Red Light Therapy is becoming increasingly popular among people who are following a ketogenic diet. Since it was originally developed by NASA,[1] we might think that it works in some mysterious and complex way, but in reality, it is quite simple.

Let’s see how red and infrared light therapy can provide us with fascinating health benefits.

Using the Best Wavelengths

The beneficial health effects of the appropriate wavelengths of light have long been known. The exact wavelengths used during therapy are determined by which wavelengths can penetrate deepest into the human body and reach as many organs as possible. It was found that there are two optimal wavelengths: the red light at the bottom of the visible light range, and somewhat below it, the infrared light which is invisible to the human eye.[2],[3] This is exactly the two wavelengths most red light therapy devices on the market use.

Red Light Therapy and the Mitochondria

So, what is the link between light therapy and the ketogenic lifestyle? They both have very beneficial effects on the mitochondria, which is something that most health-conscious people aim for.

How does red light therapy increase the effectiveness of the mitochondria? This is a bit complex, but the shorter version sounds like this: In stress situations, the cells produce too much nitric oxide, and if it builds up, it blocks the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).[4],[5] ATP is the general energy currency of life and most part of the ATP production process is happening inside the mitochondria. Red light breaks these nitric oxide bonds inside the cells, restoring the effectiveness of the ATP production.[6] Cells can finally get the energy they need. 

Red light also acts as a hormetic stressor, which is a mild stress on your system that has many health benefits. (It’s very similar to a good workout, enjoying a sauna or bathing in cold water, etc.) This further increases the efficiency of the mitochondria and thus the ATP production.

Incredible Healing Properties

Red light therapy can have incredible effects on a wide variety of health issues. Let’s take a look at a list of its potential health benefits, all backed up by medical studies:

  • it has a strong anti-inflammatory effect,[7]
  • improves blood circulation,[8]
  • it can heal broken capillary vessels,[9]
  • help with rosacea,[10]
  • promotes rapid recovery of muscles,[11],[12]
  • reduces muscle pain,[7]
  • increases collagen production,[13]
  • helps to get glowing skin,[3]
  • reduces wrinkles,[3]
  • promotes faster healing of wounds[9]
  • and provides general pain relief,[7]
  • helps with joint pain,[14]
  • improves the thyroid function,[15]
  • and helps heal the scalp and stop hair loss.[16]

The light also reaches some of the hormone-producing organs in our body, so it has positive effects on your hormone levels as well:

  • fertility improves[17],[18]
  • testosterone levels increase (in women this means a healthier estrogen-testosterone ratio).[19],[20]

You can see, there are plenty of official medical studies that prove the positive health effects of red light therapy. If you want to look at them in even more detail, I can send you a compilation of 330 research papers.

However, in daily life, it is generally used to

  • calm and rejuvenate the skin,
  • reduce depression,
  • relieve muscle pain,
  • and enhance physical performance.

Not All Devices Are Created Equal

It’s very important to use the correct red light therapy device. If the intensity of the light is not strong enough, it will not have any effect. It is also crucial to use the correct wavelengths and to know how long your sessions should last and how far you should stand from the device to achieve the best results. Quality light therapy devices can be expensive, especially if you want to cover your full body at once, but you can try it at my office, and if you like it, you can sign up for regular treatments.

Has red light therapy caught your interest? The first session is free for all my clients. You can try it, and see if you want regular treatments.

Have you tried red light therapy yet? What results have you seen so far? Let me know in the comments section below!

References

1. The Use of NASA Light-Emitting Diode Near-Infrared Technology for Biostimulation
2. Red (660 nm) and infrared (830 nm) low-level laser therapy in skeletal muscle fatigue in humans: what is better?
3. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase
4. Biphasic Dose Response in Low Level Light Therapy
5. Biological Effects of Low Level Laser Therapy
6. The role of nitric oxide in low level light therapy
7. The Use of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) For Musculoskeletal Pain
8. Effects of 780 nm diode laser irradiation on blood microcirculation: preliminary findings on time-dependent T1-weighted contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
9. Use alone or in Combination of Red and Infrared Laser in Skin Wounds
10. Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes
11. Protection of Skeletal Muscles from Ischemic Injury: Low-Level Laser Therapy Increases Antioxidant Activity
12. Effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on the nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB signaling pathway in traumatized muscle.
13. Regulation of Skin Collagen Metabolism In Vitro Using a Pulsed 660 nm LED Light Source: Clinical Correlation with a Single-Blinded Study
14. Low Level Laser Therapy (Lllt) for Chronic Joint Pain of the Elbow, Wrist and Fingers
15. Low-level laser in the treatment of patients with hypothyroidism induced by chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial
16. Efficacy and safety of a low-level laser device in the treatment of male and female pattern hair loss: a multicenter, randomized, sham device-controlled, double-blind study.
17. Personal Overview of the Application of LLLT in Severely Infertile Japanese Females
18. Effect of 830-nm diode laser irradiation on human sperm motility.
19. Lack of interest in sex successfully treated by exposure to bright light
20. The effects of low level laser therapy (LLLT) on the testis in elevating serum testosterone level in rats.


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