The Ins and Outs of Red Light Therapy
Updated: Jan 31
Have you ever tried red light therapy? (Not to be confused with infrared laser therapy). Red light therapy (RLT), was originally used to encourage photosynthesis and growth in plants on space shuttles used by NASA, and is known by several names including cold laser therapy, bio stimulation, photo biomodulation, light box therapy, etc. Since then, its usefulness for humans has been explored, with the colourful new treatment recently popping up in holistic centres, day spas, salons, and even certain gyms all over the nation; bringing with it a brag-worthy bevy of benefits. But what’s the secret to its success, and who can benefit from it? We’ve gone in for the details and brought you the goods on this exciting new technology to help you decide if it’s right for you!
What are the Benefits of Red-Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is said to involve the delivery of low-light red wavelengths into the skin, causing a strengthening of the mitochondria, which are known as the “powerhouses” or power generators of the cell. This mitochondrial boost has many referring to RLT as the ‘fountain of youth’ as it promotes numerous regenerative processes in the body including the stimulation of tissue recovery, wound healing, the diminishing of scars, improved joint health, an increase in the production of collagen, and a decrease in visible wrinkles, to name just a few. But with all the benefits of RLT, is there any downside to it? Side effects are important to understand, so let’s consider what’s relevant regarding this therapy.
What are the Side Effects of Red-Light Therapy?
According to board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rhonda Klein of Connecticut, red light therapy delivers safe light into the skin as deeply as 10 millimetres (deeper than most lotions and creams delve). Harvard Medical School’s, Michael Hamblin, also describes RLT ideal at wavelengths of between 650 - 850 nanometers, varying for different treatment purposes. With this framework in mind, red light therapy is said to be “completely noninvasive and safe for everyone,” with no side effects; causing absolutely no skin damage compared to some other types of laser treatments. Although some have complained about their eyes feeling irritated post-RLT, this issue has been reported as minor, and easily resolved by clients wearing protective goggles during future treatments. Others reported burns or blisters from the units being poorly maintained or having fallen asleep with the unit on the skin -- neither of which are a problem for focused professionals. Not only do doctors and other professionals swear by the safety and efficacy of red light therapy, but scientific studies back it up as well.
Can Red Light Therapy Help You Lose Weight?
Some doctors find RLT effective for weight loss, particularly if the client has reached a plateau. Additionally, studies have shown a range of efficacy regarding weight loss and RLT, including the following:
A 2011 study concluded that red light therapy combined with treadmill exercise can reduce cellulite and improve body aesthetics (Paolillo, Borghi-Silva, & et al., 2011 Aug: 13(4):166-71).
Red light therapy has been shown to be effective for natural, non-invasive cosmetic body contouring.
A study in the Journal of Obesity Surgery revealed that red light therapy led to participants having a statistically significant waistline girth reduction at the end of four weeks of treatment (Caruso-Davis, Guillot, Podichetty, & et al., 2011. Jun;21(6):722-9).
The Lasers in Surgery Medicine journal also shared that red-light therapy can reduce the circumference of treated parts of the body with sessions focused on targeted fat loss (Jacskson, Dedo, Roche , & et al., 2009;41(10):99-809).
Another Lasers in Surgery Medicine study from 2013 found that participants receiving red light therapy for body contouring ended up with 2.99 inches mean loss in overall body size compared to measurements taken at the beginning of the trial (McRae E, Jan 2013;45(1):1-7).
In 2018, researchers discovered that a pre-exercise red light therapy treatment decreased body fat in healthy participants when compared to placebo (Miranda, Tomazoni, & et al., 2018 May; 33(4):719-727).
Brazilian researchers found that red light therapy enhanced the effects of physical exercise when used in combination on 64 obese women aged 20 - 40; they also observed increased skeletal muscle mass (Sene-Fiorese, Duarte, & Et al., 2015 Oct; 47(8):634-42).
Researchers from another 2018 study found improved body composition in young obese women when light therapy was used alongside an exercise regimen (Da Silveira Campos, Damaso, & Et al. , 2018 Aug;33(6):1245-1254).
A 2015 study concluded that cardio-metabolic risk factors could be controlled by red light therapy in obese populations (Duarte & Et al., 2015 Dec;153:103-10).
These discoveries document how safe and effective red-light therapy is for weight loss, body contouring, and decreasing body fat, especially when combined with a healthy exercise regimen.
Is Red Light Therapy Effective for Tightening Loose Skin?
For those with loose skin, red light therapy also brings hope. As the light stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, the skin becomes tighter and “plumper”, while simultaneously increasing in cellular movement which creates ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, an essential energy source for cells and the body. ATP is behind the healing, renewed tissue repair, and regeneration of the skin prompted by RLT. Additionally, RLT helps form fibroblasts (cells which produce collagen) and increases the development of capillaries, which together, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and oxygenate the skin, giving it a rejuvenated look. It’s important to remember as clients undergo treatments that collagen and elastin increase progressively over time, meaning red light therapy for skin tightening takes time to show visibly.
Visit Cryo Body Works for Information or to Schedule an RLT Session Today!
If you are in the Austin, TX area...
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Call (512) 522-0221 to schedule a session! We also offer low-cost membership plans and packages that accept payments from your HSA as well. Cryo Body Works offers many other treatments and therapy options like Cryotherapy, Infrared Sauna, Infrared Laser Therapy, PEMF Therapy, Compression Therapy, Ice Baths, and B12 shot injections! We would love to hear your story, introduce you to our facility and get your health and recovery journey started!
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