You may have heard that sunlight damages the skin; this is true with UV light. But infrared light therapy, on the other hand, provides positive effects. When the skin absorbs infrared light, it stimulates new skin cells to grow more healthily, boosting the natural healing attributes of your skin.
The evidence for the benefits of light therapy- also called photobiomodulation is pretty compelling. Numerous studies have proven that light therapy provides excellent benefits when a device combines the right wavelength of light with the right amount of power.
Infrared therapy is a new and innovative light-based method to treat pain and inflammation in various parts of the body. Unlike ultraviolet light, which can damage the skin, infrared light enhances cell regeneration. Infrared light is delivered to the site of injury or inflammation at certain wavelengths, promoting cell repair. Check out our range of Portable Sauna Melbourne to help with your problem.
The key characteristic of infrared light is its ability to penetrate even the deep layers of the skin, providing better pain relief. Also, infrared light is safe, natural, non-invasive, and painless. Thus it may be able to provide a broad range of health benefits.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) or lightbox therapy, has been around for 40 years – since the invention of lasers. What is it, specifically? Red light therapy uses certain wavelengths of light to restore, repair, and protect tissue that is either injured, degenerating, or at risk of dying. While varying wavelengths affect the body differently, as far as healing with red light is concerned, the most effective wavelengths range from 630-670 and 810-880.
Red light therapy (RLT) is a controversial therapeutic technique that uses low-level red wavelengths of light to treat skin issues, such as wrinkles, scars, and persistent wounds, among other conditions.
In the early 1990s, RLT was used by scientists to help grow plants in space. The scientists found that the intense light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote growth and photosynthesis of plant cells.
The red light was then studied for its potential application in medicine, more specifically to find out if RLT could increase energy inside human cells. The researchers hoped that RLT could be an effective way to treat the muscle atrophy, slow wound healing, and bone density issues caused by weightlessness during space travel.
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
- photonic stimulation
- low-power laser therapy (LPLT)
When RLT is used with photosensitizing medications, it’s referred to as photodynamic therapy. In this type of therapy, the light only serves as an activating agent for the medication.
There are many different types of red light therapy. Red light beds found at salons are said to help reduce cosmetic skin issues, like stretch marks and wrinkles. Red light therapy used in a medical office setting may be used to treat more serious conditions, like psoriasis, slow-healing wounds, and even the side effects of chemotherapy.
While there’s a fair amount of evidence to show that RLT may be a promising treatment for certain conditions, there’s still a lot to learn about how it works, too.
How does red light therapy work?
Red light is thought to work by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthen the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell — it’s where the cell’s energy is created. The energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
By increasing the function of the mitochondria using RLT, a cell can make more ATP. With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate themselves, and repair damage.
RLT is different from laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies because it doesn’t cause damage to the skin surface. Laser and pulsed light therapies work by causing controlled damage to the outer layer of the skin, which then induces tissue repair. RLT bypasses this harsh step by directly stimulating the regeneration of the skin. The light emitted by RLT penetrates roughly 5 millimetres below the skin’s surface.
How is red light therapy used?
Ever since the initial experiments in space, there have been hundreds of clinical studies and thousands of laboratory studies conducted to determine if RLT has medical benefits.
Many studies have had promising results, but the benefits of red light therapy are still a source of controversy. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), for example, has determined that there isn’t enough evidence to show that these devices are better than currently existing treatments for treating wounds, ulcers, and pain.
Additional clinical research is needed to prove that RLT is effective. At the moment, however, 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 mucositisTrusted Source
- improves skin complexion and builds collagenTrusted Source to diminish wrinkles
- helps to mend sun damageTrusted Source
- 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 inflammationTrusted Source in people with pain in the Achilles’ tendons
Currently, RLT isn’t endorsed or covered by insurance companies for these conditions due to lack of sufficient evidence. Although, a few insurance companies now cover the use of RLT to prevent oral mucositis during cancer treatment.
Why is Infrared Therapy Widely Used Today?
Infrared therapy is widely used in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and in autoimmune diseases, to name a few. The therapy is safe and natural, which enables it to be offered as an alternative treatment for various health conditions like muscle pain, joint stiffness, and arthritis, to name a few.
