Red-Light Therapy in Pain Management
Red light therapy is a treatment that uses a low-level laser or TheraLight to improve symptoms like pain, inflammation, and stiffness. It’s also sometimes called cold laser therapy, low-level light therapy, or bio-stimulation. Red light therapy is commonly used to treat conditions like arthritis, nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, inflammation, pain relief, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic pain conditions. You can get red light therapy at Chiropractic Wellness Center in Kansas City, Prairie Village, and Overland Park, MO.
How Does Red-Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy works by stimulating the cells in your body to produce more energy. This increased energy production can help reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healing. In addition, red light therapy is also thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, natural pain-relieving substances.
Chiropractic care may use TheraLight therapy as a pain management plan. As stated previously, our chiropractor will use this tactic to relieve pain, improve range of motion, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain. In addition, chiropractors who offer red light therapy may use it to treat various conditions.
In chiropractor care, red light therapy is called photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) or low-level light therapy (LLLT). PBMT uses a specific wavelength of light to target mitochondria in your cells. This energy stimulation helps treat pain. LLLT uses a different wavelength to target damaged tissue.
Benefits of Red-Light Therapy
Enhancing the body's power plant will result in many different improvements. Red light therapy has several potential benefits, which include:
- Reducing pain
- Improving range of motion
- Minimizing inflammation
- Increasing circulation
- Promoting healing
- Stimulating the release of endorphins
Side Effects of Red-Light Therapy
Red light therapy is typically safe and has few side effects. The most common side effect is temporary redness or swelling at the treatment site. This side effect usually goes away within a few hours. Some people may also experience mild itching, tingling, or warmth during treatment.
If you’re considering red light therapy, it’s essential to consult with a chiropractor who has experience in this type of treatment. They can help you determine if red light therapy is right for you and create a treatment plan that meets your needs. In addition, experienced chiropractors can advise you on the best chiropractor care using a low-level laser.
Everything You Need to Know about Red Light Therapy
You may have heard of red light therapy as a form of alternative or complementary health care. How does it work, and what is this natural health modality used for? This guide provides an overview to cover the essential basics of red light therapy (RLT).
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy (RLT) is a health and wellness technique. It is one type of light therapy that uses specific wavelengths of light to address targeted health concerns and promote certain health benefits. Other names it falls under include photobiomodulation (PBM) and low-level light therapy (LLLT). This specific form of light therapy relies on low-level red wavelengths.
Red light therapy can be applied through targeted treatment directed to small areas of the body or through beds that target the entire body at once.
The mechanisms of RLT encourage cell processes that help improve the functioning of the mitochondria, which is where you find cell energy. More cell energy is created through RLT, which enhances cell functioning, rejuvenation, and repair.
What Is RLT Used For?
Red light therapy’s uses often focus on the skin. It targets skin concerns like:
RLT encourages skin regeneration without creating skin damage. The healing light is penetrated, going below the surface layer of the skin.
People use this therapy for other health purposes as well, including:
- Injuries and sore muscles
- Cold sores
- Symptoms associated with certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Weight and cellulite
- Brain concerns, including physical trauma, neurodegenerative diseases, and mental health disorders
People also use full-body RLT to encourage the highest level of cellular functioning within the body to promote optimal health and well-being.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
- Healing: RLT helps stimulate the body’s natural healing process. This four-stage process begins with hemostasis which stops bleeding through clotting and begins healing and repair. Inflammation comes next, which is beneficial in the short term by taking away waste and providing components needed for healing and rebuilding. After that, proliferation helps build new tissue. Finally, the body repairs and remodels the area to heal and restore it fully. By boosting cellular energy and improving circulation, red light therapy supports the healing process to help it work better and faster. It works with the body’s natural way of healing.
- Counteracting Damage: It helps to balance oxidative stress due to an imbalance of molecules called free radicals and their counterpart of antioxidants. Oxidative stress results in cell and tissue damage that can turn into various health conditions and diseases, including heart disease or cancer. It also contributes to aging. RLT enters cells and encourages healing from tissue damage that happens due to oxidative stress.
- Safe: Red light therapy seems to be safe when it’s used correctly. It provides a gentle, non-toxic, painless, and non-invasive treatment to address various health and wellness concerns. It does not create exposure to harmful light rays like certain other forms of light, such as ultraviolet (UV).
- Research: Some studies support its benefit for certain issues, including specific skin conditions, wound healing, tissue repair, pain relief, and inflammation relief.
- Complementary: RLT can be combined with other treatments, including additional skin care treatments, self-care treatments, and exercise.
Risks of Red Light Therapy
More research is needed on red light therapy for various purposes. It may not have benefits, or risks may be unknown for specific uses. Long-term safety and benefits are not as well known as short-term ones.
