Red Light Information
Red Light and Near-Infrared Therapy: A Comprehensive Overview
Red Light Therapy, also referred to as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Photobiomodulation - utilizes red light (and/or near-infrared light) to improve unwanted conditions within the body.
Practical examples of this therapy may include the use of a laser that emits light in red light spectrum onto an injured body part, or red-light LED shown on the body. Red Light Therapy is an FDA-approved treatment for an array of conditions, including: acne, muscle and joint pain, compromised blood circulation, reversing hair loss and fat loss.
What is the difference between mW and mW/cm2 measurement?
mW/cm2 is the only measurement that is important in comparing red light therapy systems. The mW/cm2 is the measurement of light intensity coming from the diode. The mW is the measurement of the power needed to run the diode. So, for example, let us say you are looking at a high-performance car that does 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. If you ask what the mW are it is like asking what gas the car runs on. You would want to know the horsepower the car has or mW/cm2. There are many different types of diodes some are regular, and some are high efficiency and everything in between. So, a highly efficient diode might only be 25mW but have a light intensity of 60mW/cm2 or a regular diode might be 120mW and only be 60mW/cm2. Both are putting out the same amount of light intensity and doing the same job but the highly efficient one takes less power to do it.
Closeness to the body in relativity for system performance.
We understand there are many different red-light therapy systems on the market today. We have worked to develop the top performing red-light therapy systems on the market today. Red light dissipates extremely fast, so the farther the diode from the body the less effective it is on the body. There are many systems on the market that have repurposed tanning beds into red light therapy systems. These are very easy to produce, but highly compromised for treatment effectiveness. The problem many of these beds have is a 3” to as much as 12” gap between the diode and the body…..this results in unacceptable clinical performance. With a light meter, we use to calibrate the diodes to their correct measurement, as an example, placing the meter on the diode for measurement of 40mW/cm2 then moving it only 2” away, the reading drops dramatically to only 19mW/cm2, less than half of the light intensity of the diode. You can now easily imagine how poorly a system works 6”-12” away from the body.
Our beds are designed to be as close as possible to the body to avoid large gaps in the treatment area. This is one factor relating to the performance superiority of our beds.
Are more diodes better on a bed then one that has less?
This is a great question. The only diodes involved in effective treatment are those directly under the skin. There could be thousands of other diodes on the bed pointed at the ceiling and they are useless for treatment. Other bed systems with gaps that leave 3” to 12” from the body are doing next to nothing for treatment but are more for show, creating a perception of relative value to increase cost. This is why every Body Balance System bed is designed with high light intensity at extreme proximity for the diode to the body.
The other more important factor is mW/cm2 the measurement of light intensity in determining what system you should purchase.
We are not here to just sell you a bed, but to assure you and your clients we are here to make your business more successful.
We hope this helps clear up common confusion with respect to Red Lght therapy. As one of the only Red Light equipment manufacturers in the USA, we want to help keep you and your clients well informed.
The Top 17 Benefits of Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
- Reverse skin Aging and Get Youthful Skin
- Slow Hair Loss and Re-Grow Hair
- Reduce Cellulite
- Speed Up Wound Healing
- Combat Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and Increase Energy Levels
- Fight Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism
- Lower Inflammation and Potentially Inflammation-Related Diseases
- Combat Depression and Anxiety
- Improve Cognitive Performance
- Help Tendinitis
- Improve Joint Health and Combat Arthritis
- Improve Oral Health
- Decrease Pain
- Fall Asleep Faster and Improve Sleep Quality
- Improve Brain Health and Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
- Enhance Muscle Gain, Strength, Endurance and Recovery
- Increase Fat Loss and Burn Off Stubborn Fat
When one explores the 50,000 plus scientific and clinical studies conducted on Red Light Therapy to date, one will find that no matter what type of health complication an individual may have, s/he is likely to benefit tremendously from Red Light and Near-Infrared Light Therapy.
The research into the power of red light to improve health and treat disease continues to gain momentum. What is being discovered through this research is that red and near-infrared light therapy can benefit virtually every system of the body. This light can improve the way one looks – it can help shed inches of fat, reduce the signs of aging, regrow hair, increase the results from workouts, reduce pain, speed healing, boost hormonal health, and lower inflammation.
A MORE DETAILED LOOK AT THE BENEFITS OF RED LIGHT THERAPY
Expanding on the specific benefits of red and near-infrared light that have been shown in studies, below are the major benefits that have been proven by scientific research for Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy:
- Reverse Skin Aging and Get Youthful Skin with Red Light Therapy and Near-Infrared Light Therapy
A wealth of human studies is proving near-infrared and Red Light Therapy can reverse the signs of aging, repair damage from UV rays, and reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and even hard to remove scars.
