The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the prevalence of chronic pain ranges from 11% to 40%, and that it is also the most common reason that patients seek medical care. That being said, coping with chronic pain or acute pain can leave you with a feeling of helplessness and fear. Fortunately, there are options available to manage your pain, including non-invasive Red Light Therapy. This post informs you about Red Light Therapy, how it works and how it can help manage your pain.
What is Red Light Therapy?
Red Light Therapy is a form of Light Therapy that exposes patients to low-level wavelengths of nearly infrared (NIR) or red light. The treatment is used for slow-healing wounds, pain management and a series of medical disorders.
The light wavelengths used in this therapeutic treatment are of a lower energy density than other forms of laser therapies, which is why it is sometimes called Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT). Red Light Therapy (RLT) is also known as Biostimulation, Photobiomodulation (PBM) and Photonic Stimulation.
Red Light Therapy Has Roots in Space
Red Light Therapy has been around since the early 1990s when researchers used it to grow plants in space. Since the experiments in space, RLT has been extensively researched in clinical and laboratory settings to determine if it had potential as a medical treatment. Specifically, scientists wanted to find out if Red Light Therapy was effective in causing energy to elevate within human cells.
Space travel can cause health problems, such as wasting muscle, bone density issues and persistent wounds. Findings by the research teams would be key as to whether RLT would help astronauts with medical issues they encounter during zero gravity. The extensive research they conducted on the light therapy provided the framework for other studies that followed – studies that show Red Light Therapy is effective in treating certain disorders of the skin, muscles, and other areas of the body.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
We measure wavelengths of light in nanometers, and some wavelengths are more beneficial to us than others. Red wavelengths that range from 630 to 660nm, and NIR wavelengths that range from 810 to 850nm, give the most health benefits without being invasive or having side effects.
With Red Light Therapy, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs emit beams of red and NIR wavelengths, penetrating approximately 8-10 millimeters below the surface of the skin. Specific benefits of Red Light Therapy include:
- Increased Cellular Energy: The natural light used in RLT stimulates cellular energy production, which promotes the body’s natural healing power.
- Rejuvenated, Healthy Skin Cells: Red Light Therapy stimulates collagen production. Skin cells are rejuvenated in the process, and the damaged skin is slowly replaced by healthy skin.
- Improved Blood Flow: Red Light Therapy improves blood flow. Cells exposed to red light produce new blood vessels, capillaries and the fibroblasts that create the collagen and connective fibers that are necessary to heal wounds.
- Reduced Inflammation and Swelling: Patients who have had surgery or have an injury experience less inflammation and swelling when red light treatments are used. They also heal faster.
- Regenerated Nerve Cells: Studies indicate that NIR light acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation, which in turn, reduces neuropathic pain and stimulates the regeneration of damaged nerve cells.
- A Stronger Immune System: Red light therapy has immune boosting properties that can strengthen your body’s metabolism and enhance the function of cells, organs and systems in your body.
- Stem Cell Activation: LLLT stimulates the production of stem cells. The stem cells then develop into a wide array of cells in your body, where they activate and create healthy new tissue to replace affected bone, cartilage, ligaments, and muscle.
How Does Red Light Pain Therapy Work?
With Red Light Therapy, you expose bare skin to a lamp or other device. Mitochondria are the powerhouse that creates energy in human cells, and red light works by inducing a biochemical effect that makes mitochondria stronger.
With more energy, the cells function more efficiently, working better to rejuvenate themselves and repair damage. This biological action spurs the healing of skin and muscle tissue.
However, Low-Level Light Therapy is not a fast cure-all for any condition. Some patients experience relief after just 1-2 sessions, but the greatest results will come over time as the cells in your body rejuvenate and optimize their functioning. It can take a few weeks to a few months for this to happen.
How Can Red Light Therapy Reduce Pain?
When the tissue in your body is injured, a signal travels along the nerves to your brain, which then interprets this stimulus as pain. This results in the familiar sensation of sharp or dull aches, burning, etc. that characterizes pain. Red light therapy is a safe, natural way to speed up the healing process for burns, surgery incisions, scars and wounds. Of course, once you start healing, pain is reduced.
Unproven Claims about Red Light Therapy
Several studies suggest that RLT can provide the health benefits described above, but there isn’t enough evidence available to determine whether the treatment can help treat other medical conditions, such as severely compromised immune function and cancer. However, there are some insurance companies that cover its use in the prevention of oral mucositis during chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to treat cancer.
Will Insurance Pay for Red Light Therapy?
Currently, medical insurance companies consider light therapy an experimental treatment, meaning many of them won’t provide insurance coverage. However, there are medical insurance companies that will provide coverage for Red Light Therapy if it’s determined that the treatment is medically necessary.
Meanwhile, all of Bright Health products are FSA/HSA compliant and approved, meaning you should have the ability to use your health accounts to purchase our products, including the Bright Health Foot Relief device.
Fast relief for Tired, Aching and Sore Feet
The Bright Health Foot Relief device provides pain relief from neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and more. The therapeutic device works by using 124 medical-grade Infrared and Red Light LEDs. The Light Therapy increases blood circulation and relaxes muscles, which in turn, alleviates pain and stiffness.