Unexpected Red Light Therapy Pros and Cons

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What are the benefits of red light therapy?What are the red light therapy cons?
Boosts your cognitive performanceNot a main cure for illnesses
Relieves painToo much of it can render it useless
Improves your moodPossible hight cost
Boosts your immune system
Fights bowel inflammation
Reduces diabetes symptoms
Triggers rejuvenation processes
Helps Fibromyalgia Pain
Helps improve women’s health

What do you expect from red light therapy? Do you wonder what the red light therapy pros and cons are? Does it make you think about spas and wellness treatments? It is true, but this is just one part of the story.

Red light therapy has become a focus of scientific research since it has shown promising results in assisting healing processes for a wide variety of conditions.

This approach to healing is in many ways holistic, as it doesn’t focus on only one system or organ at a time. It taps into the power of the interconnectivity of all bodily systems, their mutual feedback, and healing potentials.

Red light therapy is a way of improving your general state of being and energy levels, so that the body can be stronger, more resilient and better prepared to fight off illness and pain.

These are some of the most important pros and cons of red light therapy for you to explore:

What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?

When talking about red light therapy pros and cons, it’s best to start with the amazing light therapy benefits. After all, there aren’t that many red light therapy cons and none of them are harmful.

Red light therapy is based on the fact that our bodies react very well to light in the range between 600-1100 nanometers. That’s the so-called red and near-infrared light.

One of the properties of light is that it consists of photons – tiny particles that have electromagnetic charge. When you enjoy your red light therapy, you are actually exposing our body to these photons that come into contact with your mitochondria.

The mitochondria then start stirring up some crucial molecules in our cells: Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and Nitric Oxide (NO). All of these are essential for the healing processes that happen inside your body.

That’s the short version of how it all works. This is how these processes translate into pros and cons of red light therapy:

1. Red Light Therapy Can Boost Your Cognitive Performance

The question is – what does red light do to the brain? This type of photobiomodulation will increase your blood circulation and boost your gut-brain axis.

Better blood circulation means that your brain will have a better blood supply and brain mitochondria will function better, generating more energy for your brain.

Consequently, this alleviates brain fog, constant fatigue and improves your thought clarity. The gut-brain axis has a special role in regulating anxiety and depression.

Both of these states heavily influence your focus, memory and ability to process environmental stimuli. 

But, this is not all that RLT does for the brain. It is so much more than just blood flow. It also boosts brain energy metabolism, strengthens the antioxidant defenses, stimulates neurotrophic factors and much more.

2. Red Light Therapy Can Relieve Your Joint and Muscle Pain

When levels of cytokines, chemokines, and microglial rise, your body reacts by sending out signals for pain. One way red light therapy helps pain relief is by regulating the work of these elements.

Furthermore, it boosts the release of serotonin and endorphins which are pain soothing. On top of all that, red light therapy will also trigger the peripheral opioid release, to enhance pain relief. 

woman with a FlexBeam on her thigh

3. Red Light Therapy Can Help Improve Your Mood

The gut-brain axis is extremely powerful and scientists release more and more data showing how much it influences our mood and other emotional responses. 

Red light therapy influences the growth and life cycle of gut bacteria. These bacteria heavily influence the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate your mood. 

4. Red Light Therapy Can Boost Your Immune System

In a way, red light coaches your immune system to be on high alert. Beaming red light and near-infrared light onto cells creates a short, low-dose metabolic stress that builds up the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and natural defense systems of the cells, making the body stronger and more resilient to infections. 

5. Red Light Therapy Can Fight Your Bowel Inflammation

Whenever you have any kind of inflammation, you will get prescribed different NSAID drugs. When the inflammation is in your bowels, it is questionable whether NSAIDs are more useful or harmful in soothing your pain. Moreover, they disrupt natural healing processes and just cover up the symptoms. 

Red light doesn’t operate like that. Red light stunts the growth of inflammatory cells increases the development of cells that build collagen and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels. These processes combined create powerful anti-inflammatory systems.

