RED LIGHT THERAPY
The age old concept that light has the ability to heal.
Red light therapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment for a variety of muscle, tissue and skin conditions. In addition, it can have numerous other benefits to health and well-being. The number of research-backed advantages is often surprising to those who are just learning about red light therapy for the first time. Benefits include faster healing, healthier-looking skin, hair regrowth, inflammation reduction, and much more.
BENEFITS OF RED LIGHT THERAPY
- reduces pain
- promotes circulation
- decreases inflammation
- encourages muscle healing and tissue repair
- reduces recovery and healing time of injuries
- accelerates wound healing
- increases collagen and elastin production
- dramatically reduces wrinkles
- Treats other skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea, and the appearance of scars
-help with weight loss, metabolic disorders and hormone balancing
- AND MORE!
What does a red light therapy session and Magic Moon Medicine look like?
You are welcome to arrive to Magic Moon Medicine a few minutes early to relax in our cozy environment while enjoying a complementary cup of medicinal tea prior to your session. During your 20 minute treatment, you will lay on our warm healing table underneath the red light panel that will be programmed at the wavelength of red light that best fits your health needs. You can listen to a podcast, your favorite music, a guided meditation, and enjoy some non-sleep deep rest while receiving the healing benefits from your session.
Non-sleep deep rest, or NSDR, is an umbrella term for a variety of practices that guide your brain and body into a state of deep relaxation without falling asleep completely. NSDR is a science supported tool that has the ability to reset your nervous system while increasing your body's ability to naturally produce certain hormones such as dopamine.
More information on Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) from one of our favorite neuroscientists, Dr. Andrew Huberman, here:
How does red light therapy work?
Understanding the effects of red light therapy begins with the age-old concept that light has the amazing power to heal. For thousands of years, natural sunlight “or heliotherapy” has been used for healing, although exactly how that healing came about was not well understood at the time. Today, scientists know that specific wavelengths of light have unique and beneficial effects on the human body. Red wavelengths range from 620 to 750 nanometers (nm), and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths range from 780 to 1200 nm. Decades of research have shown that the greatest amount of positive biological effects on the human body are achieved with red light between 630 and 660 nm, and NIR light between 810 and 850 nm. This is known as the “therapeutic window” for photodynamic therapy.
For light to have the most beneficial effects, it has to be absorbed into the body’s tissues. While it’s only as thick as a single sheet of paper, the epidermis is thick enough to block blue and green light from absorbing beyond the skin’s surface. In some cases, ultraviolet light has also been used to treat skin conditions. However, it must be used with caution because overexposure has been linked with skin cancer. Red light therapy does not carry this risk and there are few, if any, side effects with regular use.
Red wavelengths absorb into skin tissue and to a lesser extent, the subcutaneous tissue. This makes red light therapy an option for treating all kinds of skin conditions, including chronic skin disorders. With its longer wavelengths, NIR light is absorbed much deeper into penetrating muscle, connective tissue, the viscera, the internal organs of the body, and even bone.
One of the reasons for red light therapy’s growing usage is its ability to penetrate and heal at the cellular level – meaning it addresses the cause of many chronic conditions rather than merely treating symptoms. Red/NIR light does this by correcting four key mechanisms: mitochondrial dysfunction, low collagen production, poor circulation, and chronic inflammation.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a condition affecting tiny organelles within cells known as mitochondria. These microscopic energy-makers are responsible for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s primary cellular fuel. When mitochondria aren’t able to produce enough cellular energy, cells suffer – and consequently, health also suffers.
It’s one thing if a single cell is struggling; but if many cells within the same system are depleted, there’s a negative ripple effect on the system to which the cells belong, and to the body as a whole, since all systems are interdependent. The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and where mitochondrial dysfunction is most readily apparent. But just as much trouble could be brewing in the invisible systems deep in the body. Whatever causes the cells to function poorly (the primary causes are believed to be oxidative stress and chronic inflammation), reversing mitochondrial dysfunction using red/NIR light therapy can be a powerful first step toward healing with visible light. When NIR wavelengths absorb into the skin, photosensitive molecules called chromophores detect the incoming electromagnetic waves. This interaction stimulates the mitochondria to begin producing more ATP. More fuel energizes the cells so they can perform their specialized functions, repair themselves, and replicate. Increased energy production often sparks a positive chain reaction beginning with improved cellular functioning that leads to improved systemic functioning.
Who can benefit from red light therapy?
Athletes and those with active lifestyles.
Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, you can precondition your muscles to prevent injury and prime the body for peak performance with a pre-activity, pre-workout or pre-competition NIR light therapy session.
Post-workout or post-competition, a NIR red light therapy session can speed up your body's recovery process. Faster muscle recovery means you can train harder and achieve your athletic goals faster. On the other hand, if you are injured, red light therapy accelerates the healing process leading to a faster return to sport.
