How Capable Is Red Light Therapy? What Conditions It Can Treat?
Do you dream of getting flawless smooth skin? Do you want to get rid of any signs of aging? If you answered yes, then Red Light Therapy (RLT) is for you. RLT is making rounds on the internet with its amazing skin-rejuvenating properties. Moreover, it is also used in treating several other diseases and skin issues.
Initially, Red Light Therapy benefits only included faster plant growth. In the 1990s, scientists used to implement RLT to grow plants even in adverse conditions in a shorter time frame. However, with the advancement of technology, the RLT got other use cases as well. If you are thinking of taking RLT or just want to know more about it, then you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will discuss the evolution of RLT as we see it today. We will also talk about its capability, different use cases, and a lot more.
Evolution of Red Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy is also known as photobiomodulation or PBM. This name was given by Praveen Arany who is an associate professor at the University of Buffalo. He is also an interim director of the Center of Excellence for Photobiomodulation at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. You can also call RLT low-level laser treatment (LLLT), cold laser treatment, or photostimulation.
The existence of light therapy can be dated back around 50 years. A Hungarian physician known as Endre Mester was conducting some optic scientific experiments in the 1960s. His experiment aimed to find out how cancer cells react when they are exposed to radiation. The study included rats that were shaved for the experiment. He then noticed that red lasers when emitted on rats, resulted in increased hair growth and faster wound recovery. The shaved hair of the rat was growing back faster. He started using light therapy later to treat skin ulcer patients with slow healing.
He published his findings in the Journal of Biophotonics in December 2017. Initially, light therapy didn’t get the appreciation it deserved. However, as the new conflicting research where done, the scientific community start showing interest in light therapies.
“At present, red light therapy is not widely recognized as mainstream science within the United States. However, an increasing number of academic and clinical institutions have embraced this technology and are making it accessible to patients,” Dr. Arany states.
Currently, there are establishments, including the one at Shepherd University, that are specifically focused on providing education to healthcare professionals and scientists regarding the validity of photobiomodulation (PBM) as a clinical treatment. Additionally, professional organizations such as the North American Association for Photobiomodulation Therapy (NAALT) and the PBM Foundation are actively promoting its acceptance. One notable application of red light therapy is in the field of skin care, and the availability of affordable at-home devices has contributed to its growing popularity.
Different use-cases of Red Light Therapy
The benefits of Red Light Therapy can be found in several fields. For instance, it helps in increasing ATP molecules in the mitochondria of the cell. It helps in making more energy ultimately boosting the functioning of the cell. Moreover, it helps in stimulating RNA/DNA synthesis inside our cells which protects them from aging. Researchers have also found that RLT helps in activating the lymphatic system which makes a crucial part of an immune system. Moreover, it helps in blood circulation so the cells get more oxygen and nutrients.
Red Light Therapy also increases the new capillaries production. Therefore, the production of collagen and fibroblasts is naturally boosted. These compounds make the skin firm and smooth. It is also beneficial in repairing damaged soft connective tissue and reducing inflammation.
Helps in boosting immunity and decreases chemotherapy side effects
NASA conducted research demonstrating the effectiveness of red light technology in alleviating symptoms in cancer patients, particularly the painful side effects arising from radiation or chemotherapy. Utilizing infra-red/near-infrared light-emitting diode devices, known as HEALS in certain studies, has been proven to emit long wavelength energy in the form of photons, which stimulate cellular activity and facilitate the healing process.
One specific investigation by NASA focused on the potential benefits of this treatment for patients suffering from oral mucositis, a prevalent and distressing side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. The findings indicated that 96 percent of patients experienced pain relief as a result of the HEALS treatment.
Furthermore, the researchers emphasized the device’s excellent tolerability, without any adverse effects observed among bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients. They also highlighted the cost-effectiveness of the HEALS device, as it proves to be less expensive than a single day of hospitalization.
In addition to its application in oral mucositis, HEALS technology is being utilized for the treatment of various conditions such as pediatric brain tumors, slow-healing wounds or infections, diabetic skin ulcers, and severe burns.
Repairing tissues and faster healing
The light within the range of 600 to 1,300 nanometers has demonstrated its efficacy in promoting wound healing, tissue repair, and skin rejuvenation. However, its mechanism of action differs from that of many other laser resurfacing treatments, thereby providing unique benefits.
While typical laser therapies in dermatology employ intense pulsed light to induce secondary tissue repair and promote skin rejuvenation by deliberately causing damage to the epidermis or dermis, RLT (Red Light Therapy) operates differently. RLT directly stimulates regenerative processes within the skin, bypassing the need for an initial destructive step. This stimulation occurs through enhanced cellular proliferation, migration, and adhesion.
Moreover, RLT exhibits potential in treating various skin conditions by promoting the regeneration of fibroblasts and keratinocytes, as well as modulating immune cells found within the skin tissue, such as mast cells, neutrophils, and macrophages.
