Red light therapy makes hair grow! Eases joint pain!
The light that
think that simply using a special light could heal your body and outsmart aging? It’s true! Study after study—including some by NASA researchers—prove that the gentle wavelengths emitted by red light really do rejuvenate tissues and help turn back the clock in countless other ways!
What is it?
Red light therapy (also called LLLT or low level laser therapy) uses red wavelengths to stimulate cellular repair, increase blood flow, accelerate collagen production and more. “Just like photosynthesis in plants, where light energy is converted into cellular energy and stored for later use, we know that certain human cells are responsive to light energy,” explains surgeon Alan J. Bauman, M.D. In a nutshell, red light can:
A recent study in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery found that red light therapy is a safe and efficient way to increase skin-firming and wrinklereducing collagen. “All of the mechanisms of action of low level laser therapy have an anti-aging effect on skin,” says Dr. Bauman. “It improves the appearance of fine lines, texture, pigmentation and roughness,” adds dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D. And you don’t need to spend a lot on medical appointments: Handheld wands (such as the Norlanya Red Light Therapy Machine, $59.99; Amazon.com) let you reverse skin aging at home.
Ease joint pain!
Red light spurs the rebuilding of cartilage in osteoarthritis patients and, according to a recent study, relieves pain 70% and morning stiffness 27% for RA patients. “Joint pain in many cases is caused by inflammation,” notes Dr. Fusco, and red light reduces that significantly. Ask your orthopedist about in-office treatments.
Stimulate hair growth!
Dozens of studies show red light therapy helps halt hair loss in women without any of the side effects of meds. “Hereditary hair loss, contrary to popular belief, is not simply hair follicles ‘turning off,’ ” says Dr. Bauman, a hair restoration specialist. Instead, they slowly grow weaker—something that, caught early on, can often be corrected. One option: the Hairmax laser comb ($199; HairMax.com). “Used consistently, weaker follicles are stimulated to produce better quality hair,” he says.
Kick the blues.
Red light is naturally energizing and fights depression. “Photoreceptors in the retina pick up wavelengths of red light and become stimulated in a way that improves mood,” says Dr. Fusco. An at-home device probably won’t give you enough red light exposure to beat the blues; ask your doctor to recommend a local medical spa or physical therapist that offers the treatment. Sessions start at around $50; check to see if your insurance covers them.
There are no known adverse side effects. However, if using it to treat hair loss, see a dermatologist first to rule out any underlying cause. Avoid using it for skin rejuvenation if taking meds that make skin light sensitive (like some antibiotics).
—Kallie E. Kristensen