There are some risks to the RLT process, mainly associated with incorrectly using the devices. For example, some people have been burned or experienced blistering, in part due to problems with the equipment or negligence like falling asleep during therapy. It’s possible to damage the eyes or skin if an RLT device or session is not facilitated correctly.
Using red light therapy correctly and according to best practices minimizes risks associated with this therapy. The best option is to work with a trained red light therapy professional who uses high-level, well-maintained equipment.
Ideally, red light therapy is customized to the individual and the purpose of the treatment. In general, it takes more than one session to gain benefit. In many cases, RLT treatment involves sessions of 15 minutes each, a few times a week, for weeks or months. Nonetheless, other people may use it less frequently.
A customized treatment plan may combine RLT with other types of treatment, which could reduce the frequency of RLT sessions. Once again, the best results involve a customized plan for the problem and purposes. A red light therapy provider can provide a tailored plan to suit your needs and goals.
Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss
As we emerge from cool weather months, some of us might be looking to shed a little more than our sweaters. Whether it’s turning a couple of extra pounds into lean muscle or starting a journey to a complete lifestyle change, exercise and diet programs can be a struggle to stick to, and results can be difficult to see at first.
Red light therapy, such as that from an LED light bed, can be added to an approved weight loss program to help burn fat, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and reduce muscle soreness and the risk of injury from exercise.
How Does Red Light Therapy Help with Weight Loss?
Red and near-infrared (NIR) light therapy affects our metabolic processes. Red light treatments target the mitochondria of our cells and trigger the production of more ATP, the molecule responsible for energy transport in our bodies. Red light therapy can help increase the body’s metabolic rate, which means cells are more efficient in burning glucose, ultimately leading to fat loss.
The TheraLight 360 and TheraLight FIT LED beds can be used as an adjunct to obesity as part of a diet and exercise program. Red and near-infrared light therapy is best used with a diet and exercise program for weight loss.
Reduce Cellulite & Firm Skin
Cellulite are fat deposits that cause a dimpled appearance of the skin in areas like the thighs and midsection. Red light therapy can help diminish the appearance of cellulite and firm the skin in these areas. Boosted collagen production from increased fibroblast development due to red light therapy helps firm the skin. Exercise and red light therapy combined improve the look of cellulite more than one or the other on their own.
Getting back into exercise? Try these workouts for beginners.
Poor blood circulation in certain areas is another factor in cellulite formation, and red light therapy promotes circulation and blood vessel health, which helps reduce cellulite formation.
Note: Cellulite is just one way fat cells are arranged on the body, and it’s not harmful. Most people have some cellulite on their bodies (even celebrities and athletes) because we all have fatty tissue. Reduced appearance of cellulite can be a confidence boost, but it’s important to recognize that cellulite may not disappear completely.
Red Light Therapy to Reduce Injury
Nothing stops a new workout routine like sustaining an injury. If it’s been a while since you’ve hit the gym, make sure you’re getting a proper warm-up before starting your workout. A warm-up gradually elevates your heart rate and gets your blood flowing, so your muscles are ready to go. Red light therapy before a workout can help you with your warm-up. A full body red light treatment can help increase circulation in your body because of the vasodilation effect or the temporary widening of the blood vessels that red light has on the body.
After you’ve crushed that HIIT circuit (or any exercise you like), red light therapy can also help reduce pain from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You know that following day after a workout when you wake up, and your body groans and protests at every movement. DOMS can be a workout motivation killer, but red light therapy can help reduce the pain caused by DOMS.
While the exact cause of DOMS isn’t known, it’s likely caused in part by minor tears in the muscles from exercise, which causes swelling. Red light therapy after a workout helps inflammatory mediators (like white blood cells) get to your muscles faster to reduce inflammation and repair damage.
The right shoes make a difference in your workouts. Prevent injury with shoes fit for your body and your exercise routine.
Getting Started With Red Light Therapy for Weight Loss
Red light therapy should be used as part of a weight loss program. Nutrition and exercise are other vital components to succeeding with weight loss. One aspect of weight loss that can’t be overlooked is maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle by forming new habits and breaking old ones. Remember, it takes 21 days to break a habit or develop a new one, so persistence is key. Forming a goal beyond a target weight, like running a 5k in under 30 minutes or increasing the weight of your one-rep max by 10lbs, are great ways to measure progress outside the bathroom scale.
If you’re looking to start a weight loss or exercise program, talk with your doctor about what program is right for you, especially if you have underlying health concerns like diabetes or heart disease. There is no “one size fits all” weight loss program, and it’s essential to build a healthy lifestyle that takes care of our entire body, inside and out.
If you’re interested in adding red light therapy to your weight loss program, our TheraLight providers are ready to help! Click the link below to find a TheraLight provider near you.
