Benefits of Red light Therapy and Near Infra Red

 

For milenia mankind has intuitively understood that light is essential to life, we need safe full spectrum exposure to ensure the ongoing health and vitality of tissues and organs. Over 3000 peer reviewed scientific journals have assessed the safety and necessity of light in our lives. At Nua Holistic we offer cutting edge Full Body Red and Infra-red Light therapy to facilitate your return to wholeness:)Read a little more about the huge benefits of Red and Infra-red light below. We look forward to seeing you in Our Clinic Soon! Ax

 

 

Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy For Skin

Because red light stimulates both Collagen and Elastin production, dramatically reduces lines and wrinkles, as well as the appearance of scars, surface varicose veins, acne, and cellulite, photobiomodulation ( a fancy word for light therapy) is fast becoming recognized as a safe and welcome alternative to injections and surgeries for anti-aging and skin rejuvenation.

Repairing damage from UV rays requires that skin be able to repair cellular and DNA damage, much as it does when healing from wounds. Red light does this extremely well through stimulating collagen synthesis and fibroblast formation, anti-inflammatory action, stimulation of energy production in mitochondria, and even stimulating DNA repair

A wealth of human studies is proving photobiomodulation can reverse the signs of aging, repair damage from UV rays, and reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and even hard to remove scars. A 2013 issue of Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery featured a review of the research that highlighted dozens of studies proving photobiomodulation can reduce the signs of aging.

Another review of the research by Harvard professor Michael Hamblin, PhD has found that red and near-infrared light therapy can:

  • reduce the signs of damage, DNA damage, and aging from UV rays
  • reduce wrinkles
  • reduce colour patches, hyperpigmentation, and skin discoloration
  • enhance collagen synthesis and collagen density (research has shown it can enhance production of collagen by 31%)
  • accelerate repair in the epithelial layer of skin
  • combat other skin conditions like acne, keloids, vitiligo, burns, herpes virus sores, and psoriasis
  • speed wound healing by enhancing skin tissue repair and growth of skin cells

In short, photobiomodulation is offering a new, extremely safe and non-invasive alternative to various anti-aging skin surgeries, Botox injections, and more abrasive chemical peels. For combating skin aging, red and near-infrared light is an extraordinarily powerful tool.

Use Photobiomodulation To Improve Immune System Function

In numerous studies, Red/NIR light therapy has proven to benefit the immune system.

  • In animal studies, near-infrared and red-light therapy has a boosting effect on the immune system of immune-deficient cancer-inoculated animals, resulting in an increased lifespan.
  • In human studies, photobiomodulation also boosted the immune systems and T cells of preoperative cancer patients without increasing tumour size. 
  • In the context of wound healing, it has also been shown to have beneficial effects, in part by modulating immune function.
  • Another study found that red/NIR light therapy to the bone marrow could increase the platelet count and help resolve low blood platelets caused by chemotherapy or by an autoimmune disease.
  • It also appears to selectively modulate cell function in some types of infected cells while not affecting healthy uninfected cells in the same way.
  • In vitro studies on human leukocytes have shown that near-infrared light can increase activity of these immune cells. Given that we know red/NIR light penetrates our blood vessels and irradiates our bloodstream, it is reasonable to think may also happen internally.
  • A fascinating study in mice looked at shining red light on the thymus gland (an important gland in the immune system) and on an area of a back leg. They found that the mice who received the treatment on the thymus gland area (in the center of the chest) had more profound changes in immune cell function.
  • Another remarkable and more recent study from December 2017 suggests that red/NIR light may be able to slow or even reverse this “thymic involution” – thus keeping our thymus gland function and immune function intact as we age.
  • As discussed in the section on thyroid health, in people with Hashimoto’s – a common autoimmune condition responsible for most hypothyroidism – red/NIR light has proven to have remarkably beneficial effects on immune function. Another animal model of multiple sclerosis (another autoimmune condition that degenerates the fatty sheath around nerves that helps nerve conduction) showed that just two treatments done over a span of 14 days led to significant improvement with less brain cell death and slowed the progression of the disease. Other animal studies have found similar effects.

Overall, red/NIR light seems to be an “immune nutrient” that supports optimal immune function in a wide variety of different scenarios and health conditions. It seems to be able to positively affect immune function in the right direction, potentially, regardless of whether someone has low immune function during an infection or has an overly active and imbalanced immune system due to autoimmune disease.

Use Photobiomodulation To Enhance Muscle Gain, Strength, Endurance, and Recovery 

Red/NIR light with exercise makes a potent combination. Not only does red/NIR light help you recover faster, it seems to amplify everything that happens with exercise – increased muscle gain, fat loss, performance, strength, and endurance.

