I'm sure you've all heard the rage about Red Light Therapy and it's for a good reason! I've been on the fence researching this for three years before finally deciding to pull the trigger. I truly thought it was just going to be some woo woo thing that doesn't actually work and just in your head. As I begin to research I read more on how NASA uses RLT for astronauts on long term space missions for injuries, wounds, and/or sickness, from that point on I was intrigued.
Sleep quality has improved greatly since beginning. Sleep is such a vital aspect for your health, to achieve that high quality sleep, following a normal sleep cycle and circadian rhythm is key. When we're not getting the quality sleep needed for our body to repair and heal, it affects our physical and emotional health.
As someone who has the genetic variation MTRR (causes an unhealthy response to inflammation), starting RLT was noticeable within a few days of using the light every morning. Inflammation that normally wouldn't leave the body was finally going down, I wasn't feeling puffy, miserable, and in pain, my mind was blown! There's been a change in wound healing when using the RLT on them, they're healing faster and better than before. I use the RLT 2x's per day, in the morning upon waking and an hour before bed.
There are a million an one companies these days it seems like selling these, and finding a legit one is challenging. I was torn between mito light and lumebox. Down the road I might go with the mito light when we have open space to set it up and keep it stationary. I ended up choosing the Lumebox as it's more portable yet highly effective.
What is red light therapy?
Red Light Therapy (RLT) is the safe application of red and near-infrared light that have the ability to penetrate through the skin and aid in the production of cellular energy. This process is also sometimes referred to as photobiomodulation, biostimulation, LED light therapy or low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
Unlike sunlight, which contains UV rays that can cause skin damage, red light does not damage or burn our skin. In fact, research so far shows it may benefit our skin. RLT is increasingly adopted by doctors, dentists, dermatologists, and treatments may be applied at your doctor’s office, hospital, at-home, physical therapy centers and even dental offices!
How does RLT work?
Red light therapy produces biochemical effect in our cells that strengthens our mitochondria. Your mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell! This is where the energy of the cell is created. The energy found in our cells is called ATP. By increasing the function of the mitochondria with red light therapy, a cell can make more ATP! When our mitochondria don’t work, our cells cannot function. Many things from our everyday lives can jam up our mitochondria, from inflammatory food to stress, and toxins like mold and pesticides.
Multiple independent studies have shown that, when our mitochondria absorb red light, it is activated to trigger cascades of cellular processes that may then aid with:
RLT & Circadian Rhythm
RLT can help improve circadian rhythm increasing melatonin which helps you to sleep better! A 2012 study of female basketball players used RLT for 30 mins every night for two weeks. The placebo group did not receive RLT. At the end of the two weeks they found the players who used RLT improved their sleep, improved melatonin and endurance levels in the players! (1)
"Our study confirmed the effectiveness of body irradiation with red light in improving the quality of sleep of elite female basketball players and offered a nonpharmacologic and noninvasive therapy to prevent sleep disorders after training."
In a controlled study of 136 people, the majority of the subjects experienced fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and improved smoother skin. Scientists used an ultrasonographically to measure the subjects, revealing significantly improved collagen density. Photo from the study. (2)
Muscle Soreness & Recovery
Struggle with feeling sore after workouts? Dreading those steps after leg day? When RLT is used after a workout, it can reduce DOMS (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness) and speed up muscle recovery. RLT has been shown to improve physical endurance and performance when used before exercise.
"We raise the question of whether PBM should be permitted in athletic competition by international regulatory authorities." (3)
Chronic Pain & Inflammation
If you're like me and battle chronic pain from a back injury, you know how exhausting it can be. It affects many aspects of life from sleep, cognitive processing, brain function, your mood, mental health and everything in between. (4)
Where pain meds block pain, RLT does not. It works by improving the function of our cells, leading to more pain free body in the long run. Studies have shown RLT to help relieve in pain in people with arthritis, chronic back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, and many more things! The best part is it doesn't have the negative side effects of pain meds. (5)
Red light therapy can aid in reducing inflammation in the body. A study by Dr. Hamblin of Harvard Medical School supports it! When cells absorb near and red infrared light, ATP (energy carrying molecule found in cells), oxygen, and protein production increases, creating anti-inflammatory agents allowing healing to speed up. (6)
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