6. Red Light Therapy Can Reduce Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes can cause high levels of glucose which damages blood vessels. It can also cause the buildup of plaque and reduce blood circulation significantly.

Furthermore, diabetes can cause neuropathy, which is nerve damage. The consequences of such damage can be severe and they can extensively impact the life quality of the patient.

Red light therapy can help alleviate both of these harmful effects of diabetes. First of all, it triggers the body’s own process of ingesting degenerated cells for the purpose of clean-up. This means plaque buildup.

Another effect of red light therapy is angiogenesis – the creation of new blood vessels. 

As for nerve damage, red light therapy makes an amazing replacement for traditional NSAID therapies. Red light stimulates nerve repair and manages nerve damage significantly. 

7. Red Light Therapy Can Trigger Rejuvenating Processes

Among other cells, fibroblasts are the ones that are the most responsible for the skin repair process. What they do is – they replace the broken collagen and elastin structures and they manage the extracellular matrix. In other words, fibroblasts regulate most of the processes that stop the aging of the skin.

8. Red Light Therapy Can Help Fibromyalgia Pain

Fibromyalgia is a complex issue that requires a systematic and holistic approach. That’s one of the reasons why red light therapy is a promising therapy for this condition. It is not entirely clear what causes fibromyalgia or how it functions.

What we do know so far is that many of the patients feel weak, especially in their upper body area. They sometimes experience pain, loss of balance and coordination, and even low endurance levels.  

While it cannot be claimed that red light therapy treats fibromyalgia, it can help with the symptoms and common triggers. Red light therapy reduces inflammation, stress, pain levels, and oxidative stress. All of these issues are triggering factors for fibromyalgia patients.

What Are Red Light Therapy Cons?

One of the best things to say about cons of red light therapy is – there almost aren’t any. More precisely, red light therapy cons are not really the cons of the therapy itself, but some technical issues that come with it.

Maybe one of the most important cons of red light therapy is that it is rarely a cure. In many cases, it soothes the symptoms, making the condition less uncomfortable, but it doesn’t always treat the cause. However, it does boost the body’s healing system, so it has more resources to cure itself.

Let’s go a bit deeper and explore the red light therapy cons:

1. This is Not a Cure for Illnesses

At this point, red light therapy and photobiomodulation are fairly new and emerging procedures.

There are still not enough human studies and research for it to be fully incorporated into treatments of Western medicine. 

Changes in treatments can be slow. But, in the case of photobiomodulation, using it as a go-to treatment is just a matter of time.

NASA sees the benefits and has already included red light therapy as a supplemental treatment for muscle atrophy with astronauts who have spent too much time in zero gravity.

2. Too Much of Red Light Therapy Doesn’t Work

How much red light therapy is too much? The answer to this question depends on the features of the device you are using. Different devices have different power density, irradiation, and other characteristics that determine the dosage of the light your body is receiving.

That’s why it is essential to stick to the recommended dosages. If you expose your body to too much red light therapy, you will develop habituation. In other words, your body will get used to it and no longer have a reaction. So, mind the daily limit for your sessions.

3. Cost

In the past, this was a very expensive treatment. You had two options. One was to purchase a red light therapy bed or panel for your home and the other one was to go and have your treatments at a treatment center.

The cost of a good red light therapy panel is a significant setback for your budget. Even then, it’s not very convenient for daily use, and you cannot take it with you on vacations. Not to mention space it takes in your household.

The other option is going to the treatment center. The treatment cost is one thing, but there are additional costs of getting to the treatment center. Time is money, right? 

The future is about to change that because a portable, at-home, easy-to-use red light therapy device is on its way! It will cost you just a fraction of the price you would pay for your yearly red light therapy treatments.

While this form of photobiomodulation has so many amazing effects, it is still not considered to be a treatment for individual illnesses. That is something that the future holds, as science and research progress.

At this point, red light therapy is a question of life quality. It offers wellness and makes the most of your health and current situation.

In a way, it is a chance to nurture your body and your energy levels, helping you reach your full potential.

Read more about the amazing effects red light therapy has on your energy levels.