I never imagined that red light therapy would be a healing component. In fact, for many years I thought it was just another snake oil cure. But I started working with an alternative health practitioner when menopause hit me hard and she highly recommended using red light therapy in addition to some vitamins.
I can’t say that red light therapy has cured my hair loss or even triggered any new regrowth. This is really disappointing because I would love to tell everyone and their dog that they can sit in front of a red light and be cured miraculously.
My Red Light Therapy Treatment
I have used a home red light therapy device almost daily for the last three months. I aim it at my bald head, my neck, and my belly during the treatment. My daily treatments last between 10-20 minutes. When I started using the red light device, I would spend more time in front of it. When I got discouraged by my lack of results, I started getting lax about using the red light device.
The red light device is placed about 10 inches from my body in order to help my skin absorb the light rays. I do wear eye protection to ensure that my eyes aren’t damaged. However, in most treatment sessions I simply shut my eyes.
The Red Light Therapy Benefits
I had burned my neck with a curling iron a few days before I learned about red light therapy. There was a pink one-inch burn on the left side of my neck. The burn seemed like it could be permanent. The pain had subsided from the initial contact with the curling iron, so I didn’t think much about it. Within three days of using the red light therapy device, the red burn had completely vanished.
I hadn’t been too worried about living with a burn scar on my neck. It was mostly covered by my hair, but my skin now felt more pliable and soft. The original color had returned much more quickly than I had expected it to return.
Red light is 660 nm and is readily absorbed by the skin and cells. This promotes healing by increasing the circulation to the cells. Increased circulation can assist in delivering vital nutrients and removing toxins from the cells. In fact, human cells respond to the 660 nm red light therapy in a similar way that plant cells respond to sunlight. The cells produce energy and optimize cell function. This in turn stimulates the body’s innate healing processes.
Red light therapy is also advertised as having the following benefits:
- Temporarily increases blood circulation
- Relieves muscle spasms and stiffness
- Promotes relaxation
- Rejuvenates skin cells
Photobiomodulation Activates Healing
Red Light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, activates the TGF-beta 1 proteins which promote tissue healing and regeneration. Based on a study done on mice, it was determined that photobiomodulation activated the myofibroblasts which promote wound contraction. As the wound contracts, the wound size decreases.
Red light therapy has been shown to accelerate the resolution of erythema (heat) and accelerate wound closure. The increased circulation can reduce inflammation and prevent further infection. Since phototherapy is anti-bacterial, LED red light therapy done prior to surgery will decrease the presence of c-acne bacteria. This can reduce the chance of infections due to surgery.
Light Therapy Reduces Scarring
My own experience with red light therapy and burns has shown that red light therapy can reduce the scarring that can happen from burns. There is additional research that also backs up the healing modality. In a low-level laser therapy study done on 19 burn scar patients, 17 of the patients showed an improvement with low-level laser therapy. They were treated with a 400 mW 670 nm Softlaser twice a week for 8 weeks. There were no negative effects from the low-level laser therapy.
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