Healing Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Written by Dr. Nirvana

July 25, 2023

Red light therapy—also known as red LED light therapy, low-level light therapy (LLLT), photobiomodulation, and cold laser therapy—involves exposing the skin to red and near-infrared light between the wavelengths of 660 nm and 890 nm with either low-level lasers or red LED lights. At this point, you may be wondering: Isn’t light bad for the skin? Isn’t that why we’re always told to avoid UV rays? Rest assured: These specific wavelengths do not burn or damage the skin.

How does it work?

Red light works via a phenomenon called photobiomodulation. This is where different components of our cells are activated or respond to different wavelengths of light.

Studies seem to show that light acts on the mitochondria of cells, which leads to increased production of different factors that increase the proteins and factors that allow cells to communicate.

Many articles show the link between the benefits of red light and skin rejuvenation but also for hair growth. But for my purposes, red light therapy goes a lot deeper (medically speaking). To understand the fundamentals of this incredible technology, we need to examine its impact on the body at the cellular level—namely, its role in generating energy. The key to that process is a tiny part of a cell called the mitochondrion. 

Think of it this way: All the food you eat—the sugars, fats, and proteins—needs to be converted into energy that your body can use to keep on living. Mitochondria perform the first step in this extremely important process. 

But generating energy isn’t the only thing mitochondria are good for. The role of Mitochondria in cellular respiration through the production of ATP is a pivotal one for our well-being. They also produce essential chemicals that your body needs to function, as well as break down and recycle waste products that would be otherwise harmful to your body. 

Mitochondria also play an important role in helping cells die naturally, which is vital when we’re talking about abnormal cell growth, which results in tumors. For this reason, mitochondria are often the targets of cancer-fighting drugs. 

Our mitochondria are also tiny energy (ATP)-producing powerhouses. Basically, ATP fuels cells to make healthy DNA, which means healthier hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune messengers, and it helps to fuel our brain. This means less brain fog, more mental clarity, and healthier adrenals!

Not only do our bodies need enough ATP to stay alive; but too little ATP causes undesirable effects that lead to physical impairment, organ malfunction, and even cellular death or disease.

Light benefits the human body in myriad ways, such as supporting Vitamin D production and other important biological activities. But it does so much more than that. Various wavelengths of light have been linked to robust mitochondrial function and ATP generation. 

2015 study by researchers from the UK and Brazil found that when fruit flies receive a daily dose of 670 nanometers (nm) of radiation, they show elevated ATP levels and reduced inflammation. The researchers also noted an increase in average lifespan: Fruit flies that received 670 nm exposure ended up far more likely to survive into old age. 

Actually, light acts on cells through an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase. This is the last enzyme in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, which is the mechanism that transfers electrons to produce ATP


Red Light Therapy and Cellular Function

Stimulating energy in cells by exposing them to wavelengths in the red and near-infrared light spectrum can amp up important biological functions.  A growing body of evidence, such as the studies outlined here by photobiomodulation expert Dr. Michael R. Hamblin, shows that red light and near-infrared light therapy accomplish this revving-up of biological functions by affecting the body at the molecular, cellular, and tissue-based level.

Exposing skin to red and NIR light was shown in one 2007 study to speed up wound healing, psoriasis, herpes lesions, and vitiligo.

2014 study showed promising results with male and female candidates who used a laser hair comb over a period of time to regrow hair.

Red light therapy has also been shown in many studies to promote better muscle recovery when used before and after exercise. This is due to red light’s scientifically proven ability to stimulate, heal, and regenerate damaged tissue. 

To add to the lengthy list of benefits is a growing number of studies showing positive results with red light therapy in the treatment of Lyme disease, and other research that shows great promise in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. 


How to Increase Your ATP

Jump-starting our own internal “energy factories” for the sake of better cellular functioning is one way to promote the healing and rejuvenation of our bodies.

The EMR-TEK offers the most advanced consumer red light therapy panels on the market. 

The Firewave is small, compact, and affordable. I love it so much that I got one for my cat who suffers from kidney disease. My family has the bigger unit (the Inferno) which is a lot more powerful. Remember you can use them for deep tissue, organ, or skin-related therapy or simply for lighting if you’re trying to minimize your blue light intake in the evenings or early morning.

I recommend the smaller unit for anyone who has thyroid issues. It takes only 20 minutes a day, while you sit about 2 feet away from the panel. I also recommend the EMR-TEK to my patients with fatty liver or gut issues. It’s great at penetrating organs to accelerate healing.

If you’re interested in buying an EMR device, by using the links in this post, you’ll automatically receive a 20% discount. Your body will love you for it!

red light therapy emr-tek

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