Muscle tissue has more mitochondria than almost any other tissue or organ in the human body. So, muscle tissue is particularly responsive to photobiomodulation. The muscles are packed with mitochondria, because ATP is needed for every muscle twitch and movement, no matter how insignificant.

Through their effect on ATP production and cellular healing mechanisms, red/NIR light help individuals to recover more quickly from strenuous and resistance exercise, and even helps to prevent muscle fatigue during exercise.

Near Infrared and Red Light Therapy For Anxiety And Depression

A 2009 study took 10 patients with a history of major depression and anxiety (including PTSD and drug abuse) and gave them four weeks of treatments to the forehead with red/NIR light. Remarkably, by the end of the four-week study, 6 out of 10 patients experienced a remission of their depression, and 7 out of 10 patients experienced a remission of their anxiety.”

Though further research is needed, there have been 10 studies so far on the use of photobiomodulation to treat depression and anxiety related disorders with 9 of 10 studies yielding very positive results.

Improve Cognitive Performance with Photobiomodulation

In studies, researchers have found that transcranial near-infrared and red-light therapy profoundly benefits the brain and cognitive performance. Research has also shown that transcranial near-infrared stimulation has been found to increase neurocognitive function in young healthy adults, finding that it improved sustained attention and short-term memory retrieval in young adults, and improved memory in older adults with significant memory impairment at risk for cognitive decline.

Another study found photobiomodulation also increased executive cognitive function in young healthy adults, providing hope that further studies find that near-infrared and red-light therapy may provide a hopeful treatment in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, as well as prevention.

Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy For Hair Loss and Growth

Red light has also been shown to help with certain types of hair loss. Red light has proven to help both women and men with various conditions to regrow hair and even thicken the diameter of individual hair strands. Near-infrared and red light therapy has proven to help women with alopecia to significantly regrow and thicken hair. * A regular treatment regime is required

Near Infrared and Red Light Therapy For Cellulite

One study found that when photobiomodulation is combined with massage, it led to an astounding 71% reduction in cellulite!

Another study that assessed the use of near-infrared and red light therapy on skin health found that “91% of subjects reported improved skin tone, and 82% reported enhanced smoothness of skin in the treatment area.”

 Photobiomodulation For Wound Healing

Near infrared and red-light therapy are fantastic for wound healing. Red/infrared light accomplishes this in several ways:

  • cleaning up dead and damaged cells in skin (phagocytosis)
  • increasing ATP in skin cells, giving cells more energy to heal themselves
  • increasing the production of fibroblasts
  • increasing blood flow, supplying the wound more oxygen and nutrients needed for repair
  • stimulating the production of collagen and the health of the extracellular matrix
  • stimulating lymph activity
  • stimulating the formation of new connective tissue and blood capillaries on the surface of the wound.

Near Infrared and Red Light Therapy For Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and More Energy

Studies show that red light therapy is also effective at restoring energy and vitality in persons suffering with fibromyalgia. Multiple studies have found that photobiomodulation offers:

  • Enhanced quality of life for fibromyalgia patients
  • Decreased pain
  • Decreased muscle spasm
  • Decreased morning stiffness
  • Decreased total tender point number in fibromyalgia cases

Research – including a very recent 2017 study – suggests that this therapy method is a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy For Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism

Several studies have shown profound benefits of photobiomodulation for autoimmune hypothyroidism.

  • A recent 2013 randomized, placebo-controlled study in hypothyroid patients demonstrated that in people who got near-infrared light therapy, thyroid function dramatically improved, and remarkably, that thyroid antibody (TPOAb) levels were massively reduced. Amazingly, 47% of patients were able to stop medication completely! Moreover, the researchers also followed up 9 months after treatment and found that the effects were still evident. They even published a 6-year follow-up, which basically said that even at 6 years, some of the benefits still remained, but periodic sessions were recommended to maintain all benefits. (To be honest, I don’t suggest red/NIR light as a one-time treatment that is expected to last long-term. For optimal benefits, most research indicates that sessions be done with red/NIR therapy at least once a week consistently.)
  • A 2010 study found that photobiomodulation helped 38 %of study participants reduce their hypothyroid medication dose, with a whopping 17% being able to stop taking the medication altogether!
  • A 1997 study done in Russia included some data on people with autoimmune hypothyroidism who underwent a thyroid surgery. They found that red/NIR light therapy improved thyroid hormone levels enough that they required, on average, roughly half as much thyroid hormone medication.
  • A 2003 study done in the Ukraine showed that red light therapy can decrease thyroid medication needs by 50-75% in people with postsurgical hypothyroidism.
  • A 2010 Russian dissertation study gave red light therapy on the thyroid gland to a group of people with hypothyroidism and found that 17% of people could completely get off thyroid medication and 38% could decrease the dose by 25-50µg.
  • A 2014 study used the light therapy for 10 sessions with 347 women with subclinical hypothyroidism. At baseline, the average TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was 9.1 mIU/L. (Note: Higher TSH is a sign of hypothyroidism). After ten sessions of light therapy, the TSH was normalized in 337 (97%) of these women. Their TSH averaged at 2.2 mIU/L after just 10 light treatments.

