The Definitive Guide to Red Light Therapy

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Why are we so drawn to dramatic views of dawn and dusk? Do you ever think about it? 

Is it because it looks so appealing? Is it because we tend to get solemn and philosophical about the new day and the inevitable passing of time? Maybe it’s the gentle, warm feeling when the red sun touches our face.

All of these are good reasons to be drawn to this special time, but that’s not all. We are drawn to the powerful healing effects of red light that the sun emits during these periods. 

Sunlight is essential for good health. We have evolved in an outdoor environment and sunlight contains a broad range of wavelengths that vary at different times of day. This is known as circadian biology and has a huge effect on our bodies.

That’s why we are naturally drawn to expose ourselves to the sun during periods in which we can benefit from this exposure the most – dawn and dusk.

Science has been engaged in research for decades in this field, finding evidence  that our bodies are very sensitive to this light and that it can be applied for healing. 

Evidence is piling up and we have  yet to discover precisely how we can use red light therapy for healing and wellbeing purposes. 

This doesn’t mean we don’t already have significant knowledge on this subject. After all, this is precisely why we brought together a team of scientists and enthusiasts to create a portable red therapy device that you can use at home.

But for now, let’s dig deeper and explain how it all works.

What Does Red Light Therapy Do for You?

Among other effects, red light therapy does the following:

  1. Increases muscle endurance, tone, and density
  2. Improves cognition and lowers risk of dementia 
  3. Boosts healing of bones, tendons, and wounds
  4. Repairs damaged nerves
  5. Promotes hair health and growth
  6. Rejuvenates skin by strengthening the collagen network
  7. Improves immunity response
  8. Enables efficient communication of internal organs through the fascia

The mechanism behind red light therapy benefits is actually the electric charge that our bodies have naturally.

Our bodies are charged positively or negatively on all levels. Our membranes, proteins and even DNA are all charged.

Science shows that our body works like a big battery and Light is what charges us. 

What you really need to charge to trigger healing effects are your mitochondria – they are your cell organelles.

Every cell has organelles and the number of mitochondria in a cell depends on the type cell. For example, most mitochondria are found in the cells of the brain, heart, liver skin, ovaries, and muscles.

They generate so much energy and that is why they are needed in these vital organs. They are considered to be the powerhouse of the cell.

Besides generating energy, they also take care of signaling, cellular differentiation, regulation of the cell cycle and growth.

So, how do you make sure your cellular powerhouses have all the energy they need? 

Proteins within mitochondrial membranes can act as light receptors. This means that if you expose mitochondria to red light, those receptors will absorb the energy and increase the charge.

Consequently, this leads to increased energy levels throughout the body.

Does Red Light Therapy Really Work?

Yes, it does. Red light therapy is a form of photobiomodulation backed by clinical research.

This research shows that photobiomodulation and low-level light therapy (that includes red light therapy) offer non-invasive alternatives to other light-based treatments.

They don’t use ablation as a method of healing and there is no rise in temperature of the treated tissue. 

Red light therapy can help relieve pain, soothe nerve injuries and improve wound healing. 

While the research and the evidence pile up, it is always best to learn from personal stories and real-life examples.

Our clinical director Dr. Zulia Frost experienced the effects of red light therapy herself. Here is her story:

What Is Red Light Therapy Good For?

Red light therapy is good for your:

  1. Fascia – the therapeutic effect of red light energy can be carried through the fascia network to other parts of the body where it is needed. This, in turn, elevates the body’s capacity to communicate via this charged matrix, in a positive feedback loop.
  2. Gut-Brain Axis – the gut-brain axis links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Red light energy applied to the abdomen area can, therefore, influence mood and neuropsychological issues via several mechanisms.
  3. Immune System – 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.
  4. Circulatory System – red light therapy has been shown to aid the function of the circulatory system and increases microcirculation of blood – one of the most recognized and well-documented effects of this therapy.
  5. Nervous System – red light therapy benefits are being explored as a promising drug-free therapy for all kinds of nerve damage.
  6. Stem Cells – red light therapy is showing huge promise in current research to both stimulate growth of stem cells in the body, and to maximize the effect of stem cell implantation for a wide variety of medical purposes.

What Are the Benefits of Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy benefits your body on a molecular, cellular and tissue level. The molecular level includes beneficial effects on calcium levels, melatonin, gene transcription and other essential processes in your body.

The cellular level includes fighting off inflammation, boosting stem cell production and migration among others. 

Tissue benefits from red light therapy by becoming sturdier, more toned and more dense. Brain and nerves are repaired and even your skin and hair get visibly healthier.

molecular

cellular

tissue

  • Chromophores, cytochrome c oxidase, water, opsins
  • Retrograde mitochondrial signalling
  • Light-sensitive ion channels
  • Adenosine triphosphate ATP
  • Reactive Oxygen Species ROS
  • Calcium
  • Heat-shock proteins
  • Melatonin
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Gene transcription factors
  • Akt/mTOR/CyclinD1 pathway
  • Inflammation
  • Cytoprotection
  • Proliferation
  • Migration
  • Protein synthesis
  • Stem Cell production and migration
  • Immune cell viability
  • Retrograde mitochondrial signalling
  • Transforming growth factor
  • Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • Vascular endothelial
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Nerves: Repair and pain relief
  • Healing: Bones, tendons and wounds
  • Hair: Increases growth
  • Skin: Improvement of collagen network, anti-aging, skin disorders
  • Fat: Fat reabsorption improved by enhanced micro-circulation
  • Lymph: Improved immunity
  • Fascia: Communication, improved tensegrity

What Are the Side Effects of Red Light Therapy?

