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What is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy, sometimes referred to as LED light therapy, low-level light therapy (LLLT), or photobiomodulation (PBM), uses light close to the infrared spectrum to encourage cells to boost their metabolism and initiate healing. The roots of this therapy trace back over four decades, with foundational research by Niels Ryberg Finsen, who earned a Nobel prize for his studies in 1903. Its rising popularity, especially in the 1990s, can be attributed to more affordable LED devices.
At the Iris Wellness Group located in Chattanooga, TN, patients typically undergo brief sessions, lasting 20 minutes or shorter. During these sessions, red or near-infrared light is primarily focused on the scalp. This process energizes the mitochondria within cells, fostering cell growth, tissue mending, and expedited muscle recovery. But the perks of this therapy aren’t limited to physical rejuvenation. It’s also shown promise in addressing mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Patients often report feelings of relaxation, uplifted mood, enhanced sleep quality, and alleviation of pain after undergoing the treatment.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Research suggests that certain wavelengths of light have the ability to permeate the skin and directly influence cells. Notably, red and near-infrared light stand out in this regard. When cells come into contact with these types of light, there’s a potential surge in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within their mitochondria. Think of ATP as a vital energy currency that fuels numerous processes in our bodies.
In its infancy, red light therapy was mainly explored for its potential in addressing skin issues and aiding wound recovery. But as scientists delved deeper into its myriad benefits, the therapy began showing promise as a treatment option for certain mental health challenges.
How Red Light Therapy Impacts Your Mental Health
The intriguing power of red light therapy goes beyond skin-deep. By penetrating the skin and influencing cell functions, it’s carved out a potential niche in mental health support. Here’s how: research indicates that specific wavelengths, notably red and near-infrared, boost the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the mitochondria, our cells’ energy hubs. ATP doesn’t just fuel our physical activities; it’s also instrumental in brain operations and the dance of neurotransmitters. A brain powered-up with sufficient energy is more adept at handling stress, regulating mood, and sharpening cognition.
What’s more, there’s evidence linking LED light therapy to endorphin release, our body’s natural mood elevators. These endorphins can help combat feelings of anxiety and depression. By nurturing cell vitality and maintaining a balanced energy flow in the brain, red light therapy presents a gentle yet effective way to boost mental wellness.
The Benefits of Red Light Therapy
The sun’s embrace has always played a pivotal role in human health and happiness. Our ancestors thrived under its radiant glow, a testament to the essential nature of natural light for our holistic well-being. At a cellular level, our bodies resonate with the rhythms of healthy light. Stray too far from this natural cadence, and we risk a host of health complications.
The consequences of insufficient sunlight are more than skin-deep. Lack of sunlight can trigger a drop in our brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels, two neurotransmitters pivotal for mood regulation. Being cooped up indoors for extended periods not only magnifies feelings of anxiety and depression but can also trigger conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), where mood ebbs and flows with the changing daylight.
Integrating red light therapy into one’s regimen can usher in a myriad of perks:
- Reinvigorate dwindling energy reserves.
- Stabilize emotional well-being.
- Sharpen mental focus and fortify self-confidence.
- Infuse a radiant optimism and calm, tempering feelings of anxiety.
- Offer a shield against the blues of seasonal depression (SAD).
What Does Red Light Therapy Treat?
Red light therapy offers a vast spectrum of benefits for both the body and mind.
In the realm of physical health, LED light therapy has been proven effective in managing various conditions, including psoriasis, eczema, alopecia, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.
For those exploring red light therapy in Chattanooga, Iris Wellness Group is here to help. Our expert team will happily discuss if this therapy aligns with your individual needs. Call our team today!
Is Red Light Therapy Safe?
Red light therapy is widely recognized as a safe option, with minimal to no significant side effects observed. As a noninvasive procedure, patients usually don’t experience any discomfort during or after the session.
It’s important to note the difference between red and near-infrared lights used in this therapy and the ultraviolet light present in sunlight and many tanning beds. The former is not associated with skin cancer risks or other skin damages.
At our Chattanooga mental health facility, we prioritize the well-being of our patients. Everyone undergoing red light therapy is given protective eyewear, ensuring their eyes are shielded from potential risks.
By diligently following our therapist’s instructions during treatments, you can trust that you’re minimizing any potential risks related to red light therapy.
Red Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Did you know that roughly 5% of Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? This type of depression often becomes more common in places where the shorter winter days mean less sunlight.
Many have turned to “SAD lamps”, which try to mimic the sun’s brightness using artificial light. But there’s a catch: these lamps mostly produce blue light. This can mess with our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm, which might leave us feeling drained and put a strain on our eyes.
However, there’s a glimmer of hope. New research is hinting that red light therapy could offer a promising and safer solution for certain depressive conditions.
Red Light Therapy for Depression
In today’s world, more and more people are battling conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Amidst this backdrop, red light therapy emerges as a beacon of hope for tackling these mental health issues. A notable study from 2018 endorsed the mood-lifting properties of light therapy, particularly emphasizing its pronounced benefits for those with severe depression.
Furthermore, a detailed analysis of various studies focusing on the effects of red and near-infrared light therapies for depression and anxiety suggested that these treatments could be a game-changer. They appear to offer a “bright prospect” for managing conditions from deep-seated depression to traumatic brain injuries.
Is Red Light Therapy Effective for Addiction?
Red light therapy has been making waves as a treatment for various health concerns, ranging from skin issues and arthritis to inflammation. What’s particularly fascinating is its emerging role in the field of addiction treatment. One of the significant challenges during the process of healing from addiction is the mental toll and the myriad symptoms that surface during drug and alcohol withdrawal. Such stressors can sometimes pave the way for further mental health complications, like depression, dementia, or even obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Many health practitioners are now championing the benefits of red light therapy in managing these associated mental health problems and its potential in addiction treatment. That said, it’s essential to tread carefully, especially for those with conditions like bipolar disorder. There’s a risk that light therapy could spark manic episodes in such individuals. So, it’s of utmost importance to discuss the therapy with a healthcare specialist before diving in.
What sets red light therapy apart is its natural, drug-free approach that can help mitigate depression and related symptoms. The therapy sessions are known to be soothing, helping individuals fight off negative emotions and infusing a fresh enthusiasm for life. Consistent sessions can set a peaceful rhythm to one’s day, and in the bigger picture, it might emerge as a strong ally in the journey towards overcoming addiction.
Begin Your Red Light Therapy in Chattanooga, TN Today
If you’re grappling with challenges like anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, rest assured, the team at Iris Wellness Group is by your side. Located in Chattanooga, we offer red light therapy as part of our diverse range of services, ensuring a treatment plan tailored just for you. Contact us today to find out about our admissions process to learn how you can benefit from red light therapy. In addition, you can find out what other services can help improve your mental health.