一.Overview of inflammation
You can’t see it or feel it, but inflammation may slowly be damaging your body.
Inflammation (swelling), which is part of the body’s natural healing system, helps fight injury and infection. But it doesn’t just happen in response to injury and illness.
An inflammatory response can also occur when the immune system goes into action without an injury or infection to fight. Since there’s nothing to heal, the immune system cells that normally protect us begin to destroy healthy arteries, organs and joints.
“When you don’t eat healthy, don’t get enough exercise, or have too much stress, the body responds by triggering inflammation,” says Varinthrej Pitis, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley. “Chronic inflammation can have damaging consequences over the long term. So the food you eat, the quality of sleep you get and how much you exercise, they all really matter when it comes to reducing inflammation.”
When the body detects an intruder, it launches a biological response to try to remove it.
The attacker could be a foreign body, such as a thorn, an irritant, or a pathogen. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, and other organisms, which cause infections.
Sometimes, the body mistakenly perceives its own cells or tissues as harmful. This reaction can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes.
Experts believe inflammation may contribute to a wide range of chronic diseases. Examples of these are metabolic syndrome, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
People with these conditions often have higher levels of inflammatory markers in their bodies.
Acute inflammation often causes noticeable symptoms, such as pain, redness, or swelling. But chronic inflammation symptoms are usually subtler. This makes them easy to overlook.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
These symptoms can range from mild to severe and last for several months or years.
In disease states, the good inflammation becomes chronic, or at least dysfunctional,” Longo says. Inflammation either sticks around when it should dissipate, or the immune system directs inflammation at something that’s not really a threat.
For example, inflammation can worsen the stiffening of arteries and promote plaque accumulation in some people with high cholesterol, high triglycerides and other risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors can irritate the inner lining of the blood vessels and cause an inflammatory response, says Dr. Michael Miller, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In some cases, Miller says, inflammation increases the risk for dangerous clots, rather than eradicate the problem.
二.How does red light therapy treat inflammation
Just as our body utilizes the food we eat for nutrients, light is also essential for cell nutrition and increased energy. One extensively researched mechanism of Red Light Therapy is its ability to activate the mitochondria which is the energy powerhouse of our cells.
There are dozens of mechanisms occurring at the biochemical & cellular level when the body is exposed to the Red 650 nano meter and the Near Infrared 850 nano meter wavelength. These wavelengths of light allow for more oxygen to enter our cells which stimulate ATP (energy carrying molecule) production in the mitochondria, boosting the production of cellular energy. Just like your car runs on gasoline, your cells run on ATP.
Another key mechanism of Red/NIR light exposure is its ability to boost antioxidant production, which helps relieve oxidative stress in your cells. Red Light Therapy helps build up the cell’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses key in cell injury, muscle soreness, and inflammation.
Studies have shown red light to have highly effective anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Naturally suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines (signaling molecules secreted from immune cells that promote inflammation) from tissues, joints, tendons, and other specific areas of the body
RLT works its magic by delivering safe, concentrated wavelengths of natural light into your skin (up to 10 deep millimeters, to be exact) where it’s absorbed by your cells. This “stimulates the production of collagen, elastin, and fibroblasts,” says Rhonda Klein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut. That in turn enhances a little something known as ATP, the source of energy for every cell in the body (read: natural energy sans a 3:00 P.M. caffeine crash). “RLT also boosts circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues,” Dr. Klein says.
As far as skin goes, Bard points out that red light therapy is useful in decreasing inflammation and stimulating post-procedure wound healing. It can also help bolster hair growth in people with alopecia and stimulate collagen production in people who hope to lessen fine lines and wrinkles.
When your cells are hit with the red light wavelengths, a host of regenerative effects occur, leading to potential benefits like younger-looking skin, enhanced muscle repair, and diminished scarring.
Red light therapy alleviates chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow to the damaged tissues, and it’s been found in numerous clinical trials to increase the body’s antioxidant defenses. Dr. Michael Hamblin of Harvard Medical School concluded that one of its most reproducible effects is “an overall reduction in inflammation, which is particularly important for disorders of joints, traumatic injuries, lung disorders and in the brain.”
Dr. Hamblin explains that wavelengths of natural red and near infrared light are “a very mild form of stress that activates protective mechanisms in the cells…for instance, when longer wavelengths or visibly red light hits the skin, it nudges mitochondria to make energy more efficiently and boost production of healing anti-inflammatories or disease-fighting antioxidants.”