Dozens of studies have shown that red and near-infrared light therapy can:
- Reduce the signs of damage, DNA damage, and aging from UV rays
- Reduce wrinkles
- Reduce color patches, hyper-pigmentation, 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 cell.
- Slow Hair Loss and Re-Grow Hair with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Near-infrared and Red Light Therapy has proven to help women with alopecia to significantly regrow and thicken hair. Near-infrared and Red Light Therapy has also proven to regrow hair in men with hair loss in several studies.
- Reduce Cellulite with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
One study found that when near-infrared and Red Light Therapy 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.”
- Speed Up Wound Healing with Near-Infrared and Red Light Therapy
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.
- Combat Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, and Increase Energy Levels with Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Studies show that Red Light Therapy is also effective at restoring energy and vitality in persons suffering with fibromyalgia. Multiple studies have found that near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy 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.
- Fight Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Several studies have shown profound benefits of near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy 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!
- A 2010 study found that Red Light Therapy 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 post-surgical 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 25-50µ
- A 2014 study used the light therapy for 10 sessions with 347 women with sub-clinical 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.
- Combat Inflammation (and Potentially Inflammation-Related Diseases) with Near Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
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 “inflammaging” — 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),149 which are the anti-inflammatory drugs routinely prescribed and typically, the over-the-counter drugs people buy when in pain.
- Combat Depression and Anxiety with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
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 red and near-infrared light therapy to treat depression and anxiety related disorders with 9 of 10 studies yielding very positive results.
- Improve Cognitive Performance with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
In studies, researchers have found that trans-cranial near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy profoundly benefits the brain and cognitive performance. Research has also shown that trans-cranial 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 near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy 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.
- Help Tendinitis with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
One of the most common uses for red and near-infrared therapy in clinics is for injuries and tendinitis. 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 tendinitis. A systematic review of the research concludes that near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy has proven highly effective in treating tendon disorders in all 12 studies conducted.
- Improve Joint Health and Combat Arthritis with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Numerous studies have shown that near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy can profoundly help people with osteoarthritis (often called just “arthritis”).
- Improve Oral health with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy have proven to have numerous benefits for oral health and research in this area is booming right now. So far, studies indicate promising results for near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy, which has been shown to:
- Combat viral and bacterial infections of the mouth (tonsillitis, herpes, cold sores).
- Facilitate tooth growth/tooth movement and reduce pain for individuals with corrective braces.
- Help diabetics with gum problems and periodontal disease.
- Decrease Pain with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Here are several conditions where red/NIR light has proven effective:
- Chronic neck pain
- Knee pain
- 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
In a recent systematic review, researchers concluded that Red Light Therapy has proven “beneficial for many individuals suffering from pain, regardless of the condition that is causing it.”
- Fall Asleep Faster and Improve Sleep Quality
Several studies have found that red/NIR light can increase melatonin and provide dramatic sleep benefits to people with insomnia.
- The first documented use of a similar Red-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. 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.
- Chen YM et al tested 90 patients and found that 78% of the patients experienced significant improvement, 20% mild and 2% none.
- Improve Brain Health, and Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
Recent studies have now found that near-infrared and Red-Light Therapy may significantly slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.309,310 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)
16. Enhance Muscle Gain, Strength, Endurance, and Recovery with Near-Infrared and Red-Light Therapy
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.
How does red and near-infrared light affect muscles – what is it doing to cause these benefits? It works through several important mechanisms in the body:
- Red and near-infrared light help promote the production of internal antioxidants by your cells, which prevents oxidative stress and damage to the muscle tissue (when light is applied before exercise).
- Red and near-infrared light help reduce inflammation that will lead to cellular damage (and fatigue) in the muscle tissue as well.
- Protect damaged muscles from secondary damage from further exercise.
- Pre-conditioning: By using the light prior to exercise, it creates a “preconditioning” effect where the muscle cells suffer less damage from the exercise, as well as display higher strength/stamina in subsequent exercise following the initial bout of exercise.
- Red and near-infrared light decrease lactic acid production by muscles.
- Red and near-infrared light improve mitochondrial function during exercise.
- Increases acetylcholine receptors on muscles (this is the neurotransmitter released from nerve cells that stimulates muscle contraction).
- Red and near-infrared light increase the production of specific types of heat shock proteins that protect cells from oxidative damage, stress, and apoptosis (early cell death).
- Red and near-infrared light also enhance muscle growth, as well as increasing strength significantly.
