Red Light and Infrared Therapy Explained: What You Need to Know About Red Light Therapy?
So you’ve heard of red light therapy and infrared therapy, but aren’t sure what they are. Both have a lot of buzz these days, but what do they mean? And how can they help you? For an introduction to red light therapy and low-level laser therapy (LLLT), see this article.
- What are red light therapy and infrared therapy?
- What are the benefits of Red Light Therapy?
- What is the difference between infrared and red light therapy?
- Why does red light therapy work?
- How does Red Light Therapy (RLT) work?
- Who can use red light therapy?
- What does red light therapy do for your body and how can it improve your health?
- Is Red Light Therapy safe?
- How often should you use Red Light Therapy?
- Which red light therapy device is best?
- How to choose a red light therapy device?
1. What are red light therapy and infrared therapy?
The technology for LED light therapy was originally pioneered by NASA in the 1960s. Today Red Light Therapy is now being used to stimulate collagen production, increase ATP, kill acne-causing bacteria, among other things. With no pain and no downtime. Red Light Therapy (RLT), called as well Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Photobiomodulation (PMB) is the use of red light exposure for therapeutic purposes. The aim of photobiomodulation therapy is to stimulate cells in the human body to heal themselves.
2. What are the benefits of red light therapy?
Light therapy is more than just a trend. Red Light therapy has been proven to be an effective, non-invasive method to manage a wide range of health concerns. The technology is now widely used by millions of people worldwide for everything from arthritis to skincare. Studies have shown tremendous benefits for nearly every part of the body and its systems. Here are some major ones with linked one of the researches examples:
- Eliminate Anxiety & Depression (1)
- Improve Athletic Performance (2)
- Enhance Brain & Nerve Function (3) (4)
- Increase Bone Density (5)
- Heal Arthritis and Joints Diseases (6) (7)
- Improve Eyesight (8)
- Fat Loss (9)
- Regrow Hair (10)
- Improve Heart Health (11)
- Reduce Inflammation (12)
- Prevent aging (13)
- Improve Immune System (14)
- Improve Oral Health (15)
- Pain Relief (16) (17)
- Improve Skin Health (18) (19)
- Improve Sleep (20)
- Improve Thyroid Health (21)
- Increase Testosterone and Fertility (22)
3. What is the difference between infrared and red light therapy?
The principal differences between infrared and red light therapy are that infrared light penetrates deeper into the body than red light and that infrared light can reach cells that red light cannot. Red and near-infrared (NIR) light are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Red light (~600 – 700nm) is part of the visible spectrum (~400 – 700nm). Infrared light is invisible to the human eye but can be felt as heat. You can see red light because it’s a type of visible light that we can see with our eyes.
Red light is often used to treat superficial skin issues like acne. Near-infrared light can be used to treat both the skin and deeper tissues like the muscles, bones, and organs.
4. Why does red light therapy work?
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. However, they play a much bigger role than just keeping our cells alive. Research has revealed that mitochondria may have a far-reaching impact on our overall health and longevity. When it comes to health, low levels of mitochondria activity are the number-one cause of disease. The reason is that mitochondrial energy levels are critical for our overall health and well-being.
There is a theory called the Mitochondrial Theory of Aging, which states that a decline in mitochondria function contributes to aging.
When damage occurs to the mitochondria, due to different stress factors and an increase in free radicals, they get damaged faster than they can repair themselves. This is when the domino effect starts which leads to many of the symptoms that are commonly associated with aging, such as chronic inflammation, loss of bone density, heart disease, poor eyesight, etc.
Red and near-infrared light has been shown in many studies to target mitochondria, making them healthier and longer-lasting. Both near-infrared light and red light penetrate deeply into the body, stimulating them to produce more energy and activate self-healing effects. That is the reason why RLT is capable of treating a variety of health conditions and disorders, preventing, reducing, or even completely reversing in some cases.
