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  • Writer's pictureDr. David Serrano, DC

Red Light Therapy (RLT) FAQ

What is Red Light Therapy and why use it?


The big picture? Promote healing, mobilize fat, reduce inflammation, and improve skin and muscle health!


Red light therapy (RLT), also known as low-level light therapy (LLLT), uses specific wavelengths of red light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular repair and rejuvenation, reduce body fat by promoting the breakdown and release of stored fat cells, and is used as therapy to treat a variety of skin conditions, including wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage, and acne scars.


Red light therapy has also been found to be effective in promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation, which makes it a popular treatment for athletes and people with chronic pain conditions.


Is Red Light Therapy safe?


Yes, RLT is generally considered to be safe when used as directed. The therapy uses low-level wavelengths of red light, which are not known to damage the skin or cause any harmful side effects.


However, there are some precautions to keep in mind. For example, it's important to avoid looking directly at the light source to prevent potential eye damage. Additionally, pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, active cancer, or people with pacemakers should consult with their healthcare provider before using red light therapy.


Overall, RLT is a safe and non-invasive treatment option. However, it's always important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or healthcare professional to ensure proper use and minimize any potential risks.


How does Red Light Therapy work?


Short answer: The benefits come from influencing blood flow and oxygen, stimulating collagen production, reducing inflammation. The lights directly stimulate regenerative processes in and underneath the skin. More below for the science curious :)

Red Light Therapy works by using specific wavelengths of red light to penetrate the skin and stimulate cellular repair and rejuvenation. These wavelengths of light are absorbed by the mitochondria, which are the energy-producing powerhouses of our cells. The light also increases the permeability of fat cells to mobilize fat.


When the mitochondria absorb red light, they produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the molecule that provides energy to the cells. This increased energy production can help to boost cellular metabolism and promote the repair and rejuvenation of damaged cells.

In addition to its effects on cellular energy production, RLT has also been found to promote the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. This increased blood flow can help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the treated area, further supporting tissue repair and rejuvenation.


Overall, the specific mechanisms by which Red Light Therapy works are still being studied.


Are all Red Light machines the same?


Nope. The light delivery and wavelength of light will differ among facilities. Two different machines may have completely different wavelengths and deliveries, and therefore, difference in the benefit potential.


At Family Chiropractic and Posture Center in South Elgin, IL we use a wavelength of 600-800 nm in our machines. This has been shown to be the most effective for "absorbing" the benefits :)

We also use panels to deliver the light. The light will have direct contact with the skin in the areas you want to target. This is more specific, and more efficient. Less, or no space between the light source and the skin is considered the most effective mode of delivery.


How many sessions do I need to see results?


The number of RLT sessions needed can vary depending on the specific condition being treated, the health status of the person, and the severity of the symptoms experienced. In general, most people see benefits from red light therapy after a series of sessions over several weeks.


For body contouring and inches lost, many people will even reap benefits over 1 or 2 sessions. As with most things, the benefits increase with each session. The biggest results will be seen over the first few sessions.


For skin rejuvenation, some studies have found that a course of 12 to 20 treatments over a period of 4 to 6 weeks can produce significant improvements in skin appearance, including a reduction in wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.


It is important to review your goals and what you want to achieve with your doctor, so that you can be given appropriate recommendations.


Are the results permanent?


They can be!... as with any healthy habit or initiative, you can undo improvements with bad lifestyle choices. The red lights are not a replacement to lifestyle factors such as exercise and smart nutrition. The best way to use the red lights is in conjunction with an "I'm ready to get healthy!" initiative. If you maintain healthy habits, you can maintain the results.


Get a head start on stubborn areas of your body. Take a few sessions to relax and have a little you time. Boost your skin health. Increase your tissue and wound healing potential. Or even try a session just to get out and take a great nap. Your body will thank you ;)

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