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In this post, you’ll learn all about

●      Basics of red light therapy

●      The scientific study behind RLT

●      Health conditions treated by INR therapy

●      Calculations for the perfect red light therapy dosage

●      Device testing for RLT

What if we tell you there is an alternative therapy technique that remedies skin problems, muscle and back pains while having almost zero side effects? The answer you’re looking for is red light therapy.

Red light therapy has been in use by professional doctors and scientists since 1990. It was invented in 1890 by Dr. Finsen, it was first used as a treatment for tuberculosis.

Research has demonstrated that infra-red light can increase the energy and growth levels of human cells. As a result, red light therapy dosage can effectively treat wounds, improve bone density, reduce skin disorders, treat muscle atrophy, and many other clinical conditions.

In this post, we are going to talk about all the scientific findings, different treatment options, the science behind red light therapy, and many more. So stick with us to find out why this could be your preferred method of treatment!

Scientific Studies Behind Red Light Therapy

There are multiple scientific studies behind red light therapy with varying degrees of the result. However, most of the results have come out with very positive outcomes.

This scientific study from 2014 determined the efficacy of infra-red light treatments in different patients and concluded with a very positive result.

The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of the whole red light therapy system for both specific body parts and full-body applications. In addition, the photobiomodulation effects have been significantly observed in this research to improve the feeling of the skin and appearance.

A total of 136 participants were tested with the proper protocol, and a controlled study was done on them. The data was collected over 30 sessions, and the participants were evaluated based on their skin appearance, an incremental improvement on skin conditions, and other parameters.

The test subjects experienced a significant improvement in their skin conditions and complexions. In addition, the level of collagen production has also been assessed, and it is found that the production has improved significantly.

Another study from 2009, which focuses mainly on the biphasic responses, found the low levels of red light therapy tests to reduce pain, edema, inflammation and wound healing capabilities.

The report has concluded with excellent results for an overall decrease in pain and inflammation for a multitude of patients.

The result also inferred that using red light for adequate dosage and time significantly affects mitochondrial responsiveness, cellular reconstruction, and tissue regeneration.

Basics Of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a novel method of treatment, also known as photobiomodulation and low-level light therapy (LLLT).

This technology works in a very different way than your typical therapy sessions. For example, red light devices come with LED bulbs that can emit a specific wavelength of light through the patient’s exposed skin.

The appropriate wavelength can vary from person to person according to their skin colour and the type of therapy they need.

Most red therapy uses fixed wavelengths of red light ranging from 630nm to 660nm Near-infrared (NIR) light ranges from 780 to 850nm. However, considerable research on red light therapy shows promising benefits occurring in the middle of the red and NIR light wavelengths.

This therapy is most effective when the light is optimally set onto the preferred wavelength needed for your treatment.

As you should probably know that no one is the same because of their difference in skin complexions, fingerprints, shape, and size of different body parts, and of course, because of the unique DNA profiles. So, results from the therapy may vary.

With this in mind, you should understand that the light dosage has to be set optimally depending on your health conditions, physical characteristics, and overall light sensitivity.

There are a lot of physiological disorders that have been reported to be improved drastically after red light treatment. Treatment conditions like skin tone improvement, muscle and bone recovery occur much faster.

Dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, says, “Red light has the unique ability for decreasing bacteria and inflammation as well as treating lesions from the pre-cancer stage.”

Many other health conditions like arthritis, hair loss, skin disorders, etc., take longer to heal because of the time it needs for cellular regeneration, metabolic improvements, and other biological activities.

A realistic estimation for improvement period is estimated around two to four months in most cases. After you’ve experienced an improvement in your health, you should continue the therapy nonetheless. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to increasing resistance against multiple clinical conditions.

Health Conditions Treatable by Red Light Therapy

Researchers consider red light therapy safe, and it barely has any sort of side effects or complications. But, just to be extra careful, start by having 10-minute sessions every day for a few weeks. Then, if you feel any sort of discomfort or redness in your skin, slow down and decrease the dosage.

Many people have started with the 10-minute rule and adjusted their dose and timing later on according to their needs. As a result, people with the following health conditions have benefited from red light therapy.

