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3 Pros and Cons of Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy Pros and Cons

Are you researching red light therapy pros and cons? We are here to help point out the benefits and downsides of red light therapy. Continue reading below and be sure to add to the discussion in the comments at the end of this article.

New and advanced treatments are being developed for those who suffer from chronic conditions such as seasonal affective disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, vision (new breakthrough) and more. Red light therapy (RLT) is one of these new methods. But does it work?

This article will detail the pros and cons of red light therapy for you to decide if it is the right treatment for your needs.

What Is Red Light Therapy?

The Pros and Cons of Red Light Therapy

RLT uses either low-level red or near-infrared wavelengths of light to treat various chronic conditions. RLT is also referred to as low-level laser therapy, low-power laser therapy, and photobiomodulation.

The type of light used in this treatment is undetectable by human eyes. However, the light or lasers give off a painless heat. The RLT devices used in doctor’s offices or in dentistry filter out harmful ultraviolet rays, so this therapy is thought to have minimal side-effects.

RLT occurs when patients apply red or near-infrared wavelengths of light to their skin through the means of a lamp, artificial light, or a specialized laser. This is typically done in doctor’s offices or by dentists, though some salons provide red therapy light services. Additionally, RLT devices are available for individual purchase and can potentially be used at home.

This type of therapy can assist with many different chronic conditions, including:

Currently, researchers are not quite sure how or why RLT provides relief to some patients. The idea behind RLT is that the wavelengths of light target the body’s cells that control energy restoration and muscle recovery.

RLT is thought to encourage the mitochondria to repair itself in cases of damage. Additionally, RLT focuses on the restoration of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP molecules provide energy to one’s muscles, which affects overall functioning. If these cells are able to grow stronger with RLT, researchers think that it will generate systematic healing for the patient.

There are still a lot of unknowns about this type of treatment. Yet, many patients turn to it with the hope of relief from their health conditions when other treatments prove to be unhelpful.

The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Even though we don’t know exactly how or why red light therapy works, researchers have conducted clinical trials that definitively show symptomatic improvement as a result of this treatment. Here are the biggest pros to understand about red light therapy:

1. It can help chronic conditions

One of the most important health benefits to RLT is the hope of relief from chronic conditions. RLT is used for both physical and emotional disorders.

Chronic conditions can cause inflammation and pain, especially in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. RLT works to encourage tissue repair, and it’s proven to have anti-inflammatory effects. If the tissue can restore itself to a healthier state, patients might experience a significant decrease in chronic joint pain and swelling.

With mood disorders like SAD, red light therapy works to provide artificial light during times where seasonal changes cause consistent darkness. In fact, researchers have tried different kinds of light therapies (such as green and white) to trigger an antidepressant reaction in afflicted patients.

While red light might not be as effective as green light, for example, the goal of the therapy remains to encourage the patient’s body to recover, reenergize, and restore.

2. RLT can decrease skin blemishes and signs of aging

The original use for RLT was to assist patients with skin conditions and blemishes. Red light therapy can substantially help with improving skin that has been damaged or shows signs of aging.

The wavelengths of light are helpful for skincare in many ways. This therapy can reduce wrinkles, improve skin health, and generate collagen repair within patients’ bodies. This works the same way as it does with chronic conditions in that the light encourages tissue repair.

For patients with dermatological concerns or would simply like to try a new method of skincare, RLT might be the new and best treatment option.

3. Few known side effects or risks

Since RLT devices are meant to filter out harmful UV rays that you would be exposed to in a tanning bed, for instance, the risks are relatively low. It is important to follow all medical advice when seeking out this treatment.

Your doctor will be able to create guidelines for you to use when using RLT in order to avoid possible side effects.

The Downsides of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy pros and cons - Downsides

Though there are little known side effects or risks associated with RLT, you must consider the following cons to this developing therapy.

1. Red light therapy is not a cure

It is incredibly important to know that RLT is not a cure for chronic conditions or even dermatological issues. Rather, red light therapy works to provide temporary relief. If you decide to try red light therapy, know that it will be an ongoing process and one that comes with long-term risks.

