LED Red Lights: How to Use Them and What Are They For?

Photobiomodulation, or light therapy, is an umbrella term that encompasses many forms of therapy that use photonic energy of light for healing. These treatments use different light sources as well as different wavelengths of light. Red light wavelengths are especially powerful in this aspect.

What Is LED Light Therapy?

LED light therapy is a form of treatment that uses light-emitting diodes to emit light of therapeutic wavelengths. There are LED lamps that emit light of different wavelengths or colors. The most commonly used for various treatments are blue and red light lamps.

LED light therapy is very popular because it is effective and safe. The lamps don’t emit any heat, and unlike laser treatments, LED light therapy is non-invasive and doesn’t cause tissue damage.

What Wavelengths Should You Use for LED Red Light Treatments?

Research shows that red light therapy yields the best results with a combination of red and near-infrared wavelengths. The longer the wavelength of the light, the deeper into the body it can penetrate. 

Red light from the visible spectrum works more on the surface. It’s very effective for skin conditions. Visible red light also supports healthy sleep and has an effect on mood and mental health problems.

Near-infrared light penetrates deeper into the tissue. It stimulates the cells and supports bone, muscle, and organ health. 

When you combine several wavelengths from both the visible and the invisible spectrum, you get the best results that affect your overall well-being, including both physical endurance and mental acuity.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red Light therapy doesn’t have a single mechanism through which it treats all health conditions. Rather, it affects the body in numerous ways, all of which can be helpful for different issues.

Cellular Proliferation

Red light therapy has a huge potential in boosting the regeneration of tissue and even bone. This is because the light of red and near-infrared wavelengths stimulates cellular proliferation.

Within a cell, red light increases the number of mitochondria

Contrary to popular belief, a cell doesn’t contain just one single mitochondrion. In fact, there are many mitochondria in each cell. The more mitochondria there is within a cell, the better its energy and oxygen production and the healthier the tissue.

However, red light therapy doesn’t boost just the number of mitochondria within a cell. It also increases the number of cells themselves. One recent study has shown that red light therapy has great bone and tooth regeneration potential.

Increased Cellular Energy

One of the most important metabolic processes which take place within each cell is the complex process of energy and oxygen production. Your cells cannot use the energy from the food you consume as is. Instead, they transform the glucose from the blood into a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 

When the chemical bonds of this molecule are broken, it releases the energy that the cells use for their functioning. The same process, which produces ATP, also produces oxygen, which is why we sometimes refer to it as cellular breathing.

Red light therapy supports the protein chains of the mitochondrial membrane, thus increasing the amount of energy produced. It also minimizes the production of reactive oxygen species, or free radicals, which are a harmful byproduct of energy production, slowing down cell aging.

Decreased Inflammation

Red light therapy has been shown to decrease inflammation in the body. It’s one of the reasons why red light therapy is so effective for faster healing of injuries. Treatments with red light stimulate blood circulation. 

The increased flow of blood brings more immune cells to the inflamed spot. At the same time, this also increases the drainage of fluids from the area, which helps with swelling.

Skin Support

One of the most popular uses of red light therapy is for the skin. LED light therapy with red and near-infrared light helps with various skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, and skin aging. This kind of therapy boosts collagen production in the skin, which helps to achieve a youthful appearance and skin elasticity. 

A higher volume of collagen in the skin can also help fill out fine lines and wrinkles, reversing some of the signs of skin aging.

Studies have shown that light therapy is very efficient for the treatment of acne vulgaris, especially when a combination of red and blue light is used. In this combination, blue light neutralizes the bacteria, which cause acne, while red light reduces inflammation, redness, and scars.

Better Sleep

If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you are not alone. In fact, sleep disorders have become a veritable epidemic. One of the main reasons, apart from stress, is the excessive amount of blue light that people are exposed to during the day and in the evening.

In nature, the wavelength of sunlight changes during the course of the day. Early In the morning and at dusk, red light is prevalent. 

During the middle part of the day, most light belongs to the blue spectrum. The human body has adapted to use these changing wavelengths as triggers for sleep and weak pattern. 

Blue light from screens, especially after sundown, disrupts this natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. Treatments with red and infrared light in the evening can mimic these natural cues and help reestablish the balance.

This light neutralizes the effect of blue light from phones and computers and signals to the internal clock in your brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that it’s time to release melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Lower Blood Pressure

In contact with the skin, red light therapy stimulates the production and release of a compound called nitric oxide into the bloodstream.

This compound is a vasodilator, which means that it dilates the blood vessels. Through this mechanism, red light therapy lowers blood pressure and contributes to cardiovascular health.

Improved Mood

Red light therapy can be a very effective supplemental treatment for mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy is a viable alternative to vitamin D supplements to fight seasonal depression during the darker months. 

Treatments with red light have been proven to raise levels of beta endorphins in plasma. Endorphins are hormones that the body naturally releases during pleasurable activities. Simply put, they’re an instant mood lift.

How to Use Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy treatments with a home device like FlexBeam can be done daily. FlexBeam can be used with one of three presets depending on the desired effects. 

It can be wrapped around or pressed to the body part in question for more targeted treatments, resulting in maximum efficiency.

Daily red light therapy treatments are a healthy habit that can completely transform your physical and mental health.