boost to their sex drives, sexual satisfaction, fertility, and physical performance can reap benefits from red light therapy. Red and near-infrared wavelengths can stimulate photoreceptor proteins in the testes causing higher testosterone production. Other studies have theorized that low-level light therapy may affect the pineal gland in the brain, which bears a significant impact on reproduction.
Red light therapy can dramatically transform the skin. Red light wavelengths in particular target the mitochondrial chromophores within skin cells, generating production of collagen proteins. Collagen stimulation yields more holistic and enduring benefits than simply resurfacing the outer layers of the skin.
Stem cells may also be activated, increasing tissue repair. The result is accelerated healing and wound repair, improved appearance in hypertrophic scars, a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and improved skin texture. Participants in one study experienced a clinically assessed improvement in skin complexion and collagen density.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is a common disorder affecting 50% of males over the age of 40 and 75% of females over 65. There are few approved, effective treatments available. However, studies performed on men and women have shown that red light therapy can stimulate hair growth.
Red light wavelengths are believed to stimulate epidermal stem cells in the hair follicle, shifting the follicle into the anagen phase (this is the active growth stage). Research performed on mice with chemotherapy-induced alopecia showed similar responsiveness–the treatment encouraged hair growth.
In many studies, red light therapy has been clinically proven to increase the diameter of blood vessels and to improve circulation. What’s more, red light therapy also protects red blood cells against oxidative stress and limits platelet loss during surgical procedures.
At Dr. Rodney Russell’s practice, we offer a wide range of holistic and specialized services to address your health and wellness needs. Our dedicated team is committed to your well-being, and we provide the following services: Functional Medicine, Live Blood Cell Analysis, Chiropractic, Dry Needling, Infertility & Miscarriage, Holistic Nutrition, Body Work/Massage, Patient Coaching, Sub-specialities.
Discover a holistic and integrated approach to health at our Natural Healing Center. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to guide you on your journey to optimal health and vitality.