Increase Bone Healing with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy

Studies on animals and humans have found that red and near-infrared light therapy greatly aids in healing breaks, fractures, and bone defects. ATP production is interrupted in broken bones, and cells begin to die from lack of energy. Red and near-infrared light have been shown to:

  • Stimulate energy production in the bone cells
  • Increase bone growth factors
  • Enhance blood vessel formation and blood flow to the affected area
  • Modulate inflammation
  • Enhance the attachment and production of collagen and procollagen and stimulates growth of bone cells – all of which accelerate the bone repair process

Overall, bone irradiated with near-infrared wavelengths shows increased bone formation and collagen deposition. Photobiomodulation is becoming very popular in all sports where breaks, sprains, and fractures are frequent — from horse racing to football.

Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy for Inflammation (and Potentially Inflammation-Related Diseases)

Red and near-infrared light therapy is highly effective in treating chronic inflammation.

Since chronic inflammation is now being recognized as a major contributor to most chronic diseases from heart disease, depression, and cancer, to Alzheimer’s and chronic fatigue syndrome, this effect of red-light therapy on inflammation is a very big deal.

Many aging scientists now speak of “inflamm-aging” — the concept that the genes and pathways that control inflammation may very well be the key drivers of aging and disease.

Studies have even shown that red/NIR light therapy can have anti-inflammatory effects on par with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are the anti-inflammatory drugs routinely prescribed and typically, the over-the-counter drugs people buy when in pain.

Improve Eye Health with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy

Research into the benefits of near-infrared and red-light therapy for eye health is very promising. Studies on animals show that photobiomodulation can heal damage to eyes from excessive bright light in the retina. This kind of damage is similar to the damage that occurs in age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

One human study in patients with AMD showed that red light therapy improved vision and that improvements were maintained for 3-36 months after treatment. It also appeared to improve oedema, bleeding, metamorphosia, scotoma and dyschromatopsia in some patients.

Note: The eyes are sensitive tissues, and as such, for any self-use of light therapy, I suggest shorter sessions at an increased distance away from the light. And as always, for any medical conditions, consult your physician rather than attempting to self-treat.

Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy for Tendonitis

One of the most common uses for red and near-infrared therapy in clinics is for injuries and tendonitis. Because red light stimulates collagen production, speeds wound healing, and is highly anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to bring great relief to people suffering from tendinopathy and tendonitis. 

A systematic review of the research concludes that photobiomodulation has proven highly effective in treating tendon disorders in all 12 studies conducted.

 

 Increase Fertility with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy

Some research suggests that red light therapy may be useful for fertility, which is making quite an impact upon couples trying to conceive.

It also improves follicular health, which are highly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Two recent studies, one in Japan and one in Denmark, found that photobiomodulation improved pregnancy rates where IVF had previously failed, in Denmark, by 68%

In Japan, near-infrared and red light therapy resulted in pregnancy for 22.3% of severely infertile women with 50.1% successful live births
As mentioned previously, the testicles also have photoreceptors that respond to red light, and research shows that photobiomodulation can greatly enhance sperm motility and therefore, fertility.

In studies on human sperm, near-infrared light therapy at 830 nm produced significant improvements in sperm motility.

Note: Some people have made some claims around the capacity photobiomodulation to increase testosterone levels. While I was initially excited about this, upon exploring the research that was cited in support of this, I have concluded that the evidence is simply not strong enough to support these claims. The claims are based mostly on one study in rats, which wasn’t an impressive study – it only showed elevations in testosterone briefly on one day, before returning to normal. It also didn’t show testosterone elevation for the group using near-infrared (only in the group using red light). The study did use very high doses (far too high, in my opinion) and it’s possible that a more reasonable dose could lead to benefits for testosterone levels. However, other studies have failed to show similar benefits.   I remain open to the possibility that red/NIR light may increase testosterone levels when used on the testes, but the evidence for it as of this writing (2018) is not sufficient. That said, there is some intriguing research on the ability of sun exposure and vitamin D to boost testosterone levels, and that seems a safer bet for now.

