Better Life Secret Weapon – Red Light Therapy

 

Red light therapy(RLT) involves exposure to fairly strong sources of visible red light (610-700nm).

As a natural, non-invasive method there are a wide variety of applications being studied.

Most of the studies and interest is around the use to treat skin conditions, but there are a whole host of further applications.

The beauty of this type of treatment is that there are no significant side effects doucmented, yet a long and well studied list of applications.

 

You may have heard of red light therapy (RLT) by its other names, which include:
  • photobiomodulation (PBM)
  • low level light therapy (LLLT)
  • soft laser therapy
  • cold laser therapy
  • biostimulation
  • photonic stimulation
  • low-power laser therapy (LPLT)

 

How it works

Red light interacts with the body in a similar way to infrared light – This it thought to involve a few mechanisms including by increasing energy (ATP) generation on the cellular level.

The key difference between red and infrared is that red wavelengths of light are absorbed and used in the first 25mm of skin tissue, whereas infrared light can penetrate much deeper into the body.

This same mechanism is also responsible for many of the benefits of sunlight, which contains the red wavelengths as part of its spectrum. Sunlight however, comes bundled with potentially harmful UV (and potentially beneficial) & blue light, making red light therapy different in various respects.

Most red light devices on the market are weak and will only penetrate 2 – 3mm of skin tissue. Stronger devices such as 100mW/cm²+ LED light devices can reach through the entire skin layer, healing from the bottom up.

At the moment, there’s some evidence to suggest that RLT may have the following benefits:
  • promotes wound healing and tissue repair
  • improves hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia
  • help for the short-term treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
  • stimulates healing of slow-healing wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers
  • reduces psoriasis lesions
  • aids with short-term relief of pain and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • reduces some of the side effects of cancer treatments, including oral mucositis
  • improves skin complexion and builds collagen to diminish wrinkles
  • helps to mend sun damage
  • prevents recurring cold sores from herpes simplex virus infections
  • improves the health of joints in people with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee
  • helps diminish scars
  • relieves pain and inflammation in people with pain in the Achilles tendons

 

The Wavelengths of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy uses any wavelength between 610 nm and 700 nm.

The most common wavelengths you will see are 630 nm (orange-red) and 660 nm (deep red) which roughly coincide with the absorption peaks of cytochrome c oxidase (the target of light therapy), plus they are cheaply available and efficient. While effective, these are not necessarily the perfectly optimal wavelengths.

The absolute optimal spectrum ranges are 610-625nm & 660-690nm.

The absolute optimal single wavelengths are 620nm and 670nm.

These optimal wavelengths vary to some degree in different studies and different cells. 615nm and 680nm are also sometimes optimal.

 

Who can use it?

Red light therapy is entirely safe and non-invasive, meaning it can be used by anyone – young or old.

The current hyptohesis (on the mechanism of action) points to a foundational level of the body, meaning a potentially wide array of useful applications.

 

What is the standard treatment like?

The light is simply used for a short amount of time (5 – 15 minutes), after which further therapy would show quickly diminishing returns.

This is known as a biphasic dose response – lower doses give a good effect, very high doses cancel out this effect. The reason why longer session times gives diminshing returns is not very well understood, possibly involving heating of the skin cells, ROS or nitric oxide release.

Regardless, a short therapy session gives better results than constant use for hours on end.

BS-PM10 Vertical Full Body PBM 600~810nm LED PDT Red Light Therapy Bed – Photobiomodulation

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