What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light Therapy is becoming increasingly well known in the Netherlands, but especially in America and Australia. This is because red light can provide scientifically proven benefits for skin and physical health. Physiotherapists have been using red and infrared heat lamps for decades to relieve physical problems, but this is an outdated technique. I'll tell you why this is outdated below. Clinics and hospitals have also been using more red light therapy in the form of laser since the 1980s. I will also tell you below what the advantages and disadvantages of this are. With the new technology of LED lighting it has become possible to offer Red Light Therapy with the advantages of affordability and the performance of much more expensive devices such as low level laser therapy.
What are the proven effects of Red Light Therapy?
Numerous positive effects on the body have been proven through scientific research since 100 years ago, but mainly the investigations and studies from the 1980s to now. Because many of these studies are specialized for, for example, the cure of cancer, we will only list the positive effects that can be directly useful for you.
- Better skin: The application of red and infrared light to the skin can make the skin more beautiful through less wrinkles, more elasticity, better toning (skin structure and color) and less inflammation. You have fewer wrinkles due to the production of collagen, which is a kind of foundation for smooth, tight skin. The blood circulation also improves, so that the skin is better nourished and can renew and recover better. Red light also provides healthier cells, making the skin and underlying tissue healthier and look healthier. I will explain below how red light makes the cells healthier.
- Muscle mass and muscle recovery: Endurance athletes and bodybuilders can also benefit greatly from a Red Light Therapy module. This is because red and infrared light improve blood flow, which of course benefits muscle recovery and muscle growth. This light also provides more ATP by feeding the cells directly.
- Testosterone: It has long been proven that exposing the testicles to sunlight can help increase testosterone. However, the disadvantages are that many people do not have the opportunity to sunbathe naked and that the sun can sometimes burn the skin quickly and become too hot. The advantage of red light therapy is that you can now treat the testicles in the privacy of your own home and that burning and heat with red LED light does not apply. (cheap red light therapy devices may contain too warm or harmful light). Exposing the thyroid gland can also increase testosterone. More about this is described in the article 'Testosterone'.
- Inflammations: Red light and infrared light therapy reduces inflammation. Red light mainly superficial inflammations, while infrared light can penetrate deeper into the body, so that deeper inflammations such as joint inflammation can also be treated. This light therapy is therefore not only good for skin infections, but also for relieving arthritis, for example.
- More energy and stamina: This is of course also a great advantage for athletes, but certainly also for people with chronic fatigue or other problems with energy. For athletes it is also good to know that studies have shown that delayed muscle pain is reduced, which has the advantage that you can start the next training easier, faster and better. This of course also benefits muscle growth.
- Lose fat and size: Many studies, mainly done on abdominal fat / abdominal size, have shown that the use of red and infrared light therapy, mainly in combination with exercises, reduces the size and fat mass faster. This is beneficial for people who wish to lose weight for cosmetic or health reasons.
- Rest and joy: We have experienced that many people who really take a moment to immerse themselves in red and infrared light for 10 to 20 minutes experience that it makes you happy and also an underlying sense of peace.
Why is LED Light Therapy better than the old heat lamps?
Old-fashioned lamps are full-spectrum lamps, which means that they emit the full spectrum of light with possibly an extra peak radiation in a specific area. Because all this extra light is also emitted, the efficiency of the working part is less than LED or Laser because they very specifically only emit what is useful for the promotion of the body.
All this extra light also causes the lamps to become very hot, so that the body changes the composition of the enzymes and proteins and the effect is lost. This does not mean that a full-spectrum lamp is of no use, but it has a heat stress effect, as used in saunas, while LED light therapy is specifically looking for photobiomodulation. photo=light bio=organic life and modulation is influence.
Is Red Light Therapy the same as Sauna?
This question is often asked because the red light therapy modules often also contain infrared light. The difference is that a good red light module contains shortwave infrared LEDs (NIR) which emit a very specific wave of only shortwave infrared light and emit it very powerfully and bundled. The infrared that is in saunas is usually long wave infrared (far infrared) which gives off much more heat. Some saunas also have full spectrum as explained above. The purpose of sauna is therefore heat stress, which causes you to produce HSP (Heat Stress Proteins) in addition to sweating out toxins. This HSP helps your body, especially other proteins to protect against other heat, and HSP ensures that the body can get more minerals into the cells that need it. In addition, it has been found that there are many more benefits to sauna, such as protection against heart failure / heart disease and the reduction of pain complaints such as those caused by inflammation.
So both have their own properties and function. I can therefore recommend that you let your body enjoy both options if you have the opportunity.
Does a cheap Red Light Therapy lamp or mask also work?
That completely depends on the technology in the lamp or mask and what you want to achieve. The lamps and masks that I have seen and tested (I have special measuring equipment for this), some not even cheap, have too little and/or not specific enough light to do what is advertised. However, it still depends on your goal and the time you want to sacrifice.
In some cases, such a mask or lamp can indeed provide improvements to the skin. For this you have to hold the lamp against the skin or extremely close to the skin, and you need more time before the effect takes effect. this is often many times longer than that of an expensive LED light module. You cannot expect a deeper effect than the skin from such a device, even if it were on all day. This simply requires much more light intensity (irradiance).
I have more questions about light therapy, what now?
More answers and technical explanations and data can be found in the 'Frequently asked questions' and in the articles that highlight one benefit in particular. Here you will immediately find the links to the scientific studies.
Can't find the answers to your questions? send an email.
Have fun with your new red light therapy :)