Effectual relief from different and large varieties of diseases can be gotten from the use of red light therapy. However, there is usually an area of confusion for people using this treatment option, they usually ask “How often should you do red light therapy at home” this is because the use of red light therapy at home isn't supervised by medical personnel, thus it is easy to overdose or underdose.
Usually, it is advised that the treatment be used for the duration of 15 to 20 minutes, three to five times a week, notwithstanding, this isn't a fixed routine because;
There's no particular fixed routine for red light therapy treatment
This article will show you how to get the right dosage for you. But before we delve into that, let's take a quick look at red light therapy and its mode of operation.
How often should you do red light therapy at home, an introduction
Red light therapy also known as low-level light therapy (lllt) or photobiomodulation is the process by which red light devices are made in the form of led bulbs, these devices bare the skin to particular wavelengths of light. Based on their colors, these wavelengths have different lengths which are measured in nanometers (nm)
Depending on their wavelengths, these lights penetrate the skin to which they are exposed and cause stimulation of natural biological processes. In simpler terms, the wavelengths energize the cells.
Red light therapy includes; lights whose wavelengths fall between 630nm and 660nm (red light) and near-infrared (nir) lights, lights whose wavelengths range in size from 800nm to 850.
Through various research, it has been confirmed that these lights – red lights and near-infrared lights (nir) – offer the most beneficial health relief. Together, these light ranges are called “The therapeutic window”
How does it work
Red light therapy is a therapeutic procedure that involves exposure of some parts of your skin to red light using a red light lamp, device, bulb, or laser. This red light penetrates deeply into the cells and energizes the cell energy provider – mitochondria – to produce more energy for the cells.
In living cells, energy is utilized in the form of adenosine triphosphate (atp). Red light therapy helps the mitochondria to develop more atp, which in turn provides more energy for the cell to grow, repair itself and heal.
This method of treatment is preferred because it does not cause any damage to the skin or its surface, rather, it directly stimulates and energizes the cell by providing it more energy.
Red light therapy isn't the same for everyone (every treatment differs)
Now that we've given some basic information on red light therapy and how it works, let's talk about some conditions that can be treated with red light therapy. We'll also discuss the usual dosage for treatment – which is different for everyone.
Conditions that can be treated with red light therapy
Red light offers relief for a variety of conditions. Some of which are, but are not limited to
- hair growth
- wound healing
- improving acne
- weight loss
- pain reduction
- improving general skin health
- stimulating bone recovery
Just like the way everyone has their unique fingerprints, DNA, and eyes, each person also has their unique condition and body system and this makes them respond differently to treatments.
With that at the back of your mind, you should know that red light dosage depends on different factors. These include; your overall health, the condition you want to use the red light therapy to treat, and how sensitive you are to light.
Let's learn more about these factors.
Your overall health
Red light therapy isn't a miracle cure, it doesn't give instant results. This can be more obvious and frustrating if you have poor health, or if you have many chronic conditions. But don't give up, just be patient and stick with it.
Red light therapy does not do surface healing, it starts to work right from the cellular level, thus it may take time, but in the long run, it is long-lasting and more effective. It enhances the optimal functioning of cells, that is, it works with the body's natural healing mechanisms and treats a variety of conditions at the same time.
Conditions being treated
Some conditions which do not require “Much energy” like acne or inflammation are easily improved. However, other conditions like – bone recovery or weight loss – which require more work, especially at the cellular level, can take more time and chronic conditions can take up to 2 months of treatment before results start showing. So, you have to be patient and give it time to work.
Your sensitivity to light
Red light therapy has been proven to be a safe and natural method of treatment for all ages and races. However, the skin's color, tone, or thickness can influence how effectively it can absorb the photons. This means you might have to adjust your dosage from the conventional one and set it at a routine that suits you and your needs. If you have skin cancer or you're on photosensitive medications, then you must consult your doctor before you use any type of treatment including red light therapy.
The experimenting approach to optimal dosage
As stated earlier in the article, there is no standard routine for red light therapy treatment. This part of the article will offer you guidelines for treating common conditions, however, you should not hesitate to experiment and observe. The recommended dosage might be too much or provide too little intensity, either way, keep experimenting and observing until you find a dosage that works well for you.
Light intensity is most effective at “6”, thus this is the perfect light intensity for muscle or bone conditions. For skin-related conditions, an intensity of “12 to 18” is recommended.
