Red Light Therapy Pros And Cons

This picture describes pros and cons of Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy is gaining popularity as a safe, non-invasive, and effective treatment for various conditions like alopecia, bone health, accelerated skin aging, wound healing, and more. It’s also useful for weight loss and body contouring for personal and medical reasons. For further understanding, red light therapy pros and cons are two things people should be aware of.

Red light therapy comes with advantages and drawbacks, making everyone not a candidate for it. Some of the side effects of red light therapy include eye damage, burns, and blistering. These side effects are preventable if you understand the whole concept of the therapy. 

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is a procedure that exposes your body’s cells to wavelengths of red light in the mid-600 nanometer for energy regeneration [1]. It penetrates deep into the skin to have therapeutic effects at the cellular level. A more elaborated explanation is found in this article.

Red Light Therapy Advantages (The Pros)

Several clinical studies have proven some of the advantages of red light therapy. For instance, a study revealed how red light therapy can improve the healing of age-related degeneration of a person’s eyes [2]. There are still more advantages that we can get from red light therapy. Learn more about them here.

1. Red light therapy acts as a treatment for basic skin issues. 

Skin issues are among the most common problems people deal with. It’s because the skin is the most superficial part of the body that can be noticed instantly. Based on a clinical trial, red light therapy can help with the improvement and rejuvenation of the skin through cell regeneration [3].

2. Red light therapy works as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

Inflammation is one of the major causes of more severe health conditions. If this is prevented, there’ll be a lower incidence of chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Thanks to red light therapy, another method of fighting off inflammation becomes more accessible to people who want an alternative to pharmacological treatments. 

One study showed the advantage of red light therapy in regulating the cellular and metabolic processes needed for the body to respond to inflammation. It has also been proven that such a method of action is advantageous for people experiencing pain from arthritis, muscle pains, and more.  [4]. 

3. Red light therapy improves the quality of sleep by reducing insomnia. 

A red light signals your body to regulate the proper sleep cycle. It also reduces the occurrence of insomnia. It gives you this advantage by restoring your body’s circadian rhythm, which is responsible for sleep and mood stabilization. In insomnia, the circadian rhythm is the most often disrupted [5].

4. Red light therapy supports stronger hair growth.

Red light therapy prevents hair loss. It’s also advantageous for people with alopecia since red light therapy stimulates the mitochondria in a person’s bulge stem cells. 

One study shows those with alopecia grew stronger and thicker hair by undergoing red light therapy. 

However, it was also stated that prolonged application of red light therapy is required to achieve such results [6]. 

5. Red light therapy provides a healthy method to lose weight.

In a world where fit people are being looked up to, and obese people are labeled unhealthy, losing weight is a common goal. Red light therapy acts as another way of losing weight aside from appetite suppressants, workouts, and a restrictive diet.

A study shows how red light therapy is advantageous to people desiring to have a slimmer waistline circumference through body contouring [7].

6. Red light therapy is affordable.

Years ago, red light therapy can empty a person’s pocket since it’s not included in a healthcare insurance package. Since the birth of red light therapy devices available at meager prices, the intervention is now affordable. Besides, red light therapy is a good investment, especially now that you can do it at home. 

Red Light Therapy Drawbacks (The Cons)

Like any other procedure, red light therapy also has its drawbacks. Red light therapy risks are the reason why not every person is subject to be a candidate. However, the drawbacks of red light therapy are fewer than the advantages.

1. Red light therapy is not for everyone.

Before deciding to undergo red light therapy, there are considerations that you must be aware of. These considerations are mostly linked to existing medical conditions. Red light therapy is not for you if you are prone to skin damage, permanent eye damage (retina of people with Diabetes), and photophobia or light sensitivity.

2. Red light therapy is not a cure.

Although many existing clinical studies prove how effective red light therapy is in treating several conditions, there is still no claim about it being a cure. Red light therapy provides relief, but it does not cure. If you decide to experience red light therapy, know that it requires consistency for you to achieve the best results.

3. Red light therapy may cause burns.

Burns are among the drawbacks of red light therapy when it’s not done properly. These burns are an effect of improper use of a red light therapy device or failure to understand what’s written on the manual of instructions. 

Is Red Therapy Safe?

Red light therapy is considered a safe and non-invasive procedure. 

When it comes to various health and skin improvements, the lack of UV rays makes red light therapy safe. A study proves that red light therapy is safe for skin improvements and other anti-aging benefits [8].

Is red light therapy harmful or can red light therapy be harmful? Red light therapy devices will not be approved by the FDA if they cause harm. Short but consistent periods of exposure to red light therapy assures you will get the right results.

To see satisfactory results from red light therapy, you need to set aside 10-20 minutes of your day [9]. Red light therapy is a safe method that penetrates deep within your body to work its wonders. 

Extra precautions include protecting your eyes from too much exposure to red light therapy. The right exposure will not burn your eyes, but you might feel a gentle warmth throughout the treatment. Damage only occurs from too much exposure. 

Summary

Some people label red light therapy as magic, while others are still new to the concept. The pros and cons we have mentioned above will tell you how reliable red light therapy is. In fact, it can be as effective as pharmacological interventions. 

However, red light therapy only works to hasten and provide relief for many health conditions; it does not literally cure them. As long as you adhere to the contraindications, follow the required sessions needed, you’ll experience the best results. 

The science behind red light therapy is promising, and we’ll never know; years from now, more evidence will show to back up this concept. 


References:

  1. De Almeida P, et al. Red (660 nm) and infrared (830 nm) Low-level Laser Therapy in Skeletal Muscle Fatigue in Humans: What is Better? 2011 July 22 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21814736/
  2. Geneva I. Photobiomodulation for the Treatment of Retinal Diseases: A Review. 2016 January 18 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768515/
  3. Wusch A, Matuschka, K. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. 2014 February 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/
  4. Hamblin MR. Mechanisms and Applications of the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Photobiomodulation. 2017 May 19 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5523874/
  5. Sloane PD, Figueiro M, Cohen L. Light Therapy for Sleep Disorders and Depression in Older Adults. 2008 March 1. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839957/
  6. Hamblin MR. Photobiomodulation for the Management of Alopecia: Mechanisms of Action, Patient Selection, and Perspectives. 2019 September 6 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737896/
  7. Manamed Inc. Effects of Red Light Therapy on Body Contouring. 2018 August 17 – https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03470272
  8. Wusch A, Matuschka K. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. 2014 February 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/
  9. Ablon G. Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes. 2018 February 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843358/

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