In the United States, there are a number of common mental health issues and disorders that affect millions of Americans. Fortunately, effective mental health treatment is available for every one of them, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though it may seem strange at first, red light therapy is a proven and practical treatment for PTSD that offers its users several significant benefits.
What is PTSD?
To understand how to treat an individual with PTSD and why red light therapy is effective, one must first understand PTSD itself. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.”
When an event or moment like this occurs, the human body naturally responds with fear. This fear then translates to one of two reactions: fight or flight. A person will either naturally react to defend themselves or flee from danger. Sadly, these dramatic events and one’s reactions to them can cause trauma, and while some people quickly recover from these reactions and trauma, others do not and instead develop PTSD.
After a traumatic event, most people will experience transient distress and poor coping, but with time and good self-care, they will heal. If your symptoms last for months or even years and impede your daily life, you may have PTSD. The following are common symptoms of this disorder:
- Intense Anxiety
- Muscle tension
- Migraines or consistent headaches
- Emotional distress
- Recurring memories of traumatic events
- Recurring nightmares involving the event
PTSD affects every person differently, largely because every person has different reactions to shocking, scary, dangerous, and/or traumatic events. This makes mental health treatment for PTSD difficult. Not every type or method of treatment will help every person. However, many treatments have been proven to be effective in large quantities of people living with PTSD.
Red Light Therapy for Treating PTSD
Most often, mental health treatment for disorders like PTSD takes the form of talk therapy or medications. However, there are other effective methods and therapies for treating PTSD. One of the most unorthodox but effective is red light therapy.
What is Red Light Therapy?
The origins of red light therapy date back to the early 1990s. This form of physical therapy was created by Danish physicist Niels Ryberg Finsen, who used it to help treat people affected by skin tuberculosis. Years later, Finsen’s work was adopted by NASA, who have used it to help stimulate plant growth in space and keep their astronauts healthy.
The effectiveness of red light therapy is due to how light travels. All light, regardless of its color, travels in wavelengths. However, different shades and colors of light have different wavelengths. Red light in particular travels in a wavelength that allows it to more deeply penetrate human skin. In doing so, red light provides skin cells with greater energy absorption. In turn, skin cells can increase their productivity, functionality, and growth, leading to a number of benefits.
Red light therapy is harmless, noninvasive, and suitable for all skin types. It doesn’t necessitate the use of harsh topical materials or heat, which can burn or irritate the skin. UV light, which is believed to cause skin cancer, is not used in this treatment. At medical or dental offices, spas, tanning salons, or beauty parlors, red light therapy is available. At-home gadgets are also common.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy for PTSD
Although the main effect of red light therapy occurs in a person’s skin and skin cells, it can also provide a person living with PTSD several other benefits. These benefits can include:
Better Sleep and Increased Energy
For many living with PTSD, sleep and a lack of energy can be a problem. Fortunately, red light therapy can help with both. The lights used during red light therapy sessions help permeate the skin with energy, which is often felt throughout the body. The use of these lights can also help create subconscious associations between waking hours and non-waking hours, which can assist in creating healthier sleep schedules, resulting in more and often better sleep.
Red light therapy is one of the best available treatments for skin conditions. While not all individuals living with PTSD may have skin conditions or issues, the healthier, rejuvenated skin from red light therapy can make a person feel better about themselves. While this will not cure a person’s PTSD, it can help create an overall more positive mental state.
Improved Mental Health
Red light therapy is not a complete solution to PTSD. Sadly, there are no cures for this disorder. However, the routine of red light therapy sessions, along with the relaxation they provide, better sleep, increased energy, and healthier skin can all contribute to improving a person’s mental health. Red light therapy is both a physical and mental health treatment. By improving both aspects of a person, they are in a better position to manage their PTSD symptoms.
Red light therapy increases blood flow to damaged tissue and assists in cell regeneration. It has a natural anti-inflammatory effect to support the healing process, reducing pain and improving recovery time.
Interested in Local Red Light Therapy for PTSD?
The idea of mental health treatment can often be intimidating, but it is truly a safe and beneficial endeavor. If you or a loved one are living with a mental health issue or disorder like PTSD, we are here to help. Services offered:
Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of addictive substances. Clients are under medical supervision during the detox process to ensure that they remain safe and comfortable.
Addiction Treatment – During our addiction treatment program, clients will engage in introductory therapies and exercises that work to prepare them for continued, more intensive treatment outside of our facility. The goal of our addiction treatment track is to stabilize clients so that they are treatment-ready.
Mental Health Treatment – Our mental health treatment program introduces behavioral therapies rooted in self-expression and holistic exercise. Art therapy, music therapy, and yoga are just a few forms of therapy we offer at the center. Our goal is to help the client reclaim their voice and expose them to treatment within a professional facility.
Aftercare Planning – Aftercare is designed for individuals who have benefitted from our introductory addiction services and are transitioning into a more intensive addiction treatment program. Once a client is stabilized, they will be encouraged to pursue continued addiction treatment. Our experienced case managers will then work with our clients to place them in a program that addresses their specific wants and needs.
At Knoxville Recovery Center, our team of mental health experts provide a variety of treatments and therapies, including red light therapy. Contact us for more information today!