What you need to know about Red Light Therapy
We have introduced Red Light Therapy
We, as humans, need exposure to light to ensure our physical and psychological wellbeing. If we don’t get enough light, it can wreak havoc on our bodies and state of mind. Sunlight increases our vitamin D and serotonin levels, which in turn boosts our mood and behaviour, makes us feel positive and happy, improves our focus, and helps to avoid fatigue. As well as improving our natural circadian rhythms, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
With all this in mind, it’s really no wonder that light therapy has been used throughout history and today, with technical advancement, artificial light is now widely used in wellness clinics, spas, and athletic centres.
And we can’t ignore the growing preference for non-invasive treatments and procedures.
We’ve recently introduced red light therapy to our ever-growing menu of wellness treatments so here we’ve collated all the need-to-know information on this technology from trustworthy and reliable sources, aiming to cut through the noise and provide you an introduction to red light therapy that’s easy to understand.
Jargon-busting – Photobiomodulation (PBM), LLLT, LPLT… what does it all mean?
Before we dive in, let’s clear up some jargon because you may find that you’ve already heard of red light therapy, just under the guise of one of its many other names. These are the names you’re most likely to have come across:
- Photobiomodulation (PBM)
- Low-Level Light Therapy or Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
- Low-Power Laser Therapy (LPLT)
- LED (light-emitting diode) Light Therapy
Below are some other terms that are less commonly used in our practice because they are more likely prescribed by health professionals in the medical field. For example, ‘Photodynamic Therapy’ is a treatment that combines light therapy with light-sensitive medication to treat conditions such as skin cancer. As this is not the purpose we use/administer for, we won’t be covering those uses in this article, but for completeness – here they are:
- Soft Laser Therapy
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Biostimulation Laser
- Photonic Stimulation
- Photodynamic Therapy
What is Red Light Therapy?
In a nutshell, red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses a device specially fitted with bulbs that emit low-wavelength red light. By exposing your body to this light, these wavelengths can penetrate the skin’s layers to help heal and improve skin, muscle, joints, tissue, and sometimes even organs and bones.
The therapy is used to treat a myriad of things (which we’ll come on to this later in this blog).
From the Nobel Prize to NASA and a $1billion industry– a brief history of light therapy
Here’s a very brief history of how the use of light in therapy evolved to where it is today…as early as 1896, ever since Thomas Edison patented the incandescent light bulb in 1879, health practitioners of the time studied and experimented with the effects of light on living organisms. A Danish physician, Dr. Finsen successfully tested a light therapy for lupus vulgaris (a type of tuberculosis) and in 1903 was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology for his light therapy treatments.
Studies continued, progressed, and evolved through time, eventually introducing the laser – which was theorized by Albert Einstein himself!
Fast forward to the 1980s / 90s, none other than NASA began studying the effects of light therapy. Their research and experiments were originally developed to seek to grow plants on space shuttle missions to feed astronauts. This advanced into the study of LED’s effects in promoting wound healing in astronauts by helping cells and tissues grow.
Today, light therapy is used across an array of industries, such as pharmaceuticals and medicine, and by many professionals, such as dermatologists, aestheticians, etc. Last year (2021), Global Market Insights valued the light therapy market at over $1billion in 2020.
Red Light Therapy for holistic wellness – how does it work?
But HOW does this work? We know what you’re thinking… how can simply standing in front of a lit-up device possibly do anything? Well, there’s a lot happening that you can’t see. So, this is where we’re going to get a little bit more technical…
The wavelength of light is measured in nanometers (nm), the longer the wavelength the deeper the penetration into the body. The red light we use at Cryojuvenate reaches around 650nm – 850nm.
When your naked skin is exposed to the red light, the mitochondria of your body’s cells absorb it and turn it into more energy. Mitochondria are often called the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell. With this additional energy, the cells can work more efficiently to boost new cell growth, repair the skin and muscle tissue, etc. The light stimulates the cells to optimise the body’s natural recovery and healing process.
What does a typical red light therapy session look like?