Red light therapy can help the mitochondria to produce the fuel or energy it requires for healthy immune system cells and enhanced cell production. And because unhealthy cells are the cause of most diseases and degenerative conditions, it stands to reason that healthy cells can lead to better health, reduced stress levels and feelings of wellbeing. The body’s ability to combat injury, viruses, inflammation and skin conditions may also be enhanced.
It can also increase nitric oxide, the compound that heals the cells and increases the blood flow which may help to stimulate healing and strengthen your immune system to defend against viruses & disease; regulate your blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Nitric oxide is also crucial to the health of arteries.
Red Light Therapy for Treating Inflammation
By increasing blood flow to damaged tissues, light therapy helps in treating chronic inflammation. This treatment process can also help in increasing the body’s antioxidant defenses as seen in numerous clinical trials.
Pain relief and treating post-surgery inflammation: In 2018, Lasers in Medical Science published a placebo-controlled trial that studied acute inflammation and pain of patients who just had hip arthroplasty surgery. According to the researchers, those patients who were treated with natural light therapy had a great reduction in post-op pain and swelling.
Treating exercise related inflammation and pain: It has been long proven that red light therapy helps in improving muscle soreness and exercise related swelling and pain. In a 2008 study, it has been found that natural light had a beneficial effect in delayed onset muscle soreness.
Reducing oral inflammation: In another recent trial, researchers tried to prove the ability of natural light to reduce oral inflammation. They found out that the light therapy has an incredible ability to reduce inflammation of periodontal cells (mouth cells) during orthodontic and dental treatments and surgeries.
三.Views on the use of red light therapy in patients with inflammation
1.I am using the product for red light therapy, even on my head for hair. It is really powerfully bright. The near infrared is invisible but the red led is so amazingly bright red. Time will tell if it works.
2.I got this for inflammatory pain in my tendons and ligaments in my hands, feet, ankles and knees. I have been treating the right side of my body to see how it does. Following the guidelines in “The Ultimate Guide to Red Light Therapy” by Ari Whitten, pain has gone down about 60% on the right side in the past two weeks. The unit puts out an AM radio interference when the visible red LEDs are on, louder when the NIR LEDs are off. It is strange to feel the light kind of pecking randomly on my hand. It comes with over the door hardware and a cord/pulley to raise & lower the unit. Very convenient to sit in a chair and bask in the light.
3.I’ve been dealing with alopecia barba, bald spots in my beard area, for roughly 2 years and have tried countless remedies with no success. After researching red light therapy and different devices I decided to give this one a go. I was pleased with the device upon arrival as it seems well built and durable. Now, after a few weeks of using it 10-15 min at a time, once or twice a day, I have black hairs growing back in spots for the first time in years. If you’ve ever had to deal with alopecia, then you know how exciting this can be. I will say I think it takes consistency and time, it took probably 3 weeks to start seeing results so dont get discouraged. I’m still using it daily and noticing new little patches of hair coming in every week. I’m very happy with this product and would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with alopecia. It working for me.
4.This red light therapy panel is incredible! I have only used it for about 1 week and see a noticeable difference in my skin already. I have been treating a small bout of perioral dermatitis and the red light therapy is doing a wonderful job at keeping the inflammation way down. As a perk I am seeing my face skin getting tighter and firmer and just over all looks nice.
5. my hips were really hurting, so I put it on them right away, and it seemed that within 5 minutes they stopped hurting. I did find that I had to treat them 2-3 times a day for a few days before the pain left for good, which seems to still be the case.
6.This is a great product and a good value. Red/IR light can promote healing and reduce inflammation according to many studies. It’s not the heat, it is the actual light wavelength. This product has the correct wavelenths (880 IF and 640 red)
7.I work with a higher end infrared device in physical therapy, so know the good benefits. I know this type of therapy is great for acute injuries and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and Fibromyalgia as I have seen improvements in people first hand.
8. I am 53 and my hair is thicker now than it may have ever been. It is elastic and hard to break which is just the opposite of how it used to be. Pain in any of my joints or areas of my body are easily relieved but simply basking in this light.
9.I have a torn meniscus in my right knee that the doctor said I shouldn’t even be walking with the red light therapy eased my knee pain and I’m walking fine. It was not an instantaneous healing but nothing is it took a while to heal but it was worth the effort.