The health benefits of exposure to light have been known for centuries now; after all, it’s no secret that even the smallest dose of sunshine can help keep us healthy, happy, and productive.
What you might not know, however, is that there’s a different, specialised form of light that has been found to be extremely beneficial for our body’s ability to maintain healthy skin, muscle, and cellular growth.
It’s known as red light therapy, or photobiomodulation, and is growing in popularity as a potential treatment for a number of different health concerns.
Shortly after NASA discovered that plants taken to space grew significantly faster when exposed to red and near-infrared light, scientists recognised that organic cells respond positively to the light waves emitted from something like a red light therapy device.
This is why we’ve seen gravitation toward red light therapy as a safe and easy-to-use treatment for a variety of health concerns that can be treated from the comfort of home.
You can learn more about the origins of red light therapy here.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Photobiomodulation, otherwise known as red light therapy, is a treatment that involves exposure to red and near-infrared light that penetrates the skin and helps to energise muscle tissue and cells to both recover and reinvigorate.
Targeted exposure to this special form of light can help to kick-start the reproduction of healthy cells in the body.
This is why red light therapy is often found to be an effective form of treatment for skin problems.
You can think of red light therapy as giving your cells an extra boost of energy so they can get back to business as usual, but at a higher rate of function.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Exposure to red light through a specialised device targets a cell’s mitochondria, otherwise known as the power source of a cell’s ability to repair itself and reproduce.
Red and near-infrared light enters the skin and is absorbed by the mitochondria, which causes a biochemical reaction that gives your body’s cells a significant energy boost.
Like those NASA astronauts that found plants were growing faster in space while exposed to red and near-infrared light, with red light therapy, our cells are given a dose of extra energy that they depend on to grow, operate and repair in problematic areas.
Is Red Light Therapy Good For Skin?
As we’ve discussed in a previous article focusing on whether or not saunas are good for your skin, red and near-infrared light enters the skin, and the energy stimulates the body’s mitochondria which converts the energy into adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short.
ATP is often referred to as the ‘currency’ of the cell, and the more energy it receives, the greater its ability to reproduce in the body.
Dr. Rayleigh Duncan says that “as we age, the problems that we come up with is that our cells are not as vibrant, and they don’t have the energy. By giving them the injection of more ATP, it’s like a fountain of youth.”
Red Light Therapy Benefits?
Research shows that photoactivated cells - through red light therapy - can repair themselves, and regulate primary functions with a higher level of ATP, which means cells will migrate to problematic areas or be stimulated to grow.
This, in combination with increased blood flow, means that red light therapy is an adaptable form of treatment for a growing list of problems.
With more energy, a cell can function at a higher rate to repair and reproduce healthy cells, which means it can be an effective treatment for things like osteoarthritis, hair loss, muscle pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, wound healing, scars, and psoriasis reduces sun damage as well as building collagen to reduce wrinkles and improves countless skin conditions.
Red light therapy has also been proven as an effective treatment for optimising sleep patterns and is beneficial when it comes to reversing the impact of blue light emitted from digital screens on both the eyes and the body’s circadian rhythm.
Is Red Light Therapy Dangerous?
One of the most common misconceptions is that red light therapy is dangerous, and can be harmful to skin.
The reality is that red light therapy has been found by reputable researchers and institutions alike to be a safe form of treatment for a growing list of diseases and conditions.
The light emitted by a red light therapy system penetrates the skin by around 5mm, but there is no exposure to harmful light waves like ultraviolet UVB or UVC, which means that using a red light therapy device does not expose your body to any forms of light that are potentially dangerous.
Instead, the light penetrates underneath the skin, targeting the muscle tissue and cells, similar to the targeted approach of infrared light in a sauna.
Is Red Light Therapy Bad for Your Eyes?
As mentioned above, the forms of light emitted from a red light therapy device is harmless to human skin and eyes.
In fact, one study suggests that red light therapy is actually beneficial for patients that exhibited declining eyesight.
The author of that study, Professor Glen Jeffrey said in his findings that “our study shows that it is possible to significantly improve vision that has declined in aged individuals using simple, brief exposures to light wavelengths that recharge the energy system that has declined in the retina cells.”
He continued to explain that “the technology is simple and very safe, using a deep red light of a specific wavelength that is absorbed by the mitochondria in the retina that supply energy for cellular function.”
How Often Should You Use Red Light Therapy?
One of the best things about red light therapy is that once you’ve noted your body shows no sign of reactions, you can treat yourself as often as you’d like.
Depending on the device you’re using, ten minutes of targeted red light treatment per area is generally advised, but you’re welcome to come back to certain areas if you’d like.
You can use red light therapy multiple times per day, so long as you’re moving either the device or your body to target different areas with the cell-boosting light.
How To Use Red Light Therapy
Using a red light therapy device at home is a quick, simple, and safe way of optimising the growth of healthy cells in your body.
It is recommended that you position the device close to your skin, around six inches from each problematic or targeted area.
Simply position the device close to your body, switch it on, and either sit or stand while soaking up the cellular benefits of red light therapy for up to ten minutes per area.
We also advise that you test certain areas with the red light therapy device for a short period of time, and monitor your skin for any irritation or adverse reaction overnight.
If not, you’re safe to proceed for regular sessions targeting that area with red light therapy.
If you are interested in red light therapy benefits, an Aurora Red Light Therapy Mini or an Aurora Red light Therapy Plus for your home treatment are great options.
If you're interested in an infrared sauna cabin for home, click here to view our range of full-spectrum saunas, far-infrared saunas, and outdoor saunas.