Red Light Therapy Benefits

red light therapy benefitsRed light therapy benefits, compared to other possible treatments, has many advantages. Below are some red light therapy benefits.

  1. Pain-free. Red light therapy causes no pain. In fact, it is known to temporarily relieve pain as well as speed up healing time (which ultimately results in less pain, depending on what the LLLT is used for).
  2. Drug and chemical free. The fact that red light therapy involves no drugs or chemicals whatsoever (with the notable exception of the use of Teflon-coated near infrared bulbs, which we do not recommend) is a huge plus. The typical risks and side effects that come with drug and chemical exposure are not an issue in red light therapy.
  3. Allows for adjunct treatment. Often, people don’t find adequate relief or results from any one particular therapy, be it medication or a procedure or a lifestyle change. One particularly helpful feature of red light therapy is that it does not conflict or interact with most other treatments. While you should always check with your doctor for guidance on how to best use red light therapy (or any LLLT), the odds are in your favor that your doctor will approve.
  4. Non-invasive. Red light therapy requires nothing invasive. The light is applied to the outside of the body. Sometimes, surgeries or other invasive procedures are unavoidable. But at least those using red light therapy or other LLLT don’t have to deal with invasive procedures to use it.
  5. Non-ablative. While some laser treatments are ablative, meaning they involve damaging tissue, red light therapy and other types of LLLT are non-ablative. This means that on average, LLLT has fewer risks and side effects. It is more gentle and safe and it requires zero downtime.
  6. It’s natural.  Red light therapy causes reactions on a cellular level that make your own body heal itself.
  7. Requires no downtime. Red light therapy treatments are painless and require no downtime. You won’t have to stay at home in bed after a treatment and honestly, the treatments will probably change almost nothing about your routine (you may need to change the time you apply certain skin care products, or if you’ve done a near-infrared light therapy/sauna treatment you’d do best to shower immediately afterward, but that’s about it).
  8. Easily accessible. Red light therapy is available in many salons and spas. Even better, there are plenty of red light therapy bulbs and devices available for at-home use. If you do your red light therapy treatments at home, you can do them at the frequency you choose and in a manner that is convenient and comfortable for you.
  9. Red light therapy is easy. Whether you do your red light therapy (or LLLT) treatments at home or in a salon or spa, one of the biggest red light therapy benefits are that they’re simple to do. You don’t have to spend a ton of time figuring out how the bulb or device works. To do a treatment with an LED red light therapy bulb or device, you just turn it on and touch it to your skin. To do treatments with a near-infrared (non-LED) bulb, you put on your eye protection and hang out a couple feet from the bulbs.
  10. FDA approved/FDA cleared. Many red light therapy and LLLT options are approved or cleared by the FDA. The FDA recognizes the benefits of red light therapy.  In their Memo to the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, the FDA states that “Exposure to red light has been scientifically shown and is understood by consumers to affect skin structure, for example by reducing wrinkles for months after treatment, which may be the result of new collagen formation or reorganization, or repair of elastin damage.”
  11. Gets results fast. Red light therapy benefits the healing of wounds, scars, surgical sites, torn ligaments, bruises, sprains, etc. With red light therapy or other type of LLLT, you can heal much faster, allowing you to get back to your normal life. Often, athletes use red light therapy to heal injuries so they can continue training. It has even been used by athletes with no pain or injury issues- they use it to make their muscles recover faster after strenuous exercise.
  12. Is relatively inexpensive. Of course it depends on which red light therapy bulb or device you choose, but overall, there are affordable LLLT options out there. When you consider that many cosmetic laser treatments are hundreds or thousands of dollars, at-home LLLT devices are a bargain. Because red light therapy is useful in so many different conditions, buying a bulb or device could turn out to be the cheapest, most effective solution you’ve ever found.
  13. Red light therapy has many possible uses. Click here to read more about what red light therapy and other types of LLLT are used for.


Red Light Therapy for Healing

body healingOne of the most exciting things about LLLT– both red and infrared light therapy– is the evidence that it greatly speeds up the body’s own healing process.

Scientists are not certain how LLLT does this, but they believe it speeds up healing through more than one mechanism of action.

Firstly, red light therapy has been shown to increase the growth of cells. In a 2004 paper, researchers noted that it increased the growth of human epithelial cells 155-171%. It increased the growth of animal cells by up to 200%.

In another study, red light therapy increased the growth of fibroblasts, cells that make collagen and other substances important in healing. This could partly explain why red light therapy is effective for speeding up healing.

Another reason is that red light therapy has been shown to increase cytochrome c oxidase and upregulate genes responsible for energy production and antioxidants.

Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Michael Hamblin says there are a few different ways red light therapy is thought to work. Increased ATP, or cellular energy, production; inducement of transcription factors; and effects on reactive oxygen species, he says, result in effects such as increased oxygenation of tissues, cell growth and migration and the regulation of cytokine levels, growth factors and mediators of inflammation. All of these are important to the body’s healing processes.

Numerous studies have shown positive results for red light therapy and wound healing. For instance, a study in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery in 2009 found that red light therapy treatments with a combination of red and infrared light healed large, chronic ulcers 40% faster per month than controls. These ulcers had been resistant to other forms of treatment.

Another study, published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, examined the treatment of leg ulcers in diabetic patients using a combination of red and infrared light therapy. After a month of twice-weekly treatments, ulcers had healed 79%.Participants who had received a fake placebo version of the treatment had ulcers that worsened over the same month. After three months, all ulcers in the red light therapy group had healed at least 90% (most had completely healed). In contrast, only one patient in the placebo group had an ulcer that healed completely in that time.

The evidence points to the conclusion that LLLT is useful in healing wounds and injuries.