1. Skin Damage

The most common use case for red light therapy is in the skincare department. A lot of people have seen drastic improvements from sun damage, ageing, and damaged skin tones by using red light therapy.

The routine mainly consists of three to five weekly sessions of ten minutes each. This regime continues for up to four months.

Scientists have found improved collagen production and an increase in collagen density from using red light therapy. It has also been determined that red light helps reduce skin issues like wrinkles, fine lines, and marks from wounds.

2. Muscle Damage

There are multiple instances of using red light for muscle treatment. More specifically, near-infra-red or NIR is much more beneficial for reconstructing the tissues in core muscle groups.

The NIR therapy implemented 3-5 minutes just after daily exercise has been helpful to relax muscle fibres and prevent injuries. So if you’re facing muscle pain due to injury, a daily dose of ten minutes of RLT should accelerate muscle reconstruction and aid in its recovery.

3. Hair Loss

For people suffering from hair loss and balding, red light therapy holds great potential to reconstruct the hair follicles and accelerate hair growth.

Using both red light and NIR has brought in the most success. Mixed-light therapy around three times per week for twenty minutes will help you overcome your hair loss.

4. Arthritis

Some of the scientific studies have reported significant benefits from red light therapy for people suffering from osteoarthritis. Using red light therapy two times per day for 15 minutes seems to produce great results.

If you have arthritis, joint pain, and other complications, using NIR or red light therapy will improve your overall bone health and reduce pain levels.

5. Skin Disorders

Red light therapy has been found to treat most skin disorders like eczema, acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and other severe forms of skin disorders.

Therefore, many medical professionals regularly recommend red light therapy with regular medicines to drastically improve many skin disorders.

6. Skin Wounds

Different skin wounds like scars, stretch marks, lacerations, cuts have been tested with red light therapy and provided excellent results. Regular treatment of twenty minutes per day for around four months has resulted in improved collagen production, skin reconstruction, and hair growth.

In many of the cases, no further treatment wasn’t required after the red light therapy.

7. Back Pain

For people suffering from back pains, red light therapy might be their one-way ticket to effective treatment.

A study from 2006 has found that using infrared lights ranging from 800-1200 nm was able to give patients a 50 percent decrease in overall pain sensation within six weeks.

Optimum Strength Of Light

Different people have different results with the red light therapy. While some people have seen drastic improvements in their conditions in just a few days, there are reports from other people claiming very little or no progress from using red light therapy for a long time.

Most of these discrepancies come from the lack of knowledge about the optimal doses of light you should be taking.

Before starting your red light therapy, you should try to know about the light strength you need to treat different conditions and how much time you should spend with each dose.

There are multiple devices around the market to determine the exact power output of the light you should be using. We suggest you go with a solar power meter that can read the light sensitivity in the range of 400 nm to 1100nm. It gives a power reading in watt per meter square (W/m2) or milliwatt per centimetre square (mW/cm2).

The following chart will help you determine the exact distance and power you need for proper treatment with the red light therapy. For a more detailed analysis, this article might help.

Distance (cm) IR Device (mW/cm2) Red Light Device (mW/cm2) Combo of Red/IR (mW/cm2)
0 1200 1100 1000
5 500 450 600
10 200 180 450
20 70 65 100
30 35 30 70
35 20 18 55
40 18 15 40

How To Calculate The Dose For The Therapy

Setting up proper light therapy at home involves calculating the exact density of light you need for the perfect dosage and how long each session should last. Without knowing these details, you won’t be able to achieve the result you want.

Here’s the formula used to calculate how much light dose you need:

Dose = Power Density ✖ Time, where

●      The dose is measured in joules per centimetre square (J/cm2)

●      Power density is measured in milliwatts per centimetre square (mW/cm2)

●      Time is measured in seconds (s)

Proposed Amount Of Red Light Therapy Dose

Most scientific sources state that cells can get the highest benefit from a red light dose in the range of 0.1 J/cm2 to 7 J/cm2.

However, providing cells with less power than 0.1 and more than 7 joules didn’t find any conclusive benefits.

Although some scientific articles also claimed that a deep level effect is seen on the subject’s body when higher doses like 20 to 700 J/cm2 are applied. But it’s all depending on different conditions and people.

How Often Should You Use Red Light Therapy?

