The red and near-infrared (NIR) light spectrum of visible light has a bioactive effect on the human body, which means our bodies respond to specific wavelengths of light with increased energy production in cells.
Many researchers believe this can lead to cellular level healing of the skin, muscle, bone, and connective tissue without the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) light.
In general, red light is considered ideal for skin conditions, whereas NIR light has benefits that extend deeper into the body where it is absorbed by muscle, connective tissue, and bones.
Benefits of red light and NIR therapy can include:
Skin Health Increasing intradermal (within or between layers of skin) collagen production is vital for improving skin tone and reducing signs of aging. Red light therapy can heal sun damage and help reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the skin, as well as plump and firm sagging skin.
Wound Healing Healing wounds quickly has psychological as well as physical benefits. Red light activates stem cells and reduces inflammation to accelerate would healing and supports the formation of collagen density and healthy tissue.
Scar Reduction Scars, especially in the facial area, can cause severe psychological distress. When scars are located at the joints, they can impair mobility and cause pain because scar tissue is not as elastic as normal skin tissue.
Red Light Therapy (RLT) is used to soften and reduce the appearance of burn scars, stretch marks, keloid scars, and hypertrophic scars, though the best way to minimize the appearance of scars is to prevent them. While red light therapy does reduce the appearance of existing scar tissue, it also encourages cells to collect around a wound to form healthy, normal cells. So, get a jump on the tissue before a scar forms, if at all possible.
Chronic Skin Conditions Chronic skin conditions can cause severe psychological distress, as well as physical discomfort and pain. Many chronic skin conditions are considered autoimmune disorders, meaning those in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body. Red light therapy may help get to the root of the disorder. It has proven to be effective at treating psoriasis (and its close cousin, eczema), rosacea, and acne by minimizing skin roughness, pain, and itching.
Pain and Inflammation Reduction Reducing pain is a top priority for anyone dealing with injury or chronic conditions. NIR light is particularly effective at penetrating deeply into muscle and connective tissue to stimulate growth of healthy tissue (through increasing cellular energy), increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation.
Weight Loss Red light has a stimulating effect on the meta
Weight Loss Red light has a stimulating effect on the metabolism and may actually cause fat cells to shrink, for fast and effective fat loss, and associated weight loss.
Muscle Growth, Performance, and Recovery Red light stimulates the mitochondria (the muscle cells’ energy centers) to produce more energy, which leads to faster cellular regeneration and growth. And since red light also reduces inflammation, muscles recover faster from high-intensity training. This process also accelerates muscle recovery from injury by reducing scar tissue in muscles known as fibrosis. Left untreated, fibrosis can cause permanent loss of function or mobility. Red light supports the formation of new, healthy muscle tissue by activating stem cells in the muscles called myosatellite cells. These cells activate in response to any kind of muscle damage, including microscopic tears that occur during training, as well as more significant tears or compression caused by injury. Instead of the haphazard jumble of cells that form scars, red light-energized myosatellite cells will form healthy new muscle tissue. Both red and NIR light are beneficial for muscle repair and growth.
Immune System Enhancement Red light therapy can enhance immune system function by reducing inflammation; supporting the thyroid, lymphatic system, and liver; and increasing cellular energy, which gives cells enough resources to successfully fight off pathogens.
Bone Health NIR has the ability to penetrate bone, where it stimulates bone repair.
Sleep Disorders The prevalence of sleep disorders has soared in recent years due to widespread exposure to blue light emitted from electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. Blue light is a natural part of visible light emitted by the sun and is energizing, which is why sunlight is beneficial during the day. At night, however, blue light interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms, meaning its natural internal processes that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Red light therapy counteracts this effect and promotes healthful sleep.
Hair Regrowth Hair loss afflicts more than 35 million men and 21 million women in the United States alone. Hair restoration medications often come with serious side effects, but red and NIR light stimulates dormant hair follicles into entering the anagen (growth) phase, increases blood flow, and increases collagen production to restore normal hair growth.
How often? Because red light therapy works at the cellular level, the best results may take several weeks or months. Skin cells, for example, renew approximately every 27 days, and not all at once. You may experience some immediate relief, but consistent use over time will give you the very best results.
Every individual and every condition will react differently to red light therapy. How fast you see results can depend on the severity of your condition, your age, your overall health, your immune system health, and ongoing lifestyle choices, such as whether you smoke, use drugs, or drink alcohol excessively.
Many studies point to satisfactory results after 8 to 12 weeks of consistent use. For many conditions, including chronic skin disorders, a maintenance program can prevent symptoms from reappearing.
It is recommended that you start slowly the first few sessions in order to determine sensitivity. While red light will not burn your skin like UV rays, in some individuals it causes temporary redness and tightness. If you experience this, it would be a good idea to cut back on the duration and/or move farther back from the device.
One 20-minute session, three to five times per week, is recommended for the first one to four weeks or until symptoms abate.
If necessary, you may need maintenance sessions to avoid recurring symptoms of any chronic condition.