5 Benefits to Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy. Is it a gimmick or does it have a valid use? Are there benefits to red light therapy? More and more people are turning toward new age treatments like red light therapy to treat certain ailments. If you’re interested in learning more about this treatment, how it works, and who it helps, stick around. We have all the details! Keep reading to learn more about the benefits to red light therapy.

What Is Red Light Therapy?

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Red light therapy is the exposure of skin to a lamp, laser, or another light source, as reported by WebMD. After some time, the mitochondrial cells absorb light and can create energy from it. VeryWell Health further explains that one of the reasons red light therapy is so effective is because red light possesses a wavelength that can penetrate the skin. Though the overall effectiveness of red light therapy is in dispute, some experts believe cells can heal from this treatment.

When Was Red Light Therapy First Used?

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Light therapy dates back to the late 1890s, according to Theralight. It was originally used by Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Finsen, to treat a type of tuberculosis. He treated his patients using light therapy for two hours per day, for an unspecified number of days and saw many positive results. Lightwave Therapy noted that other forms of light therapy were used in the 1960s, primarily in Europe, for arthritis, soft tissue injuries, and chronic pain.

Red light therapy evolved from the continued use of these light therapies. The Cleveland Clinic reported that NASA began using red light therapy to see if they could grow plants in space. As the technology progressed, NASA began using red light therapy to treat injuries in astronauts.

READ MORE: How to Get Radiant Skin Naturally

Red Light Therapy Practitioners

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Esthetician EDU advised that educational or certification requirements for administering Red Light Therapy aren’t necessarily required, depending on the state. Some states, such as Virginia required practitioners to be licensed estheticians. As this treatment’s popularity grows, the requirements might change. If you want to know if estheticians in your state are required to hold a certain certification to administer this treatment, you can check with your state’s Board of Cosmetology.

How Long Should Each Session Last?

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The frequency and duration of each red light therapy session might vary depending on the condition you’re seeking treatment for. However, Rouge advised that the benefits to red light therapy might best be accomplished when patients have 3 -5 sessions a week that last from 10 – 20 minutes.

READ MORE: Why You Need Meejee: The Fabulous Facial Cleansing Massager

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

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Just like other medical treatments, red light therapy will take time, consistency, and patience before the results will be seen. Kala noted it takes time for your body to adjust to red light therapy. Some patients might notice an improvement in as little as one month. Other patients might not see results for 6 months. Kala advised staying consistent with the treatment plan as that’s the best way to achieve the desired results.

5 Benefits of Red Light Therapy

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The Cleveland Clinic provided several conditions that red light therapy is used to treat. Some of those conditions include treating wrinkles and acne. But there are other benefits to red light therapy – some of which aren’t as widely known. Listed below are five benefits of red light therapy you might not be aware of. Please don’t attempt red light therapy for any condition until you’ve consulted your primary care physician or dermatologist.

Dental Pain

While most people have heard the benefits to red light therapy affect people with skin conditions such as acne and wrinkles, using red light therapy to treat dental issues isn’t as commonly known. White Smile reported the following benefits to red light therapy: decreasing tooth sensitivity, reducing inflammation in teeth and gums, and speeding up the buildup of dentin which can speed up the healing process after a medical procedure.

Does red light therapy mean we can all stop brushing and flossing? No! Of course not! You won’t find any dental professionals or those who use red light therapy to treat dental issues telling you that daily oral hygiene practices can stop. The best defense you have when it comes to preventing oral pain is by taking care of your teeth and gums.

Skin Cancer

Cancer Research UK reported that skin cancer can be treated with red light therapy when it’s used in conjunction with a light-sensitizing skin cream. The procedure begins with the cream being applied to the affected area. After that, the red light is shined on that same area for a given time period. It’s further explained that the cancer cells absorb the applied skin cream, making them more vulnerable to light exposure. Doctors at the Cancer Research UK also speculate that the red light therapy sessions could also stimulate the immune system, causing it to attack the cancer cells.

While it’s believed red light therapy can successfully treat skin cancer, there are certain types of skin cancer that red light therapy cannot treat. Cancer Research UK advised red light therapy can only treat areas that can be penetrated by light therapy. Deep tissue cancers and cancers that have metastasized can’t be treated by this therapy.

