Red Light Therapy - 101
What is Red Light Therapy?
ed light therapy is a simple, non-invasive treatment that delivers concentrated natural light to your skin and cells.
Red light therapy is quick and easy: all you have to do is sit or stand in the light for 5 to 15 minutes, ideally every day. This gives the mitochondria in your cells the natural light they need to make the energy that powers your body.
A high-quality home device like those produced by Kaiyan uses medical-grade LEDs to shine natural red and near-infrared light on your body. Like the wavelengths of light your body needs from natural sunlight, without the heat or UV rays that cause sun damage and without the need for sunny weather. Check the list of best light therapy masks.
Natural Health Benefits:
Red light therapy has been shown to produce a wide range of natural health benefits, like inflammation and pain relief, fitness gains, muscle recovery, improved sleep, and many more. Read more about the best light pain relievers.
Backed by Clinical Research:
Red light therapy is backed by thousands of peer-reviewed medical studies and clinical trials, which have shown overwhelmingly positive results and an almost total lack of side effects or health risks.
Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Yes, and that’s why it’s used at the highest professional levels: By elite men and women pro athletes for training and muscle recovery; by natural health leaders and cutting-edge physicians for chronic pain management and inflammation relief; by actresses and models and top estheticians for optimal skincare, collagen density, acne treatment, and breakouts.
What Does “Red Light Therapy” Mean?
As a term, “red light therapy” refers to treatments from LEDs or cold lasers that deliver wavelengths of natural red and near-infrared light.
The term does not include white light, blue light, or blue LED masks, and it is not the same as full-spectrum light. Some people may include infrared or far-infrared wavelengths along with red light therapy, but those are typically used in dry saunas because of their ability to produce heat. Red light therapy does not rely on heat, a major difference between natural light treatments and heat-based modalities like an infrared sauna, traditional sauna, or other heat therapy type.
Generally, “red light therapy” describes natural light treatments that deliver the same therapeutic red and near-infrared wavelengths as natural sunlight. This differs from artificial light treatments like tanning — or bright light therapy from light therapy lamps, lightboxes, or happy-light if you’re interested in natural light treatments for seasonal affective disorder.
The following terms may also call red light therapy: RLT, photobiomodulation (PBM), phototherapy, LED therapy, LED light therapy, infrared therapy, low-level laser therapy, or low-level light therapy (LLLT).
How to Do a Red Light Therapy Treatment?
Consistency and proper use are key for effective red light therapy. For optimal results with a high-quality, LED-based device like the ones in Kaiyan, follow these basics for general wellness benefits:
- Position yourself about 6 inches from the device
- Expose your skin for best results
- Approximately 10-minute treatment times per coverage area
- Daily use is ideal
- Any time of day
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Our cells need natural light to function, just like they need water and nutrients from food. Unfortunately, most people don’t get as much natural light as they need for optimal health (the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors). Red light therapy allows you to supplement the light you get from your environment with concentrated wavelengths of red and near-infrared light at home.
Red light therapy works by enhancing energy production at a cellular level. Healthy, natural light stimulates the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse, and enhances the cellular respiration process that makes ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy. Humans make ATP every day, and it fuels everything we do. The more energy our cells can make, the better our bodies look, heal, feel, and perform.
Where Did Red Light Therapy Come From?
Red light therapy has become a popular natural health intervention, both in professional settings and with home devices.
Light therapy technology has been used in medicine for decades, and NASA experimented with red light therapy use in space in the 1980s and 1990s. In the last 10–20 years, red light therapy has become more widely used thanks to breakthroughs in LED lighting technology that have made affordable home devices possible.
Major advances in clinical light therapy research, and increased public interest in natural health technologies, have also contributed to the growing use and popularity of red light therapy.
In 2016, Kaiyan Medical was the first red light therapy manufacturer to offer affordable, medical-grade devices to consumers for convenient, at-home use.\
Red Light Therapy for Skin
Red light therapy, or “LED light therapy,” as estheticians and dermatologists often call it, is a natural skin and beauty treatment with proven anti-inflammatory properties.
Red light therapy devices deliver natural light directly to skin cells. This has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and increase ATP energy production, with few side effects. This is not to confuse blue LED light treatments for skin (like blue LED masks), which use bright, artificial blue light, and pose several health risks if not used correctly.
Read more about light therapy and skin.
Red Light Therapy for Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that impacts at least 5% of Americans, especially in the winter months, when natural light exposure is lowest. SAD is also called seasonal depression, winter depression, or the winter blues.
Some people treat SAD symptoms with treatment options like bright white light therapies that mimic the sun’s light intensity at a bright time of day.
More researchers and physicians have used natural light treatments like red light therapy to help with natural light deficiency and the winter blues in recent years in conjunction with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
Who Uses Red Light Therapy?
In addition to the growing number of people using red light therapy devices in their home, red light therapy systems can be found in many professional and clinical settings:
Skincare Professionals: Red light therapy is a popular skin treatment among Hollywood celebrities for anti-aging, and it’s used by leading skincare professionals like estheticians and dermatologists to treat skin conditions and promote collagen production.
Health Practitioners: Red light therapy is an emerging subspecialty of medicine in a wide range of fields. From oncologists treating cancer side effects, to dentists reducing oral inflammation, to physicians treating mental health conditions, red light therapy is becoming more widespread in clinical practice.
Natural Health Experts: Leading voices in natural health and wellness like Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Dave Asprey, and Ben Greenfield use red light therapy. So do Paleo and Keto health experts like Mark Sisson, Dr. Anthony Gustin, Luke Storey, and Robb Wolf.
Sports Medicine Pros: Light therapy companies work side by side with the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), and red light therapy is used to heal sports injuries by sports medicine professionals across the globe. Including the top trainers and doctors on the PGA Tour, like Dr. Troy Van Biezen and Dr. Ara Suppiah.
Elite Pro Athletes: Red light therapy is a popular training tool across pro sports, from NFL stars like Patrick Peterson, to UFC champs like Anthony Pettis, to gold medal gymnast Sanne Wevers.
Fitness & Training: World-class personal trainers like Lacey Stone and Jorge Cruise use red light therapy to both enhance performance and improve the muscle recovery process.
Supportive Cancer Care: The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) recommends red light therapy for the treatment of oral mucositis (OM), a common and debilitating symptom of cancer treatment.
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