A 2016 research review states that NIR light can stimulate, heal, and regenerate damaged muscle tissue. Studies have shown that red light therapy treatments both before and after exercise can increase athletic performance and recover faster from intense exercise. For example, a study from 2016 that involved university athletes who sustained injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, contusions, and ligament damage demonstrated the positive impacts of red light therapy. Over a period of 15 months, a total of 395 injuries were treated with 830 nm NIR light. The treatment group were able to return to play in just under 10 days, compared with the 19-day average return to play without treatment.
Those looking to reduce pain, decrease inflammation and promote healing of wounds.
One of the hallmarks of red light therapy is its ability to reduce chronic inflammation that causes damaging oxidative stress in cells. Because chronic inflammation is considered the root cause of many conditions, a bottom-up approach to healing the effects of inflammation at the cellular level could potentially facilitate and speed up healing. NIR light therapy has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a powerful ally in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory and degenerative joint disorders.
For more than two decades, scientists have known that red light therapy can offer pain relief and increase the range of motion in joints affected by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In one of the earlier studies, the group treated with red/NIR light experienced up to 50 percent pain reduction after just a few treatments.
While the body is amazing at healing itself, sometimes the healing process doesn’t go as planned, such as chronic diabetic foot wounds; or, the body’s self-healing results in painful scars that impede mobility.
According to a 2013 study by South Korean researchers, NIR light therapy accelerated healing in five wounds: a dog bite with infection, an ulcerated wound with secondary infection, two excoriation wounds (caused by chronic skin-picking), and one case of herpes simplex infection and edema of the lips.
After treatment with 830 nm NIR light, all patients experienced full healing and control of infection after one to eight weeks, and there was no recurrence of the herpes simplex outbreaks after a four-month follow-up. In this study, researchers Pok and Boncheol write that “Full wound healing and control of infection and discomfort were achieved in all patients.”
This, along with more energy production in the cells, increased collagen synthesis, and improved blood flow, can promote healing, reduce pain, and prevent further joint deterioration due to degenerative joint diseases.
Those looking to improve their skin's appearance and condition.
Red light therapy is effective at improving skin health. The deeper penetration of near-infrared wavelengths can help treat underlying inflammation that could cause accelerated skin aging and chronic skin disorders. Regular use can smooth out skin roughness, diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots, and firm and tone sagging, crepey skin.
The primary mechanisms for improved skin health are increased cellular energy, increased microcirculation, reduced inflammation, and increased intradermal collagen density. In addition, increased elastin production can help skin restore its youthful suppleness. A 2007 study by Korean researchers concluded that both red (633 nm) and NIR (830 nm) wavelengths, either alone or together, dramatically reduced wrinkles and increased skin elasticity after twice-weekly treatments for four weeks.
Optimal results can often be achieved within one to four months of regular red light therapy. You can safely continue with the treatment indefinitely to prevent flare-ups of chronic conditions and to maintain youthful skin.
Red light therapy can help reduce the appearance of scars. NIR light therapy can help soften and reduce the appearance of scars by stimulating collagen and elastin production. This ensures that emerging cells in the deepest layers of the scar grow into normal skin cells. As the top layers of the scar slough off, the appearance of the scar will become less prominent over time.
Red light therapy has been used successfully to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, all of which are inflammatory disorders.
Those looking for support with weight loss.
A number of studies have shown that red light therapy can help with weight loss.
One of these studies was conducted in 2015 and involved a group of obese women aged 20 to 40. Treatment with 808 nm NIR light, along with aerobic and resistance training, resulted in reduced neck and waist circumference, and visceral fat.
In cases where excess weight is linked to hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), NIR light could help by safely balancing thyroid function. A 2020 study used 850 nm light to treat 350 patients with underactive thyroid glands. The treatment group experienced significant increases in T3 levels, T3/T4 ratio, vitamin D, selenium, and iron levels, and decreases in thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO Ab) levels. Most significantly, many were able to reduce hormone replacement therapy.
A 2013 comprehensive review shed some interesting light on the subject. It revealed that treatment with 635 nm red light therapy causes fat cells to temporarily leak and release lipids into the body. The fats are then converted into carbon dioxide, which the body expels.
A 2016 review suggests that red/NIR light therapy can be extremely advantageous in athletic competitions since one of its effects is to gain muscle mass. In regard to fat loss, increased muscle mass raises the resting metabolic rate and results in more calories burned while resting.
Those looking for help with sleep.
Red light therapy has been shown to contribute to a good night's sleep and is emerging as a potentially sound alternative to sleeping pills, as well as a way to promote cellular healing by minimizing sleep disruption caused by physical problems. Additionally, red light is a means for combatting the energizing effects that the blue light-emitting low-energy light bulbs and electronic devices we are constantly exposed to have on our circadian rhythms.
It is recommended that 10 to 20 minutes of red light therapy early in the day is best to help prime your body for sleep later. Over time, with consistent use, it could become your best and most reliable tool for a good night’s sleep —without the dangerous side effects of sleeping pills.