Wellness Through Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is a natural, non-evasive technique that has the ability to promote the body’s own immune responses. Classified as the science of photobiomodulation, it is a safe and effective procedure that uses red light-emitting diodes (LED’s) which diffuse wavelengths through a person’s skin. Commonly referred to as low level laser therapy (LLLT), biostimulation (BIOS) or photonic stimulation, red light therapy has shown significant potential in improving our overall health and well-being in a number of ways.
Research and clinical studies over the past decade indicate strong evidence that the mechanisms of red light therapy have enormous healing capabilities that can positively affect both the immune and endocrine systems in three ways: reducing inflammation, edema and chronic joint disorders; promoting healing of wounds, deeper tissues and nerves: and as a treatment for neurological disorders and pain.
How does red light therapy work?
For over 30 years light therapy has proven to have powerful therapeutic benefits to living tissue in our body. It is a known fact that our bodies need light; without it, we would experience physiological and emotional changes, as well as become dangerously deficient in vitamin D. Our bodies, in general, have specific reactions to light, but with red light therapy in the 600–900 nm range, light energy has the ability to pass through human tissues much easier than other wavelengths. Once red light wavelengths are penetrated and absorbed into the skin, it transforms into cellular energy where it not only stimulates our body’s natural processes- it ‘jump starts’ a variety of metabolic events4 such as:
- Increases energy levels by the release of ATP
- Formation of new capillaries.
- Activates the lymphatic system
- Stimulates or decreases inflammation
- Increases blood flow/circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to our cells and tissues
- Increased production of collagen and fibroblasts.
- Stimulates DNA or RNA synthesis
- Increased phagocytosis, or cellular clean up.
- Repairs and restores damaged soft connective tissue
- Lowering effects of oxidative stress/free radical damage, associated with many effects of aging
When the energy from light is absorbed by our bodies, specifically in the 600 nm to 900 nm range, research indicates it can generate biological responses.5 One of these responses is the stimulation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the mode of chemical energy transportation at the cellular level. The cells receive this rejuvenating and stimulating ‘energy boost’ that enables them to perform their natural functions at a heightened level. Affecting all layers of the skin, red light therapy can reach blood vessels, lymph pathways, nerves, and hair follicles- dependent on which part of the body the red light is projected.6
Another way of understanding the biological responses that occur during light therapy is to consider the color red. According Leanne Venier renowned engineer, scientist and expert on light frequencies and the healing affects of color therapy, red light is naturally attention-getting, energizing, stimulating and “representative of survival, joy and passion” in humans because of how it effects of our central nervous system. In addition to garnering our attention, the color red also has the ability to induce a ‘fight or flight’ reaction that speeds up (improves) blood circulation, causes our heart to beat faster, increases sweat gland production and elevates our stress levels. Although one might think that being effected by the color red in this manner might not be such a good thing; it can, in fact, aid in the healing process because these specific wavelengths of red light create a biochemical affect in our cells that serves to increase mitochondrial function.7 Much like the sun’s UV rays that have an effect on our skin (sunburn, freckles, and tanning) red light therapy can activate our body’s natural defense system. It also has the profound ability to reactivate complex nutrient systems in our bodies- which can aid in rejuvenation or healing processes.