It seems complicated to comprehend or accept that having a red light shone on the areas where you feel pain may be the answer to years of struggling with chronic pain. Will it really help with chronic pain? Is it the answer to long years of finding cures to pain that we cannot find answers to?
The use of red light therapy as a treatment for chronic pain may seem unusual or difficult to understand at first glance. However, there is a growing body of research indicating that it can be an effective tool in managing chronic pain.
In this article, we will explore the basics of red light therapy, including how it works, its benefits, potential risks as well as treatment options we can try at home.
About Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy (RLT) may promote healing in the skin, muscles, and other parts of the body. Infrared or red light is exposed at low levels. As a type of energy, infrared light cannot be seen by the human eye, but it can be felt by the body as heat. Red light and infrared are similar, but red light is visible.
Photobiomodulation (PBM) and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) are also terms used to describe red light therapy. It employs low-level lasers and LEDs to stimulate cellular activity. Red or near-infrared wavelengths are used in the therapy, which penetrates the skin and affects the mitochondria, or the cells’ “powerhouses”. As a result of this stimulation, more ATP is produced, which is necessary for cellular metabolism and energy production.
With red light therapy, damaged tissues are repaired and inflammation is reduced by stimulating mitochondria in the cells. This, in turn, can lead to a reduction in pain and overall health.
How It Works
Red light therapy delivers light energy to the body’s tissues, where it is absorbed by cells. Light energy is then used by mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy for cellular processes. As a result of increased energy production, cells can function more efficiently and tissues are more likely to repair themselves.
Aside from improving blood flow, red light therapy reduces inflammation by stimulating the release of nitric oxide. An increase in blood flow can enhance oxygen and nutrient delivery to the affected area, which can promote healing and ease pain.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits. The benefits are as follows:
1. Pain relief
The most well-known benefit of red light therapy is pain relief. Numerous pain conditions, such as chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and arthritis, have been shown to benefit from it. This is the result of red light therapy’s ability to decrease inflammation, increase circulation, and promote ATP production. As a result, pain is reduced and healing is promoted.
According to a research study, red light therapy is effective in reducing pain and improving joint mobility in osteoarthritis patients. Red light therapy reduced pain and improved function in patients with chronic lower back pain, according to another study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology.
2. Improved skin health
Red light therapy increases collagen production and reduces fine lines and wrinkles by improving skin health. In addition to treating acne, it is also effective at treating other skin problems. Red light therapy has been found to enhance skin texture and reduce wrinkles and fine lines according to a research study about the efficacy of red light therapy on skin health.
3. Reduced inflammation
There are many health conditions associated with inflammation, including autoimmune disorders, chronic pain, and cardiovascular disease. A red light therapy treatment can reduce inflammation in the body by promoting circulation and the production of nitric oxide, which reduces inflammation.
4. Improved mood
Increasing serotonin levels in the brain has been shown to improve mood through red light therapy. In addition to regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and other bodily functions, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can be caused by low serotonin levels.
By stimulating the mitochondria in cells, red light therapy promotes the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that provides energy to cells. It has been demonstrated that an increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production stimulates the brain’s production of serotonin.
It has been found that red light therapy increases serotonin levels in the brain, which improves mood. Those suffering from depression or anxiety may find this particularly helpful.
5. Enhanced athletic performance
Red light therapy has been shown to enhance athletic performance in a number of ways, including increasing muscle recovery, reducing muscle fatigue, and improving endurance. This can benefit athletes who want to improve their performance and decrease injury risk.
6. Improved sleep
Red light therapy has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration by increasing melatonin production in the body. By increasing melatonin production, regulating circadian rhythm, reducing stress and anxiety, relieving pain, and improving mood, red light therapy can help improve the quality and quantity of sleep. This can be particularly beneficial for people who suffer from sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
7. Improved wound healing
Red light therapy has been shown to improve wound healing by promoting the production of collagen and increasing circulation to the affected area.
By increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, promoting collagen production, increasing cell growth and repair, and enhancing immune function, red light therapy can help to speed up the healing process and reduce the risk of complications. This can be particularly beneficial for people who suffer from chronic wounds, such as diabetes.
Potential Risks of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is generally considered safe and there are few known risks associated with the treatment. However, there are some potential risks that should be considered, especially if you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications. Here are some of the potential risks associated with red light therapy:
- Eye damage: Red light therapy can cause damage to the eyes if the light is directed into the eyes or if you use an improperly shielded device. To avoid eye damage, it is important to wear appropriate eye protection during the treatment and to avoid looking directly at the light.
- Skin irritation: Red light therapy can cause skin irritation if the light is too intense or if you have sensitive skin. If you experience skin irritation, such as redness, itching, or rash, discontinue the use of the device and consult a healthcare professional.
- Increased risk of cancer: There is some concern that red light therapy may increase the risk of skin cancer if used excessively. While there is currently no evidence to support this claim, it is important to use red light therapy in moderation and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- Interference with certain medications: Red light therapy can interfere with certain medications, such as photosensitizing drugs used to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions. If you are taking any medications, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using red light therapy.
- Pregnancy: There is limited information on the safety of red light therapy during pregnancy, so it is recommended that pregnant women avoid the treatment.
Treatment Options At Home
Red light therapy can be administered in a variety of settings, including at home. One of the home-based option red light therapy devices includes the TheraBelt – Red Light Therapy Belt.
It is a revolutionary home-use treatment that uses 850nm near-infrared and 660nm red light to provide pain relief. The red light therapy belt is designed to be worn around the waist and can be adjusted to fit most body types. The device is portable and can be used at home or on the go for convenient pain relief.
The 850nm near-infrared light penetrates deep into the tissues of the body, helping to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. This can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or back pain. The 660nm red light has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen and improve skin health, which can be beneficial for those who suffer from skin conditions, such as acne or psoriasis.