What to Expect From Your Full Body Photobiomodulation Treatment
Maybe you’ve heard of this photobiomodulation therapy thing or seen red light beds at your local wellness or fitness center, but you’re not sure what it is or how it works. Photobiomodulation (PBMT) is a process that happens at the cellular level, but it significantly impacts how you feel.
This article is for you if you’ve been interested in trying but unsure what it’ll feel like. Learn what PBMT is, what kinds of issues it can address, and step-by-step how your treatment session will go.
What is PBMT?
Photobiomodulation is a bit of a mouthful, but it breaks down nicely:
- Photo = Light
- Bio = Life
- Modulation = Change
A photobiomodulation device, either as a bed, panel, or even laser device, uses light to activate a change in the body. Photobiomodulation refers explicitly to red light and near-infrared light that active the mitochondria, which you may remember as the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria are essential for the synthesis, or production, of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides energy to our cells, and, ultimately, our bodies.
What is PBMT Used For?
Photobiomodulation therapy has several effects on the body, such as reducing inflammation and boosting collagen production.
Sleep & Mood: Using PBMT in the evening can help you correct your circadian rhythm, which can be easily disrupted by fluorescent light from your place of work and blue light from computer and phone screens. Sleep is also closely linked to our mood, so improved sleep can help improve mood and combat winter blues.
Skin Care: Increased collagen production from PBMT helps improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and decreased inflammation can bring down the redness and swelling from acne.
Wound & Scar Healing: Collagen production helps repair damaged skin, including scar tissue. PBMT also increases the presence of inflammatory mediators to heal wounds faster. This is especially beneficial for slow-healing wounds.
Sports Performance: PBMT before a workout can improve the quality of your warmup by helping the body increase circulation and decrease muscle fatigue. After a workout, PBMT can prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness by repairing minor tissue damage that is normal from exercise.
Reduce Pain & Inflammation: Through increased cell energy that increases cell proliferation (replication) and a vasodilation effect that temporarily increases circulation in the body, PBMT can resolve pain and inflammation from an injury or chronic condition like arthritis or tendonitis. Additionally, full-body photobiomodulation can help combat oxidative stress that can cause inflammation throughout our bodies.
Before Your Treatment Session
Before your treatment session, you’ll be able to talk to a clinician who can answer any questions about the process. This person will also go over your goals for the treatment. Are you looking for something specific, like improving signs of aging in your skin, or are you looking to use red therapy to benefit your overall wellness? The clinician needs to understand what you’re looking to achieve to determine the wavelengths of light and any pulsing light settings, the length of the session, and how many sessions you’ll need.
There are a few things to be cautious of before starting PBMT. PBMT might not be the best option if your skin is sensitive to light or you are taking any medications that affect your skin’s sensitivity to light. Additionally, individuals with tattoos may find tattooed skin sensitive to PBMT. Individuals who are pregnant, have had an organ transplant, or have cancer should not use PBMT.
During Your Treatment Session
Your treatment session inside the light bed will last between 3 and 15 minutes. Do not exceed 15 minutes in the light bed at one time.
The benefit of photobiomodulation therapy in a light bed, such as a TheraLight bed, is to expose as much of the body as possible to therapeutic red light. During the treatment session, men should wear shorts, and women should wear shorts and a sports bra to maximize the skin exposed to the light. You will also be provided with protective eyewear.
While the light panels are on, you’ll likely feel warm, but you shouldn’t feel hot. Laying in the bed is a relaxing experience. Your clinician can control the bed from a remote device to turn it on, set the treatment protocols, and set a timer for the duration of the session, so you won’t need to worry about controlling the bed.
After Your Treatment Session
When the light panels turn off, you can exit the bed. PBMT has a vasodilation effect, widening the blood and lymphatic vessels that temporarily increase circulation. Because of this, some individuals may feel lightheaded after a PBMT treatment. We recommend sitting up slowly and, if you feel lightheaded, wait a moment to let the feeling pass before standing. This is especially important for your first PBMT treatment.
Most individuals don’t feel any side effects outside of this temporary lightheadedness. Some benefits of PBMT can be felt immediately, such as reduced pain and swelling in an injured area. You may also feel an improved mood or sleep better after a PBMT. If you’re using PBMT before a workout, you may not feel muscle fatigue as early in your exercise.
PBMT Treatment Plans
Photobiomodulation therapy is a dose-dependent treatment; multiple treatments will be necessary to achieve your desired sustained results. Your treatment plan will be tailored to you and something you work on with your wellness or fitness center staff. Programs generally take the following shape, however:
- 3 sessions per week for 2 weeks
- 2 sessions per week until outcomes are achieved
- 1 session per week to maintain results
The length of sessions and treatment protocols (wavelength and continuous or pulse settings) will vary based on your goals, but you should be in and out of the center in under an hour.