After you determine the power you need for an optimal effect, you should also determine the exact timespan of therapy.

With the following formula, you can easily calculate the optimal time for a dose:

Time = Dose / (Power Density ✖ 0.001)

Two And Three-dimensional Dosing Theory

Some prominent theories about the dosage limitations of red light therapy talk about the cellular response range for red light therapy for different cases. The two most important ones are two-dimensional and three-dimensional dosing theory. Here are some details:

Two-Dimensional Dosing Theory

The two-dimensional dosing theory talks about the biological repercussions of red light therapy on the human body. Following are some conclusive remarks about the approach.

●      The patient gets little to no response from the dosage that is too low.

●      The patient shows an inhibitory response when provided with too high a dosage.

●      The patient only shows the stimulatory response if given adequate response.

With the Bunsen-Roscoe Law, we can conclude that the patients can provide a stimulatory response if given proper dosage while not considering the time and intensity of the light source.

What this means in practice is that you can get away using the high intensity of light for a short period of low intensity of light in more extended periods. The theoretical result would be the same regardless of the time and intensity.

Three-Dimensional Dosing Theory

As humans are complex biological organisms with various systems working inside their bodies all the time, it isn’t just a binary positive or negative response on a human body for red light therapy.

Many researchers have concluded that the dose effectiveness is controlled by both time and intensity regardless of the binary system seen in the two-dimensional dosing theory.

The three-dimensional biphasic dose-response curve can show us the importance of using time as an essential factor for an adequate biological response. The stimulation of a human patient closely relates to the intensity of the light.

How Often Should I Use Red Light Therapy?

Red light dosing depends on the dosage level, intensity, and time for dosage, as observed in the two and three-dimensional curves for dosage.

As you have seen in the last part, too much dosing can cause inhibitory effects on the patient. Therefore, some might think it will cause adverse effects on the body.

But the reality is, it probably won’t cause any sort of harmful effects on the body. No scientific studies have conclusively shown any adverse effect on the body from red light therapy.

But you should keep in mind that if you’re looking to improve your health and get good benefits, the timing and dosage is essential. Too much light intensity and dosing will probably negate all the positive effects and lead you to zero gains from the therapy. This excellent post will help you learn more.

How To Test The Device For Red Light Therapy

There are certain factors to consider while you go for a red light device for your treatment. The main point to remember is what wavelength of light you need for your particular needs.

You must look through the marketing jargon and go for the perfect device you need. Here are a few factors you should consider while buying a new red light device:

●      The irradiance level of the device

●      The frequency range of the device in terms of nm

●      Price of the device

●      The coverage of the device relative to the body mass

●      The experience of the company that is making this particular LED device

●      Total warranty period is given for the device

Another thing you should check is whether your skin is sensitive to the red light emission from the device or not. Here’s how you can check for it:

1.    Turn on the device

2.    Place the device on your forearm and hold it there for at least three minutes, keeping it ¼” away from the skin.

3.    Check your skin after 3 minutes. If you notice any kind of redness, rashes, or uncomfortable feeling that lasts for more than 2 hours, your skin is sensitive to that specific wavelength of light.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much light therapy should be given per day?

Most typical red light sessions should last around 20-30 minutes per day.

2. Can LED light therapy cause skin cancer?

It is implausible that using LED light for therapy has any chance of causing any kind of skin cancer but just to be extra safe, you should never overdo a dosage period.

3. Can you wear goggles during red light therapy?

You should wear sunglasses or goggles to provide your eyes with an extra layer of protection from red lights during therapy sessions.

4. Can you Overdo Red Light Therapy?

Yes, you can overdo red light therapy which comes with little to no effect on your conditions but, for optimal outcomes, you should maintain the time and intensity of the light properly.

5. Should you drink water after red light therapy?

Drink a whole lot of water after every dosage to get your body hydrated and remove toxins and fats from the body.

Final Words

Red light therapy is quite a new technique for providing people with an alternative to medicinal drugs and other means of therapy. A diverse array of research has been conducted on the technology, and scientists are yet to find definitive results from their works.

One thing is certain, though. Using an adequate red light therapy dosage with proper timing has provided multiple benefits for many people. So, if you’re still unsure about whether it will work out for you or not, we suggest you give RLT a try. Best of luck!