People who lived in ancient times have always believed in the healing power of light as an intriguing source of treatment. Modern-day scientific discoveries have confirmed that light therapy can fight back signs of aging and also do wonders to the human skin.
The study led by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has opened up numerous possibilities for the skincare industry, especially when it comes to combatting aging skin issues. This is the discovery that has made it possible for various companies to offer light-based devices, each one promising to be beneficial and useful for the human skin and body.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy – also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) – makes use of lasers or LEDs (low-energy light emitting diodes) as an alternative treatment option for alleviating pain or for promoting cell functions. This works contrary to high-powered lasers which destroy tissues.
Some wavelengths of lasers are incredibly effective when applied for accelerating the healing of wounds and minimizes the symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome. Such wavelengths can also reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis.
It is a technology that makes use of wavelengths of visible red light from about 630 to 660 nanometers as well as infrared light wavelengths at 880 nanometers. These wavelengths penetrate deeply into layers under the human skin where their energy receives a boost inside the cells. The wavelengths also speed up the production of elastin and collagen.
It is sometimes referred to as photo rejuvenation, is recognized as one of the quickest, safest as well as highly affordable methods of making remarkable changes to aging skin. This is possible due to the high content of water and blood present in skin layers which absorb light readily.
Does Red Light Therapy Work?
This is the same question that NASA put to a firm known as QDI and commissioned it to research it back in 1993. Part of the results of the research showed that the technology could be used to stimulate the growth of plants in space, a research which eventually set the path to the development of the full-spectrum LED grow lights. After that, more investigation was carried out how light-emitting diodes can be applied medically for treatment. More focus was placed on energy transfers via LEDs to human cells.
The research was a success as it demonstrated how useful and beneficial to health a specific wavelength of red light can be. This led to the approval by the FDA for treating arthritis, joint pain, reduction of wrinkles, etc.
What are the Types of Red Light Therapy in Existence Today?
The treatment can be done in several ways. One of the most common methods is utilized by salons. They offer tanning or reclining seat red light therapy machine that is not unlike a sunbed. But it does not emit harmful UV (ultraviolet) radiation as sunbeds are wont to do.
You can also treat yourself at home by using red light therapy home kits. Some of these kits are made for specific uses in areas such as the face, etc. Such kits may come as a facial mask while others come in the form of hand-held devices that users can hold onto their bodies. A few others come in large screen format and can be used to treat larger areas of the human body such as the chest or back.
It also differs in the type of light that is employed. Nowadays, light-emitting diodes are most often used for treatment, though occasionally, low-energy lasers can also be utilized.
The red light that is also generated can vary from one machine to another along with the emission of different wavelengths. This is why it is highly crucial for users to find out the exact wavelength that is powerful enough to treat their skin conditions.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
It is a process that involves the exposure of the human skin to red light wavelengths with low energy. It is then absorbed into the skin, up to a depth of about 10 millimeters, which is nothing like other light wavelengths.
It heats up and affects processes and cells within the body positively. Different wavelengths can be used for the treatment of varying skin conditions. This type of skin treatment offers lots of benefits which has made it popular in the medical world today.
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Is the Red Light Employed in Red Light Therapy the Same?
The red light that is utilized varies in wavelengths and depends extensively on the requirements. Physicians are in the best position to recommend different wavelengths of light for treating various skin conditions as well as for varying lengths of time.
Some skin conditions call for the use of a fluorescent lamp as a source while others may require LEDs (light emitting diodes). Other sources include lasers or polychromatic polarized light. Red light therapy home kits are equipped with LEDs which makes it safe for inexperienced users to use effectively.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
There are lots of benefits which generally stems from the energy exchange that occurs within the human body. The tissues and cells in the body respond in such a way that heat is generated for positive uses. It is not unlike the human body’s reaction to heat.
Some wavelengths are strong enough to pierce the skin’s surface, and the cells beneath absorb them deeply. The depth of absorption of red light is much deeper than is experienced with other visible light.
Therefore, here are the benefits of red light therapy:
It Enhances Blood Flow
The natural response of the human body to heat is the dilation of blood vessels. This is the same reaction that is stimulated when the human body is exposed. When the blood vessels widen, they bring down any form of resistance to the flow of blood down to zero, thus increasing the rate of flow around the body.
The restriction of blood flow as a result of the constriction of blood vessels leads to oxygen starvation which occurs in the cells. Ischemia, i.e., lack of oxygen as a result of inadequate supply of blood to specific areas of the human body, can cause permanent damage to tissues in the body. This usually occurs in the muscles as it can destroy cells irreparably and cannot be replaced surgically or otherwise.
It Lessens Inflammation
Lymphatic circulation, as well as the improved flow of blood, helps in the elimination of waste products from the lymphatic system. This reduces as well as prevents the accumulation of fluids which could bring about a condition known as edema.
It helps in reducing pain caused by this condition and also enhances healing processes.
Alleviates Muscle Spasms
When muscle spasm occurs, unimaginable pain can be experienced because of the restriction of blood flow to specific areas in your body. The leads to the lack of oxygen for tissues and cells to utilize for their daily activities.
The application of red light can bring about muscle relaxation, thus enhancing the flow of blood to those oxygen-starved areas in the human body. Conditions like restless leg syndrome can be quick to respond to this therapy.
When heat is applied to a joint in the human body, it can reduce stiffness up to twenty percent. This is the same effect that is experienced when this kind of therapy is employed for the same reason. This cyclical pain-reduction results in less pain and stiffness, thereby allowing users to use their joints more.
It Enhances the Elasticity of Fibers
At particular wavelengths – it is believed to facilitate the production of elastin and collagen fibers. It has also been proven to stimulate the development of new capillaries. With such a large number of capillaries within the skin, blood flow to tissues are greatly enhanced, and oxygen is supplied accordingly to all the vital organs of the body.
The extra elastin and collagen that is generated makes your skin plump and glow beautifully.
It reduces pain significantly by reducing the symptoms triggered by the numerous conditions mentioned earlier such as muscle spasms, inflammation, restricted blood flow, etc.
In conclusion, this kind of therapy does not only work for a variety of skin conditions but also improves cognitive functions. This amazing technology is still undergoing research, and there are indications that more uses and benefits for healthy skin and body will be unraveled soon.