This treatment is super easy to deliver and receive. It’s non-invasive so requires very little preparation from you AND no downtime. There are lots of potential benefits to be had, so we think it’s a bit of a no-brainer! Here’s what a typical session would look like…
- We’ll take you into the private treatment room and you’ll need to expose the skin that you want to treat – for general health, we say get down to your undies!
- Position yourself in front of the RLT device. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, one of our trained therapists will guide you on the best distance to stand from the device.
- The sessions we offer are 10 minutes in length and, again, depending on what you want to achieve, our trained therapists will advise you on positioning yourself. Generally, we suggest using half the time front-facing, half the time back-facing.
So that’s all there is to it: strip down > get into position > let the light do its work!
What can red light therapy treat?
In the interest of being totally transparent, it’s worth caveating that whilst there is an abundance of research papers, studies, and success stories, red light therapy is still considered to be an emerging treatment. As interest grows, so does the research and development. For certain conditions, red light therapy has shown great potential, but more studies need to be conducted.
Here’s a list of what red light therapy could treat:
- Skin rejuvenation – improving facial texture, wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots
- Helping to reverse and repair sun damage
- Alleviating the darkness of scars and stretch marks
- Stimulating the production of collagen (which gives skin structure, strength, and elasticity)
Pain and conditions
- Aid in treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, vitiligo, and dermatitis.
- Improving hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia.
- Aches & pains (acute pain, chronic pain, and neuropathic pain)
- Joint pain
- Post-surgery recovery
- Muscle recovery
- Tendon and ligament healing
- Wound healing
- Improving mood
- Regulating sleep
- Enhancing physical performance – reduces fatigue and lactate levels
- Eye health
- Stabilising hormone levels and imbalances
- Brain health
- Cellular repair
- Better blood flow to the tissue
- Better lymphatic drainage
Research and Studies
We have access to lots of really interesting case studies and research material and could quite easily do an article each on red light therapy for a TON of conditions… BUT we did promise to keep this article straightforward, covering the basics and what you need to know.
Keep an eye on future articles for a breakdown by condition, but in the meantime, here are just a few examples of research that’s already been undertaken – for those of you who enjoy the real science stuff!
Study 1: Red light therapy for reducing inflammation
Red light therapy boosts the cells of the body and helps them accept nutrients and eliminate toxins faster, which promotes quicker recovery and production of anti-inflammatories.
Dr. Michael R. Hamblin, from Harvard Medical School, is the world’s leading RLT researcher and has openly shared how RLT generates an “overall reduction in inflammation” in the body.
Here’s a link to his study “Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation” (link to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5523874/)
Study 2: Red light therapy for insomnia
If you don’t sleep well, you don’t recover well. At Cryojuvenate, we’re always talking about the importance of getting quality sleep, here’s why sleep is important:
- Improves concentration, productivity & cognitive function
- Allows your hormones to return to a normal, balanced state
- Improves immune system
- This is the time the majority of vital functions occur such as tissue repair, hormonal releases, and muscle growth among other functions
- Gives your brain cells time to relax, regroup and reenergize
A 2019 study showed that red light therapy improves sleep quality for insomniacs. With the aid of red light therapy, participants were able to fall asleep quicker, had fewer awakenings, and experienced a deeper sleep.
Here’s a link to the study “Effectiveness of Laser Acupuncture in Alleviating Chronic Insomnia: A Single-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial” (link to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31312225 )
Study 3: Red Light Therapy for brain health (cognitive decline)
In 2017, researchers used red light therapy to treat older adults, between the ages of 49 and 90 years, who were at risk of cognitive decline. Some of the participants already struggled with cognitive decline due to vascular disease. The results showed a very positive neurocognitive effect. What’s more, the therapy proved to be effective regardless of the nature of the cognitive decline. The results demonstrate that red light therapy can health really work in a safe manner to treat age-related cognitive decline.
Source: “Beneficial neurocognitive effects of transcranial laser in older adults” - Vargas, E. Barrett, D.W., Saucedo, C.L., Huang, L.D., Abraham, J.A., Tanaka, H., Haley, A.P., Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2017, July).
Other frequently asked questions about LED light therapy
We’ve looked at the how, why, and what of red light therapy but here are some other commonly asked questions. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, check out our FAQs page here
Is red light therapy safe? Are there any side effects?
