Red light therapy has been around for several decades. Recently we are becoming more aware of the health benefits of using red light. First a little background and differences between blue light and red light.
First light travels to our eye in different wavelengths. For example blue light has shorter wavelengths and this is the light that is emitted from computers and cell phones. Redlight has longer wavelengths and you receive red light when you are out in the sun. Sunlight contains all the color bands of light. Initially red light was used to help plants grow, more recent research shows the benefits of using this in humans.
Red light is low level light also known as photobiomodulation. When it comes into contact with the skin it immediately starts to absorb. It activates receptors in the mitochondria of our cells which tells our cells to function more efficiently. There are numerous health benefits to red light therapy
- reduces pain and inflammation typically inflammation that occurs in the brain, skin and lungs. Can be a benefit to help with muscle stiffness associated with easing pain from rheumatoid arthritis
- Boost mood and energy by helping to improve sleep quality. Blue light has a negative effect on circadian rhythms and the use of red light has positive effect.
- Increase recovery time after activity in muscle metabolism can help gain muscle
- May promote hair growth
- May aide in Brain function and cognitive issues
- Enhance skin and wound healing. This includes boosting collagen, increasing elasticity and decreasing acne and eczema
I have had individuals ask if there are any precautions to using red light therapy. There are relatively few although red light should not be used in healing periods after LASIK surgery. Some larger plug in units can cause “flickering” which is a changing light frequency that can cause headaches. As with starting any new therapy you should contact your health care practitioner prior to use.
Red light therapy can be used in an office type of setting as well as purchasing a unit for home. It is important to get a reputable brand and one that has a third party certification.
There is a good book Red Light Therapy by Ari Whitten that is a great resource on reputable devices for use in home.