Increase your body’s natural antioxidant system with red-light therapy.

Red-light therapy combines near-infrared (NIR) and deep-red light exposed to the skin towards improving mitochondrial function and increasing the body’s natural antioxidant system. The most crucial bioactive effects of NIR/red-light therapy in humans include increased energy production, decreased inflammation, and enhancing the cell defense systems to increase resiliency in the body.

To dismiss light therapy as “alternative” and unlikely to impact human physiology and function is assuredly naïve given the undisputed importance of vitamin D production from sunlight (UV light). Indeed, other types of light have bioactive effects on the body e.g. deep-red and near-infrared light (i.e. low-level-light-therapy, cold-laser, or photobiomodulation).

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Benefits of Red-light Therapy

The following are examples of main-findings among some of the 3,200 peer-reviewed research studies tout myriad pain-relieving, mitochondrial repairing, wound-healing and anti-aging benefits of red-light:

Research shows the greatest benefits of NIR/red-light therapy wavelengths in the narrow ranges of 630-680nm and 800-850nm. Unlike other wavelengths of light, near-infrared light and red light are able to penetrate nearly 2 inches into the body, thus impacting cellular function, tissues, blood, nerves, the brain, heart, lungs and even bones.

Once NIR/red-light energy has been absorbed by the body, it is converted to Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and used by the cells to build collagen, elastin, aid in cellular respiration, modulate inflammation, relieve pain, and promote regeneration.

Furthermore, NIR/red-light therapy impacts the body through hormesis by transiently increasing metabolic stress, enhancing the antioxidant defense systems of the body. Indeed, there is evidence such changes can occur at the epigenetic level by downregulating pro-inflammatory genes and upregulating anti-inflammatory genes.

The following list denotes some biochemical pathways altered by red/near-infrared light:

  • ATP
  • Basic fibroblast growth factor and keratinocyte growth factor
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Calcium
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cytochrome c oxidase
  • Hepatocyte growth factor
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor
  • Light-sensitive ion channels
  • Melatonin
  • Nitric oxide (NO)
  • Nuclear factor kappa B
  • Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Retrograde mitochondrial signaling
  • Transforming growth factor
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

Peer Reviewed Research:

NIR/red-light Pre- or Post-HBOT

Why do we care so much about mitochondria and ATP at Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic of Idaho? The mitochondria fuel all the processes in our body using ATP, which can be thought of as the body’s currency. Increasing cellular energy using NIR/red-light therapy enhances the efficiency with which the mitochondria efficiently use oxygen to produce ATP. As connoisseurs of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we appreciate when oxygen is used efficiently, and this is why so many of our patients choose to combine high-powered NIR/red-light therapy with HBOT.

Targeted-Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Both hyperbaric oxygen therapy and NIR/red-light therapy cause significant elevations in cellular energy and have independently demonstrated clinical efficacy. Interestingly, when both therapies are used simultaneously, a synergistic effect is apparent. That is, light therapy affords us the ability to direct the increased levels of oxygen to local areas during hyperbaric therapy. For example, wearing a red-light therapy cap during hyperbarics encourages oxygen to go to the brain while placing the pad on the knee promotes an increase in oxygen in this location.