Red light therapy typically isn’t the initial treatment that comes to mind when it comes to mental imbalances. When an individual is struggling with depression, mood-related issues, and extreme anxiousness, they cannot take full pleasure in life. Everything appears to be without purpose and they are not as likely to consider anything around them important.
The bleak winter season does not make the situation any simpler. The right therapeutic course can help them move beyond these issues. Light therapy is one of the most secure methods of treating different forms of depression and circumstances that are connected with weariness, nervousness, depression, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and general well-being. Continue reading to learn more about red light therapy and its many benefits.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy—also known as Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) and LED Light Therapy—is the use of natural red or near-infrared light treatments for therapeutic benefits.
Although red light therapy can be administered in different ways, such as with an at-home device, red therapy light beds are an exceptionally powerful and relaxing way to receive this treatment. These full-body beds often look similar to UV tanning beds—but rest assured, no skin-damaging UV rays are present. An individual will be instructed to lay in the bed, often while wearing eye protection, with their skin several inches from the red lights for the determined amount of time for maximal cosmetic and physical benefits. The treatments are safe and painless. Most individuals report feeling nothing aside from slight warmth.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work?
Red light therapy stimulates the mitochondria, which are responsible for generating energy in cells. It does this by employing low-intensity red light, which triggers a reaction that can reverse the decreased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy-storing molecule. This particular wavelength range is best for penetration of tissue and is more easily absorbed by the parts of cells that convert light energy.
Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy
The effect of light rays on the human body is essential for our well-being, and we must have natural light for our bodies to function properly. Light is just as essential to us as food and water, though now we spend more time inside than ever before. It is often forgotten that light is a significant element of nature, but it is actually a major contributor to the epidemic of chronic diseases due to the overstimulating blue light emitted at night and the lack of natural light in our lives. Red light therapy has many benefits, including:
- Treating acne
- Reducing wrinkles
- Healing skin issues
- Improving mental clarity
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing joint pain
How Does Red Light Therapy Improve Mental Clarity?
One area of wellbeing where red light therapy really shines is in its impact on mental clarity and mental wellbeing. Red light therapy can help improve mental clarity in a number of ways, including reducing brain inflammation, and reducing symptoms of depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and anxiety.
One research study titled, “Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near-infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety” saw improvements to their patients’ depression and anxiety scores at the two-week follow-up. For some, the improvements persisted at the four-week follow-up as well.
Red light therapy has also been shown to be effective in assisting with stress regulation and reduction and improving sleep quality, both of which can greatly impact mental clarity and mental health.
Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, depression and anxiety have become pervasive mental health problems worldwide, including in the United States. Fortunately, there is some optimism surrounding the potential of RLT to reduce symptoms related to depression and anxiety. There have been sufficient studies to demonstrate the efficacy of RLT, making it a viable option for treating mental health conditions.
Red Light Therapy for Depression
Mental health diagnoses have become more and more prominent in our society. Red light therapy has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of people with mental health issues. Research has revealed that red light, particularly infrared light, can travel through the skin. When concentrated on the scalp, these light waves also influence the brain and can activate regions that depression commonly subdues.
In 2018, a study was launched to determine how successful RLT is as a depression treatment. Results showed that after two months of treatment, a good number of those involved saw medium to large improvements in their depression symptoms and no major side effects or reactions were reported.
Additionally, a review of all available studies concerning red and near-infrared light therapy and depression concluded that this kind of therapy can be a “promising treatment” for major depressive disorder, suicidal thoughts, and traumatic brain injury.
Red Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
The seasonal affective disorder is a form of clinical depression that is associated with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. This kind of depression is usually worse in the fall and winter seasons when there is a lesser amount of natural light and temperatures are cooler.
Approximately 5% of Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), particularly in regions that have limited natural light in the winter season. People are familiar with the SAD lamps that produce bright, artificial light to mimic the sun and make the area look brighter. Although this might seem like a good idea, these lamps give off a large amount of blue light, which can disturb the body’s internal clock, resulting in fatigue and harm to the eyes. Studies suggest that red light therapy might be a potential and safe treatment for clinical depression.
Red Light Therapy for Anxiety
There is a wealth of proof that red light therapy can be an effective treatment for anxiety. It can help to recover any disorders that may be the result of damage or issues with brain cells, just like it does with depression. However, in comparison to its use in treating depression, when it comes to anxiety, red light therapy can be used pretty much anywhere on the body, not solely the head.
This is because some mitochondria travel throughout the whole body, allowing the treated cells to have an impact on anxiety regardless of where the red light therapy is administered. Studies still being conducted on the impact of red light therapy on anxiety have already revealed a reduction in anxiety levels in many people. One study showed that individuals experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) observed considerable decreases in their symptoms after eight weeks of RLT treatment.
Additionally, red and infrared light has a calming effect and can reduce inflammation and pain that can be main sources of anxiety. It helps to relieve the nerves and promote feelings of peace.
Red Light Therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee
At Knoxville Recovery Center, we are excited to offer the extensive healing benefits of red light therapy to our clients. With multiple state-of-the-art red light therapy beds available for use, our clients are able to relax and enjoy this unique, evidence-based form of light therapy while treating mental health and healing from addiction.
Many people experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder, but sometimes the medications they take on a daily basis do not provide the desired relief from their symptoms. Red light therapy in Knoxville can be a beneficial and transformative solution. If you are investigating potential treatments for your mental health symptoms, Knoxville Recovery Center can help.
Services offered at Knoxville Recovery include:
Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of drugs and alcohol. 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.
Mental health diagnoses are difficult to manage and treat alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call Knoxville Recovery Center and speak with one of our specialists today.