None. There are no known side effects. It is completely safe to use your red light therapy device according to instructions and enjoy your red light therapy at home.

What Is the Difference Between Red Light Therapy and Infrared?

Red light therapy involves both red and infrared light. The difference between red and infrared light is that they correspond to different  wavelengths of light.

Red Light: Wavelengths ranging from 600 – 650nm. Red light boosts the formation of collagen and elastin and assists in cell communication. It penetrates superficially (up to 5mm) and is mainly used for skin conditions. 

Near Infra-red (NIR) light: Wavelengths ranging from 750 – 850nm. NIR stimulates healing, increases mitochondrial function and improves blood flow and tissue oxygenation. It penetrates deeper into the body (up to 10cm).

How Often Can You Use Red Light Therapy?

It is best if you use your device every second day. The rest day helps the therapy be more effective.

The optimal length of each treatment is 10 minutes but it depends on the part of the body you want to treat and the type of issue you have. 

There are no side effects to red light therapy, but excessive doses will diminish its effects.

The right dose is crucial to the effectiveness of the treatments. If there is not enough exposure, the therapy is inefficient.

If the exposure is too long, a habituation process is triggered and the therapy is not effective. 

Another thing you should be aware of is how energy is delivered during photobiomodulation therapy.

It is better to have 10-minute sessions every other day for a while, than to try and have one two-hour long session.

Just like how it makes a difference whether you drink a gallon of water in two minutes or two hours.

How Long Does It Take for Red Light Therapy to Work?

For deep-seated conditions, it can take weeks, for fresh injuries, days. This should be taken as an estimate as every body is different. Moreover, some subjects reported that they experienced feelings of relaxation and comfort immediately when using FlexBEAM™.

Do You Wear Clothes During Red Light Therapy?

No, you should not wear clothes on the body part that is exposed to the FlexBEAM™. 

The FlexBEAM™ has been designed to fit the human body. Its shape and flexibility enable more effective and targeted dosing because less power is needed to deliver energy directly to the affected site. 

This allows light to penetrate deep into difficult-to-reach areas of the body –such as the knee and shoulder joint – which is impossible with flat light panels. 

Our approach is also safer because it reduces unnecessary exposure of skin and surface tissue.

Because FlexBEAM™ is designed to be worn on the skin, each session yields a consistent dose and is not dependent on the distance from the light source. 

In turn, this reduces treatment time, making it possible to deliver a targeted therapeutic dose in 10 minutes for a single placement.

How Long Has Red Light Therapy Been Around?

Red light therapy has been around since 1903. That year, the physician Niels Ryberg Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his successful treatment of smallpox and lupus with red light. 

Here is the timeline of important years in the development of red light therapy.

1967 – Researcher Endre Mester discovers the healing power of red light on a group of animals, testing to see if a laser could cause cancer. Not only did they not develop cancer, but the hair on the laser-treated group grew back faster than the untreated group.

1970 – By the early 1970s, laser therapy is recognized as a physical therapy modality in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and China. In 1977, it appeared in the United States.

2000 – NASA uses red light therapy to help astronauts maintain muscle and bone mass and to treat chronic wounds.

2002 – FDA light therapy has widespread scientific and evidence-based acceptance.

2007 – Development of double-stack emitter LED – making PBM with LED effective, safe and affordable.

2018 – Recharge develops the PowerBEAM™ and FlexBEAM™ using advanced LED technology with intelligent biocompatible dosing for increased efficacy and ease of use.

2020 – Recharge global launch of FlexBEAM™  and PowerBEAM™.

Can You Do Red Light Therapy at Home?

Yes, you can! It has never been easier to do red light therapy at home. Now, you have the FlexBEAM™. 

The 3 preset programs in FlexBEAM™ cover a variety of medical and wellness applications in one device. Each program lasts for 10 minutes, allowing for multiple target sites in one session.

SURFACE PENETRATION DEPTH 0-2.5cmRed 635nm
NIR 810-850nm pulse
For conditions that are skin deep. A greater proportion of red light to near infra-red.
MEDIUM PENETRATION DEPTH 2.5-4cmRed 635nm
NIR 810-850 pulse
For smaller joints like the elbow, tissue, muscles and more. A mix of red and near-infrared.
DEEP PENETRATION DEPTH 4-10cmRed 635nm
NIR 810nm: CW (continuous wave)
For joints like knees and shoulders, and large organs like the liver. This preset has a predominance of near-infrared light.

People usually associate red light therapy with red light beds in spas, clinics, and salons. FlexBEAM™doesn’t require you to book an appointment or wait for some free time to receive your therapy. 

You now have the luxury of having your photobiomodulation treatment at your own home, anytime you like – While reading your morning paper even. 

FlexBEAM™ is a passion project. The people who created it are true believers in their work and the therapeutic properties of this device.

It’s easy to be a believer when you have the science to back up your ideas. 

The creators of the FlexBEAM™ developed and researched for 2 years before creating the final device. They did their homework, so you don’t have to.

Read the details about photobiomodulation and red light therapy mechanisms and discover precisely how it affects the human body.

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