Infrared therapy has many roles in the human body. These include detoxification, pain relief, reduction of muscle tension, relaxation, improved circulation, weight loss, skin purification, lowered side effects of diabetes, boosting of the immune system and lowering of blood pressure.
What are the Health Benefits of Infrared Therapy?
One of the key health benefits of infrared therapy is an improvement in cardiovascular health. Infrared light increases the production of nitric oxide, a vital signalling molecule that is important for the health of blood vessels. This molecule helps relax the arteries and prevents blood from clotting and clumping in the vessels. Aside from these, it also combats free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and regulate blood pressure. Looking for Sauna Melbourne? Look no further, Portable Sauna has you covered.
Nitric oxide is essential in improving blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues. Thus, infrared light hastens wound healing and stimulates the regeneration of injured tissues, reducing inflammation and pain.
Pain and Inflammation
Infrared therapy is an effective and safe remedy for pain and inflammation. It can penetrate deep through the layers of the skin, to the muscles and bones. Since infrared therapy enhances and improves circulation in the skin and other parts of the body, it can bring oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues, promoting healing. It helps ease pain, relieve inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress.
Infrared therapy improves the action of the mitochondria within cells, thus triggering the growth and repair of new muscles cells and tissues. In other words, infrared light can hasten the repair process after a muscle injury.
Infrared therapy can be applied through saunas. Detoxifications are important since they may strengthen the immune system. At the same time, detoxification aid biochemical processes to function properly, improving food digestion. In infrared saunas, the body’s core temperature increases, leading to detoxification at the cellular level.
Potential Cancer Cure
Infrared therapy is a potentially viable cancer treatment. Studies show significant activation of nanoparticles when they are exposed to infrared radiation, rendering them highly toxic to surrounding cancer cells. One such modality is photoimmunotherapy, using a conjugated antibody- photo absorber complex that binds to cancer cells.
Red light therapy works from the inside-out to enhance mitochondrial function in cells. This, in turn, leads to several skin benefits. Red light decreases skin inflammation, smooths skin tone, repairs sun damage, fades scars and stretch marks, and even builds collagen in the skin, which reduces wrinkles. It also heals wounds and can prevent recurring cold sores or herpes simplex. Red light works on the lymphatic system to improve your body’s detoxification abilities by increasing blood flow. It may even stimulate hair growth in your hair follicles.
Studies reveal that red light heals age-related macular degeneration of the eyes. It’s also used to treat knee osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, cognitive dysfunction following brain injury, and fibromyalgia.
With the use of daily, full-body red and near-infrared light therapy with our devices, not only did [women] see healthy progesterone increases, but they also saw balanced progesterone to estrogen ratios, which is important, because estrogen dominance is really common as females age.
What are the best sources of red light therapy?
- You can undergo red light therapy with a qualified professional like a trained rheumatologist or dermatologist. Ask your doctor for a referral.
- Some medical spas offer red light therapy for about $50-100 per session. Infrared saunas are unique from regular saunas in that they heat the body from the inside-out. Both red light therapy and infrared saunas enhance mitochondrial function, though in different ways. Unlike red light therapy, infrared sauna light is visible – through it penetrates much deeper into the body. You’ll have to experiment to see which works best for you. Learn more about the benefits of infrared sauna use here.
- Reap the benefits of red light at home with a light therapy device like Joovv. Or, install red lights around your home – there are red lights on Amazon that sell for as little as $6. Use them in the early morning and later at night, as well as therapeutically to increase mitochondrial function and collagen production. Hold the light over an injury for a few minutes a day. You can also find LED coloured lights with brightness and colour remote controller. (This lets you switch from blue to red, depending on what time of day it is.)
- The newest addition to the red light family is getting it from your computer or phone screen. Colour Tint is a new feature on the Apple iOS 10 that turns your entire screen red, which Apple notes have its benefits. While they are not necessarily all health-related like a red light therapy box, it is possible that you’ll squint less looking at your screen in the middle of the night due to the red light.
But does red light therapy work?
