People have used sunlight as a treatment for innumerable disorders over the centuries. Because of its effects on multiple systems in the body, it is used to improve everything from skin conditions to immune and mood concerns!
Red Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy (RLT) exposes the skin to light produced by LEDs. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, produce light at specific wavelengths which are target different cellular functions. This allows RLT to be targeted to skin, nerves, muscles, the immune system, etc.
Why Does the Color of Light Matter So Much?
The color of light is determined by its wavelength measured in nanometers. For example, blue light’s wavelength ranges from 450 to 490 nanometers, while red light has longer wavelengths of 620 to 750 nanometers. Red light penetrates much more deeply into skin tissues than any other light color, allowing the light’s energy to reach more areas. RLT also uses near-infrared light (NIL). Although it’s invisible to the naked eye, NIL has similar health benefits as red light.
Why Use LEDs for Red LED Table Therapy?
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can be manufactured so they produce only one frequency of light or a narrow range of light frequencies. Because of the the light from each LED can be precisely set for the right color and energy levels for the intended benefits. For example, blue light is effective for treating acne, while red light has significant anti-aging properties, as well as the following advantages:
Improve Skin Rejuvenation via Increased Collagen Production
Damaged and broken bundles of collagen fiber failing to rejuvenate as they are supposed to can lead to age-related wrinkles, saggy skin, and most other visible signs of aging. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is the scaffolding that gives a firm but pliant shape to our skin as well as holding our connective tissues together. Red LED light stimulates production of fresh collagen resulting in skin that is firmer, fuller, and looks younger.
Reduce Inflammation, Increase Wound Healing
The immune system creates pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines, which can help our bodies heal and fight infection. However, it often produces far more cytokines than the situation warrants, leading to extra swelling and inflammation. By lowering cytokine levels, Red LED light reduces both local and systemic inflammation. Many surgeons recommend RLT after surgery as it has been found in studies to speed wound healing and reduce inflammation in the skin and joint tissues after surgery.
Increase ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate)
All cells in the body require a complex chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to survive. ATP is the fuel for all cells, and without it, every cell in the body would die within minutes for lack of an energy source. Each cell is equiped with mitochondira, which makes ATP. Red light prompts the mitochondria to increase production of ATP. This increases each cells available energy stores making it healthier and better able to do its job. This is one of the main reasons Red LED has such far reaching effects as the cells in every system of the body are charged up and ready to go.
One of the causes of fatigue is poorly functioning mitochondria leading to limited ATP production and cells that don't have the power they need to do their job. Deep penetrating red LED light therapy helps restore mitochondria to their normal state, which reduces fatigue and helps speed cellular healing and tissue regeneration.
Reduce Nerve Pain, Increase Nerve Healing
Red LED light therapy reduces pain throughout the body by triggering the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. One of the more difficult types of pain to treat is peripheral neuropathy which has been shown to improve with red LED light therapy. By improving blood flow, cellular metabolism, and healing times, red LED light therapy helps wiht pain and nerve regeneration.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Neural tissue is very rich in mitochondria. Because the brain is so dense with mitochondria, it has enormous potential to achieve therapeutic benefits via RLT. Research indicates that individuals with depressive symptoms tend to have abnormal blood flow to their prefrontal cortex (front of the brain). RLT may help blood flow to these areas as well as rejuvenating mitochondria in the nerves.
Increase Fat Loss
Stubborn fat is difficult to lose for several reasons including limited blood flow to the fat cells and changes in insulin sensitivity. Studies demonstrate that RLT positively affects both blood circulation and stimulate the release of fatty acids from fat tissue. By adding RLT, the same exercise regimen becomes much more effective at burning fat.
Improve Athletic Performance
Red LED therapy and exercise have a synergist relationship, amplifying the benefits of one another. Scientific research has demonstrated how RLT prevents muscle fatigue, increases fat loss, speeds muscular repair, increases muscle growth, and promotes faster recovery from exercise.
Improve Thyroid Health
It is estimated that 40% of the population suffers from some level of under-active thyroid function. Through randomized controlled studies, research has demonstrated powerful results of RLT for autoimmune hypothyroidism. It both improved thyroid function and reduced thyroid antibody TPOAb.
The red light produced from a red LED light table can deliver all the benefits we’ve discussed and more. Treatments aren’t time-consuming; thirty minutes to an hour is enough to start Red Light Therapy and experience the benefits.
- Avci, P., Gupta, A., Sadasivam, M., Vecchio, D., Pam, Z., Pam, N., & Hamblin, M. R. (2013). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. Seminars in cutaneous medicine and surgery, 32(1), 41–52.
- de Freitas, L. F., & Hamblin, M. R. (2016). Proposed Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation or Low-Level Light Therapy. IEEE journal of selected topics in quantum electronics : a publication of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-optics Society, 22(3), 7000417. https://doi.org/10.1109/JSTQE.2016.2561201
- Hamblin, M.R. Can osteoarthritis be treated with light? Arthritis Res Ther 15, 120 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/ar4354
- Höfling DB, Chavantes MC, Juliano AG, Cerri GG, Knobel M, Yoshimura EM, Chammas MC. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lasers Med Sci. 2013 May;28(3):743-53. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22718472/
- Ishiguro M, Ikeda K, Tomita K. Effect of near-infrared light-emitting diodes on nerve regeneration. J Orthop Sci. 2010 Mar;15(2):233-9. doi: 10.1007/s00776-009-1438-4. Epub 2010 Apr 1. PMID: 20358337.
- Kim, W. S., & Calderhead, R. G. (2011). Is light-emitting diode phototherapy (LED-LLLT) really effective? Laser therapy, 20(3), 205–215. https://doi.org/10.5978/islsm.20.205
- Möckel F, Hoffmann G, Obermüller R, Drobnik W, Schmitz G. Influence of water-filtered infrared-A (wIRA) on reduction of local fat and body weight by physical exercise. Ger Med Sci. 2006 Jul 11;4:Doc05. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19675696/
- Nicolson G. L. (2014). Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment With Natural Supplements. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(4), 35–43.
- Nampo FK, Cavalheri V, Dos Santos Soares F, de Paula Ramos S, Camargo EA. Low-level phototherapy to improve exercise capacity and muscle performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lasers Med Sci. 2016 Dec;31(9):1957-1970. doi: 10.1007/s10103-016-1977-9. Epub 2016 Jun 7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27272746/
- Opel, D. R., Hagstrom, E., Pace, A. K., Sisto, K., Hirano-Ali, S. A., Desai, S., & Swan, J. (2015). Light-emitting Diodes: A Brief Review and Clinical Experience. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 8(6), 36–44.
- Schiffer F, Johnston AL, Ravichandra C, Polcari A, Teicher MH, Webb RH, Hamblin MR (2009) Psychological benefits 2 and 4 week after single treatment with near infrared light to the fore-head: A pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety. Behav Brain Funct 5(1):46. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19995444/
- Sorbellini, E., Rucco, M., & Rinaldi, F. (2018). Photodynamic and photobiological effects of light-emitting diode (LED) therapy in dermatological disease: an update. Lasers in medical science, 33(7), 1431–1439. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-018-2584-8
- Waibel JS. Photorejuvenation. Dermatol Clin. 2009 Oct;27(4):445-57, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2009.08.007. PMID: 19850194.
- Wunsch, A., & Matuschka, K. (2014). 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. Photomedicine and laser surgery, 32(2), 93–100. https://doi.org/10.1089/pho.2013.3616