The benefits of red light therapy are gaining attention in the health and wellness world—and for a good reason! This revolutionary treatment has been linked to numerous physical and mental health benefits, many of which you probably don’t even know about. From boosting energy levels to improving skin health, red light therapy has a lot to offer.
In this post, we’ll briefly cover what red light therapy is and how it works. Then, we’ll talk about seven incredible health benefits of red light therapy.
Let’s get started:
What is Red Light Therapy?
In the 90s, researchers discovered that intense light from red LEDs (light-emitting diodes) helped photosynthesis and stimulate plant cell growth. This was especially useful for scientists wanting to grow plants in space.
In theory, red light produces a biochemical effect in cells that can strengthen mitochondria. By increasing mitochondria’s functionality, cells can produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy-carrying molecule that exists in the cells of all living things. The more energy cells have, the faster they can repair and rejuvenate themselves.
This discovery caused researchers to wonder if there are red light therapy benefits for humans as well—specifically, an increase of energy inside human cells. If so, this treatment could be effective for bone density issues, slow wound healing, and muscle atrophy.
These days, multiple studies point to the potential benefits of red light therapy when treating various skin issues, like scars, wounds, and wrinkles. Researchers are also looking into health benefits that are more than skin deep.
Red light therapy is also known by other names, including:
- Cold laser therapy
- Soft laser therapy
- Low-power laser therapy
- Non-thermal LED light
- Low-level light therapy
- Photonic stimulation
Here are the potential benefits of red light therapy:
1. Line and Wrinkle Reduction
Studies show that red light may smooth lines and wrinkles and stimulate collagen production. It works better for moderate lines than deeper ones. Treatments usually vary from person to person, depending on their needs and how well their skin reacts to the therapy. According to Theralight, most people see good results with 3-5 15-minute sessions a week for several months.
2. Acne Reduction
Red light therapy also makes for a promising acne treatment. In a randomized controlled clinical study, 36% of people with mild to moderate acne experienced fewer lesions after regularly trying red light therapy.
3. Redness Reduction
You wouldn’t think that something called “red light therapy” can reduce redness in your skin, but it can. Inflammation causes redness, and red light therapy can speed up your body’s production of antioxidants and help lower inflammatory markets. The less inflamed your skin is, the less red it becomes.
While more research is needed, red light therapy can help reduce inflammation related to:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
4. Wound Healing
Wounds are breaks in your skin, such as scrapes, scratches, cuts, and punctures. Even though you’re seeing the healing process on the surface, the actual healing happens beneath your skin via the growth of new tissue and the activation of your immune system.
To put it simply, red light therapy can accelerate and improve the healing process by speeding up cell growth. The faster your cells can grow new tissue, the faster you can heal.
5. Red Light Therapy May Improve Sports Injury Recovery
When your ATP increases, it stimulates muscle growth and repair. With this in mind, it’s possible that getting red light therapy treatments before exercise or a big game could reduce post-workout soreness and pain, improve muscle performance, and speed up the healing process. As of this writing, it’s still a potential benefit, not a well-established conclusion.
6. Red Light Therapy May Help With Bipolar Disorder
People experiencing bipolar disorder have episodes of both depressed and elevated mood states. Often, bipolar disorder disrupts our circadian rhythms (our natural 24-hour clocks). However, if you can manipulate your circadian rhythm, it may help treat bipolar disorder.
One way to do so is with light therapy, because people experiencing bipolar disorder often have increased light sensitivity. One meta-analytic study found that red light therapy can improve symptoms of depression and prevent relapses in people with bipolar disorder after experiencing sleep deprivation.
7. Red Light Therapy May Help Brain Health
An article published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research stated that photobiomodulation (AKA red light therapy) treatments may potentially improve neurocognition. Research is still new, but the thought is that red light therapy, when applied to your head via a helmet, can improve oxygen and blood flow to help form new synapses and neurons in the brain. This may be helpful for people who have had strokes or suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Additional studies also find that red light treatments following a concussion may yield benefits. According to Concussion Alliance, “concussions cause several networks of the brain to become dysregulated.” One 2018 study found that light therapy improves cognition and brain connectivity, which can ultimately play a role in fixing brain dysregulation.
Conclusion: Red Light Therapy Benefits
Red light therapy research might have started to help plants in space, but in just 30 years, we’re already enjoying the many benefits it has to offer. With more research and the right applications, red light therapy may become a recommendation for numerous physical and mental health conditions.
Do you want to learn more about how red light therapy can help you? Send us a message, or schedule an appointment! We’d love to hear from you.