Ready to try out PMBT? Click the link below to find a TheraLight provider near you.
How Often Should You Use a Red Light Therapy Bed?
A growing number of people are undergoing red light therapy to relieve chronic skin conditions, ease muscle aches and joint pain, or even to reduce the visible signs of aging. But how often should you use a red light therapy bed?
Unlike many one-size-fits-all approaches to therapy, red light therapy is a highly customizable and personalized treatment. Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBMT), uses the power of light to stimulate energy production and healing within cells. Red light therapy is a dose-dependent treatment, which means that your body’s response improves with every session. A consistent treatment schedule provides the best results.
Many patients wonder how often they should use a red light therapy bed. The answer is – it depends. Some people require frequent sessions, while others can get by with a treatment now and then. Most get good results with a 15-minute session, 3-5 times each week for several months. The frequency at which you use a red light therapy bed also depends on the severity of the condition you want to treat, your age and overall health, as well as your sensitivity to light.
Because everyone is different, it is wiser to start slow and work your way up to frequent sessions. You may want to start with a 10-minute session every other day for the first week. If you experience temporary redness or tightness, decrease your therapy time. If you do not experience redness or tightness, you can extend your daily therapy time to a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
Healing occurs at the cellular level, and cells require time to heal and regenerate. Red light therapy starts to work immediately, and the results only get better with each session. Improvement for long-term problems is usually noticeable after 8 to 12 weeks of consistent use.
As with other treatments, the results of red light therapy are long-lasting, but they are not permanent. This is especially true for skin conditions, as new skin cells replace old treated skin cells rather quickly. Using red light therapy and other treatments for a long time provides better results, but patients are sometimes reluctant to comply with long-term treatment plans.
Healthcare providers can often help clients stick to a treatment plan by combining red light therapy with other treatments. Getting two or more treatments in each visit helps clients save valuable time and enjoy better results. Clients are also encouraged by the fact that red light therapy is safe – because it does not harm the skin or the underlying tissue, there is virtually no risk of overdoing it. What’s more, the drug-free treatment rarely has any side effects.
Using Red Light for Specific Conditions
General skin care and anti-aging therapy
If you are using red light therapy to improve your skin tone, minimize the visible signs of aging, and heal sun damage, you can expect to undergo red light therapy in 10- to 20-minute sessions, 3 to 5 times each week for one to four months.
Red light therapy increases the production and density of collagen, which is a protein that serves as a main building block for skin, hair, muscles, and connective tissue. Collagen also provides the elasticity that keeps skin from sagging. Improving production and density of collagen with red light therapy eliminates fine lines and wrinkles, and clears up other skin issues.
Early red light therapy improves the tone and overall health of skin; maintenance therapy using shorter and less frequent red light therapy sessions ensures long-lasting results.
Exercise can cause sore muscles, especially if you are not used to working out. Lifting something heavy or performing high-intensity activities can cause microscopic tears in your muscles. When your muscles repair themselves, they get larger and stronger. In some cases, though, serious muscle injury can occur after excessively strenuous exercise.
Using red light therapy immediately before exercise can precondition your muscles and prevent significant injury. You can also bathe your muscles in red light for 10 to 20 minutes after exercising to accelerate recovery. Using a maintenance program of light therapy before and after routine exercise can optimize the effects of your workout.
Using a combination of red light and near-infrared light for 10 to 20 minutes, three to five times a week, can stimulate your hair follicles to reduce hair loss. After one to four months, you can reduce the number of sessions to one to four times weekly to maintain hair growth over time.
Arthritis and joint pain
A 15-minute red light therapy session twice a day can help alleviate joint pain and arthritis. Depending on the level of your pain, you may continue with twice daily sessions to treat severe chronic pain or undergo shorter, less frequent sessions for minor pain.
Chronic skin disorders
Red light therapy can treat rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other chronic skin conditions. The treatment can also reduce the appearance of skin wounds, stretch marks, and mild scars. Sessions should last 10 to 20 minutes, occur three to five times a week, and continue for one to four months. Maintenance programs can help keep chronic skin conditions and deeper scars under control.
For more information about how often you should use a red light therapy bed, consult with your healthcare professional, trainer, therapist, or red light therapy provider.
Seek Professional Red-Light Therapy Today
If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s essential to seek chiropractic care as soon as possible. A chiropractor can help assess your injuries and create a treatment plan to help you recover. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact the team at Chiropractic Wellness Center in Kansas City, Prairie Village, or Overland Park, MO, for an appointment. We provide various services, including red light therapy, that can help you recover from your injuries. Contact us today by calling (816) 561-7035.