Red Light Therapy is called a major tool for coping with signs of aging. As per a study conducted in 2014 and published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, Red Light Therapy for the face helps in skin rejuvenation. It increases collagen production which boosts skin elasticity and texture. The intradermal collagen molecules work as aging control agents. It is a non-invasive and non-thermal way of skin tissue repairing without involving any trauma.
It penetrates deeply into the cells. This makes it a reliable skin treatment. It can also be used for enhancing the texture of the skin by promoting the growth of healthy skin cells. Moreover, the use of light therapy is very common for treating acne issues. As per another study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, red light therapy has decreases the occurrence of mild and moderate acne by 36%. It is also used as an aid for medications and therapies in acne treatment, light therapy is a proven practice. Now, scientists are targeting red light especially to check its effectiveness in acne treatment.
Better sleep quality
Natural light is very crucial for the human body. It helps in keeping your biological clocks in check and makes your internal systems more effective. Moreover, our circadian rhythms suffer if we lack exposure to natural light. Similarly, it also impacts our cellular energy systems. This can manifest as a lack of sleep, depression, mood swings, etc.
However, today’s busy lifestyle makes it difficult to get proper exposure to natural light. Sometimes homes and offices don’t have access to natural light even on days. In such cases, RLT can help you in getting your cellular energy levels balanced. Exposure to Red Light Therapy gives your circadian clock a complete reset. This releases melatonin hormone which aids in healthy sleeping habits.
Better musculoskeletal health
Red Light Therapy is currently utilized as a remedy for arthritis symptoms, owing to its ability to stimulate collagen production and regenerate cartilage. According to a Cochrane review conducted in 2009 on red light therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, it was determined that LLLT could be considered a short-term treatment option to alleviate pain and morning stiffness in RA patients, particularly due to its minimal side effects.
Additionally, LLLT can also prove advantageous for individuals without arthritis who exhibit indications of tissue damage or degeneration caused by aging. A study published in The Lancet in 2009 demonstrated that LLLT provides immediate pain relief in cases of acute neck pain and sustained pain reduction for up to 22 weeks following the completion of treatment for individuals experiencing chronic neck pain.
Should you use Red Light Therapy at-home devices?
When conducting an online search, numerous red light therapy products can be found. While these products are generally considered safe, it is important to note that they may utilize a lower wavelength frequency, resulting in less power compared to devices used by dermatologists or other trained skin professionals. Consequently, the desired outcomes may not be achieved.
Should you decide to purchase a red light therapy device, it is crucial to protect your eyes by using appropriate shielding. Additionally, carefully follow all instructions and ensure proper maintenance of the device.
Furthermore, aside from medical settings and home use with a personally acquired device, you may encounter the promotion of red light therapy in beauty spas and salons, saunas, tanning salons, gyms, and wellness centers. However, it is advisable to exercise caution regarding the source of the product and the location where the treatment is being provided. Consulting with a medical professional is always recommended to determine the most suitable options for addressing your specific skin condition or concern.
Common FAQs about Red Light Therapy
In this section, we are going to discuss different aspects of Red Light Therapy. It will help you in understanding RLT better. Moreover, a lot of your doubts will go away so you can decide whether RLT is for you or not.
Several people have doubts about whether Red Light Therapy for the face is covered by insurance or not. In most cases, RLT for any treatment is not covered under health insurance. It is because the technology is quite new and there is a lack of guidelines for it. However, you can still enquire to your agent before seeking treatment as rapid changes are happening in this domain.
The frequency will depend upon the severity of your skin condition. However, 1-2 sessions are common frequency to see any visible results. Sometimes the results can be slow after all red light therapy only boosts your cells to work for the cause. So it depends upon individual body type and physical health as well.
RLT is surely an effective treatment for skin and several other health issues. However, there is a lack of research and several trials are undergoing. The skin of each individual is very different. So the effectiveness also depends upon your skin and the intensity of your treatment. For instance, getting Red Light Therapy from a doctor will be much better compared to Red Light Therapy at home. It is because most of the red light therapy devices for at-home uses come with less power for safety concerns. But doctors use high capacity devices which is done under complete professional guidance.
Yes, there are proven researches that red light therapy also works on skin psoriasis. Therefore, you can get an effective treatment of the disease with Red Light Therapy. However, it should be done by a trained and certified doctor only.
Red Light Therapy is an effective solution for treating your skin issues and other major health issues like Alzheimer’s. It works by rejuvenating the cell which in turn boosts the complete bodily functions resulting in creating better body health. The cell growth-boosting property of RLT is in use since the 1990s. However, it is just recently that we have started using RLT for human cells as well.
Currently, the amount of research on RLT is still not vast. This creates several hindrances in making RLT a viable solution for all of its use cases. However, there are several types of research stating that RLT is an effective treatment for skin acne, pigmentation, aging, and scarring. This article revolves around the benefits of RLT. If you want to understand RLT treatment by its crux, then this blog can surely help you.