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What is Red Light Therapy Good For?

RLT may have the following benefits:

  • promotes wound healing and tissue repair
  • improves hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia
  • help for the short-term treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
  • stimulates healing of slow-healing wounds, like diabetic foot ulcers
  • reduces psoriasis lesions
  • aids with short-term relief of pain and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • reduces some of the side effects of cancer treatments, including oral mucositis
  • improves skin complexion and builds collagen to diminish wrinkles
  • helps to mend sun damage
  • prevents recurring cold sores from herpes simplex virus infections
  • improves the health of joints in people with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee
  • helps diminish scars
  • relieves pain and inflammation in people with pain in the Achilles tendons
  • relief from symptoms of seasonal depression

How does red light therapy work?

In the early 1990s, RLT was used by scientists to help grow plants in space. The scientists found that the intense light from red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helped promote growth and photosynthesis of plant cells.

Red light was then studied for its potential application in medicine, more specifically to find out if RLT could increase energy inside human cells. The researchers hoped that RLT could be an effective way to treat the muscle atrophy, slow wound healing, and bone density issues caused by weightlessness during space travel.

Red light is thought to work by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthens the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell — it’s where the cell’s energy is created. The energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things is called ATP(adenosine triphosphate).

By increasing the function of the mitochondria using RLT, a cell can make more ATP. With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate themselves, and repair damage.

RLT is different from laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies because it doesn’t cause damage to the skin surface. Laser and pulsed light therapies work by causing controlled damage to the outer layer of the skin, which then induces tissue repair. RLT bypasses this harsh step by directly stimulating regeneration of the skin. The light emitted by RLT penetrates roughly 5 millimeters below the skin’s surface.

 

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