To make the therapy effective, always make sure you expose the red light to your bare skin and not through clothing, also, remember that for red light therapy to work effectively, consistency is important, therefore, make sure you're always consistent with your sessions.
Treatment of common conditions with red light therapy
Red light has been proven to help people with alopecia improve their hair growth. In a study involving 90 patients that was carried out in 2017, the patients' ages ranged from 18 to 70. It was discovered that the hair growth of patients treated with red light therapy showed “Statistically significant improvement”
To improve hair growth using red light therapy treatment, use the red lights for 10 to 20 minutes at a distance of 6 inches to 12 inches. This routine should be carried out 3 to 5 times a week.
Improving general skin health
Studies carried out on red light therapy have shown that red light, along with other light therapies, can help improve the skin. From smoothening the skin to tightening to reduce wrinkles and other skin conditions. A study on the use of red light therapy for skincare showed that after the patients have had about 30 sessions, there was a significant improvement.
The red light device should be placed at a distance of about 12 inches to 18 inches. Sustained sessions will help maintain the improvements.
Stimulating bone recovery
Red light therapy has been proven to be effective in growing, healing, and stimulating of damaged muscles. Many athletes now use red light as a precondition routine before and after their sports performance to stimulate and rejuvenate their muscles. It also prevents injuries and enhances optimal physical performance.
In a study conducted in 2017, researchers from brazil and the united states discovered that when red lights and nir are combined during treatment, they helped to treat both small and large muscle groups.
Here is the recommended dosage;
for treatment of injuries, the injury should be exposed to red lights at a distance of 6 to 18 inches for 20 minutes every day until the injury is totally healed.
for prevention of injury and preconditioning, it is recommended that exposure of 3 to 5 minutes per day at a distance of 6 inches to 18 inches.
for recovery after exercising or a sports performance, 10 to 20 minutes every day at a distance of 6 to 18 inches.
Chronic skin disorders
Chronic skin disorders like acne, eczema, rosacea and the likes can be quite painful. It has been proven that with the aid of red light therapy, these disorders can be treated and reduced.
In a study carried out on patients who had not been able to treat psoriasis with the normal methods, it was discovered that upon exposure to a combination of nir and red light, for five weeks, their skin significantly improved.
Constant exposure to red light therapy can help promote skincare and reduce symptoms. If you have a chronic skin disorder, using your led device, expose your skin to red light at a distance of 6″ to 12″ for a duration of 3 to 5 times weekly for one to four months. A maintenance program should be followed as soon as there is an improvement.
At one point or the other in the lives of most adults, they'd experience low back pain. This pain can be so chronic that it would start affecting the day-to-day activities of these people.
If you have been experiencing something like this, then you're in for a treat with red light therapy. Red light therapy is effective in treating low back pains.
To use red light therapy for the treatment of back pain, place your device about 8″ to 12″ from your back for a 10 to 20 minutes session every day. Stay in a comfortable position and ensure you remain consistent at it.
Skin wound and scars
Red light stimulates the mitochondria to produce more energy for the cell to work with, thus, it helps in the stimulation and production of collagen.
Collagen helps tighten the skin and also helps to reduce the appearance of scars. In research conducted in 2014 by researchers in Brazil, it was discovered that red light therapy has been proven effective in treating skin wounds and minimizing scars.
To treat skin wounds and mild scars, the red light device should be positioned 6″ to 12″ away from the skin and should be used for 15 to 20 minutes 3 to 5 times weekly. This routine should be practiced within one to four months.
For older and deeper scars, a longer treatment duration may be required.
Is it possible to overdose?
Red light therapy works with your natural body system to provide relief for varieties of conditions, thus it is not possible to overdose.
It has also been proven to be a natural, safe, and effective treatment method for all ages and races.
You simply can not get too much of red light therapy.
An expert on red light therapy and an associate professor at Harvard medical school – Michael Hamblin – said, “You could use rlt for 24 hours a day and wouldn't damage the skin.” according to him, ” it is almost impossible to cause any harm”
However, for people with sensitive skin, it can cause temporary tightness or redness. These can be relieved by reducing the treatment time or reducing the distance between you and the device.
Notwithstanding, red light therapy is a very safe method of treatment.
Rlt; convenient home treatment alternative
Red light therapy is a convenient treatment for varieties of conditions and the best part is that it can be used in the comfort of your own home.
If you're experiencing chronic skin disorders, back pains, or any other condition mentioned in this article and you've tried the conventional methods and they didn't work, you should give red light therapy a try and remember, your dosage and treatment are up to you and your needs