Exploring the Healing Powers of Red Light Therapy and Near-Infrared Therapy

Exploring the Healing Powers of Red Light Therapy and Near-Infrared Therapy

Light! Light is pretty magical. Light plays a fundamental role in various physical, biological, and technological processes. Obviously, light is essential for one of our senses, sight! Our eyes perceive light, which is processed by the brain to create images for us. This helps us navigate the world around us.

Different wavelengths of light and intensities of light are perceived as different colors. Light also helps our plant friends create energy through photosynthesis, regulates our circadian rhythm, is used in various communication technologies, can be used as a source of heat, and can be harnessed to produce electricity using solar panels.

Light also can be used for healing and therapy! You may have heard of red-light therapy and NIR therapy before, but here is a bit of a dive on all the cool things it can do for us!

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, utilizes low-level wavelengths between 600 to 1200 nanometers from sources like LED panels and handheld devices to prompt cellular activities. This therapeutic light dives beneath the skin to the mitochondria to boost the function of cytochrome c oxidase, thus elevating the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the energy currency of cells. Additionally, it helps regulate reactive oxygen species (ROS), playing a role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

The most efficacious wavelengths for red light therapy fall within the mid-600 nanometer range. These specific wavelengths are proven through extensive clinical research to be both safe and effective for human health, aiding in improving skin conditions, alleviating pain, and enhancing physical performance.

Red light therapy is a treatment that uses low wavelength red light to improve a variety of medical conditions. Red light therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), photobiomodulation (PBM), or simply red-light treatment, involves exposing superficial tissues to red or near-infrared light.

The main mechanism that red light therapy operates on is mitochondria, which as we know, creates cellular energy. Red light stimulates mitochondria, which can lead to increased cellular energy production, reduce inflammation, and enhance healing and regeneration of cells. The absorption of red light enhances our mitochondria’s ability to create energy, which is great, but it also enhances cell signaling, increases growth factor synthesis, and attenuates oxidative stress. This is particularly important to our mitochondria as generating energy (ATP) does produce a lot of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Some Of The Common Uses For Red Light Therapy 

  • Improving skin health by reducing wrinkles, and healing acne and blemishes.
  • Pain management by reducing inflammation and pain in conditions like arthritis, muscle pain, and even neuropathic pain.
  • Wound healing by accelerating the healing process of acute chronic wounds
  • Hair growth by stimulating hair follicles to enhance their growth
  • Weightloss support. Red light targets the mitochondria of our cells and. triggers increased ATP production, enhancing energy transport in our bodies. Elevated metabolic rates from red light therapy make cells more efficient in burning glucose, resulting in effective fat loss.

This may sound too good to be true, but research actually backs these claims. In the article “A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase,” the treated subjects experienced significantly improved skin complexion and skin feeling. The trial also found that it helped with skin roughness and improving collagen density when compared to the control group.

Furthermore, the study, Photobiomodulation: The Clinical Applications of Low-Level Light Therapy,” also found that while red light therapy also helped improved various skin conditions like wrinkles, roughness, and acne, it also significantly helped individuals with alopecia. Who knew light could do so much!

What is Near-infrared (NIR) therapy?

Distinguishing between red and near-infrared light (NIR), the former is absorbed by skin and surface tissues, leading to potential improvements in skin health and healing. On the other hand, NIR light, though invisible to the eye, can penetrate deeper to aid in recovery and support inflammation reduction.

Infrared therapy is similar to red light therapy. However, NIR penetrates deeper than red light therapy, affecting tissues beyond the superficial level. This form of treatment utilizes near-infrared light, typically within wavelengths between 700 and 1400 nanometers.

The Primary Benefits of NIR therapy include:

  • Deep Tissue Repair: because NIR penetrates deeper than red light therapy, it can reach muscles, bones, and nerves, while providing similar benefits as RLT, like enhancing cellular energy production, cell signaling, increasing cell growth factors, and attenuating oxidative stress.
  • Pain relief: at a deeper level whether it be acute or chronic because of the reasons above, you know, enhanced cell signaling, increased cell-growth factors, and ROS attenuation.
  • Enhanced recovery: for the same reasons above
  • Improved circulation: NIR stimulated the release of an endothelium dependent vasodilator and treats vascular dysfunction
  • Treatment of various neurological diseases

If you are interested in getting into red light therapy and or near-infra red therapy, and don’t want to break the bank, but also want some quality tools, that’s where Hooga comes in. Hooga health has a huge variety of tools for this type of therapy, ranging from small clip-on lamps, to full blown red light therapy panels. They also have infrared head mats, amber sleep light bulbs, and grounding mats if you want to get really weird with it. Yes, we are biased here as we have a affiliate with them, but we don’t accept partnership with people we don’t love and trust. If you are curious about Hooga, check out them out HERE!

In conclusion, light is not just a fundamental component of our visual and ecological systems; it is a versatile tool that spans across multiple scientific and medical fields. Its applications, from enhancing vision to facilitating plant growth via photosynthesis and regulating our internal biological clocks, underscore its critical importance in daily life.

Moreover, the therapeutic uses of light, particularly through red light therapy and near-infrared therapy, highlight its potential in medical science. These therapies harness specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular processes, enhance tissue repair, manage pain, and even promote hair growth, demonstrating the profound impact of light on health and wellness. Through ongoing research and technological advancements, light continues to reveal its seemingly boundless capabilities, making it an invaluable asset in both nature and technology.

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