- Red and near-infrared light therapy promotes the development of muscle stem cells, myosatellite cells, which develop into specific varying types of muscles.
- Red and near-infrared light also have the profound benefit of increasing mitochondrial adaptations and mitochondrial biogenesis (the creation of new mitochondria) following exercise.
17. Increase Fat Loss (And Burn Off Stubborn Fat) with Near-Infrared and Red Light Therapy
In studies, near-infrared and Red Light Therapy have helped shave an entire 3.5 to 5.17 inches off waist and hip circumference by reducing the fat mass layer in just four weeks of use.
In another study of 86 individuals using Red Light Therapy at 635 nm for 20 minutes every other day for two weeks, study participants lost 2.99 inches across all body parts — yes, 3 inches — in just 14 days of Red Light Therapy.
Where red/NIR light therapy really shine is when combined with exercise. Some research shows that near-infrared light therapy can dramatically enhance — nearly double — fat loss from exercise, as compared to people doing just the exercise routine without the NIR light therapy.
Identifying Therapeutic Wavelengths that Achieve Real Results
When choosing the right near-infrared and red-light therapy light device, you want to select a one that’s long-lasting, has a great warranty, is well-manufactured, and most importantly, one that offers the correct wavelengths at the right power density over a large area. Wavelength and intensity make all the difference between incredible benefits and no benefits.
Again, not all wavelengths are equal — nor are all devices. Look for wavelengths in the proven therapeutic ranges.
The bulk of research indicates the following wavelength are the most effective:
- 630-680nm (the optimal healing spectrum of red light)
- 800 to 880nm (the optimal healing spectrum of near-infrared)
- IDEALLY a combination of both
Wavelengths above 1000nm will produce heat. Bulbs that use wavelengths above 1000nm can therefore not be applied close to the body for longer periods of time. For this reason, red light therapy devices use LED lights, so that only the most therapeutic wavelengths that do not emit any heat can be used.
The fact that red light therapy devices do not emit any heat is advantageous, because a lot more red light can be applied to the body for longer periods of time, without overheating the body in the process.
Why Power Density of The Light Matters
Power density is important because your cells need to receive a certain intensity of red light to benefit. To understand power density, one simply needs to know the wattage of the light and the treatment area.
For maximum efficacy, a sizable light that has a power density of at least 100mW from close range is essential. This power density allows for one to get up to the therapeutic levels that are used in the studies – especially for the deeper tissues.
Utilizing a device with a higher power output that also treats a large area at once, that’s where the magic is.
Higher powered devices, like the Slim Sculpt Systems, deliver over 100mW! This is a huge benefit.
Having a high-power light that is also large enough in size allows you to treat large areas of your body at once in just a few minutes.
You can treat an area like the face, the whole torso or legs, or even do multiple parts of the body effectively, the entire body, in just a few minutes!
Top Light for Use on the Brain
If one is using this technology on the brain specifically – for either a brain health issue or to improve mood or cognitive function – it is essential to utilize near-infrared, not just red light. Research has shown that near-infrared is more effective in penetrating the skull than red light, so this is ideal for the brain.
The Slim Sculpt Systems all have near-infrared and red light and are powerful enough to be used on the head.
Why the Combination Near-Infrared and Red Light in a Large LED Panel is the Best Option
Generally, if one wants to treat deeper tissues and/or skin issues, near-infrared with red light is the best option. In fact, for most purposes, a large LED panel with a mix of 630nm and 850nm is the best choice.
For most purposes and for most people, the best choice is a combination of the 630nm and 850nm LEDs in a large LED panel that will treat a large area of the body at once. This option is best because it works for basically any and all purposes you could possibly need it for. A combined near-infrared and red-light therapy device offering both 630nm and 850nm will allow one to treat anything one needs on any given day – whether anti-aging treatments on skin, or healing an injury or lower back pain, or muscle recovery and fat reduction.
If all the science has you feeling overwhelmed, let’s end with some simplicity.
Contact Body Balance Systems to discuss which system is best for you and your specific needs. Once you receive your own Slim Sculpt System, you can immediately start using it to:
- Increase energy
- Make skin healthier and get rid of cellulite
- Speed up fat loss
- Improve muscle recovery and athletic performance
- Improve mood and cognitive function
- Increase muscle size and strength
- Speed healing from injury
- Improve metabolic and hormonal health
You now know everything you need to know to start using this powerful technology. Now go start using it to take your clients or your own health, body and energy to new heights!
Contact your Support Specialist at Body Balance Systems, LLC to discuss how the Slim Sculpt Systems can benefit you and/or your practice today.