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.
To understand how to treat an individual with PTSD and why red light therapy is effective, one must first understand PTSD itself.
What is PTSD?
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.
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.
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.
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. 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!