Chances are you’ve probably heard about red light therapy. Possibly you’ve even seen or heard of people incorporating red light therapy at home. But why is it a thing, and is there really any science behind it?
Just like it sounds, the concept involves the use of red lights used to provide a variety of therapeutic effects. Because technology is amazing, and this particular technology is pretty simple, red light therapy at home is a growing trend. Let’s take a look at exactly what makes up red lights and their therapeutic health benefits.
How Red Light Works
Let’s talk about color theory. Most of our electric light sources use some kind of incandescent yellow light. More and more research points to the harmful effects of blue light (the light emitted primarily from screens like computers, TVs, and smartphones/devices). We know that the human body responds to light in a variety of ways. Our eyes quite literally track light sources to impact our circadian rhythm, the biological clock that tells us to wake up when it’s light out and to sleep when it’s dark.
Different wavelengths of light have different effects on us. The same is true for red or infrared light. Infrared light is an energy type the human eye cannot see, but the human body can feel as heat. Red light, by contrast, can be seen and has similar effects as infrared, though less potent. Both are very different from LED light sources, and when researching red light therapy at home it is critical to note the difference.
Infrared light is ideal for the maximum benefits of red light therapy at home, but some benefits can still be gained from low-power red lights. LED panel lights that simply reflect the color red offer little to no benefit.
When exposed to infrared light, the body’s mitochondria (cellular organisms) convert the light into energy. Without the effect of damaging UV rays, the low levels of heat from infrared light are thought to help cells repair themselves, resulting in the healing of skin and muscle tissue.
Read More: Why Your Family Needs Blue Light Glasses
Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy
There are many reported health benefits of using red light therapy at home. While research varies and definitely depends on the quality of the red light being used (remember, infrared is not the same a tinted red light), here are some of the most notable benefits of using infrared light.
Detoxification—because infrared light used in red light therapy at home simulates a heat response in your body, you sweat. Sweating, especially in a relaxed state, promotes blood flow through your organs, resulting in detoxification. Getting rid of toxic build-up helps keep your body running smoothly and also reduces signs of aging, so this benefit goes a long way.
Immune boost—that same heat response that triggers detoxification also raises your body temperature. When our body temperature is raised, our cells’ natural immune response is also triggered. But because your body isn’t actually experiencing an immune reaction, all that happens is that response is strengthened, giving you an extra layer of immune protection.
Weight loss—it’s important to note that red light therapy at home does not replace exercise and a healthy diet. However, because your heart rate is elevated and blood flow increased due to that mild heat exposure, and you are sweating, slight weight loss has been reported as a health benefit of infrared light therapy.
Reduced stress and improved mental performance—research shows that infrared light helps support and boost natural neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the body’s natural happy hormone. This not only reduced physical and emotional stress but also improves neural connections in the brain. Improved neural networks also mean an improved ability to process and retain information. Mental clarity is something most of us need!
Skin health—Perhaps one of the highest selling points of red light therapy at home is the research showing that infrared light can help support skin on a number of levels. Some studies suggest it can even help with wound healing, cellulite, and collagen production.
Pain points—remember all that talk of cell stimulation and blood flow? Both of those promote oxygenation of the blood which is part of the body’s healing response. This means that red light therapy at home has the potential to help reduce everyday aches and pains as the body heals faster and more intentionally. Some studies even suggest that regular use of infrared light helps reduce the risk of heart events and disease due to improved blood flow.
Read More: 5 Benefits to Red Light Therapy
How to Get Red Light Therapy at Home
There are a few options to consider when looking at the prospect of red light therapy at home. Budget is a big one. Others include the exact benefits you are seeking as well as your physical space.
If your budget and/or space are limited, there are single portable infrared light options you can use in any location without rearranging the design of your living space. These work best by targeting areas of your body you want to focus on. You can even buy infrared bulbs to install in regular light spaces, like your shower, to create a private sauna experience.
If your budget and space allow, there are entire sauna setups that offer full body red light therapy at home benefits. Some even provide EMF protection. Ultimately, the best red light therapy at home device is the one that works best for you.
Red light therapy at home is a practice that can work with any wellness routine. It’s extremely flexible, has so many health benefits, and requires no technical or medical skills to use. But be sure to research the lights you plan to use before bringing them into your home. Infrared is ideal, but you certainly don’t want to spend your money on just ambiance without the benefits.
Like many health-related devices, finding the right one may be a bit of an investment of both your time and money, but red light therapy at home has the benefits to back it. It’s certainly worth trying.
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