Red Light Therapy: Benefits and Risks on Skin
Red Light Therapy or RLT is a therapeutic procedure that is still considered as being quite controversial. It is a procedure that claims to address certain skin conditions such as nagging wounds, scars, and wrinkles using low-level wavelengths of red light. Red light therapy was utilized in the 1990s to help the growth of plants while in space. It was discovered by scientists that Red Light from LED or light-emitting diodes can actually help in the development and growth of plant cells aside from the promotion of photosynthesis.
This discovery resulted in red light being tested and studied for its possible benefits and application in the medical field. The focus of the said research centered on whether or not the red light therapy can have the same cell development and growth in human cells. The scientists were hopeful that the application of Red Light Therapy could affect various different medical conditions associated with space travel such as bone density problems caused by weightlessness in space, wound that heals slowly, and muscle atrophy.
Other names for red light therapy or RLT include low power laser therapy (LPLT), photonic stimulation, biostimulation, cold laser therapy, soft laser therapy low-level light therapy (LLLT), and photobiomodulation (PBM). Red light therapy or RLT that is used together with medications categorized as photosensitizing, the therapy is usually called photodynamic. This kind of therapy will only utilize red light as a form of catalyst or activating agent of the medications.
Different types of red light treatments are available in the market today. Salons that have red light beds claim to lessen issues with the skin such as wrinkles and stretch marks. Once used in official medical settings however, red light therapy can be used to treat more serious medical conditions such as wounds that heal slowly, the skin condition known as psoriasis and chemotherapy side effects.
There are a number of promising health benefits in terms of Red Light Treatment (RLT) but there are still a number of things that need to be researched to further understand how it can help the human body.
What is the Process Behind Red Light Therapy?
Red Light works through the production of certain biochemical processes that can provide mitochondrial strength. The mitochondria are simply the fuel or battery of the human cells and are responsible for providing energy to the molecules. The molecule responsible for the distribution of the aforementioned energy is called adenosine triphosphate or ATP.
Through the increase of the mitochondrial strength and process via the utilization of the red light therapy procedure or the RLT, cells can then ideally created more adenosine triphosphate or ATP. With the increase in energy, cells are expected to repair the damage, rejuvenate and refresh their biochemical processes and function better as a whole.
Red Light therapy or procedure is different from IPL or intense pulsed light procedures since they don’t cause any form of damage to the skin. Intensely pulsed light procedures skin damage to the outer layer to promote tissue repair and rejuvenation. Red light therapy, on the other hand, goes directly to the stimulation of the skin’s regeneration with its powerful light that can penetrate up to five (5) millimeters under the surface of the patient ’s skin.
The Uses of Red Light Therapies
Since the initial studies and research was conducted for plants in space, red light therapies have been studied extensively to verify and establish their medical benefits to humans. Fortunately, these studies yielded mostly positive results in terms of the medical and health benefits of red light therapies or RLT. However, these benefits are still being contested and may be considered as highly controversial. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS stated that there is insufficient evidence that red light devices can have better outcomes compared to other traditional treatments for pain, ulcers, and wounds.
Further research is needed to establish the health benefits of red light therapies or RLT. Currently, though, there is the reason to believe that Red Light Therapy or RLT can have the following health and medical benefits:
- Help patients with Achilles Tendonitis especially in relieving inflammation and pain
- Lessen scar appearance
- Improve joint health for people with knee osteoarthritis
- Help repair damage to the skin caused by the sun
- Help in preventing the recurrence of cold sores caused by infections from the virus known as herpes simplex
- Enhance the skin health of patients by improving the complexion of the skin through the production of collagen
- Help patients experiencing oral mucositis caused by certain treatments for cancer
- Aid the body in addressing rheumatoid arthritis through the provision of pain relief and by relieving morning stiffness.
- Help patients lessen lesions caused by the skin condition known as psoriasis
- Enhance and stimulate healing of wounds or injuries that are considered slow healing such as diabetic foot ulcers
- Aid patients in the alleviation of symptoms related to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Help patients in achieving improved growth of the hair especially for those afflicted by androgenic alopecia.
- Promotion of tissue repairs and the healing of wounds and injuries.
At present, insurance companies do not really cover the Red Light Therapies due to insufficient evidence so it is best for individuals to check their options.