These studies didn’t indicate if the patients were receiving other forms of cancer treatment at the time of the red light therapy.

Autoimmune Diseases

Among the benefits to red light, therapy is treating autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. How does red light therapy treat these conditions? Kaiyan Medical advised that when red light therapy is applied to the affected area, it promotes healing by letting leukocytes – white blood cells – enter the treatment area. Advantage Therapy Solutions added that other conditions that benefit from red light therapy include thyroiditis.

Light Therapy observed that other autoimmune diseases – such as Crohn’s disease – can also be treated with red light therapy. Though medical experts are still collecting data on this condition that afflicts over half a million Americans, it’s believed that the immune system attacks healthy bacteria in the gut, causing inflammation. Many adults with Crohn’s disease suffer a Vitamin D deficiency, likely because the disease causes malabsorption of essential nutrients. Red light therapy is known to boost Vitamin D levels.

Red light therapy treatments can help repair intestinal tissue damage and reduce inflammation. While experts are still collecting research on how red light therapy can benefit patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, the unfortunate reality is, that researchers haven’t developed a red light device capable of treating Crohn’s disease for commercial use.

Depression

It’s well known that spending time outdoors doing any variety of activities like gardening, walking, or bike riding, is a great mood booster. But for people who can’t make it outside during the day because of work schedules or people who are currently fighting depression, red light therapy is a treatment to consider. Healthline reported that individuals being treated for depression often have low levels of Vitamin D. As mentioned previously, red light therapy can boost Vitamin D levels.

Vital Red Light observed that red light therapy can improve mental clarity, lower anxiety, and boost energy levels. Individuals suffering from depression should never undergo any treatment without first consulting their physician. And while the benefits to red light therapy are worth looking into, other forms of treatment for depression such as medication or therapy should not be discontinued.

Wounds

Accelerating the healing process of wounds – such as burn wounds – is another credit given to red light therapy. Degree Wellness reviewed several studies on the success rate of the application of red light therapy to individuals suffering from second and third-degree burns. Overall, individuals who received the treatment had less inflammation within the wound and their cells regenerated faster. Red light therapy can also be used to help scars from older injuries heal as well.

READ MORE: The Silent Struggle: Life with a Spouse Suffering from Crohn’s Autoimmune Disease

Red Light Therapy Dangers

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Healthline cautioned there are a few side effects of this treatment patients should be aware of. In some cases, though rare, patients have suffered burns after exposure to the red light. In other cases, patients have developed blisters. Experts advise there is a potential risk to the eyes and patients should consider wearing protective eye coverings during treatment. Healthline also noted that individuals who are light sensitive or are taking medications that have a side effect of light sensitivity might not be eligible for red light therapy.

The American Cancer Society also reported that red light therapy can leave people photosensitive after exposure so much so that sunblock is rendered temporarily useless. While in most cases, there are no side effects to red light therapy, it can adversely affect the immune system. In extremely rare cases, the American Cancer Society found that red light therapy caused new cancer cells to form in the treatment area.

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Whether you have acne, scars, or dental pain, red light therapy is a treatment option worth exploring. It’s not invasive and the side effects are rare and less serious than other treatments. But because the research results documenting the full effectiveness of red light therapy are limited, individuals interested in pursuing it should always consult their physicians first. And as always, remember, the benefits to red light therapy are best observed after at least one month of consistent treatment. Have you seen success with red light therapy? Let us know all about it! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram.

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out Daily Mom’s What is EMDR Therapy?

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daily-mom-parent-portal-benefits-to-red-light-therapy
SOURCES: WebMD | Theralight | Lightwave Therapy | Cleveland Clinic | Very Well Health | Esthetician EDU | Rouge | Kala | White Smile | Cancer Research UK | American Cancer Society | Kaiyan Medical | Advantage Therapy Solutions | Light Therapy | Vital Red Light | Healthline | Healthline | American Cancer Society |

Photo Credits: Unsplash | Pexels | Pixabay

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A.Marie Silverhttps://amariesilver.com
A. Marie Silver is a mother to three dragons, wife to a Navy man, and author of Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm - a blog dedicated to putting a humurous twist on the mundane. In her spare time she fantasizes about taking naps, is a contributor for Daily Mom, and is working on her first novel.

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