In our never-ending quest for better health and wellness, we’re often introduced to innovative treatments that challenge our traditional understandings of healing. One such technique, growing immensely in popularity, is red light therapy. You may have heard whispers about this intriguing therapy, or perhaps this is your first time hearing about it. Regardless, you’re likely asking, “What is red light therapy, and what does red light therapy do exactly?”
Well, red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM), is a non-invasive procedure that uses low-level red light wavelengths to stimulate cellular performance, which can lead to numerous health benefits. This therapy has been heralded for its potential to alleviate pain and inflammation, rejuvenate the skin, aid in muscle recovery after strenuous exercise, support joint health and arthritis treatment, and even expedite bone healing.
So, in this article we’re going to shed some light (pun intended) on PBM and what the benefits of red light therapy actually are. We’ll look at the different conditions, ailments and injuries it can help with as well as the science which backs it all up. Whether you’re just starting your wellness journey or you’re looking for an alternate way to improve your health, join us as we explore the ins and outs of red light therapy. We promise that you will find it enlightening!
What Is Red Light Therapy?
As its name suggests, red light therapy is a form of treatment that employs red and near-infrared light to stimulate your body’s natural healing processes. It’s non-invasive, painless, and comes with virtually no side effects, but its benefits can be profound and wide-ranging.
But how does it work?
At its core, red light therapy works by delivering specific wavelengths of light to your skin, where your cells absorb it, but let’s get a little more technical for a minute. This light, specifically in the red and near-infrared spectrum, stimulates the mitochondria in your cells – the powerhouses responsible for creating energy. This process is known as photobiomodulation, and it enhances cellular function which can trigger a multitude of beneficial responses in the body.
On a cellular level, the light increases production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of all cells. This boost in ATP provides cells with more energy to function more efficiently, repair damage, and regenerate, which is what leads to the numerous health benefits associated with red light therapy.
A Brief History Of Red Light Therapy
It’s commonly thought that red light therapy, used as a way of helping the body repair cells and treat illnesses as a relatively new medical advancement. However, it’s a lot older than you might first think.
The history of red light therapy traces back to the early 20th century when Danish physicist Niels Ryberg Finsen won a Nobel Prize for his use of light therapy in treating smallpox and lupus. Finsen discovered that by using red light as a treatment of smallpox, he was able to heal skin lesions and prevent scars from developing in smallpox patients. He then continued his research, discovering that by using concentrations of Ultra-violet (UV) light on the tuberculosis bacteria which causes Lupus, he could help treat patients suffering from the disease with greater success than the other conventional methods available at the time.
The technology and understanding of its effects have evolved significantly since Finsen’s research, and whilst vaccinations and antibiotics are now much more suitable treatments for both smallpox and lupus – the use of red light therapy to treat a number of conditions and to help people recover from strain and injury has never been more popular.
So, What Are The Key Benefits Of Red Light Therapy Today?
Because red light therapy taps into the body’s own regenerative abilities, leveraging the power of light to stimulate cellular processes, it is actually one of the most versatile treatments around. It can be used for so many different things that its benefits can be seemingly endless. From pain relief to skincare, muscle recovery to joint health, and even bone healing, red light therapy is a multifaceted approach to overall health and well-being. However, for the sake of keeping this article as concise as possible, we’re going to dive into the 5 most crucial benefits that red light therapy has to offer.
- Pain Relief & Help With Inflammation
One of the most celebrated benefits of red light therapy is its capacity for pain relief and inflammation reduction. When cells absorb the light emitted during therapy, it prompts a reduction in the production of inflammatory cytokines, the proteins that signal inflammation in the body. Because red light therapy can mitigate against this inflammatory response it makes it a great drug-free and non-invasive treatment for conditions which are characterised by chronic inflammation. The most notable inflammatory conditions which red light therapy can be used for include fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Skin Care Benefits
With so many different skin care creams, face washes and face masks available – it’s becoming more common to have a skin care routine these days than to not. But, how many people will have considered incorporating red light therapy into their plan for clear skin? Well, more people certainly should be, because red light therapy actually helps stimulate collagen and elastin production – two proteins essential for skin elasticity and firmness. Also, just as Niels Ryberg Finsen found over 100 years ago, red light therapy has the ability to help treat conditions that cause the skin to blister and scar such as eczema and psoriasis. By reducing inflammation and enhancing cellular repair processes, red light therapy can help to soothe these skin conditions, leading to healthier, more vibrant skin.
- Muscle Recovery
It doesn’t matter if you’re a part-time jogger or an olympic athlete, red light therapy has more than enough game-changing ability to keep you fit, healthy, and at your peak level of performance. Because PBM can help enhance blood flow, reduce the inflammation caused by strenuous physical exercise and speed up cellular repair, it is able to significantly reduce muscle recovery time post-workout. The increase in ATP production also means that cells have more energy to repair muscle tissue, reducing muscle fatigue and soreness, which can help improve your overall athletic performance and get you back in the gym, on the court or wherever else, much faster than normal!
