You probably already know that light has a powerful effect on the human body. The amount of sunlight we receive controls our daily body rhythms, our emotions, and the amount of Vitamin D in our bodies. We need regular exposure to light to stay strong and to maintain a resistant immune system. Without light, we would die.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Sunlight comprises the entire visible light spectrum (400-700nm) as well as ultraviolet (300-400nm) and infrared light (600-900nm). Of course, ultraviolet rays can damage the skin if you have too much exposure. But you may not have heard about the so-called ‘therapeutic window’ of light that lies in the 600-900nm wavelength range that has been shown to have some specific, measurable benefits on the human body.
Light energy in the therapeutic window can pass through human tissue more easily than other light wavelengths. In particular, light in the mid-600nm to the mid-800nm range has been shown to be the most effective at the cellular level. Scientists have shown that red light therapy conducted in this range can lead to:
- Faster wound and injury healing
- Enhanced muscle recovery and performance
- Improved skin tone and complexion
- Increased production of collagen and elastin
- Improved appearance of stretch marks, wrinkles, and fine lines
- Reduced joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis
- Reduced acne, rosacea, and eczema
Light therapy can even lead to enhanced fertility.
Red Light Therapy and ATP
Red and near-infrared light encourage the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. It is this chemical which provides usable energy to all the cells in the human body. And the effectiveness of ATP is greatly reduced by illness, stress, and injury. The reduced capacity of ATP, in turn, leads to oxidative stress (lack of oxygen) in your cells, and this stress eventually leads to cellular death. On the outside of the body, this shows up as the visible effects of aging (wrinkles, lines, sagging skin) and on the inside as inflammation, poor recovery time, and ineffective body systems.
This is where red light therapy comes in. Research indicates that red light delivered at the right level and within the correct wavelength can actually work at the cellular level to reverse oxidative stress and increase ATP production, restoring natural cellar function.
What is the Best Way to Use Red Light Therapy?
When it comes to Red Light Therapy, there are so many choices! Many clinics, spas, therapists, and doctors offer red light therapy services in their consulting rooms and salons. You can also find red light therapy available in some tanning salons. Better yet, you can choose to buy a Red Light Therapy device to use in your own home.
Whichever option you choose, scientists advise that there are three components to bear in mind to ensure that you get the most benefit from Red Light Therapy.
Use a device that delivers red light with the correct wavelength.
When looking for the right Red Light Therapy device for you, make sure that you will be getting the correct range of red light wavelength. Studies have shown that the optimum wavelengths of red light are in the ranges of 660-670nm and 830-850nm. It is these wavelengths that have been shown to produce substantial improvements in cellular function resulting in benefits such as:
- Improved skin health
- Enhanced muscle recovery
- Educed joint pain
- Increased testosterone
- Weight loss
Use a device with an optimal amount of power.
If you use a Red Light Therapy device with an unknown or insufficient amount of power, it simply won’t work. You need to be able to receive a clinically-relevant dose of energy to benefit from Red Light Therapy.
Clinical studies have shown 4 to 6 Joules per square centimeter of energy delivered to the body to be effective. For deep tissue conditions such as joint inflammation, a level of up to 120 Joules per square centimeter is recommended. This information should be provided by the manufacturer of the Red Light device to enable you to make the right choice for you.
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The more powerful the Red Light device, the less time you need to use it to get an effective treatment.
Use the device consistently, for the period of time recommended for your condition.
As with any other health treatment, consistency is key to getting the most benefit from Red Light Therapy. And that means choosing the right device that will deliver the right amount of light within the ideal wavelength range in an easy and convenient way. You need an efficient and effective device that you can use at a time that suits you.
Accessing Red Light Therapy through clinics or salons means scheduling appointments, traveling and being dependent on their opening hours. It can also be expensive, with some clinics charging more than $100 per session, and most treatments requiring several sessions a week. Since I didn’t want to mess with all the on-going expense and scheduling (who has time for that?)