What is Red Light Therapy?
The term Red Light Therapy (RLT) is used to describe a treatment using both Red and Near-Infrared light wavelengths. These wavelengths are specifically optimized for beneficial results. RLT is a treatment similar to photosynthesis, where our cells absorb light photons but from specifically optimized wavelengths. Red and Near-Infrared LED Lights help to make clean energy for the cell to use throughout our bodies. Healthy cell = Happy cell. RLT has incredible potential to enhance overall well-being and fitness. RLT has been shown to be safe and effective and is non-invasive, which means there is no downtime after the treatment. There are zero harmful or damaging UV (ultraviolet) rays.
Specifically optimized wavelengths stimulate healing and regeneration to help improve your appearance, performance, and overall well-being. Not all Red Lights are created equal. A Red Light bulb, though soothing, it does not have healing capabilities.
Red Light Therapy Benefits
PhotoBioModulation (PBM) can affect skin cells through fibroblast, keratinocyte regeneration, and regulation of immune function cells. PBM increases the induction of signaling molecules that stimulate the migration of cells to cytokines to help treat inflammation and infections, thereby significantly reducing inflammation and therefore pain. In short, PBM works through cellular-and biological functions, which are in direct response to the light photons.
One of the theories as to how RLT works is the visible and invisible light photons penetrate tissue and act on a photoreceptor cell in the mitochondria on an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) (unit IV in the mitochondrial respiratory chain). This enzyme catalyzes (speeds up) the last step in ATP production during the Krebs Cycle. The two cellular respiration processes that occur in the mitochondria include the Krebs Cycle and the electron transport chain (ETC). Located at the end of this ETC is CcO. This is where oxygen attaches, and ATP is produced with water as a by-product.
In a healthy cell, CcO combines oxygen with NADH (a crucial co-enzyme in the making of ATP) to make the hydrogen ions that drive ATP production. Typically, the cell can neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) by us living a healthy lifestyle with antioxidants. The inability to neutralize ROS entirely results in oxidative stress. Mitochondria create ROS and ATP. Oxidative stress results from an imbalance in ROS and antioxidants. Oxidative stress = unhealthy cell = unhappy cell. ROS can cause irreversible damage to the cell and its DNA, as they oxidize and prevent the cells from performing their original functions. ROS induces chronic inflammation by the induction of COX-2, inflammatory cytokines (TNFα, interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6), chemokines (IL-8, CXCR4), and pro-inflammatory transcription factors (NF-κB). (Gupta, et al.2011). Another thought on how the light photons may work is the change in the viscosity of the cell itself, which changes the permeability and health of the cell, (Sommer et al.). There are physical and chemical changes that occur in direct response to the light photons.
Chronic inflammation causes cancer. The body produces some antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals (ROS). We also need to consume antioxidants in our diet and in supplements. When cells are damaged due to ROS, including things that are self-inflicted including but not limited to illness, prolonged stress, poor diet, injury, smoking, UV radiation, and aging; Damaged mitochondria make Nitric Oxide (NO). NO competes with oxygen and binds with CcO stopping the production of ATP. Damaged cells also produce ROS, which leads to inflammation, cell death (apoptosis), and cancer.
Using RLT can help protect your cells from the damage of ROS. The more energy you have, the more efficiently your cells can work. This excess of energy allows the cell to perform its natural function at a faster pace.