5. How does RLT work?
Your body is dependent on energy to perform all of its internal processes. The body’s ability to repair itself, detoxify, and regenerate relies upon a steady supply of energy, a lack of it can result in a host of health problems. Red light therapy is a powerful, non-invasive treatment that can be used to optimize cellular function, support the immune system, and accelerates the healing process, which means it can help with the prevention or recovery from many diseases and conditions.
6. Who can use red light therapy?
While using red light and NIR (near infrared) therapy is safe and non-invasive, the liver and other major organs play important roles in these treatments, therefore people with liver or lymph system issues and active cancer should not use red light and NIR therapy until more research has been done. The way light therapy affects cells, it's possible that cancer can spread in some patients due to increased energy of cells and mitochondrial action in cells. On the flip side, Red Light and Infrared Therapy can help to increase the immunity and reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. If you have questions about whether or not you might be a candidate for light therapy, please make an appointment with your doctor.
Some light therapy devices pulse or flash the light during treatment, therefore individuals with a history of seizures can have an adverse reaction to light therapy. So when using these devices, consumers should be extra cautious and consult a physician or healthcare provider before starting treatment.
If pregnant women are allowed to use it, anyone can use it. A study with 16 women suffering from depression symptoms showed remarkable results when they spent 60 minutes per day under 10,000 lux lights for 3-5 weeks, which diminished their depression symptoms by 50%, another study of 27 women in Sweden provided similar results.
Pregnant women are vulnerable to depression, and it is a common condition that can have serious consequences for the mother, unborn child, and the entire family. Light therapy is a viable alternative to harmful medications also in terms of back pains.
In general, studies have shown that red light therapy is safe during pregnancy, but you should always check with a doctor or midwife first to ensure that it's right for you.
7. What does red light therapy do for your body and how can it improve your health?
There are a lot of great benefits that come with red light therapy. Many people implemented it into their daily routine in order to prevent aging, to manage inflammation, improve the comfort of their lives. The biggest takeaways of Photobiomodulation also called Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) are:
Increased immunity - You can improve your health by exposing your entire body to red light. It will help keep your body functioning optimally by supporting you on cellular level, including the white blood cells that help you fight off disease. Red light is a natural way to reset the body by stimulating the production of ATP, which is an energy molecule that provides power for all cellular processes. It starts in your cells and quickly moves throughout your body, starting from the top down and bottom up.
Wound healing and tissue repair - the best spectrum range between 600 and 1300 nm has been found really great for skin rejuvenation, tissue repair throughout the body accelerating wounds healing.
Can help with thyroid problems - there are several studies proving that RLT can help with thyroid issues, even some of those dealing with Hashimoto Thyroiditis.
Anti-aging effect for hair loss and skin - a study published in 2014 in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery showed how efficiently it promotes skin rejuvenation and collagen increase, improved skin tone, complexion, texture, reduced roughness, and some fine lines. In addition, those patients dealing with redness and rosacea also found great relief from the symptoms using photobiomodulation therapy. It is proven it stimulates the growth of the hair follicles and can reverse hair loss.
Better circulation - another great benefit is that LLLT improves circulation through the body leading to producing more collagen and fibroblasts. When the red light starts to penetrate dermal and epidermal skin layers, it increases circulation from up new capillaries. This therapy is also going to be helpful for those dealing with a variety of musculoskeletal pain issues.
Red Light Therapy can improve joint and musculoskeletal health and it is now being used as a treatment to help with arthritis because it has the capabilities to stimulate collagen and rebuild cartilage. Even those not suffering arthritis, but noticed other signs of degeneration or tissue damage, may find Red Light and Infrared Therapy relieving.
8. Is Red Light Therapy safe?
Red and near-infrared light therapy has been studied extensively, there are over 50,000 studies published with no known side effects. One of the reasons this therapy is so safe is because the red and near-infrared wavelengths is low. The amount of light exposure during red light therapy treatments is so minimal that tissue temperatures increase by only a few tenths of a degree. This level of non-thermal exposure poses no risk of thermal injury.