Red light therapy is considered a very safe and natural treatment. It is non-invasive, chemical-free, and does not contain ultraviolet rays. There are no ‘rules’ as such regarding how much light is used or the length of exposure.
Too much light exposure could cause tissue damage, but you’d need to use the device consistently for hours on end – we uphold above-par care of duty to our clients, so this just simply wouldn’t happen at Cryojuvenate.
Similarly, too little light exposure might not be enough to get the benefits.
Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat therefore it does not hurt or burn the skin.
Will it hurt my eyes?
The device is safe for the eyes but you may find that the bulbs are very bright and uncomfortable to look at directly. You’ll probably find yourself closing your eyes but you’re welcome to wear your sunglasses!
Is red LED light different from blue LED light?
The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of different forms of electromagnetic radiation. Each form of light used in therapy sits on this spectrum. Red and blue light are the most commonly used in wellness and beauty treatments and are classed as ‘visible light’. They sit pretty much next to each other on the spectrum.
Red and blue LEDs are both great for treating the skin, which is why you’ll often see them used together. However, they each have a different wavelength, meaning the effects are similar but with some key differences. The type you should choose depends on the outcome you desire.
Blue light has a shorter wavelength which penetrates the pores and eliminates bacteria on the skin.
With its longer wavelength, red light can penetrate further into the skin and help the cells to grow faster with rejuvenating effects. This wavelength is optimal for collagen production, reducing blemishes, anti-aging effects, and anti-inflammation.
Infrared light therapy vs. red light therapy – is there a difference?
Red Light Therapy is often confused with Infrared Light Therapy. Both forms of light sit close to each other on the spectrum so, broadly speaking, the benefits are quite similar.
However, infrared light uses a longer wavelength so is used to penetrate more deeply into the body. Infrared is also invisible and felt as warmth so has a different effect on the body and can therefore treat different ailments. Some red light therapy devices actually use a small amount of infrared or near-infrared light too.
Red Light Therapy at Cryojuvenate
Our top-of-the-range equipment is approved by the FDA and certified by RoHS and CE so you can feel assured that it complies with the highest levels of safety regulations. You’re in good hands.
Unlike most clinics, we’ve added a little something extra to this treatment, at no extra cost. When standing in front of our red light device, you have the option to stand on our vibration plate. This plate vibrates to create full-body vibrations for muscle contractions and activations to aid in body sculpting.
Sound good? There are multiple ways for you to enjoy this new therapy and include it in your cryotherapy experience.
You may also find more information about our Red Light Therapy treatment here
We suggest that you may use a red light panel for between 10 to 20 minutes for up to 3 to 5 times per week (1 to 4 months) and then continue with a maintenance program which will be available as part of our ‘SELECT MEMBERSHIPS’ for maintenance or as recommended by your doctor or dermatologist.
Take a taster session
If this is your first visit and you would like to try it out, you can book a single introduction session here for just £10 for 10 minutes.
Book a course
After your taster session, we offer Red Light Therapy courses, as below:
- A course of 10 sessions (10 minutes per session) is £199
- A course of 20 sessions (10 minutes per session) is £299
* you may take 2 sessions back to back if you would like a longer treatment (10 mins front | 10 mins back)
Take a membership
In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching our NEW ‘SELECT’ membership options. Each is designed to deliver the absolute most – that means more savings and benefits for you! The new memberships will include Red Light Therapy.
Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when these are launched – subscribe here
Combine red light therapy with whole-body cryotherapy
Sometimes you need just a little something extra, which is why we have a variety of combination packs. These packs combine treatments that complement each other to deliver maximum results and save you time and money, compared to booking them separately.
The newest to our range is ‘THE ICE & LIGHT’ combo (£75) – combining the freeze power of the cryo chamber with the benefits of longer light therapy treatment to really super-charge your treatment. Includes:
- 1x Whole Body Cryotherapy session (3-5minutes)
- 1x Red Light Therapy session (20 minutes)
!! SPECIAL OFFER ALERT !! Book your first Ice and Light combo pack at our special Earlybird price of £49 until 31-05-2022
For more info on our Combo Packs – click here
To make a booking – click here