How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy is a therapeutic practice that employs the use of red and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths from the light spectrum. The wavelengths range from 630 nanometers (nm) to 660nm, while the NIR wavelengths are in the range of 800nm to 1100nm. The term “red light therapy” refers to both red and NIR wavelengths, but is also used as an umbrella term to describe many different kinds of light therapy.
While most red light devices emit a pure, deep red color, you will notice that our machine, ARC 360, emits a pinkish-purple hue. This is because our photodynamic machine uses a unique combination of both blue light, red light, and NIR (which is not visible to the naked eye). This combination of wavelengths provides an even wider range of benefits than a standard red light device.
What’s remarkable about the use of red light therapy is that it has the ability to initiate healing at a cellular level. Lights at this wavelength can penetrate the skin to varying depths; red light reaches up to 10mm while NIR light can go as deep as 2-7 centimeters, which is deep enough to reach tissue and bone.
Once the light penetrates, it activates the mitochondria, which are tiny cellular components responsible for converting nutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the primary energy source for cells and is necessary for their proper functioning. This promotes regeneration and recovery and can have a positive impact on our health in a variety of ways.
An increase in ATP production results in a range of physiological benefits—both superficially and systemically. This has been demonstrated by thousands of studies and scientific reviews.
- Helps clear acne
- Improves collagen production
- Decreases the appearance of stretch marks
- Treats sun damage
- Reduces risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers
- Helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles
- Stimulates hair growth
- Reduces inflammation of joints and tissue
- Improves bone healing
- Reduces swelling following injury
- Reduces neuropathic pain
- Improves mood and helps with seasonal depression
- Improves anxiety symptoms
- Promotes better sleep
- Aids in weight loss
Studies have revealed that the most effective wavelengths for healing fall within the range of 620-660nm and 810-850nm, which is referred to as the “therapeutic window.” Our machine, ARC 360, uses photodynamic light from 450nm-940nm, making it one of the most versatile, effective and powerful forms of red light therapy in the Metro Detroit area!
Red light therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of acne and improving skin tone and texture in some individuals. Red light therapy helps to:
• Reduce inflammation in the skin, which is a contributing factor in the development of acne
• Kill propionibacterium, the bacterium involved in the development of acne
• Regulate the sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, the oily substance that contributes to the development of acne
Fine Lines, Wrinkles, and Collagen:
As we age, the collagen and elastin fibers responsible for keeping our skin tight and toned begins to break down, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. The surge of ATP from red light therapy has been shown successful in increasing collagen production and help diminish signs of aging skin.
A 2009 study by researchers from Quebec, Canada found that consistent sessions of red light therapy reduced the severity and depth of lines and wrinkles in 94% of participants.
Red light therapy is successful in relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Due to increased production of ATP, it also improves circulation and boosts cellular function. In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, it has also been shown to improve sleep, mood, and cognitive function, which can be affected in individuals with fibromyalgia.
Red light therapy has been shown to have potential benefits for promoting hair growth. The underlying mechanism for this effect is thought to be related to the stimulation of cellular metabolism and the promotion of blood circulation to the scalp.
Studies have shown that red light therapy can increase the size of hair follicles, increase the thickness and diameter of hair strands, and prolong the anagen (growing) phase of the hair cycle.
Studies have suggested that red light therapy may have potential benefits for promoting weight loss by increasing metabolism and reducing body fat. The increased ATP can lead to the activation of cellular processes involved in metabolism, including the break down of fat cells.
In some studies, red light therapy has been shown to increase the release of adiponectin, a hormone involved in regulating metabolism and glucose levels, and to reduce inflammation in adipose (fat) tissue.
Red light therapy has been shown to have a positive impact on sleep. It can help regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. In addition, it has been shown to improve circulation, boost energy levels, and reduce inflammation, all of which can contribute to better sleep.
In some studies, individuals with sleep disorders such as insomnia reported improved sleep after using red light therapy. The therapy seems to have a calming effect and can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, leading to better quality and duration of sleep.
Intense physical activity can result in tiny tears in the muscles, which are then repaired by the body to make them stronger. However, if inflammation occurs during this healing process, it can cause ongoing muscle and joint pain, such as in conditions like bursitis or iliotibial band syndrome. Red light therapy helps to stop this inflammation in its tracks.
A study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery in 2008 found that red light therapy can help ease muscle pain and enhance muscle recovery and blood circulation in athletes. The study focused on the effects of red light therapy on skeletal muscle fatigue during repeated bicep contractions.
The results showed that athletes who received red light therapy after undergoing bicep contractions were able to perform more repetitions after an eight-day trial period compared to a placebo group. This led researchers to conclude that red light therapy can help to delay the onset of muscle fatigue and exhaustion.