There is no drug that has been proven to be more effective and safe than red light and near-infrared therapy.
Since the 1970s, doctors have been prescribing pharmaceuticals with an enormous list of serious side effects for so called civilisation diseases. Despite these facts, most people simply accept the treatment their doctor prescribes without question, accepting such a high risk and in most cases treating the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause (root cause).
9. How often should you use Red Light Therapy?
With Red Light Therapy also called Photobiomodulation (PMB) and low-level light therapy (LLLT) there is no one-size-fits-all but it depends on the condition you are treating. No matter what, red light therapy should be used daily for at least two weeks, with a maintenance regimen of 10 - 20 minutes once or twice a week. There are specific protocols for different conditions to achieve the maximum output for you.
10. Which red light therapy device is best?
To answer that question you need to ask yourself first “why do I need the Red Light device for?” In fact, the best one matches exactly your needs and lifestyle. Many light therapy devices today emit multiple wavelengths of either red or infrared light. Some emit both at the same time, which is called multi-wavelength therapy.
In some cases, red light may be more beneficial than near-infrared light. For many skin conditions, red light is more beneficial than near-infrared light. For example, for rosacea, acne, psoriasis or eczema red light may be an effective treatment option. In all practical purposes, a combination of red and near-infrared wavelengths is probably ideal.
A device that combines red and near-infrared light LEDs is the best of both worlds, offering 50/50 applications of visible red and invisible near-infrared light.
11. How to choose a red light therapy device?
When choosing a red light therapy device, you'll need to focus on the right features. Here are some things you'll want to consider when picking out the best red light therapy device for your needs.
Factors to consider:
- Size/type of the device
- Irradiance (Light energy output )
- Frequency/Light colour (unit: nm (nanometers))
- Body or treatment coverage area
You should select the device that meets your needs, lifestyle, and condition.
Spot/Targeted Treatments vs. Full-body Treatments
Rubicure™ makes light therapy devices in several types to meet different requirements. Before you choose, it’s important to understand the difference between targeted treatments and full-body treatments.
Targeted treatments are also called spot treatments: Rubicure™ Light and the Rubicure™ Belt are ideal for spot treatments, which means they can target a specific area of the body for localized and highly targeted light therapy support. Both are portable but the Rubicure™ Light treatment area is much smaller than the Rubicure™ Belt. Rubicure™ light is very handy and easy to carry in even a small purse. For example, you could use the Rubicure™ Light to treat a sore ankle, joints or the skin on your face even at the office.
The difference between them is: The Rubicure™ Light is designed to be a handheld, portable light therapy device that you can take just about anywhere for spot treatments. The Rubicure™ Belt is larger than the Light in the form of the body wrap and covers more of your body with red and infrared light. It’s also great for using it on-the-go but doesn't require holding it in hand.
Rubicure™ Cleo designed to deliver the benefits of 7 LED light therapies in a comfortable, convenient, and safe face and neck mask. Covering your face and neck, it gives you maximum results. The Rubicure™ Cleo mask is perfectly designed for maximum comfort and mobility allowing you to move freely and treat your face and neck at the same time.
Full-body treatments are designed to treat large portions of your body at a time. This means that the entire body, from head to toe, delivers more light and energy to more cells. The more your body is exposed to light, the more healthy light energy can be absorbed for overall health benefits. Moreover the full body treatments support and amplify targeted treatments.
All our Rubicure™ devices are available in multiple configurations of 660nm or a combination of the two 660nm and 850nm. The combination of Red and Infrared light can be adjusted to provide 660nm (Red) or 850nm (infrared) only, alternatively both can be used simultaneously with the pulse light mode feature. This provides the user with a high level of flexibility, allowing to choose frequencies that work only for user's needs.
One common misconception about LED lights is that the price of a product indicates its quality. In reality, you are falling into a trap of big marketing budgets and paying off bloggers and doctors commissions. The most important indicator is the price and performance ratio.