While the research on boosting testosterone is not strong, there is an abundance of solid evidence for the ability of red/NIR light therapy to improve fertility.

Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy For Arthritis and Joint Health

Studies have also shown that near-infrared and red-light therapy can help people with Osteoarthritis.

 

Decrease Diabetes Symptoms with Photobiomodulation

For diabetics, the most positive results gleaned from studies on the effects of near-infrared and red-light therapy for healing is healing foot ulcers. Historically, these are harder to heal due to poor circulation and high glucose levels, especially in the lower limbs. Studies in animals and humans reveal that photobiomodulation restores diabetic patients’ normal healing ability by exerting a stimulatory effect on the mitochondria with a resulting increase in adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Red light therapy also has had profound success in helping patients with painful diabetic neuropathy. Studies have found that photobiomodulation also helps to relieve pain and improve nerve function and foot skin microcirculation in diabetic patients.

Improve Respiratory Health with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy

In studies, photobiomodulation has been shown to improve the health of those who suffer from chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, and ILD (Interstitial Lung Disease) as well as patients suffering from chronic obstructive bronchitis

 

 

Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy for Pain Relief

Near infrared and red-light therapy has been remarkably effective at reducing joint pain in virtually all areas of the body.

Here are several conditions where red/NIR light has proven effective:

  • Chronic neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Low back pain
  • Chronic pain in the elbow, wrist and fingers
  • Chronic joint disorders
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Chronic tooth pain
  • Osteoarthritic pain
  • Tendinitis and myofascial pain

 

Red Light Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Spinal Cord Injury

Red light therapy is bringing recovery and enhanced cognition to those suffering from traumatic brain injury. Patients who have suffered TBI report improved cognition, better sleep, and enhanced recovery from the traumatic experience of their accident.

In animal research, photobiomodulation has impressive outcomes in recovery of animals after stroke. Scientists believe the therapeutic effects stem largely from increased mitochondrial function (i.e. increased ATP production) in brain cells irradiated with near-infrared and red-light therapy.

Spinal cord injuries cause severe damage to the central nervous system with no effective known restorative therapies. However, near infrared and red-light therapy has been found to accelerate regeneration of the injured peripheral nerve and increase the axonal number and distance of nerve axon regrowth, while significantly improving aspects of function toward normal levels. Numerous studies indicate that near-infrared and red-light therapy is a promising treatment for spinal cord injury that warrants full investigation.

Near Infrared and Red Light Therapy For Sleep 

Several studies in China have found that red/NIR light exposure, and studies have also found dramatic benefit to sleep in people with insomnia.

  • The first documented use of a similar intranasal light therapy device to directly observe melatonin level was conducted by Xu C et al in 2001. They treated 38 subjects that had insomnia with intranasal low-level laser therapy once a day over 10 days. They found that serum melatonin had increased.
  • The same group of researchers further treated another group of 128 patients with insomnia and found that the polysomnogram (sleep study that includes data on brain waves as electrical activity) data had improved.
  • In 2006, Wang F et al reported that they had treated 50 patients with insomnia with intranasal low-level laser therapy that is of similar specifications to Vie light’s laser device for 60 minutes per session. Each session was conducted once a day over between 10 to 14 days. They found that the condition had improved significantly in 41 (82%) of the cases, mild for 4 (8%) of the cases, and none for 5 (10%) of the cases.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners often prescribe herbs as remedy for insomnia. This seems to help somewhat. Chen YM et al tested 90 patients and found that that the condition improved significantly for 40% of the cases, mild for 37.5% and none for 22.5% of the cases. In the group that added the extra element of the intranasal low-level laser therapy, the improvement in the number of positive results were significantly more impressive. 78% of the patients experienced significant improvement, 20% mild and 2% none.

Near Infrared and Red Light Therapy For Brain Health (Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease)

Recent studies have now found that photobiomodulation may significantly slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Red and near-infrared light have been shown to:

  • Benefit cognitive performance and memory
  • Improved mitochondrial function of brain cells
  • Have a protective effect on neurons
  • Improve cellular repair of neurons
  • Increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF)
  • Decrease brain inflammation (decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines)

 

Studies provide evidence that near-infrared and red-light therapy powerfully help prevent muscle fatigue, enhance muscle strength and endurance, increase fat loss responses from exercise, increase muscle growth responses from exercise, and promote faster recovery.

With this amount of positive benefits, isn’t it time you tried this amazing treatment for yourself!

Resources: links to scientific articles

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