Red light therapy is considered to be a safe and well-tolerated therapy for the relief of symptoms of multiple conditions. The technology has even been used by NASA. Unlike using salon tanning beds, red light therapy does not utilize harmful ultraviolet (UV) light which can damage skin and cause cells to mutate. It uses visible towards the infrared end of the electromagnetic spectrum and occasionally uses infrared light too. This is absorbed well by the skin and is thought to bring many benefits to your body and health.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Short-Term Side Effects
- 2 Infrared Light Treatment Side Effects
- 3 Is Red Light Therapy Safe For Eyes?
- 4 Red Light therapy For The Thyroid
- 5 Red Light Therapy And Collagen
- 6 Red Light Therapy Long-Term Side Effects
- 7 So Is Red Light Therapy Good Or Bad?
- 8 Red Light Therapy For Weight Loss
- 9 Infrared Lamp Therapy Benefits
- 10 Conclusion
Short-Term Side Effects
LED light is simply visible light which can be filtered to only let a certain color of light through. If LED light is used for red light therapy, there are usually no adverse effects. If side effects do occur, they are usually minor and do not last long. Such responses may include:
These effects are generally associated with the glare from the red light, which you may find intense. To reduce the chances of suffering from the side effects, do not stare directly into the light source, particularly if it uses a laser, and wear appropriate eye protection.
You should seek medical advice before using red light therapy if you have a bipolar disorder as it can cause mania.
Infrared Light Treatment Side Effects
Using infrared light for red light therapy may be more likely to cause side effects because unlike LED light, infrared is also thermal energy. Side effects can generally be linked to overheating is tissues, which may cause burning. This would be a type of thermal burn, as opposed to sunburn which is caused by exposure to UV light, and therefore will not cause cancer.
However, overheating skin tissue may reduce the skin cells’ ability to repair DNA efficiently, and so could make it more susceptible to mutations caused by other influences. Therefore, care should be taken to not burn the skin, by sticking to prescribed therapy times and remaining a safe distance from the infrared source. To remove this risk, you can choose an LED red light therapy device.
Is Red Light Therapy Safe For Eyes?
As mentioned before, you should not stare directly into any light source, and this is still the case for red light therapy.
To best protect your eyes, wear suitable eye protection. If you choose red light therapy using an infrared source, be careful not to get too close to the source.
Beams of infrared light that have a wavelength of >1500 nanometres are unlikely to affect the retina, but heating the cornea and lens may damage them.
Red Light therapy For The Thyroid
Poor thyroid function typically occurs in a negative feedback cycle. Low thyroid function results in low energy which results in low thyroid function and so on. Some studies have shown that red light therapy has been shown to improve hormone production from the thyroid as it is thought it can break this cycle. This may be due to the improved energy available which can promote the hormone production again. By restoring the thyroid function, you can notice a positive effect on the whole body because the balance of hormones is slowly restored.
Red Light Therapy And Collagen
Collagen is a structural protein found in connective tissues such as skin. It comes in various degrees of flexibility, which means it can be stiff (in bone), amenable (in tendons) or somewhere between the two (cartilage). In skin, it allows elasticity, firmness and plumpness. Collagen naturally decreases with age, causing fine lines and wrinkles which are usually most apparent on the face. Red light therapy stimulates collagen production, meaning it can reduce or delay the visible signs of aging. Many people have noticed great results by using red light therapy for anti-aging. Collagen cells grow slowly, however, so it may take longer to see results than other conditions.
Red Light Therapy Long-Term Side Effects
The FDA has indicated the red light treatment is a safe therapy, with many people achieving great results. There are minimal side effects and those which do occur are usually short-lived and minor. Long-term side effects which can happen are generally attributed to the overheating of tissues caused by inappropriate use of infrared light. While LED sources release very little heat, infrared sources of light also produce a lot of thermal energy. Some tissues are particularly sensitive to rises in temperature, for example, the eyes. As mentioned above, overheating the lens and cornea could put you at more risk from conditions such as cataracts, but this would be very unlikely if you use LED as the light source for your red light therapy.
So Is Red Light Therapy Good Or Bad?
Red light therapy devices has been used to treat or supplement a treatment for many different conditions, from high blood pressure to premature skin aging.
Many people have had great experiences with red light therapy, achieving great results and relief from symptoms of conditions.
- Does not involve drugs
- Requires no chemicals
- Completely natural
- Safe for all skin types
- Minimal side effects
- Can be done in your own home
- Has been used by NASA
- Should not look at light source
- Some see better effects than others
- Requires multiple treatment sessions
- Should be continued to maintain results
- Should not be used by those with photosensitivity or those on certain medications
Red Light Therapy For Weight Loss
Red light therapy speeds up the metabolism of cells by promoting mitochondrial function (mitochondria are organelles in cells which make energy by converting sugars). Red light therapy, therefore, may help you lose weight. This is because there is a faster turn over of sugars as cells create and require more energy. This can counteract the effects of stress, which can cause a decrease in metabolic rate, causing weight gain. On its own, red light therapy will not be a miracle cure and cause you to shed stones overnight, but when combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet it can enhance the results you see and improve how you feel.
Infrared Lamp Therapy Benefits
Infrared lamps are also known as “heat lamps.” They emit near infrared and infrared light which are thought to be able to penetrate 3 inches (7.6cm) into the body. This works to heat your body from the inside out which has been thought to kill infections and promote healing. Infrared therapy can be given in different ways – from a tabletop screen to an infrared sauna.