- Joint Pain & Arthritis
Arthritis & joint pain are often viewed as something that is inevitable with ageing. But that doesn’t have to be the case, or at least, there is no need to suffer on through the pain that comes with time. Through its cellular stimulation, red light therapy can help alleviate joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects of PBM can reduce swelling in the joints which most commonly causes limitations to your range of movement, and all around improve your mobility and flexibility.
- Bone Healing
On the cutting edge of red light therapy research, scientists are exploring its potential impact on bone healing. Traditionally, bone regeneration is a slow process, but the unique cellular stimulation provided by red light therapy could accelerate this healing timeline.
Red light therapy increases cellular metabolism, which plays a significant role in bone formation and repair. It enhances the function of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation, while also reducing the activity of osteoclasts, cells that break down bone tissue. This dual action has been shown in some research to lead to faster and more efficient bone regeneration.
Couple this with PBM’s anti-inflammatory properties and it is also possible that red light therapy can be beneficial post-fracture or post-surgery, as inflammation can often slow down the healing process. By reducing inflammation, red light therapy may improve the recovery experience, reducing pain and swelling associated with bone injuries like fractures.
One Of Our Own Red Light Therapy Case Studies – Chris
Chris, like many individuals, was struggling with arthritis-related pain, a condition that not only limited her mobility but also affected her energy levels and quality of sleep. Seeking a non-pharmaceutical solution to her chronic pain, she decided to try red light therapy.
She began her journey with NovoTHOR®, a full-body photobiomodulation machine, undergoing six sessions over a three-week period. The changes she experienced were nothing short of profound.
To her delight, Chris noted a significant reduction in her arthritis pain after her sessions with NovoTHOR®. But the benefits extended far beyond pain relief. She reported feeling more energised and less tired throughout the day. Perhaps most importantly, her improved mobility opened doors to activities she couldn’t enjoy before, significantly enhancing her quality of life.
Moreover, the decrease in her chronic pain also positively influenced her sleep quality. No longer disrupted by the aching pain, Chris found herself experiencing more restful and refreshing sleep, further contributing to her renewed energy levels.
Initially sceptical about the therapy, both Chris and her partner were astounded by the results. Chris’ story underscores the potential of red light therapy, not only as a treatment for specific conditions like arthritis but also as a tool for overall health improvement.
Chris’ experience with red light therapy is just one example of how this innovative therapy can transform lives. It’s a testament to the potential of red light therapy, encouraging us all to consider how it might help us on our own wellness journeys.
Other Notable Real-Life Uses Of Red Light Therapy
The benefits of red light therapy extend beyond personal stories and have captured the attention of high-profile individuals and organisations. Among the most notable users of this therapy are elite athletes and teams who rely on peak physical performance.
Perhaps the most illustrious of these is the US Olympic Team. Athletes at this level push their bodies to the absolute limit, and recovery is a crucial part of their training regimen. For these athletes, red light therapy, specifically the NovoTHOR® full-body photobiomodulation machine, has become an integral part of their recovery protocol. You can actually read some of the USA’s Olympic Athletes first hand accounts of using red light therapy on the NovoTHOR® website here.
However, using PBM for its many other benefits doesn’t just have to be sports related. In fact, its skin care benefits have led to its inclusion in the skincare routines of some high-profile celebrities. Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow, have both publicly shared their use of red light therapy for skin health and anti-aging benefits, helping to bring more attention to how PBM can be used for more than just sports & performance.
Red Light Therapy Devices and How to Get Started
As we’ve seen, red light therapy offers an impressive range of health benefits. But how can you access this innovative treatment? The answer lies in advanced red light therapy devices, such as the NovoTHOR® full-body Photobiomodulation machine and the LX2 THOR® handheld Photobiomodulation device.
NovoTHOR® is a whole-body delivery system for photobiomodulation therapy. It allows for the treatment of large areas or the entire body at once, making it an excellent choice for comprehensive health benefits, such as those experienced by Chris. From athletes to individuals dealing with chronic pain or looking for skincare benefits, NovoTHOR offers an efficient and effective way to access red light therapy.
LX2 THOR® Handheld Device
For targeted treatment, the LX2 THOR handheld device used by our Chiropractors is an excellent option. This portable device allows us to deliver red light therapy to specific areas of your body, making it ideal for addressing localised issues such as a particular sore muscle or a specific skin condition.
These devices represent the forefront of red light therapy technology, making this beneficial treatment more accessible than ever at Active Care.
Experience The Benefits Of Red Light Therapy With Active Care Chiropractic
At Active Care, we’re proud to be among the select locations in the UK offering NovoTHOR® and LX2 Thor® technology. We’re committed to providing everyone who walks through our clinic doors with cutting-edge wellness solutions, and red light therapy is no exception!
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to alleviate chronic pain, enhance your athletic recovery, rejuvenate your skin, or simply boost your overall health, treatment from one of our red light therapy machines could be the answer you’re looking for.