Red light wavelengths affect bodily cells on a biochemical level by increasing mitochondrial function – the ability to produce cellular energy—the more cellular energy production, the better the body functions as a whole. When red light wavelengths are used on the skin’s surface, they penetrate 8-10 millimetres into the skin. So depending upon where the red light is deployed (head or knee, for instance), all of the surrounding skin layers, blood vessels, lymph pathways, nerves, and even hair follicles are affected.
While the internet is often abuzz with news about miracle treatments for just about every health condition, red light therapy certainly isn’t a cure-all for everything. RLT is considered experimental for most conditions.
There’s limited-to-no evidence showing that red light therapy does the following:
- treats depression, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression
- activates the lymphatic system to help “detoxify” the body
- boosts the immune system
- reduces cellulite
- aids in weight loss
- treats back or neck pain
- fights periodontitis and dental infections
- cures acne
- treats cancer
It’s important to note that when RLT is used with cancer treatments, the light is only used to activate another medication. Other light therapies have been used to help with some of the conditions above. For instance, studies have found that white light therapy is more effective at treating symptoms of depression than red light. Blue light therapy is more commonly used for acne, with limited effectiveness.
Are there similar treatment options?
Red light wavelengths aren’t the only wavelengths to be studied for medical purposes. Blue light, green light, and a mixture of different wavelengths have also been the subject of similar experiments in humans.
There are other kinds of light-based therapies available. You can ask your doctor about:
- laser treatments
- natural sunlight
- blue or green light therapy
- sauna light therapy
- ultraviolet light B (UVB)
- psoralen and ultraviolet light A (PUVA)
Side Effects of Infrared Radiation
Infrared radiation can only penetrate approximately 4 cm into the human body, so the primary risks of infrared radiation exposure are to the skin and the eyes.
Additionally, large-scale safety trials should determine the long-term side effects of infrared radiation, different wavelengths, and light “dosages.”
Therefore, this is not intended to be a complete list of potential adverse effects of infrared radiation.
Approximately 65% of the infrared radiation that reaches the human body penetrates to the dermis before absorption. At this point, one potential concern is an increase in photoaging (aging due to light). Also Portable Sauna Melbourne page which has everything Portable Sauna related that you might need
UV rays are the main agents of photoaging, but one study found that increased exposure to infrared radiation increased MMP-1 production. MMP-1 is a potential contributor to photoaging, which decreases collagen and elastin production in the skin.
The increase in skin temperature can also have negative effects. An increase in temperature via induced heat shock can lead to the creation of reactive oxygen species, which may cause damage over time.
Infrared radiation may also harm tattooed skin. In one man, far infrared light caused skin inflammation (pseudolymphoma).
The lens of the eye is extremely sensitive to infrared radiation. Long-term exposure to high power sources may contribute to cataract formation.
Infrared radiation can damage crucial proteins that facilitate the normal function and passage of ions and enzymes through the lens. This could reduce the clarity of the lens.
There are not many available human clinical trials that use infrared radiation. Additionally, most of the available human studies are not high quality (not double-blind or have a large sample size).
Consult a doctor before going to an infrared sauna.
Pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with a weak immune system should avoid infrared light due to a lack of safety data and the dangers of excess heating.
Each day, humans are immersed in infrared radiation from the sun in the form of heat. Infrared saunas are in-demand today, but experts warn of possible health risks. Thermal or heat injuries can happen, depending on the wavelength of the infrared light. Thermal injury can occur even without pain. Also, pregnant women, people with heart diseases, and those who are sick should never undergo infrared therapy.
Moreover, experts warn against using infrared therapy to treat chronic diseases while neglecting the use of medications and recommended treatment procedures. Though infrared therapy promises many health benefits, its study is far from complete. At present, therefore, it should be considered an adjunct to medical treatment, and other regimens should be continued as prescribed.
Infrared therapy is a technique by which infrared wavelengths of light are applied to inflamed or diseased tissues. Its proponents believe that by heating the tissues, infrared light improves circulation and decreases inflammation, thereby improving wound healing and other processes.
So far, the best evidence for infrared light is for psoriasis, diabetic ulcers, and general inflammation. Many popular applications of infrared therapy do not have sufficient evidence to recommend it.