2. There are still some health risks to red light therapy

When applied appropriately, the benefits of red light therapy might outweigh the risks. However, with any type of photomedicine and laser surgery, patients should be aware of the possible health risks, including:

  • Damage to the skin
  • Permanent eye damage
  • Unknown long-term side effects to the skin and body

Since we still have a lot to learn about red light therapy, we cannot fully understand all of the potential side effects and risks. Currently, there are no prescribed guidelines for red light therapy that can help a patient know how much or how little to use.

Always be cautious of where you choose to get red light therapy. Though salons and private vendors offer treatments that can be less expensive, these providers often use RLT devices that do not filter out harmful UV rays. Overexposure to ultra-violet light can cause serious health concerns, including skin cancer.

3. Cost and availability of red light therapy

Red light therapy treatments can be quite costly and hard to find. Insurance companies do not presently cover this type of therapy, which leaves patients to pay out of pocket.

Furthermore, if you want to purchase your own RLT device, it’s going to come with a hefty price tag that goes upwards of four-thousand dollars.

Red Light Therapy Pros and Cons: Would You Try It?

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Do You Have Questions About Red Light Therapy?

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3 Simple Everyday Activities For Natural Stress Relief

natural ways to relieve stress

Chronic pain and stress are more intertwined than you might think. One can cause the other, trapping you in a cycle that becomes increasingly harder to get out of the longer you’ve been enmeshed.

While this may feel inevitable, it doesn’t have to be. Know that you have more control over how you choose to cope with your chronic pain and the stress it brings on than you realize. Here are three ways to combat stress and chronic pain naturally in one fell swoop.

Natural Stress Relief #1: Unwind With Music

Music isn’t just a form of entertainment—it’s a stress-relieving tool with a profound effect on the body and mind. 

According to research at Stanford University, music can reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system after stressful situations, changing the brain’s functioning to the same extent as medication. 

For example, while fast tempos make you feel alert and energized, slower beats quiet your mind and relax your muscles, helping you release the stress of the day. And because we’re living in the age of streaming, almost everyone has access to music, making it a highly accessible tool for managing stress. 

A tempo of 60 beats per minute is enough to create alpha brainwaves, frequencies in the brain that are present when we’re relaxed. The best genres of music to relax your body and mind are:

  • Ambient sounds, e.g., rain, thunder, and nature
  • Jazz and classical music
  • Native American or Celtic drums, flutes, and string instruments

Natural Stress Relief #2: Meditate Anytime, Anywhere

natural ways to reduce stress

Meditation is an ancient practice with thousands of years of history behind it, but it wasn’t until the 21st century that mediation became what we know it as today: a mind-body practice designed to turn your attention inward and develop a heightened state of awareness. It’s this change in consciousness during meditation that correlates with several health benefits, including stress prevention. 

When stressed, your body activates its “fight-or-flight response,” a physiological reaction triggered by the release of hormones to prepare your body to either stay and confront a threat or run to safety. 

While this natural response was helpful to our hunter and gatherer ancestors, in modern times, not so much. Everyday stressors like sitting in traffic or paying bills can trigger our “fight-or-flight” response, keeping us in a prolonged stress state which has cascading effects on our physical and mental health. 

Moreover, meditation has the opposite effect, triggering your body’s relaxation response and restoring your mind to calm. To meditate, know that there isn’t a right or wrong way. Whether you choose to sit comfortably or opt for a leisurely stroll, meditation can be done anywhere as long as you pull your attention inward, notice your thoughts, and let them go. 

Natural Stress Relief #3: Take a Quick Walk

It’s common knowledge that exercise is a natural stress reliever, but if getting active isn’t your forte, know that a quick walk around the block is enough to prevent stress. 

Research shows that walking promotes the release of endorphins, i.e., hormones that improve mood and stimulate relaxation. You don’t have to overexert yourself to reap the benefits either; a casual walk is enough to relax your body and mind. A 2018 study in the Health Promotion Perspectives